Why The 'Drag Race' Queens Should Be Worried About BenDeLaCreme
Only two weeks of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars have aired, yet there’s already a frontrunner. No, it is not BeBe Zahara Benet, the first ever Drag Race winner and obvious choice for the All Stars 3 crown. Instead, it is a contestant who, shockingly, only placed fifth in her season. But after that All Stars 3 season premiere, the question fans have to reckon with is actually if BenDeLaCreme will win Drag Race All Stars. This queen looks like she’s ready to slay.
Despite placing fifth on Season 6 of RuPaul's Drag Race, she was a clearly a fan favorite — so much so, that during the Season 6 reunion, she received a special honor. After she was eliminated, an online poll allowed fans to vote for their favorite contestant from that season. Ben won and was crowned “Miss Congeniality.” She wasn’t just a fan favorite for her personality though, she was also doing well in the competition up until her elimination. She won two challenges in that season, clearly foreshadowing her dominant debut on All Stars 3. But, despite her Miss Congeniality title and clear talent, there was a time when she would have refused to return to Drag Race.
In Sept. 2016, she did an interview with The Stranger, promoting a new drag show she created and revealed that there wasn’t much that would motivate her (at the time) to go through a second round of Drag Race. “I'm grateful for the experience I had, but I've already been through hell in my new show,” she said. “I don't need to go through it [again] on theirs."
But clearly, she changed her mind… and the queens are probably wishing she hadn't. Throughout the first two weeks of the competition, Ben hasn’t really let them do much winning. Although it was Shangela who would end up winning the lip-sync battle in Week 2 (Ben would finish in second as a result), Ben has won every other challenge. Every. Other. Challenge. She won the reading challenge, the talent show, Week 1’s lip sync, and the Diva Lip Sync challenge in Week 2. No other competitor has even gotten close to those statistics. By incorporating both comedy and glamour, Ben has something that sets her apart. While a single win could be a fluke or a particularly good day, Ben's success feels different. When a competitor strings together such strong performances back-to-back, it becomes hard to think that she’ll be anything but the next All Stars winner.
And, she is not just winning titles. Although she is still a long way away from winning that $100,000 grand prize, her winnings are stacking up. In just these first two weeks she has already earned $15,000 in cash and gift cards/certificates, as well as a five night stay in Ft. Lauderdale. She's doing pretty well for herself.
So, what happened between Season 6 and now to allow Ben to become so dominant? Well, like Luke Skywalker training to be a Jedi, Ben honed her skills to have a shot to win All Stars. That training came through numerous drag shows, most of which were shows she created. As Bustle's Alaina Urquhart-white previously reported for Bustle, since Season 6, she has appeared in such shows as “Terminally Delightful," a drag variety show; "BenDeLaCreme's Cosmos," telling the tale of the universe as a kind of drag Neil DeGrasse Tyson; and most recently, “Inferno A-Go-Go," a drag take on the classic story of Dante's Inferno. Each show incorporated unique combinations of singing, dancing, storytelling, drag… and sometimes, even puppets.
After being in the Top 2 for two weeks in a row, BenDeLaCreme has reigned as the most successful queen of the show so far. But, what remains to be seen is whether Ben’s performances are a fluke, a coincidence, or straight up skill. While Shangela may have edged out Ben in Week 2… it still feels like Ben’s competition to lose. So, dear BenDeLa — in the words of RuPaul — “Good luck and don’t f*ck it up.”