RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7 Episode 7 Review: Another Design Challenge

Usually, I wouldn’t start a review series for a show that’s already halfway through its season, especially if I’m reviewing it episode to episode instead of the season as a whole. Still, RuPaul’s Drag Race is easily my favorite reality show on the air and I happened to start this blog as the newest season of All Stars is airing, so it is what it is. This All Stars, All Winners season is truly showcasing the best of the best that have competed on all the different variations of this show. We’ve never seen drag on the level of the queens competing on this season and it’s so nice to see all of them at the top of their game. I love all of the queens this season and it’s been so nice to see them all again on my screen, especially the winners from yesteryear like Raja and Jinx who haven’t competed on the show in about a decade.

Instead of reviewing the episode as a whole, I’m going to go queen by queen and discuss how they did in this episode and are doing in the competition overall. This week, the queens were tasked with creating a runway look from scratch based off a legendary look from RuPaul herself, the second design challenge this season (“How crazy would it be if they did two balls this season?” – Jasmine Kennedie, prophet). It would’ve been interesting to see the queens work with unconventional materials, a staple challenge in the Drag Race franchise, but I’m sure these queens would’ve started a revolt if that were the case. I’ve ranked the queens from worst to best based on my own opinion of how they performed in the latest episode. Up first, we have:

RAJA

It truly pains me to put Raja at the bottom of this ranking, especially for a design challenge. Raja has easily been one of my top performers this season. I am decisively in the camp of viewers who believe that Raja has been robbed of a top 2 placement in at least two episodes, if not three. Her performance in Snatch Game? Incredible. Her Realness of Fortune Eleganza look she made herself in the Werkroom? Legendary. If we were ranking the overall performances of the season so far, Raja would most definitely not be this far down the list. But, I’m ranking the queens based on this episode, so here we are. Raja made the worst look in a design challenge, and hell has officially frozen over.

To be fair to Raja, she easily had my personal least favorite RuPaul outfit they had to choose between to inspire their look (which was Ru’s look from the Born Naked (Studio Remix) music video), although she did say that it was in her top three choices. The look she ended up making kind of reminded me of the look she wore for the Spikes runway theme. Her creation looked more Mad Max Thunderdome whereas the Spikes outfit looked more She-Ra, but there’s a gladiator element that connects the two looks in my opinion. I loved the sketch Raja made in the Werk Room, but the final product was just a mess. I don’t entirely blame Raja since we’ve seen how hard she can turn a look made from scratch earlier this season. The materials she used were just very flimsy and hard to create a solid structure out of. It’s a shame Raja couldn’t land in the top 2 for either of the design challenges this season since that’s what she was known for on her original season, but hopefully Raja will pull out another win before the season wraps up.

Sidenote: I’m really getting sick of the endless positive critiques. I get these are all winners and probably only signed on under the condition that their critiques had to be solely positive, but it’s jarring seeing the queen who by far did the worst get just as many positive comments as the top 2 of the week. Maybe I’ve just been conditioned by season after season of the judges giving harsh critiques to justify bottom placements, but I can’t wait for Canada’s Drag Race 3, Drag Race France, and even Down Under 2 to start in the upcoming weeks because I’m starting to really miss eliminations.

JINX MONSOON

It’s no surprise to anyone that Jinx has been absolutely killing the competition. As they say at the beginning of the episode, they’re the only queen to be in the top 2 three times, the first queen to earn two Legendary Legend stars, and the first queen to be blocked twice. Jinx is clearly the queen to beat this season, and the other girls know that. Jinx is not known for their ability to turn a look, but the fact that they constructed a better garment than Raja using only hot glue is truly a gag. Do I love the look? No. I’m not the biggest fan of Jinx’s old-fashioned aesthetic, so they had an uphill battle to impress me with a look.

The RuPaul look Jinx chose was the Down Under promo look, which was shocking to me that Ru would sign off on any reference to that nightmare season. The challenge was to create an outfit based on an iconic Ru look but still filtered through their unique style of drag. While I don’t love Jinx’s look from an aesthetic point of view, they still absolutely nailed the assignment. They clearly put a lot of effort and detail into the garment. The look has a clear and well-executed silouhette, even if I don’t love the single asymmetrical purple sleeve and tight. It’s easily the best look Jinx has ever made in the Werk Room, so they deserved to get praise for that alone. Don’t feel bad for Jinx, though, since next week is an acting challenge and they will likely reclaim their spot in the top 2 once again.

THE VIVIENNE

Viv kind of faded for me this episode. They didn’t include a lot of confessionals from her and the most story she had during the episode was Jinx asking her if she’d still have blocked them knowing this week was going to be a design challenge. I’ve really been enjoying Vivienne this season, especially how salty she got last episode when M.S.T.R picked their group without asking the other girls. Between that and her “rivalry” with Jinx, The Vivienne is the only queen this season to truly bring the drama. Hopefully she’ll shine again next week in the acting challenge.

This week, I thought Viv did a great job. She chose Ru’s look from the Despy Awards episode of Season 7 and while Viv’s wasn’t my favorite outfit, it would probably be a winning design look in any other season. What was missing for me was how Viv interpreted the Ru look through her own drag. It felt very similar to the original garment and lacked a unique flair that really could’ve elevated the look. Viv also said that her look was very “Vivienne Westwood,” which I feel like is something every UK queen says about their outfits when they want to earn ‘fashion’ points with the gays at home. All I know about Vivienne Westwood is that she’s known to use tartan patterns and creates unconventoinal silhouettes, neither of which I got from the outfit Viv made. It would’ve been funny to see her in blue for another week in a row, despite her claim from earlier this season that she doesn’t wear nor look good in blue.

SHEA COULEÉ

Shea has been a really interesting character this season. She came out of the gate swinging in that first episode, but with each passing episode, she fades further and further into the background. It’s bizarre seeing Shea Couleé, the frontrunner of all frontrunners, take a back seat, but her performance this season hasn’t been much to write home about. She’s still an exceptional queen (all of these winners are, don’t get me wrong), but her peformance this season has paled in comparison to her other drag race outings, if only because she’s finally met a group of competitors that have made it difficult for Shea to outshine them. It’s also been bizarre seeing Shea be incredibly inconsistent on the runway. Her best looks this season have either been houte couture garments she’s borrowed or the outfits she made in the Werk Room for the design challenges. Every other look has had something off with it, whether it’s the lackluster spike look where the spikes in question were holding on for dear life or the Dolly Parton look with a questionable wig and mismatching breast plate. I know Monét and Trinity have both said that some of their looks weren’t finished by their designers, so I wonder if a similar thing happened with Shea and some of her runways. Here’s to hoping that Shea breaks her safe streak in the next couple of episodes and makes it back into the top 2.

The Ru look Shea chose was from the Candy Ball episode of season 5. I was really going back and forth with how to rank Shea and Yvie’s looks since they did have a similar silhouette, although Shea’s look was more classic Hollywood glam and Yvie’s was more Japanese runway show. While the fact that Shea recreated that leopard textile print using paint is beyond remarkable, the end result didn’t totally kill it for me. If Shea had enough time to create a pair of pants out of that same fabric she made the top part out of, this would have been a homerun of a look. It’s such a shame that Shea created such a similar silhouette to Yvie with the rouging on the sleeves and also ran out of time, otherwise this could easily have been Shea’s week to win.

YVIE ODDLY

I was so excited to see Yvie cast on this season. She’s easily one of my favorite winners from the entire franchise, if only because I don’t feel like the fanbase gives her the credit she deserves as a winner. I’ve seen similar opinions on Yvie’s drag sister/daughter and current reigning Drag Superstar, Willow Pill, and her win since they both are the only winners from the main show that have won their seasons with only one challenge win under their belt. More than any other winner, I feel as though Yvie strategized her way to the crown rather than outright slaying the competition. Yvie excels at drag, but does not neccesarily excel at drag race. She does fine in the challenges, but she lacks a polish that a lot of the other winners pocess. But what Yvie lacks in polish, she more than makes up for with personality and smarts. Yvie milked her underdog storyline for every last drop she could on her original season and it payed off for her in spades. I fear that people are sleeping on her as a competitor this season as well because it took her six episodes to win a Legendary Legend Star, despite the fact that she became a frontrunner in just a single episode. Never discount Miss Yvie Oddly.

Yvie chose Ru’s supermodel of the world look to inspire her outfit and it turned out very interesting. I loved Yvie’s idea to turn the look upside down and include the rouging on her arms instead of the skirt. I loved the pants, she made them perfectly and they looked fantastic. I also loved the color scheme of the outfit, that combination of sunset colors works so well for me. Overall, I loved the idea and bottom half of the garment, but the top half left a bit to be desired, an inverse of how I felt about Shea’s outfit. I still put Yvie above Shea because while they both had silhouettes reminiscent of one another, I liked Yvie’s execution just a hair more than Shea’s. This truly was one of the closest episodes this season since so many of the queens did so well, so it was hard to pick which I liked more. It’s a shame Yvie’s blocked on an acting challenge since that’s the only challenge she won on her original season, but I still think it would’ve been a smarter idea for Trinity to block Jinx.

TRINITY THE TUCK

I’ve done a 180 on Trinity this season. I never disliked her by any means, and she’s clearly the one of if not the best drag race contestant there has ever been. She’s won 10 challenges across three different seasons at this point and has won a challenge of pretty much every variety. She’s won two snatch games, two acting challenges, three design challenges, a makeover challenge, that interior design challenge where they had to create a club, and a variety show (we all agree she didn’t deserve to win that last one, but she still won it regardless). It’s undeniable that she is a beast when it comes to drag race. However, there’s always been something that’s held me back from liking Trinity as a character on the show. I think it’s because I never really learned a lot about Trinity on a personal level from her time on the show. That mixed with her laser-focus on winning her last two outings on the show has almost made her seem inhuman to me, like a machine programmed to excel at drag race. I also don’t think the double win on All Stars 4 helped, which wasn’t her fault at all, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth and almost tainted the whole season. This season, however, Trinity has completely won me over. The lack of eliminations this season has allowed these queens to lower their walls a bit and actually enjoy themselves instead of focusing on the competition. Her relationship with her Twinner Monét has just been so heartwarming to watch and learning more about how she dropped out of high school to take care of her grandmother has really helped her feel more relatable to me.

The ONLY reason I did not put Trinity in the top 2 for this episode is that she already won a design challenge this season. That and the fact that I didn’t love the bottom of the dress she constructed. The judges said the bottom still gave the baby doll silhouette from Ru’s original look from the Season 8 promo, but to me, it looked like a sad mermaid tail. It also looked very similar to the bottom of the garment she made for the Realness of Fortune Ball earlier this season. These are the tiniest of nitpicks because this is still one of the best garments ever constructed in the Werk Room. The stoning work across the dress is immaculate, everything is placed meticulously, and the dress fits her like a glove. How she whipped this up and still found time to help out multiple people with their garments is seriously impressive. While I personally wouldn’t have chosen Trinity for the top 2 this week, I completely understand why she was chosen and it’s still a very deserving win nonetheless.

I also can’t help but feel like Trinity wasted her block on Yvie. Not to say that Yvie doesn’t deserve to get blocked, especially after going from zero to two Legendary Legend Stars in one episode. However, knowing that this was a design challenge, next week is probably going to be something right up Jinx’s alley so why not block her instead? I know Trinity said she felt bad that Jinx had been blocked so many times, but so? She’s the frontrunner, and the only way anyone is going to beat her is if they block her every chance they get. Maybe Yvie will turn it next week and I’ll look like a fool, but I still think the better play would’ve been to block Jinx.

MONÉT X CHANGE

Monét was robbed this episode. Robbed! I understand why Trinity was in the top 2, this was an extremely close episode, but if I were a producer I’d put Monét in the top 2. It’s been six episodes since Miss X Change has been in the top and we’ve already seen this exact top 2 earlier this season, for another design challenge too! I loved the fabric Monét chose, how she broke up the loud fabric with an equally loud but clashing pattern for the shoes, corset, and hat she constructed. It looks kind of simple compared to the other looks on the stage, but the construction of that look was anything but simple. It’s hard to create a bodysuit that not only has gloves built in, but also goes over your head into a facekini. I don’t believe that Monét could have made a better garment given the source material, just an excellent job. Monét has fallen into the background for the past couple of episodes, so while I would’ve loved to see her win this episode, it was nice to see her be a bigger part of an episode once again.

Monét picked the hardest Ru look out of all of them, but she also picked my favorite Ru look possibly of all time. And this look is from the same episode as Monét’s iconic lipsync to Nicki Minaj’s Pound the Alarm. It really could have been a full-circle moment for Monét to win a challenge by reinterpreting the look Ru wore during the same episode she had to lipsync for her life for the first time. I feel like the producers missed an opportunity to put Monét in the top over Trinity, but the looks from my top three from this episode were all so next level and top notch that any of them could be in the top and it would’ve made sense to me. I’m fine with Trinity winning again, but I personally would’ve chosen Monét as top 2 this week.

JAIDA ESSENCE HALL

Jaida has sneaked her way into my top three Drag Queens of all time. Every time Jaida opens her mouth, I fall more in love with her. Seeing her cry over not feeling like she’s as much of a winner compared to the other girls because of the fan reaction to her win absolutely broke my heart. I’m so glad that Jaida is not only allowed to compete in a season where she can just be her goofy self and not worry about the competition at hand, but I’m even more glad that she’s killing the competition on top of that. The fact that this is Jaida’s second time in the top 2, her third Legendary Legend Star, and she still has yet to be blocked. Jaida blocked Jinx and then a few episodes later was gifted an extra star by the same person she blocked. Monét may think she’s killing the strategy aspect of this competition, but there is no one with a better social game this season than Jaida. If the other queens don’t find a way to block Jaida next week, they’re basically toast.

The RuPaul outfit Jaida chose was from the Diana Ross tribute performance. The look Jaida constructed is just absolutely stunning. Like, wow. I still don’t understand how she sowed together that fabric in the time she had, that could not have been easy. These queens are all winners and aren’t afraid to spend big bucks on designers to create sickening outfits for them, but it’s so refreshing to see someone like Jaida who has such a gift when it comes to constructing garments from scratch. I’ve heard Jaida in interviews say that she and her boyfriend create a lot of her looks from scratch themselves, and it shows. Words cannot decribe how much I love this outfit, easily the best of the whole episode hands down.

Overall, this was another fantastic episode from a fantastic season of Drag Race. The challenge was great, the performances from the queens was exceptional, and Jaida and Trinity gave one of the best lipsyncs this season. It’s obviously going to get a Purely Great rating from me, as will the rest of the episodes this season I’m sure. As of right now, if I was to make a bet on who’s going to win, I’d put all of my money on Jinx without hesitation. I’m excited for next weeks acting challenge, although a christmas/holiday themed challenge for a show airing in the middle of summer is…a choice. If you would like to watch, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7 episodes 1-7 are currently streaming exclusively on Paramount+ with new episodes airing every Friday on the streaming service.

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