“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” is back, back, back again for its seventh season, and it’s off to a brilliant start with its highest-rated episode yet.
The first season to feature only winners of past seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Drag Race All Stars,” the cast was bound to be exceptional. And as the first two episodes have already shown, if any season was ever truly going to be the Super Bowl of drag, it’s this one.
Episode 1 reintroduced viewers to the competitors. The queens entered the workroom one by one delivering a series of campy one-liners – in Jinkx Monsoon’s case, a one-worder.
Joining the queens after their intros, Ru announces that, this season, there will be no eliminations. Instead, each week, the top two All Stars will earn a Legendary Legends badge and compete in a lip-sync battle.
The winner will earn a $10,000 tip and the ability to block one queen from receiving a Legendary Legends badge the following week. At the end of the competition, the queen with the most Legendary Legend badges will be declared “Queen of all Queens” and win $200,000 as the winner.
Next, the queens headed into the iconic reading mini-challenge, during which they take turns artfully trash-talking each other “in the grand tradition of” the documentary “Paris Is Burning,” until RuPaul determines which one has done it the best. In this case, it was Jinkx.
Following the week’s song-and-dance maxi-challenge, Shea Coulée and Monet X Change were declared the top two All-Stars of the week. Shea won the lip-sync battle to Ella Fitzgerald’s “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” and, in keeping with the season 7 twist, chose to block Trinity.
Episode 2 took them all through “Drag Race’s” most iconic maxi-challenge: the Snatch Game.
A drag spoof of the 1970s show “Match Game,” this challenge requires queens to impersonate a celebrity of their choosing while RuPaul asks the group a series of questions. The stated objective is to match answers with the panel of judges. But the real goal is to make RuPaul laugh.
Breaking tradition this season, the queens were asked to prepare not one, but two(!) celebrity impersonations. One is difficult enough, but two?! Let’s just say it makes a lot of sense that they saved this twist for All Winners.
Overall, this season’s Snatch Game was pretty remarkable – especially with the train wreck of season 14 in recent memory. Everyone was on top of their game, but, again, Jinkx’s performance was on another level.
Jinkx’s winning impersonation of Little Edie – one of the subjects of the documentary “Grey Gardens” – in season 5 is widely considered to be one of the best Snatch Game performances in drag race history.
In other words, she had a lot to live up to this time around. And, still, she absolutely nailed it.
Jinkx’s impersonations of Natasha Lyonne and especially Judy Garland were “a masterclass in Snatch Game,” judge Ross Mathews said during critiques.
The top two All Stars were, not surprisingly, Jinkx and Trinity, whose impersonations of a very gay devil and pint-sized “Will & Grace” star Leslie Jordan were similarly stellar. Jinkx won the lip sync to Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and chose to block Shea.
Leading into episode three, Jinkx, Shea and Monet are tied for the lead with one badge each.
Streaming exclusively on Paramount+, “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7” airs Fridays on VH1. Check back for our recaps all season long because All-Winners is that good – or at least we hope so.
Also streaming this week: Viewers can look forward to “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+ and the fourth season of “Stranger Things” on Netflix.