Let’s get the formalities out of the way: I am honored and thrilled to be part of the RTV Warriors. I’ve been a viewer of reality television for pretty much my entire life, and so now being given an opportunity to have a place to spill my feelings about the bullshit I watch every day, I truly feel blessed and touched. And I don’t think I can show my appreciation clearer than talking about the inevitable train wreck that is Drag Race All Stars 2. So, without further ado…
It’s 2016, four years after the last season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, and like that infection you thought you had cleared up, Drag Race All Stars is back with a vengeance! Yes, after an entire US presidential term (which consisted of one year of saying how terrible the season was, followed by three years of fan seasons), All Stars will be returning this August, and the cast photos have just been officially announced. Yes, we all knew this was the cast since roughly a week after the season taped, but now that the cast is official, including some official photos of them in some hideous outfits, I feel a proper deconstruction of this shitstorm is in order. And I don’t think there’s anyone better to start this than the one from the oldest season.
Tatianna (Season 2, 4th place)
What you most remember her for: Her killer Britney Spears impersonation during Snatch Game.
What you most likely forget: Her being the Queen of Season 2 everyone hated before Tyra Sanchez/
Tatianna is by far the oddest casting choice of the lot, and by far the one I’m most looking forward to. It’s been six years since Season 2, by far the largest gap of both All Stars seasons, and while she’s once again one of the youngest people in the cast, she isn’t the twenty-one year old we saw in the first time she played.
It’s clear her story for the season will be the one most to deal with her changing over time. It’s been over half a decade, and while Tatianna is still active both as a drag queen and with the other, former Drag Race contestants, the storyline writes itself. Expect there to be a lot of confessionals from her saying how much she has grown, how much she has changed, and how much it means to her to finally be brought back.
What you shouldn’t expect from her is any sort of drama starting (There’s someone else for that this season…). Despite no one taking her seriously in Season 2, and everyone thus making fun of her and saying she should’ve gone home rounds ago, that won’t happen here. RuPaul, if nothing else, loves the idea of Drag Queens who earn respect via the simple virtue of age. And while Tatianna is only 27, it’s still the idea that she has had six years since her original season. As I said, I won’t expect the contestants to quip, “Why is she still here,” but rather, “God, Tatianna has grown so much.”
That’s not to say I don’t like Tatianna. Her Britney Spears is still the best performance anyone has given during a Snatch Game, and she made it to the Final 4 of her season for good reason. In terms of Drag Queens, I like her a lot. But as a television character, I expect all of these confessionals to slowly grate on my nerves.
Odds of winning: Moderately High
Like I said, RuPaul loves the idea of someone growing over time to become a more mature Queen. Age doesn’t matter, to the subconscious of the show, Tatianna must be the most well put together Queen because she’s had so much time since her original season. Even if she doesn’t win, she’ll still do fairly well.
Alaska (Season 5, Runner-Up)
What you most remember her for: Being Sharon Needles’s ex, saying “Hiiiiiiiiiii!”
What you most likely forget: She birthed Lil Poundcake.
Alaska was a definite pick to be on the season, and unlike the roughly eight hundred other Queens from Season 5 that showed up in All Stars 2, it’s for a very good reason.
Despite Ivy Winters winning the fan favorite vote of the season, Season 5 was very much about Alaska. Whether due to her ties with Rolaskatox or from just her own talents, Alaska was a consistently big part of every episode she was in, which makes her an oddity considering she didn’t win. While some may argue Jinkx Monsoon was gifted the season on a silver platter, it certainly wasn’t from lack of effort from Alaska, by far her biggest competition, and while Jinkx was often funnier, Alaska was more consistent and did well in a larger variety of areas.
In terms of story, it’s hard to say. Alaska nearly won her season, so I doubt it will be a personal growth story like Tatianna. Nor do I think it will be a hubris story, as the other members of Rolaskatox will surely supply that. If I had to guess, Alaska’s story will either cap off with her winning, or being the ace that everyone needs to get rid of ASAP.
Odds of Winning: High
Alaska is one of my two winner picks this season, and while the other one has more circumstance around her, Alaska is my pick from just her sheer talent.
Alyssa Edwards (Season 5, 6th place)
What you most remember her for: Her web series, backrolls.
What you most likely forget: Her bombing the last five challenges she was in.
Alyssa Edwards is by far the contestant I’m most scared about. No, I’m not scared that she will diminish from her original season; I’m scared she’s going to make herself a forced meme.
What strikes me as so odd about most fan seasons and predictions for All Stars 2 was that Alyssa was a constant fixture of them. For whatever reason, everyone wants to see Alyssa Edwards come back and be on another season. And this isn’t as if it’s just aging well over time, during Season 6, Laganja talked about striving to be just like her drag mother. And to all of these things, I have to ask… why?
Like I said, she bombed her last 5 challenges on the show. To my knowledge, no other contestant, at least one that made it as far as she did, have that poor a record. Alyssa is a talented dancer, but when it came to literally any other challenge, she floundered hard.
All that being said, I knew she would return. Like previously stated, she was popular amongst fans, mostly for her odd sayings and turn of phrases. And she is the drag mother of a number of other past contestants. Her return was inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not odd.
Odds of Winning: Low
If Alyssa isn’t one of the first two boots, I’m eating my shoe. Like her drag daughter Laganja before her, Alyssa will come up with forced catchphrases, say them ninety times an episode, and then leave. Don’t hold your breath on her winning.
Katya (Season 7, 5th place)
What you most remember her for: Being the sole saving grace of Season 7.
What you most likely forget: Her vagina-pounding amazing lip sync to Twist of Fate.
Let me just take a moment and say…
Oh, mother fuck, yes! Katya, our favorite Russian Drag Queen that doesn’t do a god damn thing about Russia, is back!
Unlike every other contestant this season, Katya is not here to win. As sad as that might be to hear, Katya’s chances of winning are lower than even Alyssa’s. Katya was brought back for the exact same reason Tammie Brown was last time: she’s a killer character.
While Katya was still able to shine despite the awfulness of Season 7 around her, the idea of her now being with likable contestants in a more fun atmosphere is greatly appreciated.
No, Katya won’t shine this time as brightly as she did her first time, but hey, neither did Latrice or Pandora. Katya is here to make us laugh for four episodes before leaving just before the real battle starts.
Odds of Winning: Moderately Low
Katya winning would be an amazing, breathe-taking moment that would cause me to die of sheer glee. But it’s not happening. The only reason why she has a better shot than Alyssa is that at least Katya knows why she’s funny. And speaking of Season 7 awfulness…
Ginger Minj (Season 7, Runner-Up)
What you most remember her for: Her Adele, and her perfect performance as the mom from Pink Flamingos.
What you most likely forget: That she still can’t sew.
Ginger Minj is… interesting. While I don’t think she was the biggest problem of Season 7, she still subtracted to that season more than she added. I’m still not the biggest fan of her, but I would be ridiculous if I didn’t see her casting a mile away.
First, she really probably should’ve won Season 7. Beyond the fact that Violet was a boring winner, Ginger made a better impression overall during that season. Even when she lip synced, she stole the show doing it, and her performances were better than everyone else during her season (aside, again, for Katya’s Twist of Fate).
Second, and most importantly, there’s the almost literal elephant in the room: a bigger girl has never won the show. Coupling this with the sheer absence of big girls in Season 8, and Ginger’s appearance in this season was not only obvious, but her potential win even more so.
Odds of Winning: High
Ginger is ultimately my winner pick for the season. Unlike with Alaska, I’m not picking Ginger because she’s a more talented Drag Queen; rather, I’m picking her because I highly suspect the season is rigged for her to win, and that All Stars 2, like its predecessor, was made specifically for a runner-up everyone thought should win to do so.
Adore Delano (Season 6, Runner-up)
What you most remember her for: PARTY! LIBRA! PIZZA!
What you most likely forget: That she said any other words.
Adore, like Ginger before her, was a no-brainer for being brought back for this season. She made runner-up, got a lot of positive attention on the show, and turned two words into her own catchphrases. Really, it’d be more shocking if they didn’t bring back Adore.
Of course, then comes the question of how they are going to present Adore. While Adore could bounce off well with her other Season 6 contestants, the lack of other Season 6 Queens makes her instantly stand out. In addition, most of the good parts of Adore came from said relationships in her season, in particular her friendship with Bianca del Rio. So in terms of a TV character, I fear she won’t pop as much this season as she did in the past. Adore is popular, and flourishes with the right chemistry. But she’s not a one woman show, and without any proper foil to bounce off her, she’s probably going to fade into the background, especially compared to Alyssa
Odds of Winning: Middle
She’s talented, and while she won’t pop like she did before, she’ll still do well enough on the show. But she’s not winning. I predict a 5th place finish: respectable, but still not the win.
Roxxxy Andrews (Season 5, Runner-up)
What you most remember her for: the story of her mother leaving her, and her lip sync to Whip My Hair.
What you most likely forget: That she ended the villain.
Roxxxy Andrews, the Queen that took all our hearts and then smashed them by one of the quickest and most sudden heel turns of the series.
I know most people are going to say Detox is the oddest casting pick of the season, but for my money, no one is an odder pick than Roxxxy. Really, what did Roxxxy do during the season *before* the Whip My Hair lip sync? She was, in effect, the quieter side of Rolaskatox. And even after her lip sync, she still wasn’t prominent in the season up until the Detox elimination, at which point she turned evil and berated Jinkx and even Alaska before their final runway.
So, will she come back a villain? If so, she’s going to be greatly overshadowed by a certain other Queen this season. And even ignoring her, considering that half the cast is from her season, and the other half won’t cause any conflict with her, what exactly does her presence bring to the table?
And no, I won’t take that she was a Runner-up as an answer. Because so were Pearl and Courtney Act, and they are notably absent here.
Odds of Winning: Moderately Low
Coco Montrese (Season 5, 5th Place)
What you most remember her for: Her rivalry with Alyssa.
What you most likely forget: Pretty much everything else.
Really, when it comes to oddest return from Season 5, it was a struggle between Coco and Roxxxy. Both were at best notable, but not dynamic, Queens who seemingly made it as far as they did, not through their own skills, but rather through the rather lackluster cast of Season 5 as a whole. Ultimately, I decided that Roxxxy was the oddest choice, both because of how ineffective Roxxxy really was in Season 5, but also because Coco’s place in the cast is clear: to be Alyssa’s foil.
By the end of her tenure on the show, Coco lip synced 4 times on the show, once more than Alyssa, and while the loses weren’t as seemingly notable, that’s still a very high number. Coco did overall better than her rival, but both lasted way too long considering they were at best pageant Queens, and seem to still be. Coco might have had a better wardrobe, and has a notable sharper sense of humor than Alyssa, it’s all relative. Compared to Ginger, Katya, and Alaska, Coco is mediocre, at best.
Odds of Winning: Low
Lower than even Alyssa’s.
Detox (Season 5, 4th Place)
What you most remember her for: Mouth wobble, having had “it.”
What you most likely forget: DAT ASS!
After Season 5 contestants that should be brought back, and two that are really questionable, Detox falls into an awkward middle ground: makes more sense than Roxxxy and Coco, but still not as noteworthy as Alaska or Alyssa.
Her record exemplifies this: finishing in the middle of most competitions, neither excelling nor failing in any particular field. Detox spent most of her time during elimination challenges chilling in the untucked lounge, talking about how over she was with “it” (whatever it was). In a not so stellar cast like Season 5, this lands in the final 4, but in All Stars 2? I doubt she’ll make it very far.
To that end, whatever role Detox has in the cast is most likely a Purple Kelly role. Don’t be surprised if Detox ends up getting less confessionals than Kandy Ho.
Odds of Winning: Moderately Low
I predict she’ll have exactly six confessionals, and all but two will mention how over she was with “it”
Phi Phi O’Hara (Season 4, Runner-Up)
What you most remember her for: The big bad, bitch villain of Season 4 that was misunderstood.
What you most likely forget: She wasn’t that misunderstood…
Last but not least, the main fucking attraction.
I can not be more thrilled that Phi Phi is going to back on my TV screen. The absolute biggest villain in Drag Race history, back to prove herself. Screw you Derrick Berry, and fuck off Kandy Ho. Phi-Phi-O-Fucking-Hara is going to win, or set the soundstage on fire trying.
Of course, it’s been four years since Season 4, and many things have been said. “Oh, Phi Phi isn’t so bad.” “Oh, she was just in the heat of the moment.” And to all of these, I say bullshit. Watch any interview or video she has done, and you can, reading between the lines, that she’s always that competitive, that cutthroat, and that nasty to people in her way. And coming back now? In an All Star season? That’s gonna be turned up.
No question, we have here the villain of the season, a role she was destined to play. And it won’t even be her playing a character, she is just that naturally nasty to people.
And I can’t fucking wait.
Odds of Winning: Moderately High
She’ll either win or assassinate Michelle Visage. It’s a win-win.
Obviously, I would love to see Queens I feel are left out: Ivy Winter, BendelaCreme, Joslyn Fox, Trinity K Bonet, even Jaidynn Dior Fierce. And yes, the cast is way too Season 5 heavy. But, hey, this is a sequel to a season most of us don’t even like to begin with. We should just set our expectations low, and see what happens.
So tune in this August, for RuPaul’s Concentration Camp for Wayward Homosexuals 2. God knows I’ll be there, laughing at Alyssa being serious, and fastforwarding when she’s trying to be funny.