I went to a friend’s place on Friday night to watch the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4. This season hasn’t been that fun to watch, but this is the kind of show that you have to see its way to the end no matter what the outcome may be.
This particular episode revolved around the popular makeover challenge. Each of the remaining queens were joined by their best “Judy’s”, where they dragged them up and did a choreographed dance with them to a song inspired by the late & great Judy Garland.
It was a cute show. The “Judy’s” were fun to watch, as each had an emotional impact to the competitors in very different ways. Latrice Royale’s “Judy”, for instance, has known her for 25 years and helped get the legendary queen through her time in prison. Manila Luzon and Trinity the Tuck both had their significant others there, which brought out the tears of joy in each of them.
In the end (spoiler alert), Naomi Smalls won the challenge. It didn’t come as much of a surprise given that fashion is what she excels in the most. She rightfully took home the win with her Sonny & Cher inspired ensembles.
The bottom two ended up being Latrice and Manila, where Naomi dared to do the smart thing (in my opinion) and send home Manila. The season 3 veteran has arguably been the one to beat this season, so Naomi taking her out when there are still so many girls left was a great move and one that doesn’t come across as something personal.
The episode ended, and I turned to my friend’s and said “this season has been a huge waste of time.” They laughed, but I further explained why I felt this way… and it had nothing to do with Manila being eliminated as I don’t let those sorts of decisions affect my life like how it does to many others.
All Stars 4 is something that arrived way sooner than it needed to. It’s sort of like when you just sit down to the dinner table and order your food and its ready in 2 minutes. Woah there, hold on. This isn’t needed yet. We just finished several months of this show, as All Stars 3 and season 10 of RPDR aired back to back.
There’s a consistent need and desire to keep this show running in our minds all year round, as not only do we have two different shows now but DragCon and endless RPDR-related events as well. It’s fantastic that this has become a well-oiled machine, but there’s nothing wrong with taking a little bit of time for at least one part of that machine to work effectively before it burns the f**k out.
All Stars is a concept that started horribly and came back beautifully (talking AS1 and AS2 here). Then All Stars 3 happened a year later, and it flopped (for so many reasons). For them to then air season 10, take a break for maybe four or five months and bring in All Stars 4 was not a good idea.
Here is why All Stars 4 really hasn’t been that great:
- Way too many comedy challenges. This is like season 5 all over again. Not every queen is designed for comedy, they have other strengths. And for them to do several of these in a row just became a bit redundant and uninspired.
- You can’t really be an All Star if your season just aired. This is a note for future All Stars seasons: WAIT YOUR TURN. An All Star to me is someone who has developed a major career for a long time outside of what initially made you famous. Casting queens from the past two seasons really doesn’t make any sense, as they are still developing their brand.
- The forced drama could be seen by a blind person. The only drama that occurred this season was with Gia Gunn, who either knew what she was doing (Farrah Moan) or didn’t (Snatch Game of Love). It was boring, awkward and unnecessary. Perhaps that can be seen as a plus as this was a pretty mature group of queens, but there has to be something else besides an attention grabber wanting the spotlight for all the wrong reasons that keeps the viewing audience captivated.
- The elimination concept is dull. It was exciting in AS2 and AS3 but it has sort of become predictable at this point… minus Naomi’s choice. It would be more interesting to see the regular RPDR format, as it feels like the bottom two queens really do try harder than the top two given what they are up against.
Overall All Stars is beginning to jump the shark for me just like Project Runway has done with their All Stars version. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: don’t do too much. This show would be better done once every three years as the pickings would be that much more meaningful. Otherwise the same ol same ol that the past two seasons have provided will grow old, and nobody wants a bitter Drag Race audience.
This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.