The Norm Can Conform

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

TV Review: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4, Episode 1: Variety Show

There we have it, the first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 has come out and it was a pretty interesting start to the show. There were some highs, some lows, a fall on the runway, a wig caught in the scaffolding and the wrathful shade of Gia Gunn. Already it looks like the show is off to a positive start. Thank God! Because the Holi-Slay Spectacular was a tragedy. 💪🏻 I have to admit, after seeing the Christmas special, my excitement for All Stars 4 did dwindle a little bit, but now it’s out, I’m excited that it’s back.

The show started in the same way we’ve come to expect now from the All Stars seasons, we meet the queens, they do a reading challenge and then on to the main stage for the talent show. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. But here’s a little treat for you, some unaired reads:

Entrance Looks: Toot or Boot

Let’s see how the queens decided to make their second ‘first impression’.

Monique Heart: Toot

I don’t think the outfit was particularly groundbreaking, but it was fun, it was covered in hearts with a gay Catholic church overtone and a lot of sass – I can allow that.

 Gia Gunn: Toot

Speaking of the church, Gia Gunn also turned up in a very biblical whorish outfit and I loved it. The thigh-high boots covered in rosary beads gave me life, the gold crown of thorns was iconic (I think I need this for the festive period) and the sequinned hoodie reminded me of some gross 00’s Ed Hardy top – I was feeling this look.

Monét X Change: Boot

I mean, it’s a leotard… on All Stars, I shall say no more.

Naomi Smalls: Toot

I actually think this may be one of my favourite entrance outfits. The legs are long, the body is right, the colours are stunning and I’ve remembered that I had a massive crush on her when she was on Season 8 and now it’s all flooding back.

Trinity ‘The Tuck’ Taylor: Toot

She turned up in a body bag then removed it to reveal this outfit – yes, living my best life, thank you, Trinity. Now, I have to say I do love this Prada homage but for some reason, a lot of people have been getting quite shady about it online. Yes, I understand that wearing fakes is bad, but this is a homage, she’s not claiming it to be Prada. And let’s do some fact checking first, nearly every outfit that everybody loved of Aquaria’s on Season 10 was a copy of various designers, not a designer piece, a copy that she made herself – call that queen out next time.

Farrah Moan: Toot

I can’t deny that she looks great here, her wig looks lush, the shoes are great and her outfit looks flawless. However, I feel this type of outfit may very well be a running theme for Farrah. It’s pretty much all we saw on Season 9 and I think it will continue on All Stars 4.

Jasmine Masters: Boot

I don’t hate a queen in a suit, Sonique looked flawless on the Holi-Slay special in her gingerbread suit but this looks like something you could find from and that’s not quite the same effect. As I said before, it’s All Stars.

Valentina: Toot

I love the makeup and the feathers in her hair. The dress doesn’t drive me crazy but she does look good. There are a lot of people dying to see what Valentina will do now she’s back, let’s hoping there are no masks this season.

But there was a twist, a twist that nobody saw coming (except that everybody saw coming)

Latrice and Manilla were back! Despite them being in all the ‘meet the queens’ videos and what not, some people believed that they were going to be competing together as they entered in handcuffs. Thankfully, that was not the case and they both tore those bitches off and they’re now competing as individuals – something that should have happened on the first season of All Stars.

Latrice Royale: Boot & Manila Luzon: Toot

Latrice gets a boot because it’s not the most exciting dress and it’s in a pretty dull colour. Especially when you compare it to Manila’s attire.

Manilla gets a toot because it was a brilliant reimagining of her ‘Big Bird’ dress that she wore on the runway as she sent home Delta Work. I love that her Big Bird outfit has since been run over and battered. It was a genius look and my favourite entrance outfit.

On with the show!

The reads were fine, nothing groundbreaking. There were a few rather funny ones and some terrible ones (from Farrah Moan). Latrice won the mini challenge and proved that she’s still as sassy as ever.

But the bit we’ve all been waiting for is seeing what talents they are all going to bring to the table this time around. We’ve had some great ones before. We saw Bendelacreme’s hilarious nipple tassel striptease number, Aja do a killer deathdrop and of course, Tatianna perform her iconic spoken word poem, ‘Same Parts’. They have some tough acts to follow, I’ll tell you that.

Variety Show highlights

Some of my highlights from the talent show were Naomi Smalls’ runway number where she poses to the beat, looking stunning only to reveal a bald head under her giant wig.

Another performance that I thought was interesting was Gia Gunn who performed a beautiful kabuki number. Was it thrilling, no, was it artistic and culturally intriguing, “absolutely”. I’ve got to give it to her, the look was right, her fan work was beautiful and yes, she did give us something we’ve not seen before on Drag Race, but it just wasn’t exciting enough. However, I won’t deny that it was beautiful.

I also think Manila put on a great performance as she went from being an artist to a work of art. As she painted to the music, we wondered what she was going to do until she flipped it upside down and revealed her masterpiece. Then she had another cheeky twist right at the end. Latrice also did a fun routine with some rhythmic gymnastics and a pair of flags.

But they weren’t all great, in fact, a few were pretty forgettable. As I said before, Gia’s didn’t wow me but it was pretty. However, Farrah Moan’s was pretty shitty. She did a striptease burlesque type performance but it didn’t have the level of fun that Bendelacreme or Roxxxy Andrews had in previous variety shows. I thought it was pretty naff all the way through and then she tripped on her clothes and fell flat on her ass and I honestly felt so bad for her.

Another queen that didn’t do well was Jasmine Masters. Jasmine had set herself the challenge of doing a comedy routine and my word it was dire. She tried to do her usual “I’ve got something to say” spiel about dating somebody with shit breath and it was just bad, there wasn’t a single joke. Just an angry rant (and her outfit was a bit dull). Jasmine seems to think she did great though.

Main Stage: Toot or Boot

Not that these looks matter, they were merely based off of what they wore for the variety show.

Farrah Moan: Boot

Didn’t I say that they would get repetitive fast? It’s a shame because I actually like the colour gradient but I hate the oversized gems.

Gia Gunn: Toot

Legitimate kabuki drag – love it. C’mawn culture, let’s get appropriated!

Jasmine Masters: Boot

Two suits in one episode… and none of them were nice. As for the bus driver wig, well…

Latrice Royale: Boot

I understand why she wore it for her performance but the wig was flat and the patterns I wasn’t crazy for.

Manila Luzon: Toot

DaVinci chic. Loving it and the reveal was also kinda sassy.

Monét X Change: Boot

That fucking sponge dress. I got bored of it on her season, don’t bring it back. Those sponges were not a thing – can queens stop trying to make a ‘thing’ happen on the show, please? I barely got through ‘purse first’.

Monique Heart: Boot

Another example of a queen trying to make a thing happen. Though I must say, the makeup was on point and the outfit did actually make sense for her song which was a whole “Brown Cow, Stunning” moment.

Naomi Smalls: Toot

Was it the most exciting outfit in the world? No. Did it she make it work? Yes. The wig reveal was hilarious and unexpected and she looked damn good during her performance.

Trinity The Tuck: Toot

It’s not the most exciting outfit but it made sense for her performance, her reveal was sassy and I actually like the hair, makeup and glasses on Trinity.

Valentina: Toot

Her whole performance gave me Jennifer Lopez vibes and I was living for it. Her makeup is on point, the wig looks good and the dress was diva.

The Bottom Two

Unsurprisingly, Farrah Moan landed in the bottom as did Jasmine Masters. That means Tom and I both have a queen in the bottom from our fantasy league competition.

The Top Two

Trinity made it to the top two, her performance was funny, witty, well presented and she proved that she is more than just a pageant queen – she knows how to do comedy! The second queen who made it was Monique Heart – this one surprised me, I thought it could have been Valentina, Latrice or Manila as an alternative, but yeah, I didn’t expect Monique. Annoyingly, both of these queens are in Tom’s league so again, he’s racking up the points.

The Lipsync

The song was actually one of my favourites, Mariah Carey’s ‘Emotions’ and Trinity killed this lip sync. She just knew how to deliver a diva performance that even Mariah would be proud of.

Do I think Monique gave a bad performance? Not necessarily, however, she did throw herself around on the floor a bit too much for my liking. It wasn’t relevant to the song. But the bit that really stressed me out was that her wig came off again. Dear Queens, STOP REMOVING YOUR WIGS DURING A LIP SYNC UNLESS YOU HAVE A WORTH REVEAL! The one redeeming feature was that when Monique through her wig, it went so high that it got caught in the lighting rig above the stage.

Trinity won the lip sync and sent home Jasmine Masters – bugger, I’m really not doing well in this competition.

How has that affected the scores?

Winner: Trinity – 5 Points
Top 2: Monique – 3 Points
Safe: Monét, Naomi, Latrice, Gia, Manila, Valentina – 1 Point
Bottom 2: Farrah – 0 Points
Eliminated: Jasmine – -3 Points

That means that I have got 1 point and Tom has 10 points. I have some serious catching up to do! Let’s hope things swing in my favour for episode 2.

And if you want to see what a couple of the Drag Race alumni thought about the first episode, watch The Pit Stop here with Trixie Mattel and Morgan McMichaels:

RuPaul words

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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