Legend of the Henny:
The latest of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 is back, back, back again with questionable judgements and more drama than your upcoming family Christmas dinner.
In this episode, legendary Drag alumni Stacy Layne Matthews stars as the central performer for the new pop group: Henny!
But, who is the “official” winner, if not the marvellous Miss Stacy, and who will be thrown out like last week’s pant-suit?
The episode opens with the now rather tired ‘oh my goodness, I sent someone home, I feel so bad’. Courtesy of Trinity the Tuck saving Farrah Moan over Jasmine Masters. Monét X Change speaks for all of us when she says in a confessional that Trinity needs to get over it. A girl goes home every episode, all these girls have gone home once before and nearly everyone’s been fine. Understandably it can’t be nice to send your colleagues home, but everybody knows what they’ve signed up for and at this point, we’ve seen this scene dozens of times over.
That said, last time we asked the producers for a new drama twist we ended up with the All Stars 3 jury, so might have to count our small blessings.
RuPaul introduces the challenge of the day, to make outfits, record a verse, and choreograph a number featuring Stacy Layne Matthews. Though we’re always here for a little more servings of Stacy, and we absolutely lived for her confessionals this episode, we can’t help wondering if this was a shady attempt on production’s part to steal the idea of AAA Girls (Alaska, Willam, Courtney Act) and their song “Heather” which similarly featured Stacy.
With Drag Tots being released in a rush effort before Super Drags, and the Holislay Spectacular perhaps meant to rain on the parade of Courtney Act’s Christmas show. We wouldn’t be too surprised at the potential pettiness of WowPresents. (I mean they did call Pearl to say she’ll never be an All Star thanks to Pearl telling people that she was sad one time near Ru.)
But, hey, Henny is in the house and we should all be thankful.
The girls split into teams for the challenge.
Team “Everybody Say Love”:
Monique (Leader), Monét, Naomi and Farrah
Team “Don’t Funk It Up”:
Trinity (Leader), Valentina, Latrice, Manila and Gia
Gia is picked last which comes as a surprise to her apparently. Considering Gia has spent most of her screentime pot-stirring and inciting drama, we suspect she’s really playing a meta-Reality TV game. Gia announces she’s not here to deal with her Farrah drama, despite no-one else knowing about it, and continually claims she’s not here to focus on drama, while focusing on drama with the occasional blank smile. Very Shangela-style, we’re getting early seasons T and we’re living for it. For those out there who take Drag Race a little too seriously, and feel the need to go hate on the Queens. Take a step back and remember they’re there trying to entertain, and Gia’s delivering the early season dramatics and chaos that made the show so iconic. These are Drag Queens after all… Try Masterchef Junior if you’re not here to protect your skin and stay in the shade.
The biggest drama comes from Farrah biting back at Farrah for saying that she doesn’t need to stir drama to get screentime, unfortunately for Farrah, it seems Farrah wouldn’t have any screentime without Gia stirring the drama about her. It’s a thrilling read, but the more you think about it, the more “oof” it becomes. Kind of like Monét’s talent show last week.
It’s an episode of surprising delusion. Monét reads Monique for having grand ideas with none of the execution despite this being Monét’s modus operandii, but most surprisingly Manila Luzon is awfully cocky about recording a song when her discography is a little well… at least Hot Couture was catchy. Manila doesn’t seem to realize the success of her songs has been more to do with the high quality production and aesthetics rather than the quality of her music… for the last SEVEN YEARS. We always thought Manila’s stuff was supposed to be more of the ironic, tongue-in-cheek stuff like Yuhua Hamasaki’s “The Ankh Song” where she was making fun of other drag music videos. It appears not, but Manila will redeem herself later in this episode, just wait for it.
This comes back to bite Manila when her verse is completely unintelligible. Mumble-a Luzon, anyone?
Farrah uses her sex operator skills, Monique and Monét uses their singing. However, while Monique takes charge of her team and its choreography, Farrah begins to really struggle with her nerves and choreo. She may wish to invest in lessons alongside Bryce.
In Trinity’s team, Gia undermines Trinity’s authority as leader although Gia’s instructions and choreography appear to be of better quality, it ends up quite messy which Stacy notes.
Stacy spends the entire episode looking cute as fuck, but we wish she’d gotten a chance to show off her pipes and maybe even help in the judging process.
The performance is not quite as tight as last season’s “Kitty Girls” episode with several rather basic verses which really shows off that these girls tend to be more of the fashion-variety than from the creativity department. Gia has good lyrics, but her outfit and choreography is nothing particularly notable, Naomi rehashes her legs theme one more, Manila bombs the challenge, Farrah even harder. Latrice is once again stunning, but eventually the winners are declared to be Valentina and Monét X Change, with Naomi Smalls in high placement.
Trinity’s group adequately shows Stacy off and has pretty neat costumes and is overall the stronger team. Monique’s team suffers from basic choreography and they also leave Stacy without much to do.
The runway theme is evening gowns and everyone looks stunning, but ESPECIALLY Miss Manila Luzon who’s gorgeous gown despite her dreadful performance left her safe as fuck. Her dress snatched our ancestors dating back to the 12th Century bald. Gia Gunn and Valentina also stand out on the runway.
We agree with Valentina who was spectacular and the best of the night, but we would have put Latrice Royale ahead of Monét X Change. Twice in a row, Latrice has been robbed and with Monét being spared from elimination last week, and won again this week for a fun but predictable performance leads us to think the producers are sending Monét X Change to the finale, so watch this space.
In the deliberations, Farrah and Monique are up for elimination. It is clear Monét has no interest in sending her season 10 sister Monique home and the scene is rather unnecessary and drawn out. Valentina appears to encourage Farrah to think she’ll save her, but we noticed that Valentina’s got that pouty look that your mother has on when your new friend is the child of her enemy at Church, but she can’t say anything because it would start a gossip chain and ruin the bake sale and then she’ll never know if her shortbread cookies will sell better than Mary’s snickerdoodles. Farrah, however, bites those shortbread cookies and seems to truly believe she’ll be spared.
Valentina is living her full Telenovella life complete with dramatic Telenovella editing which left us cackling. Valentina is an eyelash away from pulling out a gun, and running off into the night with the sexy priest who is secretly the inheritor of a great historic treasure at this point.
The lip sync is Ariana Grande’s “Into You”, which fans should note that Valentina’s infamous failed lip sync was also Ariana Grande bringing the story full circle. Monét serves a bit of Charlie Hides realness, but to her credit, does include an impressive spin-split. Monét’s lip syncs have been a bit hit and miss in the past. This was a miss, and if any readers out there are acquainted with Monét, perhaps let her know that not all ruveals have to be gown-rips-into-leotards. However, Valentina is complete sex-on-a-stick and delivers a flawless lip sync without a single stunt, we assume this is the result of Henny’s Blessing. Valentina wins fair and square
Valentina sends Farrah home for being given another chance and not meeting the mark, we’re kind of disappointed that Jasmine went home without proving herself only for Farrah to double down on her lack of Drag Race skills. (Note, that’s lack of “Drag Race” skills which is entirely different to “Drag” skills).
Farrah snazzily references the classic “you don’t love me” scene, to Valentina but says she’s joking. On her way out, Gia attempts to hug Farrah and says that she loves her. Farrah rejects this Phi Phi O’Hara style. We’ll leave the readers to decide whether Gia was sincere, or whether that even matters.
Overall, the episode was fun with a few questionable placements, and the actual performance might show that these “write your own verse” challenges might be being used too frequently. At least there wasn’t the riggory of HERstory of the World or Divas Live, but that didn’t stop the Judges from not rewarding Queens who did very well. The drama is fun, though we think Gia will be in trouble if Trinity is ever in the top and has the choice to eliminate Gia and keeps the episode alive, and Stacy was everything. We hope this will lead to a spot on AS5 for Stacy, but we’re fine if she wants to replace RuPaul while Drag Race UK is being filmed.
Overall, the episode was fun but without Gia’s drama, it would be nothing we hadn’t already said before. No-one manages to outshine “Can I Get an Amen”, “Sitting on a Secret”, “Drag Up Your Life”, “Kitty Girls”, “Read U Wrote U”, or “Category Is…” But they do manage to upstage “American”, but that’s not really saying much.
Check out Farrah Moan on Instagram and give her a follow!
The biggest mysteries left from the episode were where the hell was Valentina keeping Farrah’s lipstick, and who the fuck is Heather? We’re still trying to figure it out, because she’s no-fucking-body, okay?
Next week is Snatch Game of Love, the new format for fan favorite challenge.
This article was written by our fabulous contributing editor, James Pearbutter.
All images courtesy of VH1.