Pure and unfiltered reality TV strategy dominated the round on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 5 Episode 3.
From the barbs directed at Miz Cracker to the sneaky votes on Shea Couleé, the queens finally came out to play the game. It's not just about the talent competition anymore. To win the crown, they're making the moves to get to the top.
Some of it was plain strategy while others played a mean girl/manipulative role to get the job done. All is fair in love and reality TV.
The biggest change in narrative came from Alexis Mateo. The dancing pageant queen assumed the villain edit that Miz Cracker once had during RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 5 Episode 2.
Alexis' narrative became all about needing to get ahead and calling people out if they didn't agree with her version of game morality. What's surprising about this is that her actions and tone contradicted what she previously condemned Miz Cracker for doing with the Ongina situation.
There were two big instances where she came for Miz Cracker, especially when Alexis wasn't involved in the conversation, to begin with.
[In confessional] Alexis wants you to be real. She wants to be clear about things. She wants to trust you. She wants to know who you are. I think you’re playing head games, Miss Alexis, and it’s working on some of these bitches.Jujubee
She sought out Miz Cracker to condemn her, pick fights, and cause drama with the hopes of messing with her head.
Alexis Mateo played full mind games to undermine Cracker and make her feel down, albeit with the guise of "speaking her mind." Which, once again, is the same issue she had when Miz Cracker talked with Ongina. (We see what you're doing, Alexis.)
Shea Couleé said it best in her confessional that Alexis made deliberate tactical moves to mess with Miz Cracker's mind. Cracker is a threat and she's finding any opportunity to build a campaign against her.
Are we missing something about the Miz Cracker drama? There doesn't seem to be any serious issues to further the shade and meanness directed at her.
Sure, she said what she said about Ongina (and her table conversation was definitely rude and unwarranted), but Miz Cracker apologized and felt sad. She showed a lot of effort during "Get A Room!" to change and make amends after the situation. Her apology didn't come across as phony.
Alexis Mateo: A lot of girls talk about you behind your back. Oh, I could be one of them and just go behind your back and tell everybody how we gonna get rid of you, but I’m not.
Miz Cracker: I know.
Alexis Mateo: I’m not!
Miz Cracker: I hear everything you’re saying.
So, why are Mayhem Miller and Alexis Mateo quick with their continued dislike of her?
Part of it could be due to the "frenemy" trigger. Like, when something isn't so bad, but when it's coming from someone you hate, it feels like the worst thing in the world. That's where Mayhem and Alexis are with their view of Miz Cracker.
Miz Cracker didn't say much, but it was Mayhem and Alexis who were quick with their words to find any opportunity to tear her down. Chances are both said worse about other queens than what they chastised Cracker.
The pressures of the game got to them.
The Maxi Challenge was very reminiscent of the club challenge from RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 4 Episode 7. With the exception of making it about a hotel suite, the rules were exactly the same.
The key to winning this challenge is all about making the room feel opulent, cool, and VIP.
Based on that criteria, the Golden Girls room had no shot. What were they thinking?! The suite looked like an outdated motel room in the middle of nowhere.
Sure, they tried to include some references to the TV show, but it all fell flat.
Though, I disagree with the judges; the queens did have jokes and got a few laughs out of it. Not a lot in the grand scheme to save them. Cracker, Shea, and Mariah Paris Balenciaga didn't hit this out of the park.
It's surprising that Blair St. Clair nor Mayhem Miller won the challenge. RuPaul loved their room the best, and it's very rare for someone outside of the winning execution to win the challenge.
Was it that they were too similar to be contenders?
The room had all the elements of being victorious, from the golden furniture to the Pit Crew in golden outfits. The judges even laughed at their jokes. (And yet no one made a Goldfinger or Midas Touch joke? The audacity!)
Don't get me wrong, the jungle-themed room was also a strong contender. RuPaul could've also given them the top prize as well.
Jujubee won because she gave all the zingers that the other queens missed. At the end of the day, these are comedy challenges and if you're not bringing the funny, RuPaul will overlook you.
Jujubee channeled her natural essence to easily snatch the win.
When it came to the "3 looks-in-1" runway category, the execution came across as messy.
The joy of an outfit reveal is the anticipation of whether the queen has one, and then it's followed by the reveal of what was hiding underneath. The queens having to switch from one outfit to the other felt like a routine that lost its thrill after the third person.
Plus, the runway was littered with outfits after each pull. The category didn't translate to a seamless pull.
Based on the complete looks, the favorites were Mayhem Miller, Jujubee, India Ferrah, Miz Cracker, and Blair St. Clair. They had the most fashionable ensembles and their transitions felt cohesive from one outfit to the next.
Unfortunately, the others were either too haphazard, too hard to look at, or too plain.
The campaigning and voting portion is where "Get A Room!" became thrilling to watch from a game standpoint.
Shea Couleé ended up in the bottom three. (Yes, you heard that right. Shea Couleé!)
If the queens wanted the opportunity to eliminate a frontrunner, now would've been their chance to do so. They had Shea with no way to save herself. Shea could've been Manila'ed out of the competition had they all strategized to ensure Shea was both votes.
No matter who I pick, I’m gonna make someone mad. Mariah is like my best friend in the competition, but I made a deal with another girl. I can’t go back on my word. And then, we’ve got the bitch who’s been doing good that just had a bad week. If I vote for her, she might hate me. But I would rather have someone go home that’s a threat than a friend because I need votes.Mayhem Miller
This was the first time during RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 5 where the vote didn't seem expected or predictable. The results were up in the air if India Ferrah, Shea Couleé, or Mariah Paris Balenciaga could've been voted out.
The full potential of this new format was finally shown...and it's amazing!
The lipsync to "Juice" by Lizzo fell flat.
You had Jujubee and a powerful lipsync assassin in Monet X Change to potentially deliver a memorable performance, and they had an upbeat and energetic song like "Juice" to work with. Unfortunately, their energy stayed mellow throughout the entire number.
Monet delivered a few funny dance moves and energy to snatch the win, but she could've brought it even harder than she did. No splits or gags? There was nothing that made this stand out from other lipsyncs.
Monet had the potential in her to destroy the stage with her fierceness and get redemption over previously being eliminated during a Lizzo song. Jujubee, on the other hand, kept it pretty simple by marking the stage and moving around.
A good lipsync for the round, but it paled in comparison to what it should've been.
Mariah Paris Balenciaga getting eliminated wasn't completely shocking based on her performance.
This wasn't her first time at the bottom and she didn't have the deep connections with her competitors like some of the others. Comparatively, she didn't do the worst out of the bottom three in this challenge, but she had the worst season stats.
It's a shame that we didn't get more from her. Once again, the brilliance of Mariah got taken out too early on Drag Race.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
Jujubee talking about her cats = boss moment!
Alexis Mateo and Mayhem Miller voting for Shea Couleé without the majority is going to cause drama. Those are bold moves to make that could come back to haunt them.
Nicole Byer should return every season for RuPaul's Drag Race. She's hilarious, fun, and she legitimately cares about the queens.
- The large fur coat counts as a costume reveal, Michelle Visage.
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "Get A Room!"?
Will Mayhem Miller's and Alexis Mateo's votes come back to haunt them? Did the girls take their hate against Miz Cracker too far? Are you happy that Jujubee finally won a challenge?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.