The Norm Can Conform

The opinions you never asked for on the subjects you're not bothered about.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 Episode 1: Werq the World

It’s that time again where we’re ready to see another group of All Stars compete for a second shot at the crown (a third time if you’re Jujubee). As usual, the queens compete for the chance at a crown and a cash prize of $100,000.

All Stars is a great concept as we get to see some of our favourite queens (as well as some questionable castings) compete again for our viewing pleasure. However, there have been some rough turns along the way. All Stars 1 was a disaster from the first episode thanks to the paired-queens format.

All Stars 2 (which is arguably the best season in Drag Race history) saw stronger queens be booted out as Roxxxy Andrews sailed through week by week thanks to the Rolaskatox clan.

All Stars 3 saw front-runner BenDelaCreme quit midway as she didn’t enjoy sending people home leaving Shangela as the only clear front runner. But then another twist saw the eliminated queens choose who out of the Top 4 would lipsync for the crown. As Shangela had won most challenges, most queens chose not to vote her into the Top 2 and instead put in Trixie who had pretty much coasted (blandly) through the season and Kennedy Davenport (WTF?!) into the top.

All Stars 4 had a questionable cast with queens like Farrah Moan and Jasmine Masters coming back to compete despite their poor runs on their own respective seasons. Not only that but the fact that RuPaul saved Valentina from going home one week (which was clearly because he saw her as a frontrunner), Manila’s shocking elimination and the fact the show crowned both Trinity the Tuck and Monét X Change.

So what will be the All Stars 5 twist?

“For All Stars 5, we’ve come up with a new twist that is so twisted it’s guaranteed to twist your twisted minds,” –RuPaul

Oh great… another twist. Although, this one could be somewhat interesting. The winning queen each week will still choose who goes home. But this time they don’t lipsync against another queen to be the winner. Ru decides who wins the actual challenge each week and then they will lipsync against a well-known ‘lipsync assassin‘.

That’s right, the winner will lipsync against a former queen who can serve a good lipsync. If they win, they’ll get $10,000 and choose which queen goes home. If they lose, all the queens decide who leaves on a majority vote (apparently).

So now you know the basics, let me show you who Tom and I picked in our All Stars fantasy league.

The Fantasy League Picks

Here’s how Tom and I picked our teams. Let me go into the details. I am the lilac team, Tom is the peach team. We flipped a coin and I got to pick the first queen and then we alternated. Here is the running order of how we picked our queens:

1st – Harry: Shea Couleé / Tom: Miz Cracker
2nd – Harry: Jujubee / Tom: Ongina
3rd – Harry: Blair St. Clair / Tom: Alexis Mateo
4th – Harry: Derrick Barry / Tom: Mayhem Miller
5th – Harry: India Ferrah / Tom: Mariah Paris Balenciaga

This list doesn’t necessarily mean we picked our favourites first (or at all). We picked based on how we thought queens would do in the competition – we’re playing for points after all.

The Point System

As always, my All Stars point system stays the same. The rules may have changed but the points still apply as they’ve always done. I’ll have to determine how the first episode goes before I can work out if there is an actual bottom scoring group of if the winner gets to eliminate whoever the fuck they want this year. Here’s the new addition to the point system – you get 1 bonus point if you beat the assassin. Either way, here’s how I will be (potentially) scoring:

Beat the Assassin – 1 Bonus Point
Winner – 5 Points

Top – 3 Points
Safe – 1 Point
Bottom – -1 Point
Eliminated – -3 Points

Now let’s get into the All Stars 5 entrances!

I think we’re going to have an interesting mix this season!

All Stars 5: Meet The Queens’ Entrance Looks – Toot or Boot

Sadly, with Covid 19 in play, we didn’t get a proper promo look, so the queens’ entrance looks are their promo looks. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still toot and boot!

Shea Couleé – Toot

Shea Couleé All Stars 5

I love this outfit. It’s a little bit retro with the print but ultra-modern in the colours and styling. I think Shea looks great. Her makeup is stunning and the wig looks great – nothing groundbreaking, but very pretty. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the tiny little boob things at the top of the outfit – it just managed to throw the proportions off for me.

Miz Cracker – Toot

Mix Cracker All Stars 5

Beautiful coloured dress, beautiful shape, beautiful feathers. This is so old school but in such a modern way and I love it. The hair also looks great. Cracker looks like an Old Hollywood movie star.

Alexis Mateo – Boot

Alexis Mateo All Stars 5

Hooray, my favourite member of the ‘Mateo’ clan has returned! But back to the outfit – it’s a leotard and a big frilly cape thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love a flag outfit but I’ve seen better – Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl cape anyone?

Blair St. Clair – Boot

Blair St. Clair All Stars 5

I’m a big fan of Blair but I wasn’t crazy about this outfit. I like the ’80s reference but it’s like a low-budget version of what Detox does. I think she was going for sexy executive but it read more like a dated hooker in my eyes.

Mariah Paris Balenciaga – Boot

Mariah Paris Balenciaga All Stars 5

I’ve seen this sort of look before and it doesn’t particularly excite me. It’s a very simple club performance outfit with nothing particularly unique about it. I’m also not crazy about the wig – I wish it had more height and volume… her makeup is nice though.

India Ferrah – Toot

India Ferrah All Stars 5

Thoroughly enjoy the colour of India’s outfit. The big cape and the puffy sleeves were great but my favourite bit was the jewelled belt detail that went into the back of the outfit to read ‘Old School’. India has a very old school drag aesthetic so I loved that she highlighted that in her entrance look. I also had a lot of time for her hair.

Jujubee – Boot

Jujubee All Stars 5

Jujubee is bringing mall beauty counter employee realness back to the werkroom yet again. I love her, but fuck me, this outfit was bland. The wig was nothing special either but I feel like this is Jujubee’s way of leading the queens into a trap before she pounces with some great outfits (or at least that’s what I’m hoping for).

Derrick Barry – Boot

Derrick Barry All Stars 5

Let’s be honest – this was awful. The suit was ill-fitting. It was clearly a man’s suit and if it wasn’t, she needs to fire the tailor. The reveal was equally bland. I thought Derrick was trying to prove she’s not Britney anymore?

Mayhem Miller – Boot

Mayhem Miller All Stars 5

A bit boring really. The colour suited her skin tone but it was just a pair of hooker boots and a leotard really.

Ongina – Toot

Ongina All Stars 5

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you come back for All Stars! Ongina wasn’t messing around and she’s certainly ready to show the new era of Drag Race that the Season 1 queens still a trailblazing bunch.

So that’s our cast! Now let’s get into the episode, shall we?

The Mini Challenge – Reading Is Fundamental

Who doesn’t love starting off a series of All Stars with a proper reading challenge? Thankfully, this was one of the formats All Stars 5 hasn’t decided to change. We even got to meet our guest judge, Ricky Martin, and he was a snack and a half.

As always, some did good, others did bad. Ongina was pretty terrible. Derrick wasn’t great either. Blair did surprisingly well and of course, Juju killed it.

Both Blair and Jujubee were victorious… personally I thought it should have just been Jujubee but hey, this show loves double victories now.

The Maxi Challenge – Werq The World Variety Show

Another All Stars staple is the variety show. All Stars 5 has decided to turn up the gas a little with their ‘Werq the World Variety Show’. The queens will still be showcasing their talents, however, this season they’re allowed to have backup dancers with them. I’m going to toot or boot the performances, not the looks. So let’s get into the show, shall we?

Alexis Mateo: Dance – Toot

Alexis Mateo All Stars 5

I knew I could count on Alexis to deliver a high-energy performance. This was everything I expected from her and more. No, it wasn’t groundbreaking – but it was great. Having the backing dancers certainly got me into the carnival spirit and Ricky Martin seemed to love it too.

Shea Couleé: Singing/Pole-Dancing – Boot

Shea Couleé All Stars 5

I know we all love Shea, but I have to be honest – this was a mess. The song was fine… boring, but fine. But the pole-dancing was a mess. She said she only had 10 days to learn to pole dance but why would you do a skill you’ve not mastered for a variety show that’s supposed to showcase your talents? Don’t pick a skill at random and learn it – we didn’t see Miz Cracker plate spinning… although we did see Latrice twirl flags last season.

Mayhem Miller: Rapping – Boot

Mayhem Miller All Stars 5

This started out with promise. It was a wise move to showcase a meme about yourself but she should have lipsynced. Mayhem stumbled through her words when she started to rap and it threw off her whole performance.

Mariah Paris Balenciaga: Performance Art/Poetry – Toot

Mariah Paris Balenciaga All Stars 5

I loved that Mariah did something out of the box. She delivered a powerful message with a unique visual. I knew she wouldn’t win this challenge because the judges (and the audience) want to be entertained during the variety show but it was a great performance all the same.

Miz Cracker: Cabaret – Toot

Miz Cracker All Stars 5

This was fun. In true Cracker style, she showed that she knew how to have fun, tell jokes and give us a performance. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Blair St. Clair: Singing – Boot

Blair St. Clair All Stars 5

It was good, but it wasn’t great. Blair’s performance didn’t really do anything to wow me. Especially when you compare it to Jujubee’s performance. Also, Adore just sang on AS2 and I wasn’t too keen on that either (but I did prefer Adore).

Ongina: Strutting/Costume Reveals..? – Boot

Ongina All Stars 5

I honestly expected more from Ongina. The production looked like it was going to be fun when she came out in a toy car and a racing check outfit to the Drag Race theme tune but other than that, there wasn’t much. Ongina did a few dance moves and did some costume reveals but there wasn’t much more to the performance – half the time she wasn’t even lipsyncing. It’s sad to say but I think this was probably the worst performance.

Derrick Barry: Impressions – Boot

Derrick Barry All Stars 5

I applaud Derrick for trying to do something different and the impressions weren’t awful – but the performance was. It felt rushed and unstructured. Overall it felt painful to watch.

Jujubee: Singing – Toot

Jujubee All Stars 5

Jujubee smashed it. I was genuinely surprised by her performance – it was pure artistry. I wasn’t surprised that she did well but I was surprised at the actual talent – who knew Jujubee could sing? And the song was pretty damn good too!

India Ferrah: Dancing – Toot

India Ferrah All Stars 5

India killed it. “Drag is not a contact sport” was a really fun concept for a high-energy dance routine. The backup dancers enhanced the performance without stealing focus (like with Alexis) so I think she did great. Nobody was expecting this from India so I’m glad she came out fighting.

The Results

Shea, Jujubee, Blair, Ongina and Mariah were all safe. Honestly, I thought Jujubee was in the top and I thought Ongina should have been in the bottom. Mayhem and Derrick were in the bottom (which was fair) but it should have been a bottom 3. In the end, India was victorious this week and good for her, I think she deserved it.

That means India will pick a lipstick of who should go home. Will she choose Mayhem, or will she choose her arch-rival, Derrick? (She chose Derrick).

The Lipsync: Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin

Lipsync Assassin: Yvie Oddly

All Stars 5 Yvie Oddly

Firstly, I loved the song choice – the show started to use too many ‘cool’ songs and when I’m at a drag show, I want to see a full dose of camp. I think both queens delivered the high-energy we needed for a song like this. India held her own but Yvie killed it. The hair flip wig reveal was great, she had some fun outfit reveals and I felt she was having fun. I mean, she didn’t have the pressure of $10,000 so that’s always a bonus. In the end, Yvie won and I think that was justified.

As India didn’t beat Yvie, the money will roll over for the next week. Yvie revealed how the queens voted to leave and it Derrick. Yep, Derrick Barry was our first fatality of All Stars 5. I’m not necessarily shocked but I thought they’d have kept him in a bit longer for the India drama. Like him or loath him, Derrick is very good at bringing unnecessary drama to a room.

I found it interesting that only Jujubee chose Mayhem to go home (well… and Derrick, duh) and all the others wanted him gone. I was hoping for the India vs Derrick drama to progress a little more than it did.

How has that affected the scores?

Beat the Assassin: VOID – 1 Bonus Point
Winner: India Ferrah – 5 Points

Top: Miz Cracker, Alexis Mateo – 3 Points
Safe: Jujubee, Shea, Blair, MariahOngina – 1 Point
Bottom: Mayhem Miller – -1 Point 

Eliminated: Derrick Barry – -3 Points

After the first week of All Stars 5, I walked away with 5 points and Tom ended on 7 points. It’s a close start and I’m already a queen down – let’s see how the rest of the competition heats up!

And here’s a little bonus treat for you all courtesy of Drag Race alum, Willam. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for an absolute treat, I promise you that:

Here’s hoping we have more hilarious All Stars 5 related music to come.

Harry J Bartlett

Digital Content Creator, lover of fashion, drag queen connoisseur and all around phenomenal human being. If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would say; Gorgeous, Talented and Humble.

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