Winners’ Recap, Episode 1: ‘Legends’

Herstorically talking, All Stars doesn’t usually get it correct the to start with time. So when an air of exhilaration surrounds this all-winners season, some (like me) approach it with trepidation. What gimmicks might backfire? Which beloved queen will be sent residence prematurely? Acquiring now found the very first two episodes, enable me place all your fears to rest: This All Stars period is previously 1 of the finest we have found from the franchise, and it exhibits no sign of slowing down.

Let us commence by talking about the caliber of the solid. As the title would imply, All Stars: All Winners features some of the most proficient and productive queens the Drag Race empire has at any time developed. We have Shea Couleé, the universally beloved Chicago queen who has been treated as a winner given that before her season of All Stars was at any time announced. There’s Jinkx Monsoon, whom RuPaul herself calls a “genius” and who reinvented the way we conceive of Snatch Sport. And of course Raja, the undisputed trend icon and tastemaker who embodies the very idea of drag royalty. Rounding out the solid, there is Monét X Alter (powerhouse performer and qualified New York darling), Trinity (1 of the most well-rounded pageant queens of the franchise), the gregarious jack of all trades Jaida Essence Hall (who famously sewed and created all her individual runways), the Vivienne (who’s as rapid-witted as she is polished), and Yvie Oddly (who’s manufactured arguably three of Drag Race’s prime-10 most-iconic lip syncs). Overwhelmed yet? I sure am. Notably, it is not just the reality that these queens are globe-class skills in the artwork of drag that will make this season so damn great. As winners, they’re all uniquely very good at the artwork of Drag Race. Any obstacle structure RuPaul can believe to toss at them? Toddler, they’ve now done it twice. And four of them most likely gained. (If you do not imagine me, glimpse no further more than the studying challenge and the primary obstacle on this pretty episode. But far more on that in a moment.)

First, we gotta speak about the twist. “This period,” RuPaul announces. “No 1 will be heading dwelling.” The queens gasp, gripping 1 one more in faux shock. Now I’m inclined to settle for a good deal, but let’s be actual: If you really do not assume every single and each and every a person of these ladies painstakingly negotiated their assured physical appearance on every episode of this season, I have a bridge to promote you. Right after all, these aren’t just winners. These are savvy business enterprise girls who’ve put in their professions navigating (and thriving!) in an marketplace that didn’t exist a ten years back. Additionally, judging from the very first two runways, there is the dollar equal of a NATO country’s GDP in designer garments sitting in the Werkroom. And these queens will be demonstrating off every last goddamn property of fabric. But make no miscalculation, I’m intensely in favor of this twist. These queens just about every have a various established of strengths, and I want them all to get the probability to show off. This episode, that honor is Shea’s.

I envision if Shea were to design and style a fantasy episode of Drag Race to parade her many talents, this week would occur fairly close. After her really reliable showing in the studying problem (however finally outshined by the incomparable Jinkx) the queens are ushered to the principal phase to have their runway walks critiqued by Naomi Campbell. Campbell, in all her beautiful glory, pulls no punches: “Relax your fingers,” she phone calls to Raja. “Beautiful … but I would like you didn’t do that thing with your toes,” she advises Monét. But when it arrives to Shea, it’s a different story. Soon after Shea is given a minute to make clear all that Naomi has meant to her above the course of her lifestyle, Naomi tells Shea she’s “exquisite … perfection.” Shea, often a wordsmith, is at a decline. It is deeply shifting to look at a queen we’ve loved and watched expand more than the earlier 5 a long time acquire the optimum praise from her idol of idols. Shea Couleé, you will always be well-known.

Upcoming cease on the Shea fantasy coach, a choreography and verse-composing obstacle (which Shea did to good achievements back again on year nine and again on All Stars). Not only that, but all her fellow opponents defer to her for the team choreography, rightfully recognizing her skills. Useless to say, Shea slays. Her choreo and efficiency prowess are as sharp as at any time, and her verse is yet a further iconic addition to the Shea musical canon. But she’s not by yourself: Monét is also outstanding, mixing vocals, rap, and onomatopoeia, and Jaida makes me crack up with her energetic verse and exaggerated autotune. On the runway, Raja proves why she’s continue to to this day considered the preeminent manner artist of the franchise with her Louis XIV impressed glimpse. It’s breathtaking, modern, brain-boggling … so mainly precisely what you’d anticipate from Raja. Jinkx and Shea are similarly remarkable, having said that, bringing breathtaking and elevated garments to the first runway of this period.

With the return of the All Stars top rated-two format, it would seem as if it could be anyone’s match. Shea’s domination is foreshadowed from the 2nd she enters the Werkroom, but the second place is up for grabs. There’s discuss of Trinity and Yvie, but at the finish of the day, the judges just just can’t resist Monét’s charisma, nevertheless as fascinating even in a home comprehensive of winners. For their to start with showdown, Shea and Monét lip-sync to Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of “Old MacDonald,” a campy (still vocally mesmerizing) rendition of the childhood nursery rhyme. The efficiency is … masterful. I know: My praise has presently been profuse this episode, but it’s well earned! Shea and Monét make sharp, specific possibilities that are as joyous and amusing as they are reverent to Fitzgerald’s brilliance. A excellent cap to a impressive premiere episode. Possibly option would have been justified, but the judges are head over heels for Shea. (As am I!) So it gets to be her duty to bequeath the rhinestoned plunger unto a competitor, likely “blocking” her from receiving a Legend Star future 7 days. Shea chooses … Trinity! An appealing opening gambit that perplexes me at to start with but (spoiler inform) is pretty savvy.

And with that, this premiere episode comes to a close, but one final musing before we go: Immediately after her entrance, Monét remarks that the Werkroom layout has changed. “They made it more substantial for us,” she says on the lookout around. “For our egos,” refrain Shea and Trinity in harmony. It is an offhand witticism, but some thing tells me it may demonstrate prophetic. An exciting meta-activity is already afoot. Namely, the audition for “breakout social-media star.” Even though the key competitiveness is transpiring on the most important stage, the Werkroom is a battleground for who will have the most scintillating ultimate phrase or the most memeable confessional a single-liner, even far more than in seasons past. Half of these women are bonafide admirer favorites, and they are fighting veneered tooth and manicured nail to maintain on to that title.

Subsequent “week” (or, fairly, subsequent on your Paramount+ queue) is Snatch Activity! No spoilers below, but suffice it to say you won’t be disappointed. Till then!