Arguably one of the most exciting queer television series, “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” began its sixth installment on Thursday, June 24. Often referred to as the “Gay Super Bowl” for its cultural relevance within the LGBTQ+ community, “Drag Race” has been noted for bringing drag into the mainstream since the series premiered in 2009.
The “All Stars'' spinoff series has proven to be equally successful, with its five seasons bringing back fan favorite queens who have previously starred on the show. “All Stars 6,” which is airing exclusively on Paramount+, brings back a diverse group of queens, some of whom performed strongly on their initial seasons, and some of whom are back to redeem themselves.
Of these queens, there is one thing they have in common: they are all fan favorites. As per usual, the series began with all of the queens entering the “Werk Room” and re-introducing themselves to the other queens and audiences alike. Through their sophisticated fashion choices and renewed passion, all of these queens proved themselves worthy of returning to the competition.
Fans of the series were undoubtedly hit with a wave of nostalgia when early-season queens like Kylie Sonique Love, Yara Sofia and Jiggly Caliente strutted through the doors, while newer fans of the show were treated to electrifying returns from A’keria C. Davenport, Silky Nutmeg Ganache and Scarlet Envy.
Once the entire cast had arrived, it was clear that RuPaul had selected a high-energy group of queens. As the history of the show has taught viewers, this could be a good thing or a bad thing. Too many big personalities can result in a frenzied and overwhelming season, or it can make for one of the most memorable iterations of the series.
This lovable, sometimes boisterous, group of queens was put straight to work with a classic mini-challenge -- the “Paris Is Burning” inspired “reading” challenge -- where the queens must deliver clever insults at the expense of their fellow competitors. Season seven’s Ginger Minj reigned supreme in the reading challenge, and then it was time for the main challenge.
For this episode’s main challenge, each of the queens were asked to prepare a talent show routine for the “All Stars Star Studded Talent Show Extravaganza.” One of the aspects of this season that makes it so exciting is that there is no clear frontrunner. For the most part, all of the queens gave solid performances in the talent show.
Queens such as Trinity K. Bonet and Serena Cha Cha fell flat with their comedy routine and musical number, respectively, but superb routines from the likes of Yara Sofia, Kylie Sonique Love and Ra’Jah O’Hara made up for them. When it came time for judging, Yara Sofia was declared the winner of the talent show, and Bonet and Cha Cha were declared the bottom two.
Per typical “All Stars” rules, the top queen of the week faces off against a “secret lip sync assassin,” while all queens, including the winner, vote for the bottom queen they think should go home. If the top All Star wins the lip sync, they are responsible for eliminating a queen, but if the “lip sync assassin” wins, a queen will be eliminated based off of the group’s vote.
Following an excellent lip sync to “Uptown Funk” between Yara Sofia and lip sync assassin Coco Montrese, the latter’s victory results in the group’s elimination of Serena Cha Cha. As always, however, there was a twist. As Cha Cha packed her bags to leave the competition, RuPaul popped up on the screen and told her that her time may not be over yet.
Luckily for “Drag Race” fans, Thursday brought not one but two new episodes. Episode two picked up right where the first episode left off, with the queens discussing Cha Cha’s elimination and revealing who they each voted for. After the entire group reveals they also voted for Cha Cha, Yara Sofia surprised everyone by revealing that Trinity K. Bonet was her choice.
The next day, the queens returned to the Werk Room and were informed that their next challenge was to compete in the “Blue Ball,” where they must each present three looks to the judges, one of which is to be made entirely out of unconventional materials. The queens were asked to present looks in three categories: blue collar worker, blue jean baby and blue ball bonanza.
As the queens prepared for the elaborate runway challenge, the audience got a more raw, unfiltered look at them. While early seasons of “Drag Race” were characterized by chaotic drama, newer seasons have focused more on sharing the queens’ stories in a nonjudgmental light, which makes for an inspiring but occasionally less entertaining watch.
Once the queens had finished preparing their garments and painting their faces, the Blue Ball began. The first category was a bit of a disappointment, as many of the blue collar looks appeared overly simple or too literal, but the second category’s “Blue Jean Baby” looks were far more impressive.
The third category, where the queens had to put their own design and sewing abilities to the test, was by far the most extravagant. Creations from Ra’Jah O’Hara, Scarlet Envy and Trinity K. Bonet shined on the runway, and Ra’Jah O’Hara was declared top all star of the week. On the other hand, Jiggly Caliente and Yara Sofia were placed in the bottom two for their underwhelming looks.
After an emotional gathering backstage, O’Hara lip synced against “lip sync assassin” Brooke Lynn Hytes. Both of them delivered focused, energy-packed performances to “Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson, and were declared joint winners of the lip sync. Because of this joint victory, both the group’s vote and O’Hara’s vote determined which queen would be going home.
When the votes were revealed, Jiggly Caliente was sent home, but also learned of the secret twist, meaning that her time may not be over yet.
New episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” will premiere Thursdays on Paramount+.