Warning hunties: Contains sickening spoilers!
Within inches of the season eight starting line, we had all but erased the disappointing seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race - literally. In whisking through ninety-nine preceding episodes, only Violet Chachki’s triumphant ‘come through’ was deemed of significance to the show’s herstory.
As ever, reality TV lives or dies on its casting, and by the time twelve new queens sashayed into the workroom, it was clear that there was more charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent on display than last year. Perhaps Ru and the gang heard rumblings of discontent, but all the stops were pulled out to ensure goodwill towards the new season.
Oh come on! Like you weren’t delighted to see all of the previous winners (including, hilariously, a clown
in lieu of an absent Bianca Del Rio). Sharon Needles’s expression as Robbie Turner wafted one of Jinkx Monsoon’s crusty old nighties in her face was worth the price of admission alone. As if the winners weren’t enough (and a timely reminder that series 2 winner Tyra Sanchez was a poor judgement call), it was equally lovely to see Raven, Latrice, Shannel and, um, Hello Kitty.
It was, perhaps, somewhat risky to remind viewers of fan favourites, throwing down a gauntlet for the new queens. They
are the standard by which you
will be judged. There was much criticism of last year’s endless acting challenges so it was another masterstroke to reboot former glories by reviving past design challenges.
With the new queens introduced and photographed (WHY NO MIKE RUIZ? WHO WILL WE MASTURBATE OVER NOW? A: The Pit Crew, obv), let’s take a look at the runners and riders and assign them their grades, from the fierce to the flops...
KIM CHI (A-)
The curious, lisping lovechild of Jujubee and Roxxxy Andrews, Kim Chi is already a certified Instagram sensation and definitely
one to watch. Also, let’s not forget Ru likes a clever
queen and softly-spoken Kim seems to be that. Girl claims her mum doesn’t know she does drag. K, hun, whatever. Can’t wait for that heartfelt and spontaneous video message to pop up on Untucked. Still, although her final presentation was reminiscent of John Candy in Spaceballs
, she looked amazing, on-brand, and adorable.
BOB THE DRAG QUEEN (B)
The best way to win RuPaul’s Drag Race
is to be funny, clever and talented (which is probably why Ginger Minj should have won Series 7). Bob seems to be all of these things. Her gormless photo-shoot face was hilarious. My only worry is that her Rolodex of Funny isn’t quite
as full as Bianca Del Rio’s (we’ve heard that ‘Big Old Bottom’ gag across 30 social media channels now) and her drag might not be quite
as polished as it needs to be. Still, I liked her curtain look, serving Octavia Spencer in The Help
ACID BETTY (B-)
I know we’re meant to be like all ‘OOOH HOW AVANT GARDE’ but, on first entering the workroom, I was more ‘who is this annoying Nina Flowers tribute?’ She mellowed (thank fuck) and I’d warmed to her by the end of the episode. That said, much like Max and Milk before her, I suspect it’ll all become predictably
quirky real fast. Final runway said ‘Grand High Witch with her wig off’ to me, but the judges seemed to like it.
NAOMI SMALLS (C+)
Being gorgeous counts for a lot on RuPaul’s Drag Race (see the inexplicable presence of Pearl in the S7 FINAL), and Naomi is certainly that. She’s young, but seems certain of her aesthetic. It’s not her fault she was lumbered with a dinky Pride boat for the runway. I suspect had she been given anything
else she’d have slayed. I wouldn’t count this one out.
THORGY THOR (C+)
I can’t condone a white man with dreadlocks, obviously, but there is something
about Thorgy. I don’t think she’s got the chops to win at this early stage but has an undeniable whiff of Miss Congeniality about her. Is for chins what Magnolia Crawford was for noses.
DAX EXCLAMATIONPOINT (C)
Is it just me or do we think Dax bought a ticket for San Diego ComicCon and got lost somewhere? She looks a bit confused, bless her. Look at it this way, she can’t do Storm every week and the Hello Kitty challenge was a soft option.
DERRICK BARRY (C-)
It’s Britney, bitch.
CYNTHIA LEE FONTAINE (C-)
Calm down, Shammy Brown and stop trying to make ‘Cuckoo’ happen. It’s not going to happen.
CHI CHI DEVAYNE (D)
Like a one-legged tribute from a minor fishing district in The Hunger Games
, I don’t fancy Chi Chi’s chances. I don’t think we’ll be seeing her Snatch Game, somehow. Evidence? SHE DIDN’T SHAVE HER ARMPITS. I mean come on, shaving is what? FUNDAMENTAL. Anyone who needs to tell everyone within minutes of meeting them that they’re a total 100% masc top needs to CTFO. Babes, you’re a drag queen.
LAILA MCQUEEN (D) - BOTTOM TWO
A strange, oddly pubescent cocktail of a less-charming Adore Delano, Sharon Needles and Max’s version of Sharon Needles, Laila is, without doubt, first half cannon fodder (or I’d be very surprised if she wasn’t). Sometimes, a queen just gets cast too soon into their career. The hideous photoshoot sealed her place in the bottom two and if that’s
the best lip-synch she’s got (sliding around on her crotch like a small dog with lice), she’s in trouble. Still, she wasn’t the worst and didn’t deserve to go - a narrow escape.
ROBBIE TURNER (D-)
It all makes sense. The bad wig; the uncertain, nervously delivered gags: It’s like Jinkx Monsoon fan-fiction. To be so clueless as to neglect to pick your own challenge category is almost a sackable offence. Her runway look was Shangela level crap (oh dog biscuits on your boobs, good call, hon) and she should have probably been in the bottom two.
NAYSHA LOPEZ (E) - ELIMINATED
Oh poor, sweet Naysha. The writing is so often on the mirror for the Pageant Girls. I didn’t hate her photograph, but (and I don’t say this lightly) I
could have produced a better dress with considerably less than a dime. No-one wants to be the first to go, and Naysha so clearly thought she was a serious contender, which made her elimination genuinely upsetting. Bye, bae.
Looking forward to next week, we have a Pitch Perfect
style acapella singing challenge which promises to be wonderful and hideous, just as drag should be. Join me next week for another Ru-cap!
Words: Juno Dawson
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