The RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise has introduced many drag queens, quotes, and spin-offs to mainstream audiences. Aside from its complementary series Untucked and the makeover series Drag U, there is All-Stars, which is arguably the most successful spin-off in the history of the franchise.
After three seasons – with a fourth one on its way – RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars has featured 32 queens from past seasons. From “fan-favorite” contestants to dreaded “villains,” the series has thrived on its ability to show different sides from queens we thought we knew, as well as show what they do best once again.
Aside from a small set of queens who will most likely never return to Drag Race, there are over one hundred contestants that the franchise can invite back. With that said, it is fair to say that All-Stars has not always done a great job at vetting which queens are worthy (or capable) of a starry comeback.
Over time, there have definitely been queens that made the All-Stars series what it is. On the other hand, there have been contestants that came back only to hurt themselves and the Drag Race brand as a whole. In the latter cases, it was probably better for them to be remembered for their original seasons, rather than showing audiences who they really are, or at least who they have become.
Not every all-star queen has the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent to be featured on Drag Race’s Hall of Fame.
These are RuPaul’s Drag Race: 10 Casting Decisions That Hurt All-Stars (And 10 That Saved It).
20 HURT: BEBE ZAHARA BENET
BeBe Zahara Benet won the very first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. “The season with that one filter,” as it is commonly joked among queens and fans of the show.
Despite the fact that RuPaul made a compelling case that BeBe was not widely recognized by many newer Drag Race fans, and thus it made sense for her to be on All-Stars 3, the general audience was shocked – and confused – by the fact that a winner of the show would come back to compete.
After all, how could she possibly be judged fairly?
This confusion gave enough reason for a massive online conspiracy to surface, which discussed that BeBe Zahara Benet was actually a mole for RuPaul on All-Stars 3. While that would have been very cool and interesting, it was not actually true. BeBe’s casting opened a precedent for All-Stars that no one asked for.
19 SAVED: BENDELACREME
Coming into All-Stars 3, the chatter was around Trixie Mattel, Shangela, and Kennedy Davenport as queens who could probably pull off a win. However, as the season began to roll out, it quickly became clear that the season already had a winner: BenDeLaCreme. Out of the six main challenges that she was a part of, Ben won five and was “safe” during the remaining one.
It became clear that there would be no way for BenDeLaCreme to even land on the Bottom Two during the show, if it wasn’t for the fact that the queens decided to eliminate herself from the competition.
Ben was a casting choice that not many fans cared about, but she turned out to save All-Stars 3 from its overall weak performances.
18 HURT: PANDORA BOXX
Pandora Boxx was the fan-favorite queen on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She charmed the judges and the fans with her wit and humor, which preceded the types of talent that would later grace the show, such as Bianca Del Rio and Bob the Drag Queen. Thus, when it came time for the very first Drag Race: All-Stars, it was a given that Pandora would be featured on the series.
When Pandora Boxx was eliminated on the very first episode of All-Stars 1, fans were outraged and expressed the feeling that the queen was mistreated twice by the franchise rather than being given a proper platform.
17 SAVED: KATYA
There is no doubt that Katya is among the most talented and beloved queens in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Thus, when it came time for All-Stars 2, producers were very correct to cast Katya.
While many fans were betting on Alaska to win All-Stars 2, there was a feeling that Katya deserved to enter the franchise’s Hall of Fame. During the season, she shone as a queen and made everyone laugh with her shenanigans, once again being a dark horse in the competition.
In the end, Alaska did win All-Stars 2, but Katya went home with the elusive street cred of “the one who could have won.” In the Drag Race world, losing is sometimes a great thing.
16 HURT: MIMI IMFURST
Mimi Imfurst was immortalized in the Drag Race mythos for literally lifting her fellow contestant India Ferrah and carried her over her shoulders during “lip sync for your life.” Not only did that justify Mimi being eliminated, but it also yielded an entire rule-change of the franchise. Now, for the most part, the queens are no longer allowed to touch each other during a lip sync.
It is fairly safe to say that Mimi Imfurst was cast in All-Stars 1 for being so remembered for a single dramatic moment.
However, one may argue that she had no reason to redeem herself, nor anything else new to show the audiences. In the end, Mimi was faulted for dragging down her teammate, Pandora Boxx, to be eliminated in the first episode of the series.
15 SAVED: JUJUBEE
One of the rare highlights of All-Stars 1 was Jujubee, a fan-favorite queen that audiences craved to see more of. Her first appearance, on season 2 of Drag Race, was marked by controversies and great TV moments. When it came time to cast that season, it made perfect sense for Jujubee to be involved.
Indeed, Jujubee was responsible for some of the very few good moments of All-Stars 1, which is often referred to as the very worst season of Drag Race in history. In the All-Stars season, Jujubee placed third, behind only Raven and Chad Michaels, who had been pinned to win from the very start.
All in all, Jujubee saved All-Stars 1 from being even more disappointing.
14 HURT: CHI CHI DEVAYNE
The entire storyline of Chi Chi DeVayne on season 8 of Drag Race was that, unlike other queens, she did not have a high budget to buy clothes. Nor did she have the connections to borrow expensive gowns from designers and bring to the series. Despite all of those elements, Chi Chi fought her way to the Top 4 of the eighth season, placing only behind Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi, and Naomi Smalls.
It made perfect sense to cast Chi Chi DeVayne on All-Stars 3. As expected, the queen came in promising that now, with money and influence, she was going to be able to do all of the things she couldn’t better. Except that didn’t happen.
Chi Chi failed to capitalize on her “glow up.”
What’s more, even her winning personality was not the same as we remembered.
13 SAVED: SHANGELA
Shangela is the ultimate RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, having been on seasons 2 and 3 of the standard series and then on All-Stars 3. Many fans believe that the third time would have been the charm for Shangie, and as BenDeLaCreme eliminated herself, it became evident that the season was now hers to win.
Then, at the last minute, RuPaul decided to bring in the eliminated queens of that season to judge who would be the two contestants who would lip sync for the crown.
As the votes were counted, Kennedy Davenport and Trixie Mattel made it to the top, leaving Shangela – and fans – devastated. All in all, Shangie was a vital source of entertainment for All-Stars 3. Alongside BenDeLaCreme, Shangela made that season what it was.
12 HURT: ADORE DELANO
Everyone loves Adore Delano, so it was a given that she would have come back to All-Stars at one point or another. However, the queen is known for her sweetness, naivety, and aversion to conflict, which makes her presence on a reality show that much more difficult.
Indeed, from the very first episode, Adore Delano seemed extremely uncomfortable to be criticized by the judging panel and her peers. She felt that it was hard to receive such feedback from people she now had a personal and professional relationship with outside of the Drag Race franchise.
Adore decided to quit All-Stars 2, which was the first time that had ever happened.
In hindsight, maybe Adore Delano should not have been cast for All-Stars-- for her own sake, but also for the show.
11 SAVED: AJA
It was strange to see Aja being cast on All-Stars 3, as she had quite literally just been on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9. However, despite all of the criticism that came with her casting, Aja was a pleasant surprise that brought All-Stars exactly what the show is about: showing how much queens have evolved since their first time on Drag Race.
Aja was, without a doubt, one of the queens that showed the most growth in the entire All-Stars 3 cast, despite only having been off of the show for a year. Aja’s “glow up” was undeniable, as were her enhanced talents and improved confidence. If there had been Aja haters before the beginning of All-Stars 3, they went away rather quickly.
10 HURT: THORGY THOR
Thorgy Thor liked to remind everyone that the reason she did not do well on Drag Race season 8 was because Bob the Drag Queen stole the show for herself. Thorgy was known for half-jokingly resenting Bob’s success.
As Thorgy Thor was cast on All-Stars 3, she addressed this matter right away, and joked that now, without Bob the Drag Queen in the room, she had no excuse not to thrive. That is not how things went.
More often than not, Thorgy found excuses to justify why she was not doing well.
At one point, she even blamed the show’s producers for giving her Stevie Nicks to impersonate-- despite the fact that Thorgy is a huge Stevie Nicks fan.
9 SAVED: ALYSSA EDWARDS
Among the most iconic drag queens in the history of the Drag Race franchise is Alyssa Edwards, whose tongue pop rapidly infiltrated the mainstream media. It was a given that Alyssa would eventually be back for All-Stars, and fans were pleased to see that she had been cast for the second season.
Indeed, Alyssa Edwards gave All-Stars 2 several unforgettable moments, solidifying her place even further in the Drag Race mythos. What’s more, Alyssa lip-synched alongside Tatianna to Rihanna’s “Shut Up And Drive”, which was one of the highlights of that season and perhaps one of the fiercest lip syncs in the history of the show.
Despite not being a contender to win, All-Stars 2 would not have been the same without Alyssa Edwards.
8 HURT: PHI PHI O’HARA
Phi Phi O’Hara was infamous for being the “villain” of Drag Race season 4. What’s more, she beefed with Sharon Needles, who won the crown that year and was beloved among most fans of the franchise. It is safe to say that Phi Phi did not have the best cred with Drag Race fans, nor was she pleased with how the show villainized her in order to favor Sharon.
When Phi Phi O’Hara came to All-Stars 2, she outwardly stated that she had one goal: redeeming herself and her image with Drag Race fans. That was true in the beginning--- as the episodes went by, however, Phi Phi’s claws began to come out.
The queen was shown going back to her manipulative shenanigans.
Overall, not only was Phi Phi not redeemed on All-Stars 2, but she hurt her reputation even further.
7 SAVED: KENNEDY DAVENPORT
Kennedy Davenport was a contestant on season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Even though season 7 was, for many years, referred to by fans as the “boring season,” there was a sort of unanimous agreement that Kennedy should have made it to the Top 3 of that year.
Instead, the Top 3 consisted of Violet Chachki (who won), Ginger Minj, and Pearl. The latter was a controversial pick for the Top 3, not only due to the fact that she beefed with RuPaul, but also because she did not give the show as many great moments as Kennedy had.
As she was cast on All-Stars 3, Kennedy Davenport was finally able to remind fans of the fierce and hilarious queen that she is. That season would not have been the same with Kennedy.
6 HURT: TAMMIE BROWN
Tammie Brown is a queen for drag queens. Trixie Mattel, for instance, has referred to Tammie as her very favorite queen. It is easy to see how Drag Race: All-Stars producers thought that the series would benefit from casting Tammie Brown on its very first season.
In hindsight, it seems like the queen did not add anything to the spin-off, and the show did not do anything for her, either.
To be fair, it is not like All-Stars 1 as a whole was set up for queens to succeed in it. However, certain queens managed to at least remind fans why they were beloved, which is something that Tammie Brown did not accomplish all that well.
5 SAVED: TATIANNA
All-Stars 2 was filled by newer Drag Race queens, particularly seasons 5 and 6. When Tatianna was cast, many fans were happy but also worried, wondering whether she would be able to hold up to the new standards that the franchise now held its contestants.
Well, as a matter of fact, Tatianna lived up to expectations and was responsible for delivering what is now considered one of the most iconic lip syncs in Drag Race history: Tatianna and Alyssa Edwards to the tune of Rihanna’s “Shut Up And Drive”.
All in all, Tatianna was a great addition to All-Stars 2, properly representing the girls that were on the second season of Drag Race.
4 HURT: MILK
Milk was known as an edgy Drag Race season 6 contestant who went on to become friends with Marc Jacobs and star in major fashion campaigns as a male model. The man behind Milk found great success and established a solid career.
As a drag queen and a personality, however, little was known about Milk. When she was cast on All-Stars 3, fans were excited to see her push the envelope once again, and maybe get to know her personality as well. Unfortunately, audiences did not like what they saw on TV when it came time for All-Stars.
It ultimately hurt any fond memories that they had of Milk on season 6.
In hindsight, Milk is a prime example of a queen that would have probably benefited more from the memories she created on season 6 rather than from her time on All-Stars 3.
3 SAVED: TRIXIE MATTEL
After appearing on the seventh season of Drag Race, Trixie Mattel went on to have a massive, mainstream career. Her two albums, “One Bird” and “Two Stones”, topped the iTunes charts for folk music. UNHhhh, her YouTube series alongside Katya, at times competed in viewership even with Untucked, which ultimately landed them a show on Viceland under the name Trixie & Katya.
With all of those accomplishments, it was a given that Trixie Mattel would be featured on All-Stars 3 and have a chance to win. In the end, that is exactly what happened, which further solidified Trixie’s place in the Drag Race franchise and made her highly successful 2018 even more special.
All-Stars 3 would not have been the same without Trixie Mattel, which made this a great casting decision for the show.
2 HURT: MORGAN MCMICHAELS
It was great to see a queen all the way back from season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race competing on All-Stars 3. With that said, Morgan McMichaels failed to impress the judges, the fans, and her fellow queens, being sent home on the very first episode.
Then, as the eliminated queens were given a chance to come back and BenDeLaCreme chose to eliminate herself, Morgan McMichaels was brought to All-Stars 3 yet again-- only to be eliminated on the very next episode.
In the end, it certainly seems like Morgan McMichaels failed to show new talents that would have a great impact on her presence in the series.
Instead, Morgan landed in the Bottom 2 and was sent home in the only two challenges that she competed.
1 SAVED: ALASKA
Drag Race: All-Star 2 winner Alaska was, without a doubt, one of the best casting decisions in the history of the franchise. Not only did she do well in virtually every challenge – aside from the one that prompted her now-infamous temper tantrum – but Alaska was also responsible for setting the tone of the format that All-Stars would now be known for: the queens send their fellow contestants home.
After three seasons of All-Stars, Alaska remains as the undisputed winner that most fans agree upon. Despite the fact that Katya was also a favorite to win that season, it is pretty clear, in hindsight, that it was Alaska’s season to win in the first place.
Who's your favorite RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars contestant? Let us know in the comments!