I enlisted Alexis Bevels to chat with me this week about the new season of ALL STARS! Alexis is a fabulously funny Chicago queen known for her stellar singing and dancing. (Photo by Jose A. Rios)
Chad: Alexis, I LOVED this episode! As much as I love meeting new queens each season of the Drag Race, it was a blissful, 90 minute reunion with a bunch of my favorite girls. What were your overall thoughts on the cast and changes to the competition?
Alexis: I am completely obsessed with this cast. Obviously, Alaska and Katya are fan favorites (I am especially loving UUNNHHHHH with Katya and Trixie), so I’m excited to see more of them, but I think I’m most excited about Phi and Roxxxy.
Chad: I agree -- I had been worried that the season would feel like it was just dragging its feet until the inevitable crowning of Alaska, but man, it's going to be a fun ride.
Alexis: Oh, absolutely! Are you excited to draw some of those entrance looks? I like how some of them were callbacks to their seasons.
Chad: I LOVE entrance looks. I feel like they're often the embodiment of everything the queen is trying to convey, and yes, it was great to see these queens reference their previous seasons. I thought there were a few underwhelming ones, like Detox and Coco's, but man, I LOVED drawing Alaska's gown. You can never go TOO crazy when you're drawing Alaska.
Alexis: Haha absolutely. Although I will say that I think Detox looked like a Fraggle, and I am 100% on board with that aesthetic.
Chad: Were you impressed with any of the entrance looks?
Alexis: Loved Alaska. (Even the workboots underneath. Baby Alexis would have shaded her for that, but now she knows semi long hours in heels, I say kudos) And Roxxxy can do no wrong with her looks. That graduated bob was everything.
Chad: Roxxxy, yes, is totally gorgeous. I was a little miffed with her in Season 5 because of her animosity toward Jinkx, but come on, girl has it going on.
Alexis: Exactly. That's something that always frustrated me about her. Girl, you are SICKENING..... you didn't need to be so focused on bringing others down. But I do think things are different this time around. Fingers crossed.
Chad: I have to admit that I adored Alyssa's giant orange bow. She's been adopting goofy, cartoony props and accessories sometimes, and those kill me. I also feel like I'm now totally on board with her as the campiest, most outrageous queen to ever be on this show. In her own way. (Her drama with Coco in Season 5 really detracted from that.)
Alexis: I agree, completely. And I loved that little moment of "girl that was so three years ago." I was watching at Sidetrack, and everyone was lol'ing pretty hard. Also, please somebody make me a Dorito compact. I want one in every flavor.
Chad: Ha! So, I thought it was pretty funny that I ended up scheduling my interview with you for this maxi-challenge, since you're involved in a local "talent show" every month. What did you think of the queens' performances?
Alexis: Oh hayyyy! That's right. As the “Stage Manager” for Berlin's monthly Dixie Wins a Talent Show *While Alexis Bevels Stage Manages, I do think I know a thing or two about a talent show. (shameless plug over)
Chad: Haha, I should mention that Katya talked in her YouTube series about the fact that Alaska, after winning the reading challenge, was put in charge of the show. Probably just deciding on the order of acts, but still, kind of interesting.
Alexis: Ooooo that's interesting! Does that mean she saw the acts before arranging the set list?
Chad: I.... doubt it. But I dunno. I would guess it was more like, "Who do I put first? Who follows whom?" (I'm sure Alaska properly uses "whom," obvs.) I think there was an interesting dilemma for a lot of these queens -- do they play to their strengths, or do they try to do something different that will surprise the judges?
Alexis: I think everyone did a really good job of playing to their strengths, except maybe Coco. Who was lovely! But perhaps missed the mark. She is a lip sync goddess, and I wanted more.
Chad: Were there any highlights? Also, how bad was Phi Phi's pitch? Honestly, I'm asking because I don't understand pitch.
Alexis: I do think Phi Phi was off. But when she was on, I thought her voice was great! Ginger was so right in saying singing a capella is rough. It's sooo easy to stray off notes. If you can't hear yourself, how in the hell are you gonna slay anybody else.......... was that funny?
Chad: Ha! I think the other singers struggled with the limitations of the show's format -- it seemed like Ginger and Adore were only allowed to perform brief excerpts of their songs, so they weren't really able to get to the emotional peaks of them.
Alexis: Oh yeah, plus that’s an odd space to do something intimate or rock related, I imagine. Not quite a concert venue or club.
Chad: Right, Adore definitely wouldn't have made it far crowdsurfing on that audience.
Alexis: Exactly. For me, the clear winners were Roxxxy and Alyssa. I may be biased because I love that old world glamour, Broadway production numbers.
Chad: I think Alyssa's was particularly effective because she started it off with that ridiculous giant Ru puppet, and you were like, "Oh god, what trainwreck is this?" But then.. it was totally fun and totally Alyssa.
Alexis: Roxxxy is a showgirl extraordinaire. I LOVED the nod to the wig reveal that put her on the map in her season.
Chad: The wig reveal was definitely the funniest addition to what otherwise felt like kind of a traditional burlesque number.
Alexis: Oooo yeah, but I like that she did that. She's not a singer or showstopping dancer like some of the others girls, so she did something, maybe a little safe, but she did it so well and she looked fantastic.
Chad: She looked superb, definitely. And I was really glad this first episode featured Tatianna and Roxxxy so prominently, because it really sets the stage for a lot of surprises this season, a lot of chances for redemption and renewal in these queens' careers. Were you tickled by Tatianna's performance?
Alexis: I was! Totally unexpected. I think there's probably a notion of....... oh you haven't been around for six years. But i was delighted and surprised by what she did. What did someone call it, a beatnik slam poetry performance or something? I loved it.
Chad: Yeah, I thought it was weird and sexy and strange. Tatianna was right -- people are always underestimating her. I re-watched Season 2 a few years ago, because I hadn't drawn it the first time I saw it, and Tatianna was the one I was most surprised by. Like, I didn't remember her being so funny and resourceful! [I did an interview with her back then about it, in case anyone's curious!] She's become the one I'm most excited to see again, because she's such a wild card. She's very very good at subverting your expectations and coming out on top!
Alexis: I believe it. I'm excited to see more from her. And hopefully everyone.
Chad: What did you think of the “lip sync for their legacy?” I thought it was pretty epic, but I disagree with its outcome.
Alexis: I loved it, what an incredible twist to have the top two lip sync, and for 10k to boot? I did agree with the outcome. I felt like maybe Tatianna didn’t get all the words out, but maybe it was a delay in the screen i was watching......... or the Remy Martin they were giving away for free. Also, I think I'm just in love with Roxxxy's face, and any time I look at it, I just black out.
Chad: Ha!!! I think Roxxxy was totally lovely and delivered a very good performance, but I was completely mesmerized with Tatianna's choreography. Something about the way she moved, the tightness of her performance, completely won me over. Here's my conspiracy theory -- Since the producers (and Ru) know who each of the top 2 plan to send home, that could very possibly affect the selection of the winner. I think Tatianna, planning strategically, was totally going to send Adore home. She knows how popular and well loved she is. And the producers were like, WHOA NO WAY and gave Roxxxy the win.
Alexis: Oooooooooooo that’s good! Omg that’s so good!
Chad: When I first heard about the new system, I assumed the winner of the lip sync would just choose on the spot who goes home. Which would be crazy exciting, but also terrifying from the producers' point of view. So by "picking the lipstick" ahead of time, they are essentially warning the people making the show what they're going to do.
Alexis: I thought maybe people would line up Survivor style, and the person with the most votes would get the boot.
Chad: Yeah, Ru does love asking the girls "who do you think should go home," so I could have seen them voting, too!
Alexis: I love the lipstick thing btw, I wanna know what shades they are. I do think it has gotta be such a bummer to win the challenge, the lip sync, and 10k, but have to immediately dash someone's chances at staying. Talk about bittersweet!
Chad: Yeah, this season will have ALL THE EMOTIONS! I'm guessing that everyone will be DYING to know who Tati would have chosen, and that seems like the perfect scene to start the next episode with, as the queens disrobe in the workroom.
Alexis: Oh, that’s true. Speaking of workroom....... can we talk about the biggest twist of all that I CERTAINLY did not see coming?
Chad: Which one? REVENGE??? How do you think that will work?
Alexis: Maybe it’ll be like in that one season of ANTM Guys vs. Girls, where they kept all the eliminated contestants separate, and they still did all the challenges, but not with the people still competing. They put all their pics on social media so the public could judge, and then later on, the competitor with the highest social media score got to come back. Maybe Ru wasn’t lying when she said nobody would be going home!
Chad: Huh! I think that sounds REALLY interesting, but also like a ton of work for the poor camera crew! Maybe they allow Coco to spy on the queens from the shadows, make catty comments, and snatch their wigs? She literally becomes the female Gremlin of the show!!!
Many thanks to Alexis for joining me! You should absolutely go see her in Chicago if you can, because her performances are always a treat. She'll be hosting Truth or Bare: a Strip Trivia night at Berlin Nightclub on August 30th, as well as Dixie Wins a Talent Show *While Alexis Bevels Stage Manages on Sept 6th, also at Berlin Nightclub. You can also find Alexis on Instagram and Twitter!(Photo of Alexis by Sam Probst)
As always, you can find a bunch of this week's art at my Etsy store! If you want to support my art and get exclusive new RPDR art of your own, you can support me on Patreon!Or you can just follow me on Twitter and Instagram and stuff.