Warning: This article contains spoilers for episodes 1 and 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7.
Change your [rules], All Stars 7. Change it around.
The iconic words of Tammie Brown seemingly guided RuPaul's Drag Race producers as they concocted a massive twist fit for eight returning champions on the first all-winners edition of the Emmy-winning franchise. In a move that marked the biggest change to the format since the lipstick-pulling shenanigans of All Stars 2, RuPaul announced during Friday's episode that AS7 would contain no eliminations throughout the season. Instead, the cast will compete against each other's report cards, as they amass "Legendary Legend Stars" throughout the season — with one lip-sync-winning all-star gaining the ability to "block" a fellow competitor from adding any to her haul during the next episode.
"I definitely think, out of the three seasons that I've done, this time I was a little bit more strategic because the game requires you to be more strategic," All Stars 4 winner Trinity The Tuck exclusively tells EW of her thoughts on the twist in a new clip from our AS7 cover story interview above. Adds All Stars 5 victor Shea Couleé: "We really have to be strategic, it's like drag Big Brother out there, you just have to know how to maneuver."
Fellow All Stars 4 winner Monét X Change recalls the twist "giving Survivor," just without the dramatic exits, and that it led to "tricking people into thinking they're your friend, but doing a little something to undercut them" in the end — a comment that prompted season 12 champ Jaida Essence Hall to clap back: "It's giving people secretly stabbing you in the back."
Vijat M for EW Jaida Essence Hall for EW
Outside of the chaos the rule change caused among the gals' relationships, it also put them at ease with their own artistry across a season dedicated to celebrating Drag Race excellence among its royal court of crown-wearing queens.
"The fact that nobody was leaving allowed us to then re-evaluate the way in which we competed, because you can actually give your best because you know for a fact that you're not leaving, you don't have this constant fear thing. So when you make decisions on the show, it's not fear-based, it's because I want to be excellent," Jaida continues, with season 3 legend Raja observing that it was "traumatic" to step back into the Drag Race competition, but knowing she was there for the entirety of the season created an environment that fostered creativity over bitterness.
"Realizing we were going to be there and showcase each week and not be sent home allowed all of us to have a little bit more ease in how we connected to each other, because we knew we were going to get to do fierce runways anyway on every episode," she says. "So, that kind of made it a little bit nicer."
Finishes season 5's Jinkx Monsoon: "It's like we were able to take really big swings, without the fear of is this swing going to be the thing that sends me home, and I think that also allowed all of us to really lean into our idiosyncrasies and our special, unique drag so that we know we're not going to get sent home because we put ourselves out on the runway."
Paramount+/World of Wonder 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7' cast performs on the Main Stage.
Monét initially felt that she "hated it" and "wanted it to not be how it was — at the beginning," but learned to like it later in the game, she previously told EW as part of our roundtable interview with the all-winners cast. "I liked it," Jinkx added, "and I think it's the reason I said yes."
Monét further elaborated on the kind of drama in store on All Stars 7: "I was uninhibited going in. Like, 'You know what? I'm just ready to have fun and be strategic. As someone who watches a lot of Drag Race and All Stars, I want them to be shady and send people home,'" she said. "Cue UK Versus the World. I loved that they were being so shady and made good TV. I felt that energy. Like, "Let's create chaos, let's have fun."
Vijat M for EW EW unties 'Drag Race' winners for our 'All Stars 7' cover shoot
The two-part AS7 premiere began with a choreography and songwriting challenge set to RuPaul's new tune "Legends," and ended with Shea and Monét taking the season's first pair of stars — with Shea ultimately winning the lip-sync and choosing to block Trinity. Episode 2 featured an epic Snatch Game that saw the queens performing as two celebrities each with Trinity and Jinkx placing in the top, though Trinity was unable to claim her star due to her blocking. Jinkx won the lip-sync duel, and (cue the depressing "It's chocolate" horn from season 14) blocked Shea.
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