After weeks of comedy challenges and the lip-sync bonanza of the last episode RuPaul's Drag Race changes things with a design challenge. That is not completely right. As Valentina says, this is a design challenge, a hosting challenge, a comedy challenge and a brand challenge, all in one. The queens must work together in teams to create unique club nights that work together on a coherent concept and name. Each team must rebuild the club from scratch, with a VIP area, theme cocktail and interactive activities hosted by it. Earlier seasons have commissioned queens to design rooms and shoot commercials, and this challenge is a natural extension of them. The resulting videos are surprisingly effective. The camerawork and editing of the videos in each video (the rooms themselves are much less tempting in the recording films) bring much recognition, but the queens are doing well, dreaming club fantasies and a shorter budget on short notice.  RuPaul's Drag RaceSeason 10.5
The theme of fantasy and reality is the focus of this episode. Latrice and Valentina are the most prominent queens and early on, it's hard to say which of the two will be good and which ones will miss out. Valentina is all about her vision and her process. She has been testing her imagination all season, inviting the audience into her projection of herself and how she competes. Latrice is now much more grounded. Their claim in "LaLaPaRUza" that their popularity and size outside of All Stars should have felt a bit strange in the competition, and luckily this seemed to have been a one-episode digression. Right at the beginning of "Queens Of Clubs" Latrice is in the game and focused. She knows her drag race history; Excretory queens never stay in competition long after their return, so if they want to stay, they must win. Valentina lives her imagination; Latrice is all too aware of her probable reality, and ultimately this awareness drives her and her team to success.
It helps that Latrice has a graphic designer in her team. After RuPaul announces the episode's maxi challenge, Latrice lets the teams choose as a reward for their triumphant return to the season. She immediately mates Monique and Monét, Valentina and Naomi, as well as Manila and Trinity and joins this last duo to make a power trio. As Manila quickly explains, she had a career in graphic design before taking up her full time and this experience will come in handy. While Monique and Monét draw a basic layout of their space club and Valentina and Naomi reconsider their overall concept, Manila, Trinity and Latrice agree with Trinity's bee idea and Manila draws a detailed sketch of their club. When they get to work, they are ahead of the other queens in visual design and show up in the end products. Club Hive is much more specific and detailed than either The Black Hole or Club 96 and, judges' comments, this may have been what gave Latrice's team the victory.
As far as pure entertainment value is concerned, the clear winners are the winners Monique and Monét. The black hole is fun, engaging and accessible. Monique and Monét are great, play well and bump comfortably back and forth. Her club is weird, evocative and encourages the audience to relax and be themselves, whatever that means. There's nothing special about their cocktail, but the list of previous VIP guests is correspondingly weird and ridiculous and they have the most captivating activity of the three, a guest with money prizes. The design is a bit poor, but of the three clubs The Black Hole has the best atmosphere and looks the most fun.
Club 96 has a clear and clear aesthetic, and in particular, Naomi is committed to its tone, while The Black Hole and Club Hive attach great importance to the experience of the guests. Naomi and Valentina feel like they're in a comedy challenge. They are full of character and the club they designed acts as a punch line, but not much beyond that. For example, drinking over-the-top glasses is difficult and the cocktail is not great enough to justify the extra effort. Instead of making the guests and the audience feel that they are also fashion icons and part of the Club 96 experience, Naomi and Valentina are in their self-responsible characters so that they come to terms with isolation. It feels strange when they start their activity because these characters are not trying to entertain anyone. that's too much trouble. The parts of a good concept are here and the visual design is solid, but at the heart of the writing is a fundamental mistake. If spectators want to believe Naomi about Valentina's limited collaboration, she could not identify and adapt herself.
Any winners of the episode come from Club Hive. Manila has the aesthetics to the point and all three queens show extensive hosting experience. Her team has difficulty juggling three hosts, but Latrice does a great job welcoming the guests in her club and explaining the concept. Trinity is particularly committed to hosting their activities, the Strip Spider Bee. They also have the best cocktail of the evening, both visually and in the description. As the judges comment later, Manila is a bit out of her element here. She heads toward comedy as Latrice and Trinity (or Monique and Monét), and their pieces fall off. First, she enjoys playing her bee games, then jokes that her cocktail may trigger allergic reactions. She strives for self-deprecating humor, but as written on Latrice's face, these jabs only undermine the experience they are trying to sell. Now is not the time. Latrice and Trinity commit fully and in the end they are rewarded for having the two best ladies of the challenge.
When Club Hive sends in the bees, it's time for the runway. The category is: Plastique Fantastique. Latrice swings with a fabulous purple plastic garment with huge beads instead of hair. Manila looks cellophane-inspired and Trinity wears a pink number. Naomi goes into fashion with a plastic disc dress and neon wig and coat, while Valentina becomes Miss Venezuela Barbie. Monét wears a clear, stony armor and Monique is inspired by Josephine Baker to a colorful and funny, if ultimately disappointing look. After the comments of the judges, Latrice and Trinity are announced as winners, and Valentina and Naomi are set. The shoe is now on the other foot and Latrice was not prepared for how emotional she would feel when she was forced to turn off her first queen.
Naomi is frustrated, feels relied on by her partner in this challenge, and is not particularly optimistic about her chances of coming through. She knows that Valentina has a closer relationship with both Latrice and Trinity, and that's true even if the exiting queens want to be objective. Valentina is at a loss. Her imagination slips away, and she does not know what to do if the victory she's been working for does not materialize. She is compensated for her earnings and fair to Naomi. She wants to stay, but does not tell the other queens that Naomi deserves to go home because she honestly does not. Editing the entire episode is friendly to Valentina, and that does not change in the considerations. Her process may be strange, but she has good ideas when working with Naomi (just not enough substance to support the style she connects to), and she shows a lot of self-confidence in her talking heads.
When the time comes For lip syncing, Trinity makes the choice. She does a complete comedy, puts on a short gray wig, huge glasses, and an old-age suit with dangling breasts and granny panties. There's not much to tie this choice to Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" song, but it's entertaining. She throws a leopard print robe at the beginning of the song and completes the rest of the performance, playing with her suit and getting fully involved. It feels like a kind of revelation that would have worked best later, as the final step to the end of the song. Adding another level of loaf may have been enough to bring the profit to Trinity. Instead of building, their performance stagnates and is fun, but rather strange than captivating. Instead, Ru wins the profit to Latrice, who does a good job and mostly moves out of the way of Trinity before she rolls over on her last hit. It's not one of the best lip-syncs of the season, but it's certainly memorable.
Following a repressive recognition of the emotional stress associated with eliminating another queen, Latrice announces who she has chosen. Early favorite for the final Valentina will go home. This would have been a surprise at the beginning of the season, but again the editors and producers are preparing excellent work to prepare the audience. Valentina was in a completely different competition than the rest of the All Stars. She does not compete with them, she competes with her imagination, and therefore, if she is upset, it is not because another queen has failed her or wronged her. They simply did not manage to look at their vision and see what they are doing. Valentina had lost her original season. She can leave All Stars with her head held high, knowing that she did her best, demonstrated her special skills, won a challenge and delivered at least one killer lip-sync. It is surprising to see her in front of a few other queens, but it only shows how competitive this season is and how strong all queens have become. Everyone can win and everyone can go home.
- It was a season full of entertaining guest judges, but it's especially nice to have Susanne Bartsch here for a club challenge. Rita Ora is also fun, especially during the club videos.
- After Latrice had the experience of eliminating a fellow queen, she will hopefully have some words of apology or connection for Monique's next episode.
- I was initially suspicious of this challenge, as it was too reminiscent of the Restaurant Wars of Top Chef but it was fun and I would be happy if All Stars doing this is regular rotation.
- Michelle confuses Valentina's emotional Miss Columbia Snatch Game performance and her much-doll-like Miss Venezuela is not a great look. It's interesting that the producers kept that in the editorial board.
- A quick word to Naomi: She was not "safe" all season. She was consistently in the top three at the start of the season, missing out on the top two instead of being in the sea, as some other women did for weeks. She definitely deserves to stay.
- Manila is salty, although she is not one of the first two, but she wisely keeps it. She does not get away well in this episode. We'll see if this is a bounce from which it rebounds or the start of a downturn in their season.