I have to admit that one of my favourite episode in any all-stars series is the opening episode. Firstly, the reveal of all the returning queens is always fantastic which is complete with a flashback to memorable moments from their original season which always a fun little trip down memory lane. Secondly , it’s the episode in which the queens get completely free reign to showcase any hidden skills ,that often times are not appropriate for the rest of the competition , in the all star-spangled variety show. This is why I do get slightly frustrated when the queens perform a lip-syncing number during the talent show as this is something that at some point in the series they are guaranteed to showcase (excluding the few gifted queens) but also these truly hidden talents create the sense of excitement and unpredictability which only makes the episode that much more fun. Here is my list of the top 5 Ru Pauls Drag Race All-stars talents show acts from All-stars series 2 to 5 (as season 1 did not have a talent show.)
We are starting this list with probably one of the most iconic queens to ever step foot foot into the drag race werkroom so we knew emmitately that when she returned from all-stars 3 that her act was going to be incredible. On top of this, Alyssa is a world-renowned dancer/choreographer (who runs her own dance academy in America called Beyond Belief) and was able to demonstrate a small sense of her talents during the Ru Paul inspired ballet challenge in season 5. It was no surprise that Alyssa Edwards choose to perform a dance inspired variety performance act (which so did Coco, which didn’t turn out to well.) The act started out with doing an attempt at ventriloquism with, what I assume, is a puppet version of herself, despite Alaska saying it was clearly Ru Paul, who reminded us some of the most iconic Alyssa-isms including references to “Alyssa’s Secret” and “Back Rolls!” This launched into an insanely high-energy dance routine with her doing the splits which was amazing to watch.I think Alaska (correctly this time) described this act best when she described it as “Quintennial Alyssa” which for me means equal sense high-energy, iconic-ness and fantastic dance ability!
Another queen that could battle Alyssa for the most iconic queen in the drag race franchise would be Chunky yet funky, large and in charge, Latrice Mother******* Royale! Her return to All-stars season 4 must have shocked and gooped the other queens as she is a force to be reckoned with in the drag race community. When she opted to perform a flag twirling routine wearing a gladiator inspired outfit and begging the audience to “Excuse the beauty” it was bound to go down in Drag Race herstory. The performance itself was incredible as she twirled, thew and dance with the flag in ways that I never knew were possible and part of me how long she must have been training and practice to perform that routine with such ease with the typical Latrice swagger is beyond understanding. As she is a queen that had already had a chance at all-stars in season 1 (alongside another returning queen on this season Manilla) she had a lot to prove. Not only was she competing but she also had the added pressure of having to prove that this second chance (third if you count her original season) was justified and this act alone proved that and more!
Now… whether you agree with her controversial opinions on the Coronavirus or not or her bitchy attitude that she portrayed on the show, you must agree that not only is Gia very talented but also, she makes for a great tv character. What does a queen obsessed with creating drama performing in her return to tv in a talent show… A kabuki theatre style act of course! This performance was beautiful complete with a stunning kabuki outfit and incredible theatrics that were mesmerizing and I myself am still not sure how she was able to perform these explosions of confetti. The act had constant cheers and awe from the audience and judges and the surprising nature of the act was truly the icing on the cake. Clearly, Gia had trained for many years in this style of theatre and this act truly showcase a different side of the queen that everyone assumes is just there to cause drama which was especially fantastic when you consider this was the opening episode of the series and Gia’s return to tv.
If you ask any Drag Race fan for their favorite performance from all star-spangled variety show, I can pretty much guarantee that they will mention the iconic performance of Same Parts by Tatianna during season 2. This spoken word poetry performed with a constantly focused and serious tone about a drag queens’ genitals is all types of wrong that just seems to work in such a perfectly ridiculous way. This song not only inspired the techno song with the same title but also there was a period where one of the other queens from this season of All-stars was touring and performing this number in clubs that not even Tatianna had been to. The lyrics from this song are hilariously satirical but the element of intense poetry just made this performance even more iconic! This is unlike any performance from any iterations of the all-star variety shows before and truly marks Tatianna as very creative and clever queen but also as very talented performer.
Honorable Mention: Mariah Paris Balenciaga
During the most recent series of All-Stars Mariah Paris Balenciaga was one of the queens given a chance to prove herself which she couldn’t do fully in her original season. For someone who is known for stunning looks and especially her make-up skills/ability it was very surprising when she performed a spoken word piece which had her smearing blook over herself and a mirror in an impassioned call for racial equality was insanely moving. Normally the performances in these variety shows are entertaining pieces but Mariah’s highlighted a very important course which was particularly relevant at the time the season aired and was absolutely something that was needed to be demonstrated. This act did not and continues to not get the credit it deserves from how moving it really was!
Was this really a surprise to anyone? Aja’s vogue/dance inspired number during season 3 was an incredible performance that was described by fellow queens as a “face-crack.” I have never particularly been a fan of Aja’s work but as soon as she stepped onto the runway armed with a Samurai sword, I knew it was going to be super interesting. The dance routine had amazing props two costume reveals but also complete with the sass and energy everyone has come to expect from Aja but the crème-de-la-crème (there’s a joke in there if you try hard) of the performance was her iconic death drop off a raised platform, which was not the only death drop within this number! This was routine was out of this world and truly showcased Aja’s skills that I personally never knew she possessed.