Oh, honey! It's time for a ball.
The queens brought their high-fashion looks to the backyard on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 5 Episode 6. A country twist, a crafty challenge, and voting tension made this a pleasant round of Drag Race.
Although, the excitement stayed pretty mellow all week. "The Charles Family Backyard Ball" is a return to a typical filler week.
Even after the events of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 5 Episode 5 ended with India Ferrah's elimination, the ghost of India still plagued the Werk Room.
The after-effects of that drama proved why it was a powerful reality TV moment. The queens were still reeling from the chaos caused, and just when you thought they moved past it, another discovery pulled them (and us as viewers) back in.
Seriously! India played the anti-hero/villain role perfectly here. Her words on the main stage, the lipstick message, and leaving notes for some of the queens while not to others planted seeds of doubt.
In a round that lacked much tension and drama, these spontaneous discoveries added more to the narrative to keep things interesting. These mind-games balanced out the game elements and the emotional narratives that peppered in.
While we still don't know the official truth of the scheming, this story arc gifted us with a much-needed plot to talk about. And, it pushed the queens to think about the game from a strategic angle.
The Ball challenge is a fun and creative game that pushes the queens to think on their feet and use their drag skills. If a queen can't sew a simple garment together (or hot glue it), they have no shot of winning Drag Race.
Before the construction of the outfits, the top contenders of winning this round seemed like Shea Coulee, Miz Cracker, and Blair St. Clair.
Shea Coulee has training in designing and sewing outfits, so her skills propelled her to the front. Miz Cracker spent years as a child creating outfits from nothing, and she has done consistently well during fashion challenges. Blair St. Clair, on the other hand, is a high-fashion queen; it's easy to assume she would've done well.
With the remaining two queens, Alexis Mateo's style fluctuates, so you never know what she'll end up creating on the runway. And Jujubee ... she hated this challenge. (Her confessional summed it all up.)
Narrowing down to the eventual winner was easy and predictable.
Miz Cracker's characters and outfits for the Backyard Ball had everything needed to win over the judges.
Firstly, her "country cousin" was hilarious! The script had all the quips and sass about that family member you knew all too well at family reunions. Her outfit wasn't great as it looked heavy and messy, but it suited the aesthetic of the persona.
Her eleganza look, on the other hand, was perfectly fitted and crafted. The use of the badminton rackets and the birdies elevated the look into being more than just a cute dress.
Plus, with all the praise the judges gave her, she obviously was going to win the challenge.
Also, kudos to Miz Cracker and Jujubee for giving praise to Shea Coulee for helping them with their outfits. Sure, this is a competition, but it's beautiful whenever queens support other queens.
Speaking of Shea Coulee and Jujubee, it's a little surprising neither didn't win the challenge. This outcome really did come down to feedback and splitting hairs. All three were tough contenders for the top.
I loved Shea's cheeky nod to her 9021-hoe character from her original season and Jujubee's script for her country cousin. Who else laughed at Jujubee mouthing "Amber" at the same time? (Her cherry on the sundae.)
Jujubee: I know you bitches are conspiring against me.
Shea Coulee: No, that dress is conspiring against you!
[They all laugh]
Their eleganza looks had a few tiny comments, but overall, they were both stunning.
Shea thinking outside of the box with her backyard bride is the type of concept that could've snatched her the victory in a different week. If the competition wasn't so stiff, things could've gone in any direction.
For the "unofficial" bottom two, their looks should've pushed harder to get into the themes.
Blair St. Clair's country biker didn't have the grit for the persona she portrayed. Except for the outfit, she stayed pretty tame with her approach and there were no laughs from the script. Her eleganza look, on the other hand, looked stunning.
The judges were wrong about it looking heavy. Blair flipped, twirled, and sashayed down the runway effortlessly in that high-fashion gown.
Shea Coulee: In your opinion, who do you think remaining here is the weakest?
[Blair turns to look at Alexis Mateo talking with Miz Cracker]
Shea Coulee: Didn’t have to say a word.
Alexis Mateo missed the mark for her country character. Her role as RuPaul's ex-maid didn't give her much room to play off of the family BBQ angle, and she stayed too much into cliche stereotypes to get her laughs.
Once she pulled off the wig, you could tell that the judges were unimpressed. The same applied to her eleganza look.
The top half was well-constructed and she utilized the solo cups to create dimension. However, the kiddie pool at her dress base created this weird indent that ruined her proportions. If she had removed the pool, the gown would've looked more elevated.
So, after all the critiques from the judges, why did Blair St. Clair feel taken aback that others saw her at the bottom two? (Blair, you were clearly at the bottom.)
Blair only won one Mini Challenge throughout RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 5 and she never had a close chance to win a Maxi Challenge. This is the sixth episode; report cards came into play and her stats paled in comparison to others.
Plus, if it was only this round and not the report cards, she was still at the bottom based on the judges' critiques.
Miz Cracker: For me, based on the report card, we have two ladies that have won challenges; one with twice. And if I’m going by the report card, it would have been Alexis and Blair in the bottom.
Blair St. Clair: [In confessional] Oh, so that’s the game we’re playing? You’re just going to throw your friend under the bus?! If I was questioning my friendship with Cracker before, I’m absolutely questioning it now.
Miz Cracker only brought up a template that the other queens valued (i.e. keeping in high performers). Blair only had a problem with it now because that now excluded her from consideration.
She didn't have a problem when that thinking targetted Mariah Paris Balenciaga or Alexis Mateo.
The lipsync of "One Last Time" by Ariana Grande was a mellow and average performance. "One Last Time" works better in a club compared to the main stage. It's a breather number to give a queen a break since there isn't a fast beat and no high points to push them up.
You could feel this in the energy that Miz Cracker and Roxxxy Andrews (RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 2) had when moving around the stage.
Between the two, Roxxxy played this lipsync the best. She matched the same slow and sultry tone of the song to make it more about the words and the emotion. Plus, she included a cheeky surprise that wowed the judges.
[Playing with Shea Coulee’s lipstick] Can you imagine? You want me to do it. You’re like secretly you want me to do it.Miz Cracker
Her outfit reveals were messy since the song was so slow, but the wording on the straps made it land in the end.
Miz Cracker, on the other hand, kept moving around and doing dance moves that didn't fit the song. "One Last Time" needed a slower and emotional approach; Roxxxy had this win sewn up.
Alexis Mateo getting the chop wasn't surprising at all.
Her outfits were the weakest on the runway this round, and after all the suspicion, the other queens had an incentive to vote her out now. Alexis did play mind-games in the past, so the uncertainty brought her down as a previous frontrunner to become a potential target.
And since neither she nor Blair St. Clair had a Maxi Challenge win, the queens got to choose what they valued. Either she or Blair was going to get cut; it just so happened that Alexis got looped in an arc that worked against her.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
RuPaul works hard for those Emmy moments. All the emotions came out during the Werk Room walkthroughs. The queens never have a problem spilling the truth to help out.
Why didn't RuPaul's sisters join the judging panel as well? Their spots would've tied the BBQ theme together.
Miz Cracker makes a lot of noise when she's stressing about something. Like, a lot.
- Everyone seemed so down and exhausted this round. The stress of the game has gotten to them.
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "The Charles Family Backyard Ball"?
What was your favorite look on the runway? Will tensions rise between Blair St. Clair and Miz Cracker? Did you tear up during the walkaround?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.