Are you listening to Alaska and Willam’s Race Chaser podcast? If you are: Great! You know already that it’s a RuPaul’s Drag Race recap podcast wherein the All Stars 2 winner and season 4 bad girl go through every episode of the reality competition series from the very beginning, sharing insights and spilling tea along the way. If you aren’t listening, well, then you should know that it’s a RuPaul’s Drag Race recap podcast wherein the All Stars 2 winner and season 4 bad girl go through every episode of the reality competition series from the very beginning, sharing insights and spilling tea along the way. And that you should be listening!
The two are almost done with season 1 — they just covered episode 6, “Absolut Drag Ball,” and have just the finale and reunion left — which makes this a perfect time to climb on board. If the mere thought of two of Drag Race‘s biggest personalities talking about the show for an hour a week isn’t enough for you, the promise of juicy behind-the-scenes details should be. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve spilled so far.
RuPaul was as sick of wig reveals as you were in season 4.
One of Alaska’s favorite subjects on the podcast is wig reveals. She’s not fond of them, and talks about their spread during the early seasons as a plague of sorts. During their discussion of the third episode of season 1 — in which Shannel infamously made her own headpiece fall off to show vulnerability during her “Greatest Love of All” lip sync — Alaska throws some shade at the season 4 girls for being particularly notorious when it comes to wig removal.
“Didn’t RuPaul famously say to y’all, ‘Keep your fucking wigs and your fucking shoes on,’ off-camera?” Alaska asked Willam, who confirmed the incident. Apparently, in addition to removing their drag during lip syncs, the season 4 crew would often remove their shoes and wigs on the runway out of discomfort, which annoyed Mama Ru. (Willam noted that he did not, and Michelle Visage apparently even complimented him for it.)
On “The Kiki,” INTO‘s Drag Race analysis series, we actually noted season 4 as being the seasonal straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to wig reveals, with the infamous Milan/Madame LaQueer lip sync to P!nk’s “Trouble” being the breaking point.
It’s good to know RuPaul was feeling the same type of way we were that season — and that Roxxxy Andrews came along to redefine the wig-pulling art during the very next regular season.
Ongina has actually only been called for one All Stars season — the first one.
Every time a new All Stars season comes around, one name in particular comes up more than any other: Ongina. The season 1 queen remains a most-requested pick for All Stars, both by fans and the queens themselves. A particularly potent rumor during All Stars 3‘s broadcast was that eventual 10th queen Bebe Zahara Benet was actually a last-second replacement for Ongina, who was injured right before shooting was set to begin. (Another version of this rumor alleged that Ongina was actually removed from the AS3 lineup by production to make room for Bebe.)
Ongina laid all this to rest, however, when she guested on Race Chaser. In something of a shock, she admitted that she’s only once been called to appear on All Stars, and it was for the first season. She turned that season down, of course, but hasn’t been called back since.
“I got invited for All Stars 1, but I said no, because timing was bad,” Ongina said. “I’m still waiting for my invitation for the later seasons.”
Considering Ongina is also not part of the rumored All Stars 4 cast, it looks like we’ll be waiting a bit longer to get the original bald queen back on our TV screens.
RuPaul reviews footage of every lip sync before making her final decision.
This one legitimately shocked me. Though RuPaul made a big show of recusing herself to make a decision after the Bebe vs. Ongina “Stronger” lip sync in season 1 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she wasn’t just sitting in a room hemming and hawing over her decision. On the contrary, according to Alaska, she was reviewing footage of the lip sync — which she actually does every time.
“Maybe this is too inside of baseball to be talking about, but it’s a thing: She reviews the lip sync every time,” Alaska said in the podcast’s fifth full episode. “She recuses herself every time, every lip sync. There’s a break after the lip sync happens — because they have to review the footage. Because sometimes, it’s not very clear who the winner is.”
In retrospect, this seems obvious — there’s no way Ru can properly watch both performers do the whole lip sync in one take. And when I attended this year’s grand finale, Ru did indeed step backstage after every Lip Sync for the Crown, indicating she was likely reviewing footage then. But the idea that Ru does this every time? That queens are left standing on stage after performing their hearts out so Ru can check the tapes? It’s quite the mindfuck to consider.
That said, there seems to be some question about when exactly this practice started. Willam said Ru only recused herself once during season 4 — during the elimination that would see Willam himself disqualified — but Alaska seemed to believe it happened in both of her seasons, season 5 and All Stars 2. So the practice likely began either in All Stars 1 or at the start of season 5.
Regardless, Alaska’s bit of tea provides a whole new window into the world of Drag Race. More tidbits like these, and Race Chaser will become even more of an invaluable document for any Drag Race fan who wants to know everything they can about their favorite show.