RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage 'surprised' by Shangela's All-Stars loss: 'It was a mistake'
Two months after the RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars 3 finale and the show's community is still abuzz about the spinoff's controversial conclusion.
In a video interview shared Wednesday by ET Canada, longtime Drag Race judge Michelle Visage opened up about her feelings on the competition series' closing episode, in which a returning crop of previously eliminated queens returned to whittle down the remaining four contestants — Shangela, Trixie Mattel, Bebe Zahara Benet, and Kennedy Davenport — with a jury-style vote. The vengeful queens clearly shifted from the panel's wishes, however, and eliminated fan-favorite (and three-time challenge-winning frontrunner) Shangela before the final lip-sync for the crown, which eventually went to Mattel.
"The biggest surprise to me and the rest of the world was Shangela not winning RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars 3. And that wasn't up to me, that wasn't up to RuPaul, that was up to the girls, because Ru gave the queens that were eliminated the chance to vote for the final two, who they believe deserved to be in the finals," Visage told the outlet during a segment filmed earlier in May. "And they chose not to put Shangela in there. It was a mistake, but I believe they did it because of a personal relationship instead of watching how she did in the competition."
The morning after the March 15 episode, VH1 released the final vote tallies for the All-Stars 3 top four, with only one queen, Thorgy Thor, choosing Shangela to advance to the final round.
Mattel, who went on to triumph across the last lip-sync against Davenport, responded to Visage's sentiment Thursday morning on social media.
"I was Team Michelle on Big Brother," she wrote, referencing Visage's stint on season 15 of the U.K.'s Celebrity Big Brother, during which she was eliminated in fifth place. "So we are both disappointed lol."
"That's the only one that really affected me," Visage continued when asked if she ever disagreed with RuPaul's decisions on the panel. "I 100 percent agree with RuPaul on everything. We share a brain, so honestly I can tell by looking at him. We know we're on the same page. So I've never disagreed with anything he's ever done in an elimination."
Shangela's loss prompted intense backlash among the Drag Race fanbase, something the performer (real name D.J. Pierce) addressed during her post-show interview with EW.
"The people who are just speaking their feelings, if they feel so invested in my journey and they feel disappointed, I identify with that! I really do. But, even in a time of disappointment, I don't think sending hate or negativity is the way to deal with it," she said. "Don't throw hate at Trixie. She wasn't even on the jury who cut the four finalists down to the top two. But I wouldn't throw hate to [the eliminated] girls, either. The best way to move forward is to do just that: move forward with love and light."
Watch Visage's statement on the RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars 3 finale in the video above.
RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.