Why I’m Not Buying The Reason Behind This Week’s Shock Drag Race Elimination

2 March 2018, 15:56

All Stars 3
All Stars 3. Picture: VH1

By Josh Lee


Sis... wtf.

This week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3 gave us the gag of the season, series and century. After placing in the top two four times, this season's frontrunner Bendelacreme gave herself the chop, and gave first-girl-out Morgan McMichaels her place back in the competition. The earth shook as homosexual jaws all over the world hit the floor in unison. RuPaul's face was cracked like kintsugi. It's a moment we will never forget, and I am MAD about it.

"This is the easiest choice I have had to make this entire season," Ben purred as she produced a lipstick with her own name scrawled on in Tippex from her sequenced boob. Speaking directly to RuPaul, she said, "I hope you don't see this as a sign of disrespect because I see myself as such Drag Race success story."

Now that's cute, but the easiest and fairest decision would actually have been to send home Kennedy Davenport. Despite Ben insisting that the choice was impossible to make, it was clearly Kennedy's time to go. When you get down to the final five, not being able to fully realise a character - especially a character you got to choose for yourself - should be a mortal sin. Shangela's track-record made her unimpeachable, and the only critique Trixie received was in regards to her wig. Yes, Kennedy is fierce, and yes it would have been sad to see her go, but that's the competition. With that in mind, deciding to remove yourself from the competition does feel a little disrespectful. Play to win, or don't play at all.

But even worse than the self-elimination was Ben's decision to bring back Morgan McMichaels. Morgan is a great queen, but without any particularly unjust eliminations this season, surely the fair thing to do - and Ben prided herself on fairness this season - would be to bring back Aja, the last queen to get the chop. Instead, Ben threw Morgan what appeared to be a pity bone, disrespecting the other eliminated queens who out-performed her in the Kitty Girls challenge in the process. Again, Ben's whole "fairness" gig is called into question - was it really fair to bring back Morgan to heal what appeared to be feelings of guilt, when there were more deserving girls there? None of it adds up.

Ben gave herself the chance to leave on a stratospheric high in an iconic moment that will go down in Drag Race herstory, because Ben is smart as hell. She is the most successful in-show competitor with a record that will be hard to beat. And the gag of it all is that, no matter who wins, they will always be in Ben's shadow. But nothing about that feels in line with the values Ben has been trying to hold onto throughout the competition. Tainting the eventual winner's shine, using the competition to squash your own beef with another queen, not seeing the competition through to the end... none of that is particularly fair.

Ben gave us one of the gaggiest Drag Race moments of all time, that cannot be denied. She's a fierce queen with huge talent, and this week proved that she has more nerve than most. I'm just not wholly convinced the decision came from the place Ben would like us to believe it came from. I think it was more important to her to leave the competition as genially as possible, and the easiest way to achieve that was to swap places with Morgan McMichaels. It was an extremely nice thing to do, but nice and fair aren't the same thing.

Still though, it was great TV.