What Trixie Mattel has in common with Chad Michaels and Alaska
Oh y'all wanted a twist, eh? Trixie Mattel is a winner winner, chicken...dinner!
If you had read my previous All Stars 3 article, you'd know that I have discussed two All Stars 3 winner theories that fans believed were possible, and neither of them involved our drag queen Barbie doll donning a fierce crown. In fact, the most logical outcomes were that either Shangela would take home gold based on her recent track record, or that Bebe Zahara-Benet would out herself as a mole and decide that the winner was Bendelacreme based on stats. So how did Trixie end up in the Drag Race Hall of Fame? I have my guesses.
All weekend long I've been pondering why the producers chose for this to happen. Because if you haven't already noticed, this show is full of overly-edited, highly-curated, highly-scripted shady riggery and buffoonery, as Alyssa Edwards might say. And most outcomes, especially the most important ones, are chosen by Ru and producers based on what will entertain and shock us the most. I mean they have VH1 bills to pay now. It's bound to be more about the ratings than the competition.
Bendelacreme was so poised to win and suddenly went home, followed by Shangela being poised to win and then suddenly being thwarted by the eliminated queens voting her out last minute. And suddenly Trixie is the winner of the whole show? I get that this is scripted, but that was a bit much to take. This sounds, to quote Alyssa again, like "Riggamorris." (Who is Morris?) Even Ru looked like she was about to cry when Shangela got eliminated.
So clearly the producers felt that Trixie was the only right answer, whether or not she got the highest stats, (which she did not.) My guess is that she has something very deep in common with past All Stars winners Chad Michaels and Alaska. And it's more than just Charisma Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent. If you start to look at things from a different angle, you'll realize why this outcome makes sense, what the purpose of All Stars is and why each season always leaves us with a funny feeling.
Let's first take a moment to review what happened in the previous seasons of All Stars
All Stars Season 1 Winner: Chad Michaels
Chad Michaels for those who don't know, has had a drag career since 1995. She has since slayed the pageant game, successfully portrayed countless celebrities from Bette Davis to Marilyn Manson, been featured in television shows Mad TV, 2 Broke Girls and Jane the Virgin, been named the world's greatest Cher impersonator, placed 2nd on Season 4 of Drag Race, and won season 1 of All Stars. So let's just say, she's a professional. And while I was rooting for Raven til the end of All Stars 1, I was still quite happy for Chad and found her totally worthy of her spot in the Drag Race Hall of Fame.
And while it's hard to imagine a world where anyone would argue against placing a Drag Race crown on Chad's head, that's exactly what occurred in 2012. After a few years of being asked to be on Drag Race, Chad finally agreed to it for season 4. And she did a fantastic job, winning Snatch Game among other challenges, keeping it professional and setting a standard for what it means to be a classy competitor. But that also just happened to be the season that Sharon stole our hearts with her vulnerability, edginess and badass rock and roll sensibilities that changed Drag Race forever, bumping Chad down to a second place title. Then came All Stars 1 where contestants were shadily asked to partner up with a fellow competitor to compete and be eliminated in groups of two. Chad partnered up with friend and legendary colleague Shannel, and they competed against the beloved front-runner team consisting of fan-favorites Raven and Jujubee. Although Raven and Jujubee had more compelling and nail-biting moments that kept fans coming, Chad ended up taking the crown due to consistency. And the fans were pretty angry. They had fallen back in love with Raven and Juju and were not happy to see Chad take the crown after all the memorable and lovable moments that came from team "Rujubee."
But after a while, people began to take a step back and reassess things. Not only was Raven in the bottom quite a bit that season, but Chad was a legend in the drag community way before the show and overdue for a Drag Race nod. She has paid her dues to the world of drag entertainment and was a beacon of how to compete. So while it didn't give us the warmest feeling possible to see her win that particular season, there was finally a title for what she added to the competition.
All Stars Season 2 Winner: alaska
Season 5 finalist and All Stars 2 winner Alaska also had a controversial win because she was the all-too clear choice for the winner. Even the biggest Detox and Katya fans couldn't argue against it. Alaska won the most challenges, was rarely in the bottom and was the hungriest for the crown. And why wouldn't she be? Alaska has been deemed the biggest Drag Race fan of all time. She has watched it from the start, auditioned for it every year until she was finally on it, can beat anyone at the show's trivia, and threw the biggest public temper tantrum of all time when Jinkx Monsoon beat her in Season 5. It was clear from the get-go that Alaska wanted nothing more in this world than to earn a spot as a Drag Race winner and legend. And because it meant so much to her, she played the game hard as an artist and as a competitor. She undeniably deserved it and that almost made for a boring and controversial season because of it.
It was clear from the editing and constant praise of Alaska that she was poised to win it from the beginning. And that's not to say she didn't earn it. I think she would have won no matter how many banana peels anyone planned on throwing in front of her. But the whole show felt like it was meant to be a platform for her more than any other queen competing. That in of itself made us all raise eyebrows at the show. Why did they need Alaska to win? Why couldn't they let it happen organically?
Then Alaska took her All Stars 3 win seriously, becoming the face of Drag Race, hosting webseries The Pit Stop, releasing her second album "Poundcake," collaborating with other drag stars on popular songs and music videos, working with legendary make-up artist Mathu Andersen, modeling for Marco Marco, competing in the first season of VH1's Scared Famous and being named by her colleagues and peers as "a drag queen's drag queen." And after over a year of being the true posterchild of the show and moving closer and closer to legend status, we get exactly why Ru felt that the crown on her head was not only deserved, but necessary.
All Stars Season 3 Winner: trixie mattel
And now we come to what is the most controversial win in All Stars - if not Drag Race - history! After being wrongfully treated like filler in Season 7 and being eliminated twice, fan-favorite, YouTube celebrity, chart-topping country music artist and television star Trixie Mattel (That's right you shady Season 7 producers. She did that no thanks to any of you,) returned to the werk room for the third season of All Stars. And we were all worried for her.
Throughout the beginning of the season, Trixie was coasting. And even when she started to really take off for the second half, the judges still nitpicked everything she did. We as fans cringed as we realized that statistically it would be impossible for Trixie to win due to Ben and Shangela's success in the season. And were afraid it would be a major fall from grace participating in All Stars, due to her enormous come-up as a drag artist in the real world. But suddenly, she was not only top 4, but top 2. Then she was our reigning champion. And we could not believe it.
How, after realizing she was going to win the whole show, could Ben leave when the stakes were high? And how, after all of Shangela's hard work and success, could the eliminated queens vote Kennedy Davenport over her to compete for the crown? And how, after all that had happened, could Ru just sit there and let Dela leave, and allow the eliminated queens to ruin Shangela's chances over personal reasons? And how, did producers ever think that in a format where the person who wins more challenges is forced to send home more fellow competitors, it would ever be appropriate to let the eliminated queens have a say in who they want gone at the end? I call riggamorris.
When we found out that the two who would lipsync for their legacy were Kennedy and Trixie, we all realized Trixie had it in the bag this whole time. Not only would Shangela have most likely lipsynced Trixie off the stage, but even Bebe Zahara-Benet had stats were about equal to Trixie's. And Kennedy, no matter how many backflips she attempted, could never have won with her Roxxxy Andrews-esque track record. You could even see it in Kennedy's eyes too during the Kitty Girl performance and the lipsync that she knew it was over for her.
So why Trixie? I think Trixie said it best herself when she went in for her consultation with the eliminated queens. She was nowhere near a finalist on her own season, and yet she has slayed the drag entertainment industry and brought it to the mainstream in several different facets. She has a legacy all on her own. And while we know her initially through Drag Race, Drag Race after a while was no longer the thing she was most famous for.
And I think Drag Race understood that she was surpassing her peers and stepping away from the show in ways they never comprehended. And that they wanted to make sure that Drag Race could be the number one stamp on her career. Which it may not have been if 6th place (behind Pearl, might I remind you) was all they were willing to throw her. I believe that Drag Race wanted to be labeled as the show that made Trixie Mattel's career whether you believe it was or not. I think her name is so big that they couldn't resist reinforcing the bond between them and her. They realize Trixie has the potential to do just about anything and want to make sure she's firmly part of Ru's legacy while she does it.
And I believe that's why all three All Star winners were given their titles. While they didn't win their respective seasons, these are the queens who not only did very well competing with the best of the best of the show, but are the ones that Drag Race wants to always be affiliated with and represented by. Chad represents the world of drag before Drag Race and its influence on the show, Alaska represents the show itself and its impact on the community, and Trixie represents the future of drag (the new-age millenial drag sense of humor and style, plus the technology and modern platforms a drag entertainer can use to further themselves) and what it will inspire in future generations. And that's why they're All Stars. Because whether or not you liked their stats, they earned their spot in the Drag Race - if not the drag - Hall of Fame.
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