Welcome back, b-words! It’s the greatest time of year to be a human on our planet, Earth: the beginning of a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Not only that, but this season premiere marks the 100th episode! And guess how many queens have competed for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar as of this season? You guessed it!
The episode kicks off with our new batch of bitches filing into the workroom and trying to give us a memorable one-liner. For your convenience, I have sorted the new girls into categories.
Naomi Smalls is about 14 feet tall with disproportionately long legs, and she wisely refrains from covering them in a skirt or, god forbid, pants for this “first impression” moment. Being a 21-year-old skinny fashion queen, it would be very easy for her to slide right into the Violet Chachki slot (get your mind out of the gutter), so hopefully she has some strong performance skills to set herself apart.
Naysha Lopez is beautiful and that’s all there really is to say about her. Sounds shady, but the queen herself declared that the most important element of her drag is her appearance, and then described herself by reading everything listed next to “pretty” in the thesaurus.
Derrick Barry is a professional Britney Spears impersonator with her own show in Las Vegas, which I guess makes her the Chad Michaels of this season? Though she seems to be skewing more Courtney Act so far. I love me some Britney and she’s a dead ringer but I’m already kind of worried for her in terms of being able to do… anything else.
Cynthia Lee Fontaine is this year’s Puerto Rican queen and unfortunately I’m hoping she goes the way of Kandy Ho (but with an earlier elimination, of course) because within 20 seconds of her entrance she referred to her ass as her “cuckoo” twice and I already want to vom.
Acid Betty is a New York queen who is into kooky outfits and bright colors and tall wigs and being a bitch (her words, not mine). She claims that even Bianca Del Rio won’t fuck with her.
Thorgy Thor describes herself as a fashion clown which seems fairly accurate. I’m not in love with this outfit but she seems interesting at least!
Bob the Drag Queen’s ability to circumvent the censors with this leotard is admirable and her talking heads are hilarious. I’m not going to mince words here: she’s my favorite so far.
Dax ExclamationPoint comes in dressed like an X-Man I think, but my nerdiness is more of the Star Wars variety than the comic book variety so I’m not too sure. Anyway, she declares that she is the queen of cosplay and her look is inspired by badass sci-fi women. They don’t mention it on the show in this episode but Dax is also the drag mother of our reigning queen Violet Chachki.
Kim Chi is amazing, basically. Look at this bitch! She describes herself as an anime character come to life, and she’s already a bit internet-famous for her crazy, over-the-top makeup skills (Naomi is instantly starstruck by her for that reason, which is very endearing and hopefully will not lead to a Courtney Act/Joslyn Fox situation). She also introduces herself in the confessional by saying “Donut come for me, because I will destroy you” while holding a donut.
The Other Ones
Robbie Turner is a bit in the Jinkx Monsoon mold, being a vintage-loving, Jean Harlow-referencing Seattle queen. But whereas Jinkx was a sweet and earnest underdog, Robbie appears to be a sort of annoying and self-involved queen.
Laila McQueen walks in looking like Max doing Sharon Needles, and one of the other queens yells out “Don’t say Beetlejuice three times!” Her wig is some serious Party City realness which is troubling, but on the bright side she does inspire one of my favorite quotes of the episode. As part of her goth look she is wearing platform sneakers, leading to this exchange:
Thorgy: 14 hour from now we’ll all be like UGHHQFHOEWH!
Bob: And she’s like “Skechers, it’s the S!”
I feel a bit bad putting Chi Chi DeVayne in this category because she’s a very endearing queen. But as trash bag dresses go, this is no Alaska joint.
And then there’s Ru, who out-crazies them all:
Since this is the 100th episode, Ru is feeling very nostalgic. First, her She-Done-Already-Done-Had-Herses message is packed with quotes from past queens. Then, she announces the annual Episode One Photoshoot (I really missed this challenge last season!), in which the queens will pose with all of the previous Drag Race winners. Well, actually, almost all. Bianca was busy, but they found a suitable replacement.
Couldn’t have chosen better myself! Anyway, the main attraction in this segment of the show is always Ru’s one-liners, but surprisingly this year photographer Mathu Andersen got the best joke of the shoot while Laila McQueen was on set: “She’s like the Hamburglar scurrying around behind you!”
Notable moments from other queens include Violet clocking Naomi’s toes hanging off the fronts of her shoes (calling them a boner killer), Cynthia talking about her goddamn cuckoo again, Robbie being an asshole to Sharon Needles, everybody being stunned by Kim Chi’s beauty, and Bob cracking everybody’s shit up.
The queens all file back in to the workroom after the shoot to dedrag and participate in the annual Thirst Olympics, as they all scan the room for the hottest boys. Thorgy and Chi Chi both give shoutouts to Laila’s hotness, possibly because they haven’t seen her in her confessional outfit yet.
We zip right along to the main stage where Ru announces that in honor of the 100th episode, their first maxi challenge will be to create a look for a challenge from a previous season. She pulls season 2’s Morgan McMichaels on stage to announce which randomly-selected queen will assign the challenges by bending over and pretending to shit out a ping-pong ball. This is a reference to a movie I have not seen so I’m just going to assume it was hilarious. Anyhow, Robbie Turner wins and a parade of queens from previous seasons walk the runway in looks from the previous challenges. They are assigned as follows:
Naysha Lopez: Drag on a Dime
Naomi Smalls: Float Your Boat
Acid Betty: Money Ball
Cynthia Lee Fontaine: Sugar Ball
Chi Chi DeVayne: Glitter Ball
Laila McQueen: RuPocalpyse Now!
Thorgy Thor: Cake Couture
Kim Chi: Hair Ball
Dax ExclamationPoint: Hello Kitty
Bob the Drag Queen: Gone With the Window
Derrick Barry: The Queen Who Mopped Christmas
Robbie Turner: Fabulous Bitch Ball
Robbie claims that in all the excitement of assigning the challenges, she forgot she had to assign one to herself and she is none too pleased to be stuck working with a poodle. Either she is a true idiot or this was some sort of misguided attempt to give herself an underdog edit. Either way, ugh.
Some of the queens are excited about the challenge. Bob is glad that having the “make a dress out of curtains” category means she gets plenty of fabric, even if it is ugly. Kim Chi sees a pile of wigs in various shades of blonde and brown and starts talking about which specific Givenchy collection she’s going to use as inspiration. Thorgy is just happy to be there and to be alive, I think.
Other queens are not so pleased. Naomi is concerned that she is too scrawny and weak to lift the pride float while still walking like her namesake Naomi Campbell. Derrick Barry makes a red circle skirt and then realizes she has no idea how to do anything else. Naysha has never made a dress before because she is a pageant girl and just buys expensive shit for herself. Honey, there have been 99 episodes of this show and if you watched even two of them you should have at least borrowed your cousin’s sewing machine for an afternoon after learning you got cast!
In what may or may not be foreshadowing of some future tops and bottoms, we get a little background on just two queens today. Naysha Lopez talks about her pageant background and how she won some fancy schmancy international pageant called Miss Continental and how pageants get a bad rap but they’re really great and she loves them. Meanwhile, Kim Chi talks about how her family doesn’t even know that she does drag and think she’s just a makeup artist. Apparently she even has shown her mother pictures of herself in drag and her mom thought they were random models.
With some further ado involving workroom shenanigans that I won’t recap because this is already getting way too long, we move to the main stage to see everybody’s finished product! But of course, we must first appreciate Ru’s polka-dotted gown.
The judging panel from last season is back, with Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews. The guest judge of the night is Nicole Richie who is wearing gold cat ears which I assume she’s had in her closet for years, just waiting to finally be invited somewhere they’ll look appropriate. After the usual chit-chatting from the judges about how gorgeous they all are, the queens walk the runway in their creations.
Acid Betty – Money Ball
This is pretty great. I’m not really enamored of her head game in general but the outfit is perfect for the challenge without looking like one of the dresses from the original episode.
Bob the Drag Queen – Gone With the Window
This is a perfectly cute dress made of some truly ugly fabric! Bob is feeling her oats spinning around and making the skirt fly up, and she gets points for leading with the handbag as she enters and exits the runway.
Dax ExclamationPoint – Hello Kitty
This challenge is fresh in everyone’s minds as the one that sent Katya home (still not over that travesty, still can’t hear “Roar” without tearing up which is appalling considering how much I can’t stand Katy Perry). Dax did a decent job, though at the end of the day it’s just a simple pink dress with a few baubles glued on it.
Naysha Lopez – Drag on a Dime
This is possibly the ugliest thing anybody has ever worn on this show. I don’t know if she cobbled that corset together out of cardboard or if she covered a real corset in so much glitter glue that it completely warped the material but it looks like a championship belt for an amateur wrestling competition held at a small-town VFW and it is not even remotely cinching her waist. The awkwardly large slit would be the worst part of any other outfit but here it barely even registers.
Kim Chi – Hair Ball
KIM CHI, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! I don’t know how the fuck she made a lion costume constructed out of wigs look amazing, but she did. And her makeup is of course fantastic.
Cynthia Lee Fontaine – Sugar Ball
I am too busy rolling my eyes due to Cynthia mentioning her fucking cuckoo in a runway voiceover to have an opinion on this.
Naomi Smalls – Float Your Boat
Poor Naomi got the worst challenge by a mile. Her boat is hideous but the outfit underneath is very much in her ’90s supermodel aesthetic and once she gets to take the boat off she does a great job on the runway.
Chi Chi DeVayne – Glitter Ball
Chi Chi had a bit of a meltdown in the workroom when the panty portion of her outfit ripped shortly before it was time to hit the runway. I would have mentioned it earlier since it seemed like a classic “This queen is lipsynching tonight, just thought you should know” moment, but she actually turned out a perfectly cute outfit.
Thorgy Thor – Cake Couture
Well, it’s a better crack at Red Velvet Couture than Stacy Layne Matthews delivered on the original episode! It’s a pretty basic gown but it’s well put-together and the comically large candle on top of the cake is fun.
Robbie Turner – Fabulous Bitch Ball
In case you were starting to worry that Naysha Lopez would be the only epic disaster of the night, Robbie Turner seems to have taken her inspiration from Shangela’s snowman dress and Magnolia Crawford’s hoe-down party frock. But with more fur and less waist definition.
Derrick Barry – The Queen Who Mopped Christmas
Derrick decided to solve the problem of not knowing how to make a top by just wearing a red bra and gluing some glittery Christmas shit to it. Which, fair play! She looks like Christmas Britney, and she saves the whole thing from being overly-simple by removing the skirt to reveal a wreath on her crotchal region.
Laila McQueen – RuPocalpyse Now!
That’s a cool jacket and it’s singed-looking enough to fit the challenge, but points off to both her and Ru for not once saying “post-a-pop-a-lock-tic.”
The judges send a passel of queens backstage to drink watered down vodka cranberries while the tops and bottoms get critiqued. Acid Betty and Kim Chi are on top, and possible also Naomi? Any maybe Derrick? It’s hard to tell with those two because they got fairly mild praise with a few criticisms thrown in. But on the bottom are the true human trombone sounds Naysha Lopez and Robbie Turner, plus Laila McQueen who I didn’t think looked half bad. But the judges weren’t crazy about the fact that she made a jacket and then decided to just slap on some black panties and thigh-high boots to finish it off.
After some deliberating by the judges Kim Chi is named the very deserving challenge winner (and she reacts to winning $3,000 courtesy of SelfieOnAStick.com by saying “I can be the Asian tourist I always wanted to be!”) And because this show thrives on drama and controversy, Robbie Turner is sent to safety while poor Laila McQueen faces off against Naysha Lopez in a lipsync to “Applause” by Lady Gaga.
Naysha does a very smiley, hand-motiony lipsync (which Kim Chi compares to a soccer mom cheering on the sidelines) while Laila goes for sexy poses and writhing around on the floor. Laila wins, which is good since it was BS that she was in the bottom two in the first place, and Naysha sashays away. She seemed like a sweet queen but it’s season 8 and you’d think these girls would know by now that a pretty face isn’t enough to get you to the top!
I’d like to end with a poll, but rather than asking who your favorite queen is at this point (because really I think most of us are going to be on the same page in that regard) let’s just address the elephant in the room and vote for who is the cutest out of drag this season: