Friday, June 24, 2022

REVIEW: 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' - Another Design Challenge Doesn't Offer Much Inspiration in 'Legendary Legend Looks'

Paramount+'s RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars - Episode 7.07 "Legendary Legend Looks"

Fashion Icon and Supermodel of the World, RuPaul, challenges the crowned queens to use their divine design skills to transform eight of her legendary looks.

It's odd to have a season with multiple design challenges. The winners certainly weren't expecting it. Monet even calls it out as being reminiscent of the early seasons of Drag Race. She's not wrong in that assessment either. Of course, Raja knows how to win a season dominated by design challenges. Season 3 was absolutely brutal in that regard. It produced many iconic moments. It was still absolutely grueling on the cast. It worked all those years ago because each challenge was unique in what it inspired the queens to do. Here, it feels like the show is stuck in a pattern not knowing how to escape. The ball earlier this season gave fabric to the queens. They had to design looks around a solitary color scheme. That's basically what they are asked to do again. Sure, the circumstances are slightly different. They are tasked with reimagining an iconic look worn by RuPaul. However, each option represents something completely different. They were basically chosen to ensure that none of the queens would be walking the runway in the same concept. But again, the fabrics were provided for the winners. As such, it's just like before. It's not exciting. It doesn't ask them to create something out of nothing. Instead, they seek inspiration from the drag queen who started it all. It's another excuse to talk about RuPaul's own importance. That's not inherently a bad thing. In fact, it's funny when Yvie says she was born the same year RuPaul wore her Supermodel of the World look. That moment changed so much for RuPaul. It catapulted her career to new heights. That evolution has only continued with the development of this show. Production still needs to put the effort in to show why this is still a winning formula after many seasons and international spinoffs.

Of course, the Vivienne has instant regrets about blocking Jinkx. She had the correct strategy. Jinkx is a strong competitor. She has already won three challenges. She has two Legendary Legend Stars. She's tied for the lead. Sewing appears to be her only weakness. Vivienne blocked her under the assumption that Jinkx would be good at whatever challenge was next. Instead, a curveball was thrown to ensure this block was mostly wasted. Jinkx is basically given the exact same color story she did during the ball. She doesn't receive any help from Trinity this time around. Instead, Trinity extends a helping hand to Shea. That continues to earn her good will both from her fellow winners and the judges. Everyone is in awe of how quickly she turns out garments. It's truly astonishing. It reads as perfection crafted in an afternoon. That's not an easy feat to pull off. Trinity does so every time. It maintains that essential quality of always going big as well. That's added pressure and she nails it. It's wonderful to watch. However, it's just as silly to see Jinkx get high on her own laughter. She feels simultaneously defeated and hopeful. It's such a weird combination. One where she just has to keep marching ahead. She needs to feel confident. A solid look will come out of that optimism. She isn't in danger of going home. And so, it doesn't ultimately matter what she wears down the runway. She can essentially be skipped over this week even though she's suppose to be the frontrunner. That's a strange dichotomy. It robs the episode of its tension. Sure, that's captured in whether or not Raja will get the look she wants. However, everything RuPaul has worn serves as good inspiration. As such, no one has any reason to worry. Yes, the pressure is amping up as people are counting stars. The finale approaches. That chaos hasn't presented in unexpected ways yet.

Just like the ball, Jaida and Trinity are declared the winners. They prevail because they present complete and fully envisioned looks. Not everyone can say that. For several of the winners, they produce standout pieces. However, the time crunch prevented them from fully executing their visions. One could argue the same with Jaida as the fur she carries is small. She can also state that was a stylistic choice. It would easily be believable that way too. Jaida just has that inherent trust. Plus, she combined influences of RuPaul and Diana Ross to find new layers of what she was asked to do. She didn't get much screentime in the workroom. She focused on what needed to be done. She did that. Monet did well too. She has a visceral connection to RuPaul's facekini look. It was the first time she had to lip sync during her season. She took that opportunity to showcase what she could do. She has only become more endearing since. The corset on the outside of a catsuit is a familiar trend. However, Monet clashed patterns to present a piece of art as guest judge Betsey Johnson states. That stands out on a runway where the winners are expected to showcase themselves as channeled through the head judge. Expectations are high for Raja. She is known for creating marvelous sculptural pieces. Trinity was right to question how it would look on Raja's body. It was bulky in the midsection while the boots simply covered up too much leg. It was a solid idea. The execution wasn't at the standard Raja is constantly held to. The same goes to Shea. She wasted so much time painting her fabric. She was then in a rush to finish. That was evident in the pants. The actual ruffles were stunning. One piece simply can't push her to victory when in a competition with designs that are fully realized. The same applies to the pants Yvie created. They were absolutely incredible. The top wasn't bad either. She deserved to be talked about more - especially with how stunning her makeup was too. Instead, she was gifted with the block as Trinity similarly didn't know what to do in the end.

This is the second time Trinity and Jaida have been in the top together. They each earn stars this time. That means Jaida is the new frontrunner with three stars. She has never been blocked either. The other queens will be gunning for her. She has survived based on her effortless charm. She is simply so fun to be around. No one wants to punish her. That's not the making of good strategy though. Monet and Trinity formed an alliance at the start of the season. Monet wants to discuss what they would each do if they won the challenge. Monet is fine blocking Jinkx again. She's the only queen who deserves to be stopped in her tracks. She could easily collect a ton of stars if everyone else isn't too careful. Trinity would feel bad in that situation. That may be more evidence of Monet thinking harder than everyone else in the cast. That contrasts with her confusion over physics and geometry. But she knows this competition better than everyone else. She's playing it the way production wants. Not everyone wants to follow that path. That also builds to an anticlimactic ending. Yvie has the perception of momentum. She went from having no stars to two in one episode. And then, she turns out an outfit that the other queens admire. Meanwhile, Monet and Shea complain that it's been too long since they've been in the top. Those perceptions matter. It informs the behavior of the queens. It doesn't always produce the best outcomes. The lip sync is fine. It's more high energy than what some of the other performances have offered. Trinity and Jaida are evenly matched. It could have gone either way. And then, Trinity slide into Jaida's butt. That was so ridiculous. It was only a moment. That's all it takes. It also may have just been decided to ensure the outcome of this design challenge wasn't the same as the previous one where Jaida won the lip sync. Either way, it's still the show repeating itself without actually feeling like the queens earn these continued victories. That's alarming especially as the pressure is meant to be intensifying at this point.