I hate to admit it but I had some RuPaul’s Drag Race malaise following All Stars 3. I wanted Trixie to win but not like that. So I headed into Season 10 guarded. I was being overly dramatic (imagine that). From the opening strains, I was hooked, again. My beloved Drag Race is back. And this season looks like a goody.
Cut to: the Season 10 queens making their big entrance. Starting with Eureka O’Hara’s sausage curl. That’s right, the curl is back. I forgot how happy a single sweep of hair makes me. Eureka is a phoenix, rising from the ashes. And she’s not too high and mighty to kiss the workroom floor. #Gratitude. On paper, Asia O’Hara (of the pageant O’Hara’s) is not my cup of tea. And yet, I think I love her. I can’t explain it. Sometimes these things are chemical. Now Miz Cracker, I love her in a different way. In a “top 3” kind of way. The grapefruit hair, the retro vibe, the nonsensical opening line. She’s arty, current. What more would you expect from Bob the Drag Queen’s daughter? Oh right, let’s throw in a controversial name. And a long time rival! Cracker is feuding with Aquaria, who, for the record, does not look anything like a mermaid. She looks exactly like Miz Cracker. The New York scene calls them The Twins. It drives both of them crazy. All I know is, boy Aquaria thinks he’s Valentina. He’s not.
Yuhua Hamasaki is gorgeous in couture but I hardly notice it. It’s all about her Bianca Del Rio face. Blair St Clair looks like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, all grown up. As a Broadway queen, she’ll continually be compared to Alexis Michelle. Out of drag she looks like a young lesbian picking out her first cat. I’m expecting great things from Monét X Change but her sweeping the competition quick change falls a little flat (happy birthday, Kevin). There has been an explosion of Kameron Michaels Is So Cute coverage leading up to the premiere so I’m curious to see what he brings to the table. In drag and out. Miz Cracker fangirls. Social media has made the drag world a much smaller pond.
Mayhem Miller is the most well known of the Season 10 queens. She’s in the LA mafia with Detox, Morgan McMichaels and Delta Work. She’s tried out year after year and she’s going to fight to stay. I usually don’t like Kardashian queens (it’s just a personal preference) but Kalorie Karbdashian Williams is kind of cute. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Monique Heart and her entrance doesn’t help me decide. Dusty Ray Bottoms is a look queen. It’s all about the ugly beauty. I think she’s fabulous but, statistically, she won’t make it past the mid-way mark. The Vixen has Chicago written all over her. Literally. And Alexis Mateo’s daughter, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, is a bird in a golden cage. Tweet, tweet. Not a bad crew.
The contestants are marched, one by one, into a dramatically lit room. They’re not alone. Bob the Drag Queen. Ongina. Morgan McMichaels. Jiggly Caliente. Detox. Chad Michaels. Jujubee. Katya. Raven. Peppermint. Adore Delano. Mothertucking Porkchop is there. Porkchop! RuPaul has invited some of his favorite queens back to help him judge the new girls. We haven’t had such good luck with Drag Race juries lately but I’m going to reserve judgement. I’m still floating on a high from seeing Jaymes Mansfield included in this illustrious group. The Season 10 queens stomp, vogue and Click Clack a runway flanked by Drag Race Royalty. There are thrills. Mayhem does a cartwheel. Miz Cracker does a cartwheel with a grapefruit on her head. Kalorie Karbdashian twerks into splits. Monét X Change brings the house down with her triple death drop. And there are spills. Eureka almost ends up in Delta Work’s lap. The Vixen loses her skirt (and not in the Sonja Morgan “I need attention” way). Aquaria inadvertently slaps Jinkx Monsoon. You know, just another day in the life of a Ru Girl.
Winner: Monét X Change
Personal aside: It might be time to stop crying in our tea over All Stars 3. The rightful winners (Shangela and BenDeLaCreme) are rich bitches. They’re cashing VH1 checks for those C*** Blockers promos.
It’s always fun to see the queens out of drag for the first time. Aquaria thinks boy Blair St Clair is a producer’s son on a set tour. And Yuhua can’t tell the difference between The Vixen, Monique Heart, Mayhem Miller, Asia O’Hara and Monét X Change. No, they don’t all look alike. Is it ignorance or is she playing to the cameras? Either way, it’s ugly. Kameron immediately strips so all the other queens can ogle her ripped bod. If she sticks around long enough for the isolation to get to folks, things are going to get steamy.
In an homage to Season 1, the first maxi-challenge of Season 10 is Drag On A Dime. The queens need to create million dollar looks using only items from the 99¢ store (and their own hair). The crafty queens are ready. Miz Cracker was made for this challenge. Literally. Raised by an artist mother, Miz Cracker’s childhood was spent roaming the streets for trash to create art with. Yuhua makes dresses for all of the popular NY queens. Expectations are high but her caution tape dress sounds a bit played out. Monét X Change sits quietly in her corner, observing the chaos as she fashions kitchen sponges into a gown. And Monique Heart turns a No Trespassing sign into a Queen of Hearts (get it?) wig. The pageant girls? Oh, they’re struggling. Vanessa Vanjie is an explosion of pink flowers and Barbie dolls. And Kalorie Karbdashian’s money dress has been done before (and done more successfully).
Eureka tells the other girls about her health journey after Season 9. She didn’t know if she was ever going to dance again. The Season 9 premiere was her first time back on the stage. She knows second chances are rare so she’s not taking anything for granted. There are tears, onscreen and off.
Miz Cracker brought a lookbook of makeup choices. Even so, Aquaria thinks she’s copying her downturned eyebrows. This feud has been raging in NYC for eons. It’s been an hour and I’m already annoyed.
Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews are alone at the judging panel. I guess they don’t need a guest judge this week. Aquaria is a fashion Bo Peep. It would score a 10 if it didn’t look so crafty. Asia O’Hara is dressed as a 99¢ store. As in, she’s wearing ev-er-y-thing in the store. Kalorie Karbdashian needs to watch Season 3 to see what a money dress can look like. Blair St Clair looks like a backup dancer for a high school version of Beauty School Dropout. Dusty Ray Bottoms looks great but the tinman belongs to Detox. And I don’t think Michelle Visage will appreciate Dusty’s signature makeup spots. Kameron Michaels’ garden certainly isn’t grey. Monet X Change wins the night. She is Pebbles meets Pepper from American Horror Story all wrapped up in kitchen sponges. Witty, weird and a great use of the materials.
The Vixen’s pool noodle look needs more time. I see where she’s going, she’s just not there yet. Mayhem Miller creates couture out of trash bags. It’s been done many times before but she manages to bring something fresh to it. The plastic gloves are the icing on a very nice cake. Eureka borrowed Tracy Turnblad’s sweet 16 dress. Monique Heart is clearly the Queen of Heart but her dress needs refinement to make it to the top. That wig, tho. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo is a pink meatball. I’m not hating it but it’s not good. Yuhua makes caution tape beautiful but all Michelle Visage wants to talk about is the ankh on her head. Ankh ankh! Miz Cracker is a Fellini widow. The downturned brows make perfect sense.
Before the critique begins, RuPaul announces another queen will be joining the competition: welcome back, Farrah Moan. As Farrah makes her way down the runway, bitterness turns to fangirling. That’s not Farrah Moan! It Xtina! The queens go nuts. Christina Aguilera eats it up.
Top four: Blair St Clair, Mayhem Miller, Yuhua Hamasaki and Miz Cracker
Bottom three: Kalorie Karbdashian, Dusty Ray Bottoms and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
The judges think Kalorie Karbdashian’s money dress is low rent. I’m surprised Blair St Clair is in the top four. I appreciate her esthetic but I don’t think this particular look is successful. The judges disagree. They looove her hair salon smock. As expected, Michelle hates Dusty Ray Bottoms’ makeup. Oh, suck a dick, Michelle! Carson literally gags over Mayhem Miller. It took her a long time (and many tears) to get here but this is her moment. Vanessa Vanjie admits she isn’t Project Runway ready but the judges love her tough guy/pink lady persona. Her look, on the other hand, is a fail. Yuhua’s dress is praised for it’s couture shape but Michelle can’t leave the ankh alone. I get it, Michelle. I grew up in the 80’s too. But you need to drop it now. Miz Cracker gets love not just for her amazing creation, but for matching her makeup to the look (ahem, Aquaria).
Winner: Mayhem Miller
Bottom two: Kalorie Karbdashian and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
LIP-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE
Kalorie Karbdashian and Vanessa Vanjie perform Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera. It must be intimidating to perform for Xtina. She is watching them closely. The Mateo’s are performers. Vanessa Vanjie isn’t playing around. She controls the stage for most of the song until Kalorie starts twerking. Carson is Konfused but everyone else eats it up. Following the Shangela school of drag, Kalorie pulls dollar bills out of her corset and makes it rain. Vanessa is the better performer but nothing can compete with Kalorie’s gimmicks
Kalorie Karbdashian, shantay you stay. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, sashay away.