Grade: A (Starting out sweet).
As an annoying white gay who’s never done drag in his life, I’m clearly a reliable source and critic of drag. So with that solid background in mind, let’s get into the premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9!
I was going to do a (Ru)cap of RPDR earlier but Logo for some reason (or now VH1?) hasn’t put up the FIRST EPISODE. I watched it on TV (what a wealthy sentence) but usually when I do a recap, I’ll watch it once through with some light notetaking and then rewatch it with a better understanding/comedy writing/nuanced approach. But now we’re just gonna wing it™ (no hate to chickens).
If you’re a gay with access to Reddit (Ru-ddit?), you’ve already seen the first twenty minutes of the premiere. It has a special club premiere, but everyone has iPhones and the footage was uploaded to the Internet faster than Alyssa Edwards can drop into a full, crotch-grazing split. And that’s fast. So I’d already seen half of the first episode by the time that it actually aired, and I’m very interested.
First off the past, I get the sense that these are highly polished, highly colorful queens—which is good. Season 7 was very polished and the winner was Violet Chachki. Season 8 was more “campy” and really, I felt, left a lot to be desired. Bob the Drag Queen won that season, even though where is she now? I feel like she was smothered to death by Naomi Smalls’ lips.
But let’s go through the kweens as they come into the werk room (watching Drag Race is actively making me a worse speller). C’est la vie!
The first queen we are introduced to is a horrifying wax replica of RuPaul! I’ll have nightmares about this for days! Seriously though, not to grag (gay + brag) but I’ve seen the wax figure of RuPaul in the actual Madame Tussauds museum. this was before I understood what drag was, so I literally thought she was just a beautiful blonde caramel woman. Which, truthfully, is not that far off from what I think of RuPaul now.
The first openly transgender woman to enter the Werk Room. Other trans women have come out during or after the contest, but Pep is the first one to enter as openly trans. So yes! And yes to a satin, blue 90’s theme robe.
STUNNING. Physically one of the most beautiful queens I’ve ever seen. I love the subtle details of her outfit, the sheer gloves studded with rhinestones, and the fabulous red color. I do worry that she’ll coast on fashion (a la Fame) so I’m eager to see her hidden depths. And her hidden talents. A-YOO (spoiler).
3). Eureka O’Hara:
I truly don’t know what it is, but I was attracted to Eureka from the first moment I saw her. I love her confidence, her cinching, and her fast wit. I don’t love that she was being semi-catty to every girl, but they’re fucking drag queens, so I need to shut the hell up. Hoping that Eureka has more up her sleeve than a catty remark. Serving pure catfish!
4). Charlie Hides:
Old as sin. Has been called by Cher as her favorite impersonator (Chad Michaels will kill herself). Very funny. Very sharp.
5). Farrah Moan:
One of the best drag names I’ve ever heard, which is all the more surprising because I think that Farrah is a literal fucking idiot. I wasn’t a huge fan of her look (I would’ve liked more of a cinch) but she’s stunning. Literally stunning.
6). Sasha Velour:
Crazy, weird, out of the box. Serving Where the Wild Things Are realness. She knows who she is, what she does, and where she wants to go. I’ve seen a little bit of her social media—so I know she can do glamour and performance. A complete frontrunner for me.
7). Alexis Michelle:
What Trixie and Katya would call a Witness Protection Program name. I wasn’t a huge fan of her padding—she padded on a FUPA, but she’s hot as a guy and a Broadway actress. She’ll be good, but cut the contacts.
8). Shea Coulee:
Will win, probably. Her outfit was loud and fashion and banjee (“Champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget”). Chicago queens are notoriously strong, and Shea doesn’t disappoint. Apparently she makes her own corsets too.
9). Trinity Taylor:
The Body. On the surface she seems basic, but she’s definitely got great potential, and I kind of dig her plastic surgery look.
10). Kimora Blac:
The REAL Body. I hate a constant breast plate on a queen, but the more I see it on Kimora, the more it grows on me. But that might just be the fungus. Also Kimora said that she’s never had plastic surgery, and I’d like to announce that I’ve never had a sip of alcohol or watched TV. We can all tell lies, hunny.
11). Jaymes Mansfield:
Similar to Trixie on her season, she paints on a bigger personality than she actually has. She introduced herself via puppet (same). I want her to do well, but I think she’ll crumble under the pressure. “There are my summer diamonds—some are diamonds, and some are not.”
12). Nina Bo’Nina Brown:
AMAZING. Completely transforms. Possibly the best make-up I’ve ever seen. Walked in as a mouse, transformed into a full PEACH. The only drawbacks I can find are her own confidence (or lack thereof) and the amount of time that she puts into her looks might be a hindrance.
VERY cool look, but I’m not as entranced as some other Tumblr gays. Sasha says she’s the number one name in Brooklyn, and I trust Sasha with my life. She’s a killer dancer, with hidden energy, so I hope to be surprised. Also she seems like a fucking sweetheart, so I’m an asshole.
14). LADY GAGA:
We knew that Lady Gaga would be appearing on the season, but the fact that they HAD HER WALK IN, PRETENDING TO BE A LADY GAGA IMPERSONATOR made me literally GAG. Probably the funniest thing RPDR has ever done.
The queens kiki with Gaga, we find out the first challenge: the Miss Charisma-Uniqueness-Nerve-and-Talent competition. The queens must do two looks—a frock inspired by their hometowns, and a Lady Gaga look.
None of the queens are terrible, except for Jaymes. She wore cow print (#MagnoliaCrawfordRIP).
I loved Farrah’s Las Vega look, even though it was much more Anna Karenina (Anna KaRuNina?) than Showgirl. Both of Valentina’s looks were incredible—from the mariachi look to the Lady Gaga look, truly flawless. Apparently the queens walk the runway for each look twice, and some tea I learned is that Charlie Hides MESSED UP HER REVEAL (RuVeal) BOTH TIMES.
The top three are Eureka, Sasha and Nina. Nina wins and just as Ru announces that, she also pulls a twist. We learned early on in the episode that no queens would be eliminated in the first episode. But Ru had something up his chartreuse sleeve, and RuVeals that an eliminated queen from a previous season would be coming back as the fourteenth queen of season 9!
Who (Cynthia Lee Fontaine) could it (CuCu) be?
It’s Cynthia. Definitely Cynthia.
Anyway, there wasn’t a ton of drama because I knew the twist, and there was no elimination. But I’m thrilled that A) we’ll have a nice, long season with 14 queens and B) that all the queens seem to be of such high caliber.
My top three projections (pRujections) are Shea Coulee, Sasha Velour and Eureka (dark horse).