‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ S6 Finale Recap: Have A Great Trip

Kylie's fall and instant recovery in the final lip-sync is the definition of 'Rudemption'.

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

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It’s official, Kylie Sonique Love is our newest crowned queen!

Here’s some trivia: as a season two queen, Kylie is the All Stars winner who waited the longest to return to the show (11 years!) and also the winner who appears on the earliest original season (previously it was Chad on S4).

She’s also the biggest ‘redemption’ winner, in that she came 9th on her S2 (Monet and Trixie came 6th on theirs, previously the record). And she’s our first English-language trans winner (it is worth pointing out a lot of the winners’ circle are non-binary, though most came out after their seasons). (Apologies for all the caveats, but you don’t know fury like what’s unleashed when getting a Drag Race statistic wrong in a recap!)

Most importantly, she is the she of Wendy Williams’ immortal speech, “she’s got a point. She’s an icon, she’s a legend, and she is the moment. Now come on now!”.

If you haven’t already, watch the video below of Kylie learning she’s won (in case you don’t know, they film all possible crownings + ties on the show). She doesn’t believe it: it’s only after Eureka keeps screaming at her that she’s a winner does she realise it’s real. Then, there’s a little snippet the cameras caught post-filming, where she tells Eureka this is the first thing she’s ever won. Our hearts.

I know last recap I wrote I was hoping Ra’Jah would win, but Kylie feels just as good. All episode long, Ru repeats that Kylie has a tremendous “soul”: it’s a little wishy-washy for me, but I agree.

There’s an ineffable warmth and groundedness to her. She’s so charming, radiant and forthcoming, a wonderful person to platform alongside some of the show’s most-loved queens — and a reminder that the show’s fan base (myself included) shouldn’t discount an artist’s worth because they were an early out on a reality show.

An excellent queen to represent an excellent season: one of the show’s best in years (alongside S9, 12 and both UKs), and neck-and-neck with the perfection of AS2.

‘Howdy Howdy Howdy’ – RuPaul entering the werkroom with a cowboy hat

The finale’s challenge is to write, record, and perform a verse on Ru’s new song with Tanya Tucker, ‘This Is Our Country’. I hoped this meant we’d get a vocal session with Orville Peck, but instead, the queens are treated to a Tic Tac lunch with Ru and Michelle, and a rehearsal with Jamal Sims.

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

Jamal is a great guest, he adds so much to the show and really helps the queens.

There’s a through-line for the lunches: Ginger, Ra’Jah and Eureka talk about how much fun they’ve had this time around, which is a common All Stars talking point but really seems true here. AS6 has been so joyous, the drama’s never contrived, and the cast has uplifted each other the whole way through. No villains, just love, and it still remained entertaining!

Kylie’s chat is a little different, as she and Ru agree that it feels like AS6 is her first run on the show, considering her time on S2 was so long ago and short-lived, and she’s since transitioned/grown so much. Like Ru later says re; Kylie, ‘it’s like being a parent and watching someone become who they’re meant to be’: the sense of confidence and self-assuredness is just so lovely to watch.

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

This top four love each other! It’s such a joy to watch.

Later, when it comes to the number, everyone does well. There are a few hard-to-hear lyrics, and Eureka’s rap line ‘house the homeless’ does, unfortunately, sound like ‘how’s the homeless?’. At least Ru didn’t interject with ‘never had any complaints!’

Like Ru’s ‘American’, the track’s very patriotic. And for a reason: like Kylie says about her flag-print finale dress, they’re trying to reclaim a sense of pride and show what America ‘really’ is. But for reasons far too exhausting to get into, it always lands a little gross to me. Then again, I don’t come to Drag Race for leftist critiques on the violence inherent to all nation-states, and you don’t come here for me to go off on some undergraduate tangent criticising one of the world’s biggest reality shows for being too centrist. Blah blah blah.

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

Lana Del Rey will be sending a cease and desist, alongside with some chemtrails above Kylie’s country club.

Next up, the finale runway: we get three different looks from each queen this episode. It’s a lot, and none are as jaw-dropping as you’d imagine from the finale, only because they’ve all pulled out their best earlier into the competition. It makes sense.

The signs that Kylie’s winning are everywhere: Eureka, Ra’Jah and Ginger all go with the same purple palate, meaning she stands out and on-theme with the final song, too.

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

I really love this, except for the gown at the bottom? It feels a little flat or something, compared to the rest. She looks beautiful though!

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

It is SO impressive that Ra’Jah made every single of her looks this season.

Of the four, Ginger’s is my favourite, as it’s a bold move to make your finale look a rudemption of another queen’s failure.

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

Don’t tell me you don’t see it!

After the runway comes the final vulnerability test, the ‘why I deserve to win’ speech. Maybe lockdown’s just got me good, but I was really moved by all of their speeches — especially Eureka’s about how being fat makes people view her as sub-human. She dug deep to explain how fatphobia harms her and others, an idea the show definitely touches upon but doesn’t necessarily dive deep into as more than a ‘stage’ in someone’s life they’ve now ‘overcome’. Eureka has come such a long way since S9/10: I’ve loved every second of her this season.

Kylie’s speech about hiding her southernness was sweet too, and I simply must give a shout out to whichever editor added in some folk-country strumming underneath ripped straight from a Kelly Reichardt film. (As an aside, ‘Certain Woman’ would be a great drag name, as would ‘Old Joy’.)

The queens change for the lip-sync to Gaga’s ‘Stupid Love’: it’s nice that none of them really go for huge reveals. Of the four, Kylie looks the most crownable, and not even tripping over her own ruffles can stop her. Recovering via roly poly is instantly iconic: I screamed. I’m still screaming!

rupaul's drag race all stars 6 finale e12 recap

Kylie is also the best dressed for a Gaga track.

It’s clear too from the ‘live reaction’ video that Kylie was really defeated by the moment and had pretty much discounted herself from the crown. She looks crest-fallen when it happens, and the other queens watching barely react to the moment, as if to be sensitive to her.

Of course, if anything, the forward roll is a synecdoche for All Stars. You get knocked down, you get back up, redeem yourself and salute the flag, God damn it! And she’s crowned after lip-syncing to a Gaga song, after being eliminated in S2 for her Gaga impersonation! It’s all too much.

Considering Ginger’s walking away with $55,000, Ra’Jah $20,000 and Eureka has completely redeemed herself in the public eye, everyone feels like a winner. It’s a feel-good ending and feel-good season, where almost every queen featured had a moment. Except for Serena. (But hey, there’s always All Stars 9.)

Before then, Drag Race Holland is currently airing its second season, and another season of UK is starting later this month, which I will be recapping. Until then, stay safe and stream Dawn of Chromatica.

RuPaul’s Drag Race’s many iterations stream on Stan. 

Jared Richards is Junkee’s Drag Race recapper, and a freelance writer for The GuardianNME, The Big Issue and more. Follow him on Twitter @jrdjms.