Hello, squirrel friends! It’s that time again. Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race is finally here and I’m losing my mind! Please be good again, please be good again, please be good again. I think the drag gods heard our cries. Backtrack the revamp. We like our Drag Race sickening, officially! If nothing else, this cast promises to bring it. We start with a speedy journey from episode 1 to 99. Season 1’s god awful filter… Ongina’s acknowledgment of her HIV status… Mimi Imfurst throwing an irate India Ferrah over her shoulder… “Get those nuts away from my face”… Phi Phi O’Hara vs Sharon Needles… “Hiiiiiiiii!”… Laganja Estranja’s death drop… “Not today, Satan”… Violet Chachki’s 18 inch waist… Who could have imagined all this would lead to tonight’s 100th episode? Only Mama Ru, of course. Let’s pretend last year never happened and bring on the queens!
The first to enter the workroom is Naomi Smalls. This girl has legs for days and the catwalk stride to match. “Check your lipstick before you come for me.” She might be even more stunning than her namesake Naomi Campbell. And her body is crazy! Cynthia Lee Fontaine cha chas in next. “How are you doing, mes amores? Do you want to see my cucu?” I wasn’t overly impressed with Cynthia from the promo materials but damn if she didn’t win me over immediately! She looks like a pageant queen, sounds like a ditz and has the charisma of a real star. She’s also obsessed with her JLo cucu (ass). Xanadude described Dax Exclamationpoint’s entrance outfit as Storm from the XMen going through her 80’s punk phase. “What’s up, nerds?” Dax is the queen of the nerds and I’m really excited to see her cosplay drag. I’m not sure if the other girls will take her seriously but I don’t think she came to play. Naysha Lopez gives us her best Miss Continental walk. “Hola! The beauty is here.” I’m not a huge fan of pageant queens but she definitely is a looker. She and Cynthia know each other from the pageant world. Dax asks if they’re both from Puerto Rico (they are) and Cynthia responds by chirping like a frog. Yeah, I love Cynthia.
Acid Betty enters wearing a solid silver faceplate, spraying aerosol. “No need to adjust your TV sets. This acid trip is all real!” I love a girl who plans a gimmick for her entrance. Boy Acid Betty looks like Pepper from American Horror Story. She claims she’s such a bitch that even Bianca Del Rio won’t mess with her. Gulp. She runs all over the workroom, “getting her stink on everything.” The pageant queens don’t know what to do with her. Robbie Turner wafts in on a sea of maribou feathers and silk. “Good morning. I didn’t realize this was happening today.” As a retro girl, I’m excited for Robbie and her old Hollywood style. Kim Chi is wearing such high heels that she has to stoop to enter. Before she can even get her lines out the other girls are cheering. “I came to chop suey the competition.” Kim Chi is famous on Instagram for her amazing makeup looks and the girls are seriously fangirling. She’s also kind of a dork (which makes me love her even more). Thorgy Thor is next. “Thorgy with a TH and Orgy. And I feel incredible!” It’s not a good sign when you have to explain how to pronounce your name in your intro (said the girl who picked a constantly mispronounced name herself). Boy Thorgy has long dreads which probably complicates her wig styles. And she’s a big, sweet goofball. Acid Betty cringes at seeing Thorgy. They’re both New York queens (plus Betty is a huge bitch). Thorgy tells the other girls that Betty is going to be extra. Betty sends it right back at Thorgy. I think they’re both right.
Before things can get too heated, Bob the Drag Queen strides into the workroom. Bob doesn’t say a word. She expresses her intro line through facial expressions: I’m fierce and I’m going to eat you alive. She’s wearing a white bodysuit that reads “unt” and her right arm has a long black sleeve. When she cocks her arm it spells one of Tamara Tattles favorite words (Creativity, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent). Bob is funny and smart. It’s a deadly combination. Thorgy is excited to see another New York queen. Laila McQueen brings us her best Beetlejuice look. “Alright, ladies. Let’s turn up the juice and see what shakes loose.” She’s quite young. Robbie Turner clocks her for wearing flats. Now it’s Chi Chi Devayne’s turn. “Laissez les bon temps rouler!” She is from Shreveport and girl is country. I don’t think we’ve ever had a girl so country (I’m looking at you, Stacy Layne Matthews). And finally we get Derrick Barry. “It’s Derrick, bitch.” And, yes, she’s doing Britney. Robbie Turner fangirls while Laila McQueen shrinks back in fear.
Now it’s time for RuPaul’s “She done already done had herses” message full of famous Drag Race sayings. And then he’s there, wearing a ridiculous Pharrell hat. Laila McQueen looks terrified. RuPaul let’s the girls know that it’s the 100th episode and that Derrick Barry was the 100th queen to enter the workroom. Derrick puffs up even more hearing that. Since it’s such a special occasion, RuPaul has invited some special guests to the traditional first episode photoshoot challenge: the past winners of RuPaul’s Drag Race! Well, except for Bianca Del Rio, who couldn’t be there so she’s replaced by a circus clown. The shade! RuPaul wants to see who can stand out in a sea of greatness.
Acid Betty isn’t intimidated but she almost gets slapped by Bebe Zahara Benet for getting too close. Naomi Smalls steals the stage with her long, long legs but Violet Chachki points out that she has cliffhangers (her toes hang over her shoes). When Sharon Needles complains that Robbie Turner is blocking her light, Robbie suggests she move. If looks could kill! Kim Chi starts out in front but she’s blocking Sharon. She apologizes and moves. Then she’s blocking Raja so she apologizes and moves again. Kim Chi might be too nice for this competition. Bob the Drag Queen gives some pretty shots but then gets silly. I love to hear RuPaul laugh! Laila McQueen looks terrified. She’s practically sinking into herself. Derrick Barry takes control and works the entire set. She even finds a chair in the background and uses it. She’s a real professional.
RuPaul brings the girls to the main stage to introduce the maxi-challenge. They’re each going to be assigned a “legendary” design challenge from past seasons. Robbie Turner is selected to decide everyone’s challenge. From season 1, Shannel presents the “Drag On A Dime” thrift store challenge (Naysha Lopez). Latrice Royale represents season 4’s “Pride Float” challenge (Naomi Smalls). Violet Chachki brings the “Money Ball” challenge from season 3 (Acid Betty). Jinkx Monsoon models season 5’s “Sugar Ball” (Cynthia Lee Fontaine). Tyra Sanchez has the “Glitter Ball” challenge from season 6 (Chi Chi Devayne). Chad Michaels presents the “Post Apocalyptic” challenge from season 4 (Laila McQueen). Raja serves the “Cake Couture” challenge from season 3 (Thorgy Thor). Bebe Zahara Benet brings the “Hair Ball” from season 3 (Kim Chi). Hello Kitty presents the “Hello Kitty Couture” challenge from season 7 (Dax Exclamationpoint). Raven wears curtains to announce the “Gone With The Window” challenge from season 2 (Bob the Drag Queen). The Pit Crew presents the “Queen Who Mopped Xmas” challenge from season 3 (Derrick Barry). Sharon Needles has the “Bitch Ball”challenge from season 4 (Robbie Turner, because it was last and he forgot to pick out a challenge for himself).
The girls each get a table filled with materials to use for their looks. Robbie Turner tries to pass out the dog biscuits from his table. Naomi Smalls is upset that her Pride float boat is going to cover up her gorgeous legs. Derrick Barry is overwhelmed but he knows he’s going for a Britney vibe. Naomi Smalls snarks, “Derrick Barry is not creative, obviously, since he’s been impersonating someone else his whole life. He will definitely have the hardest time with this challenge.” Kim Chi is going for a Givenchy inspired look made of wigs the color of “Florence Henderson shade of poop brown.” As a pageant girl, Naysha Lopez doesn’t sew. She’s used to spending a lot of money to have other people make gorgeous looks for her. I think this is why RuPaul includes a sewing challenge so early in every episode. It weeds out the less creative queens. “There’s a piggy bank. A piggy bank! Am I supposed to mount this shit on my head?” Yes. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do.
RuPaul asks Acid Betty about the Brooklyn drag scene. Betty makes sure to point out that Thorgy is from Brooklyn and she works in Manhattan. RuPaul points out that Laila McQueen seems shy. Laila, Ru is telling you to wake up. Listen to her! Naysha Lopez tells Chi Chi Devayne about winning Miss Intercontinental. It’s a big deal. It’s the Miss America of the LBGTQIA community. Bob the Drag Queen and Derrick Barry talk about when they started drag. Bob explains that all drag queens either start on Halloween (Derrick) or on Gay Pride (Bob). Kim Chi’s family doesn’t know that she does drag. They know she’s a makeup artist so when she’s shown her mother photos of her in drag her mother assumes it’s a model that she painted. Kim doesn’t want to tell her because she thinks she’s disappointed her mother too often. So sad. Bob is cracking jokes left and right. It’s driving Acid Betty crazy. Maybe she should join the Bitter Old Lady Brigade. As Chi Chi is getting dressed, her outfit rips. She doesn’t think she has time to fix it and starts panicking.
RuPaul looks stunning in pink polka dots. He’s joined by the full judging panel: Michelle Visage, Ross Matthews and Carson Kressley. I’m not sure if Ross and Carson will switch out like last year but tonight everyone is accounted for. The guest judge is Nicole Richie.
Acid Betty wears a sweeping dress made of money (Money Ball). It’s interesting to see her in a somewhat “normal” gown. Bob the Drag Queen wears a 1950’s housewife dress made of curtains (Gone With The Window). The fabric is hideous but can sew. Dax Exclamationpoint has a tight pink number on (Hello Kitty Couture). It’s eh. I was expecting more. Naysha Lopez wheels a shopping cart of crap onto the stage (Drag On A Dime). Her dress is a square piece of fabric with a really sad corset over it. Oh, girl. Kim Chi is a couture Cowardly Lion (Hair Ball). Her lion makeup is stunning. Cynthia Lee Fontaine has a slightly more successful basic fabric/corset combo than Naysha (Sugar Ball) but I love her so I don’t care. Plus, she calls it a cor-se-let. Ohh! She pulls her fabric off and gives us a look at her cucu! Werk. Naomi Smalls is drowning in her cumbersome boat (Pride Float). When she drops it and struts in a little gold number, Nicole Richie covets her body, hard.
Chi Chi Devayne is a silver disco queen (Glitter Ball). I wish she turned that disco ball into a crazy huge ring. Thorgy Thor is kind of boring in a red lace dress (Cake Couture). I expected more from her too. Robbie Turner is a mess in pink and white fluff (Bitch Ball). She admits she looks more like a sheep than a poodle. Derrick Barry is wearing a red bra and mini skirt (Queen Who Mopped Xmas). She put some christmas sparkle on it but I’m not impressed. Then she rips off her skirt and she has a wreath on her “down there.” She pulls out some scissors and starts trimming her Hanukkah bush. Okay, girl. You surprised me. I’m expecting a lot from Laila McQueen and her Mad Max look (Post Apocalyptic). Her jacket is cool and I’m impressed that she made it but the judges want more below than her panties and thigh high boots. Not quite a hit.
Top queens: Acid Betty, Kim Chi and Derrick Barry. Kim Chi wins the first maxie-challenge! Chukahaeyo!
Bottom queens: Naysha Lopez, Naomi Smalls, Robbie Turner and Laila McQueen.
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE
The two queens up for elimination are Naysha Lopez and Laila McQueen. They perform Applause by Lady Gaga.
This song seems better suited to Laila McQueen’s style but any drag queen worth her salt should have Gaga in their wheelhouse. Naysha Lopez starts out doing what she thinks is edgy choreography. Laila, on the other hand, begins by getting into character. Naysha is performing the song; Laila is living it. Naysha is giving beauty; Laila is giving heart. And then Laila goes wild! I think it’s pretty clear who won this lip-sync. Laila McQueen, shantay you stay. Naysha Lopez, sashay away.
Don’t forget to watch Untucked:
Next week: It’s another 90 minute episode focusing on dancing, lip-syncing and an a cappella sing-off.