We take Drag Race very seriously here at Queerty. We have spent endless hours arguing the pros and cons of the various challenges, ready to fight those dreadful cretins who have the audacity to suggest Roxxxy Andrews deserved to win or that bitch Phi Phi O’Hara was simply misunderstood. No.
At last, our beloved show has returned. And already there is a shocking twist! This premiere was split into two episodes, each with of seven contestants, to allow everyone to soak up more camera time. Although too bad for them, someone still gets cut in each episode. But we’ll get to that later.
This initial episode with the first seven queens was just the typical intro, including a Mike Ruiz photo shoot-challenge where they were photographed posing mid-air while jumping into a foam pit, and a lot of talking blah blah blah honey girl sweetie blah. We know the drill by now. So let’s skip all that and get to the runway. Even with only half the cast, there is much to discuss.
The contestants had to design runway looks based on popular TV shows, and they were given boxes of props to use as garment materials. The guest judge was Adam Lambert, who looked really cute. He should record some songs that are more fun and not so grouchy. He’s a good singer. Anyway—
T H E G O O D
BenDeLaCreme’s show (do we have to type that entire “BenDeLaCreme” name for the whole season???) was The Golden Girls, which meant she was given a lot of brightly-colored fabric. She was also given a cheesecake. So she served it.
Fierce! BenDeLaCreme is the real deal. She won the runway with this look and she deserved it.
Aside: Do we all understand the drag significance of cheesecake? The term “cheesecake” was used by World War I soldiers when describing pin-up girls who had big, curvy, gorgeous bodies. Like the phrase “Reading is fundamental,” the term “cheesecake” is explained in the brilliant, must-see documentary Paris Is Burning:
“Some children will ask me what I meant by Miss Cheesecake. That means you must not only have a body, but you must be sexy. A lot of people have bodies, but are not sexy.”
So yes, BenDeLaCreme was serving cheesecake with this look.
OUTLOOK: BenDeLaCreme met this challenge with guns blazing and she’s in the lead for the win already. Contestants who nail the first challenge like this have a tradition of going on to win the show: remember how Sharon Needles won her season’s first challenge with her zombie couture, and Raja sealed up her season from the first challenge with her Christmas Card photo? A strong first showing makes a big difference.
To keep the competition down, at some point she will have to drop her ditzy “character” she works while in drag, and show some depth. Other than that, she better not pull some sort of “I’m an artist, I won’t compromise my integrity” nonsense and not do one of the challenges correctly and screw up everything.
Every season has a contestant who has absolutely no chance of winning, but everyone roots for her because she’s so damned fun. This season, it’s ladyboy Gia.
Gia’s show was Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and her runway look was pure South Beach tacky realness.
She’s gorgeous, she can paint a sickening face, and she tosses out a constant barrage of one-liner observations, like the Greek chorus of the Drag Race theater narrating the unspoken truth of each scene. Or perhaps she’s saying it just because she’s thrilled she accomplished having a coherent thought. Either way, she’s fun. Plus, she’s a little bit cunty. So God bless her for that.
Welcome to the show, Miss Gia.
OUTLOOK: We love her already but let’s be honest here. She’ll make it only half-way through this season before she gets destroyed in a challenge simply because she didn’t understand the directions.
The “Come on Season 6, let’s get sickening!” caterwaul that has played endlessly on repeated promos comes from Laganja Estranja, a skinny 20-something who, unfortunately, introduced herself as “ghetto, but also classy and glamorous.” Ghetto? Really? Have we not learned from Monica Beverly Hillz to not call ourselves ghetto? And furthermore, anyone who has seen Wilona on Good Times knows ghetto can be classy and glamorous.
Watch your mouth, little queen. Wilona will come for you.
Laganja won the (boring) photo shoot mini-challenge, but then her runway look was just so-so. She was given a Dancing With The Stars theme, and she made a cute mirror-ball bustier, but then she wrapped herself in sparkly fabric and called it a skirt and plopped a cheap non-styled wig on her head and ruined the whole look.
But this was just the first day and time was tight. We’ll give her a pass this week.
OUTLOOK: Despite her unfortunate predilection for quasi-racist terminology, and her defense mechanism for hiding behind that gauche drag persona, Laganja has a terrific personality and is really cute. She could be an underdog pick for the finals, but she also may be too vulnerable to survive the stress of the show’s grueling schedule. She already cracked and shed tears during the first “Untucked” episode while talking about her shaky relationship with her mother, so it’s only going to get messier. No matter. America will love her. She’ll make tons of money touring nightclubs after the show.
T H E B A D
April’s runway theme was was Duck Dynasty, which holds no potential for runway glamour, but her face looked good. And…that’s where it ends.
Dear God, what is this? And the judges liked her look! It must have looked different in person.
As a boy, April is adorable. This kid is absolutely gorgeous with cheekbones and lips for days—
—but he is much more interesting as a boy than a girl. This was her look when she first walked into the workroom.
OUTLOOK: The clock is ticking. NEXT–
Adore Delano is one of those 20-something kids who thinks being cute involves speaking with slurred words as if enunciating consonants is just too exhausting, and saying “gurrrrrrrrl” as often as possible, all of which represents the worst of this generation and makes us fearful for the future of America.
Adore’s theme was Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, so she should’ve constructed some sort of ridiculous girly pageant frock. Alas, Adore has no idea how to sew, so she (a) glued her costume together, but (b) she couldn’t even handle a glue gun so she (c) accidentally glued her garment to her dress form. What the…did she really? And seriously, doesn’t every contestant know by now that sewing is involved in Drag Race and they should at least learn how to work a sewing machine before they show up for the competition?
After she ripped her dress off the form, she threw it on and looked decent thanks to her cute pink wig, but she looked absolutely nothing like a Honey Boo-Boo theme. Translation: big giant fail. Adore barely escaped lip syncing for her life this week, and she’s lucky.
OUTLOOK: She’ll be this season’s Shangela, wreaking havoc upon the competition, and she’ll last a while.
Vivacious is from a different scene than the other contestants, the NYC club kid scene from 20+ years ago, and those club kids were all about creativity and concept. They would make their costumes from little more than glow sticks and stuff they found in their neighbors’ trash, and the result was very D-I-Y, but they nevertheless made the room more interesting and a hell of a lot of fun. This is Vivacious personified.
Her intro look when first entering the workroom was very strange, but relax and think about it a little bit, and it grows on you.
Vivacious got the show Game of Thrones, which meant she could’ve gone either medieval, or just totally bloody, and it would’ve been great. But instead, she looked like an alien priestess, maybe?…
…and it would’ve looked great in the basement of Disco 2000 at the Limelight at 3 a.m. circa 1993, but here under the stage lights it was a bunch of nothing with a feathered collar. So we’ll just let it go and hope she can develop a learning curve for this competition.
OUTLOOK: She landed in the bottom two this week. It wasn’t her night. She won’t win this show, but her inner light burns bright. We have high hopes for her making a good name for herself.
T H E U G L Y
Along with “Learn how to sew,” the list of suggestions for contestants entering Drag Race should definitely include “Spend some money on a few decent wigs.” Poor Kelly didn’t seem to get either memo.
Her show: Downton Abbey. Her box: a bunch of odd props, including a giant silk flower (?), which she disassembled and then used the petals to create the bodice of her dress. Michelle Visage—who apparently is the new spokesperson for the Bra-llelujah:
—very astutely observed how it looks like Kelly’s torso was covered in bacon. Yes! That’s exactly it. Giant slices of raw bacon. Oh dear, see how the most interesting detail we have to discuss is how her garment looks like cured meat? That’s not a good sign.
Please observe this big white shiny mess. And can someone please tell Laganja to stand up straight?
Since time was short, Kelly could’ve taken all that fabric she was given and made a very simple 1920’s flapper dress, which is just a sheath of fabric and maybe some fringe, and then thrown on a string of something around her neck, and she would’ve looked perfect. That didn’t happen and she wanted to be all artsy, so whatever. Although she did have one good line in her intro:
“I’m an actor, and I’ve been on a bunch of television shows, but I promise I’m not going to walk around reciting my IMDb page like some people we know from past seasons.”
Well, who could that be? Hmm.
Touché, honey, but if you could write a song that gets 12 million YouTube hits, we’d be interested in your IMDb page too. #girlbye