Warning! This post contains major spoilers about Thursday’s season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3. Read ahead at your own risk!

For the first time in RuPaul’s Drag Race herstory, an All Stars champion was crowned Thursday night with a little help from a riled-up jury of previously eliminated queens — each of whom RuPaul brought back to the competition so they could cast individual votes for their favorite pair of finalists among the final four. After meeting with each of the queens to hear their case for a chance to advance in the competition, the group’s decision vaulted Trixie Mattel and, shockingly, Kennedy Davenport into the top two, thus eliminating BeBe Zahara Benet and presumed frontrunner Shangela.

Though the broadcast didn’t show a vote-by-vote breakdown, VH1 released a bonus clip shortly after Mama Ru named Trixie the third All Stars champion, revealing that it was actually a point-based system (the queens’ first choice received two points, their second choice received one) and not a weighted vote that determined the surprising outcome. Here’s how each ousted lady voted:

Aja: “I’m picking the queens that I think will benefit the most, but also have worked their asses off this entire time.”
First vote: Kennedy Davenport
Second vote: Trixie Mattel

BenDeLaCreme: “I felt like Kennedy was the person who, statistics-wise, was the one I needed to eliminate instead of myself. But after seeing what she’s done and listening to her speak, I feel good to have been able to step down and clear the way for her.”
First vote: Kennedy Davenport
Second vote: Trixie Mattel

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Credit: VH1

Chi Chi DeVayne: “My first choice is automatic. My second choice I’m a little bit on the fence with that one.”
First vote: Kennedy Davenport
Second vote: Trixie Mattel

Milk: “Having the conversation with the top four, it just reinforced my idea of who I wanted to continue.”
First vote: Kennedy Davenport
Second vote: Trixie Mattel

Morgan McMichaels: “As I’m looking at the lipsticks I’m seeing longtime friends, people who’ve worked their asses off in this business. But I’m really confident in my decision and I think the top four is in for a big surprise.”
First vote: BeBe Zahara Benet
Second vote: Kennedy Davenport

Thorgy Thor: “After meeting with all four of the queens, I completely changed my mind. However, now that I’m at the box, I’m thinking if I don’t trust my gut, I’m going to regret it later.”
First vote: Trixie Mattel
Second vote: Shangela

Final tallies:

  1. Kennedy Davenport (8 points)
  2. Trixie Mattel (7 points)
  3. BeBe Zahara Benet (2 points)
  4. Shangela (1 point)

Though Kennedy had the worst track record of any queen in the top four (she appeared in the bottom and was subsequently up for elimination four times since the season opener), she overwhelmingly took the popular vote among the eliminated queens. Though the show’s fanbase isn’t as keen on her, her Drag Race peers have come to respect her artistry — especially after she revealed earlier this year that she often feels like an afterthought among the show community. Though her scorecard might not justify her place in the top two, Kennedy’s triumph serves as a touching example of a steadfast sisterhood rallying behind one of its own.

Among the entire All Stars 3 cast, Trixie undoubtedly fronts the most successful post-show career (she hosts her own Viceland talk show on top of a steady music career), so it’s no surprise that her Drag Race sisters wanted her in the top two to represent the best that the brand has to offer.

Still, the biggest curveball here is that Shangela — widely presumed by fans to be the clear-cut winner after winning three challenges — was virtually ignored by everyone but Thorgy, the one queen who was most vocal about her annoyance with Shangela’s decision to send her home on the second episode. As much as the show’s contestants like to tout that the All Stars elimination format isn’t about preserving relationships, the third season finale confirms that, as long as RuPaul places power in the sequined gloves of her (sometimes emotionally impulsive) cast, we’re really tuning in for weekly installments of RuPaul’s Best Friend Race versus an actual competition.

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RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.

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