Drag Race All Stars 8 fame games

Hallelujah! All Stars 8’s Fame Games is the best new addition to Drag Race in years

Queens all get the exposure they deserve without losing the tension of eliminations


From the moment its cast were revealed and we saw their promo looks, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 8 felt like we were in for something different. Something was in the air. Why? A combination of the unexpected, queens we’ve not seen on our screens for ages and a feeling of with this cast anything could happen. We then got the trailer, and the tease of the twist. The Fame Games – two ways for queens to win. But how? The hype was real, as were the shocked expressions plastered on the queens’ mugs in the teaser we saw. Now the first two episodes are out and we’ve seen the twist revealed in full, it gives me nothing but pleasure to say that Drag Race All Stars 8 Fame Games is the wisest addition we’ve had to the franchise in years. Here’s why.

The problem we had

The All Stars format was getting stale, and needed switching up. When All Stars 2 barged onto our screens and gave us some of the greatest TV we’ve ever had from the franchise, the format was perfect. The top two queens lip sync to win the challenge and a cash tip and then eliminate a queen from the bottom. It worked like a charm to cause suitable carnage, but by the time All Stars 5 came around it needed switching up again. This time, the top queen would lip sync against a lip sync assassin – another excellent twist that gave more exposure to queens who could come back without the pressure to compete and make fans remember how talented they are at performing – as well as giving the other queens in the cast the chance to vote as a collective who goes home, changing up the tactics once again. So far, so good.

But the issue with All Stars, and on that note any Drag Race season, is that the runway package expectation is HIGH. The judges and the fans want boundary pushing drag that’s high fashion, and the comes at a cost. Spending all that money on runway looks – we’re talking 10s of thousands of dollars in most cases – to go home after a couple of episodes is, in the words of Kelly Peakman and Baga Chipz, very very arsh.

But the issue with All Stars, and on that note any Drag Race season, is that the runway package expectation is HIGH. The judges and the fans want boundary pushing drag that’s high fashion, and the comes at a cost. Spending all that money on runway looks – we’re talking 10s of thousands of dollars in most cases – to go home after a couple of episodes is, in the words of Kelly Peakman and Baga Chipz, very very arsh.

The show had a predicament going forward. This format couldn’t work for regular seasons because the tension and overly positive critiques from the judges took the competition out of it all. But would queens want to come back to compete if they had to get scrappy and might not have their chance in the spotlight again?

The solution

Enter the Fame Games, the perfect way for Drag Race All Stars 8 to showcase all the queens’ runway packages. Now, it doesn’t matter if queens get the chop early like Naysha Lopez and Monica Beverly Hillz – they’re still in the running to win 50k and they get to show every single look and walk the main stage doing it. Losing is the new winning when you get to do your thing no matter what.

Also, perhaps I’m alone in this, but having the Fame Games in Untucked gives me some motive to actually watch it. I find Untucked on All Stars seasons a bit middling due to the fact we watch the queens plead their case to be saved after we already know who leaves. It takes the tension out of it all a bit – so having the Fame Games at the end of Untucked means I will definitely be tuning in to see what the eliminated queens wear.

The All Stars 8 cast make this twist even better

The queens who make up the cast of Drag Race All Stars 8 make the Fame Games twist even sweeter. This is a cast of queens many of who we haven’t seen on the main stage for years. Some haven’t been on it properly since 2009, in the case of Jessica Wild. Not only that, but it’s a cast many of whom left early on in their season and who never got the chance to walk 10 weeks worth of runway looks.