On July 8, Paramount+ premiered the fourth episode of the sixth installment of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.” Building on the momentum established in the first three episodes, episode four began with a bang, where the queens’ votes from the previous week revealed the closest vote in All Stars her-story.
When A’keria C. Davenport learned that she was only one vote away from elimination last week, she realized the need to step up her performance level in the competition. Coming from a more recent season, Davenport’s last stint on “Drag Race” remains fresh in the minds of viewers, with an expectation that she would match or outdo her initial performance.
Next, the queens in the Werk Room were immediately informed of their main challenge for the week. The lack of mini-challenges this season, aside from the first episode, has denied the queens the opportunity to showcase a more playful side of themselves than the high-pressure main challenges each week.
For this week’s main challenge, the queens were expected to embody a Super Bowl halftime performer in the “All Stars 6 Hall of Fame Halftime Show.” Nearly all of the queens’ choices appeared to be perfect fits for them. Kylie Sonique Love and A’keria C. Davenport’s androgynous choices helped to challenge the mainstream idea that drag performance is solely female impersonation.
Other exciting choices included Jan as Lady Gaga, Yara Sofia as Shakira and Trinity K. Bonet as Beyoncé. Bonet’s risky choice of the Queen Bey gave her the tall task of ending the “Beyoncé curse” on the show, as no competitor who has previously impersonated Beyoncé has done her justice.
Once the queens listened to their musical tracks and learned their choreography, it became clear that Bonet would not fall victim to this same curse. The choreography, by longtime “Drag Race” collaborator Jamal Sims, perfectly emulated each of the artists being portrayed, leaving it up to the queens to sell their characters to the audience.
After some backstage banter, it was time for the halftime show. Ginger Minj kicked it off with a lukewarm performance as Fergie, doing the best she could with a more muted character choice. After decent performances from Eureka and Ra’Jah O’Hara as Madonna and Diana Ross respectively, it became clear that the grandiosity of the performance affected some of these queens.
Yara Sofia as Shakira was up next and, while she nailed the body-dancing that Shakira is renowned for, her lack of committed facial expressions and poor lip syncing made for a less than stellar performance. Scarlet Envy and Kylie Sonique Love gave adequate, if slightly forgettable, presentations that were easily overshadowed by Jan’s star-making turn as Lady Gaga.
Jan’s performance brought spot-on Lady Gaga nuances and signature choreography, while her facial expressions perfectly emulated Lady Gaga’s bizarre and energetic stage presence. In the next act, Davenport failed to personify Prince’s eccentric presence and Pandora Boxx gave a strong Carol Channing impression that seemed out of place amongst the more modern acts.
Closing the show, Trinity K. Bonet delivered an impeccable performance as Beyoncé, not missing a single step and recreating Beyoncé’s breathtaking essence on stage. Going into the judging, it was clear that this week would be a battle of Beyoncé versus Gaga.
After the consistently strong runway, themed “The Frill of it All,” RuPaul declared Jan the top All Star of the week, and Davenport and Sofia as the bottom two. While Jan’s victory was well-deserved, the storyline of her redemption from losing the last Rusical came off as slightly forced and overproduced.
Backstage after the judging, Davenport pleaded her case to the other queens as to why she should stay in the competition, whereas Sofia chose to let her work speak for itself, and refused to dissuade the other queens from voting for her. The queens voted and Jan prepared to lip sync against the secret lip sync assassin in an underwhelming red fringe garment.
Following Jan’s bizarre choice of a comedic interpretation of Britney Spears’s “Womanizer,” lip sync assassin Jessica Wild was declared the winner of the lip sync, and ultimately Yara Sofia’s refusal to plead her case cost her the competition.