All Stars 7: A joyous yet frustrating celebration of why Drag Race is a global phenomenon
The queens were outstanding, but production and silly twists held the season back
Well, it’s over. They got me gal! The first ever all winners season has wrapped up and crowned its queen of all queens – RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7 has finished, and I thought it would be good to do a look back over the last two months and do a retrospective review of what the season did perfectly and what left me a bit frustrated. Make no mistake – this season stands toe to toe with the all-time greats, but weird production choices and a big dollop of rigga morris left it sometimes feeling dissatisfying.
All Stars 7 opened with a heel clacking roar
It feels like a millennia ago now, but the double drop first two premiere episodes of All Stars 7 were some of the most euphoric episodes I’ve ever watched – and casting my mind back to review the season they still just make me grin from ear to ear when I think about how many legendary moments there were in two hours.
The premiere let us know how great this cast was going to be. Naomi Campbell showing up to give a runway strut masterclass was iconic on its own, but once you factored in Shea Couleé leaving Naomi branding her “perfection” and how moving it was for Shea, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The first episode verse challenge of Legends gave us one of the best songs in the franchise that I currently can’t go to workout at the gym without blasting. Literally everyone killed it.
Then they followed it right up with the best TWO Snatch Games in the show’s history. I mean, what more even needs to be said that hasn’t been said already? Just look at the material. What a way to boot off a season starring the very best of the best.
Okay, when you’ve got a season of wealthy fashionable drag queens who have already slayed their way to crowns in the past, of course expectations are going to be astronomical. We talk about All Stars glow ups when it comes to runways even for queens who’ve not won the title before – so when you get winners returning the bar is RAISED. And GOD, did the queens of All Stars 7 really review their past looks and elevate to new heights.
It really felt like every week we were seeing at least one look that was going to be entered into the conversation for one of the greatest looks in herstory. Shea’s first runway? Raja’s magazine cover? Trinity the Train? Viv’s spiky pope? All showstopping.
Production choices? Questionable
Now for the more negative review of All Stars 7 – and I truly do hate to say it. As the season went on, it did kind of feel like the Drag Race producers fell into their old habits. They can’t resist a twist, they can’t resist weird judging decisions and they certainly can’t resist a hefty dose of rigga morris. And, it’s annoying. Because this season really didn’t need it.
No one going home was a great enough twist and choice that meant this season could be a celebration of drag and we could enjoy the iconic queens all the way til the end. It’s a shame then, that this positivity wasn’t enough for the producers. The choice to not give any negative critiques and shower each of the queens in praise every week was bizarre – and even more bizarre that if Trinity the Tuck’s claims about the queens all getting negative feedback but that it was all just edited out is true. This season was missing the bite, the rise and the fall of queens overcoming their missteps to get to the finale.
Alongside the decision to scrap negative feedback, the final twist of the winner of the talent show challenge on the last week getting three stars, essentially fast passing straight into the top four, was a huge misfire. What was the point of all the weeks of competing if stars can be thrown out that willy nilly?
The season ended correct
Back to the good in this All Stars 7 review, and that’s the way the season ended crowning the most deserving queen imaginable. Jinkx Monsoon is so legendary I don’t really have words. She is just a tour de force, an entertainer worthy of international superstardom. I can’t think of anyone else more worthy.
Raja, my personal favourite queen, got her dues. Seeing her win that 50k and be crowned the queen of She Done Already Done Had Herses was actually really emotional and I’m so glad she showed up this season to let the children know why she’s such a legendary mother.
All in all, one for the herstory books
Nearly all Drag Race seasons are flawed, and I’ll end this season review by saying All Stars 7 is no different. But the way it is different in how much of a celebratory cheer of joy it was, from start to fin. It felt like a victory lap of exactly why we fell in love with this show in the first place. When the queens thank RuPaul for changing their lives in the finale, I found myself tearing up because RuPaul has changed all of our lives over the last 14 years. Ru is not perfect, but Drag Race has changed the world. It has given these queens the world, it has given LGBTQ people a show that we all gather to watch in unison.
It has changed how we communicate, changed our slang, changed our meme culture. Nothing has really made me reflect on all that like All Stars 7 has, and for that reason this season will be in my heart forever.
Catch RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars Series 7 every Friday on the streamer of all things drag, WOW Presents Plus. Subscribe here.
Featured image courtesy of World of Wonder.
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