It’s time for another season ALREADY! I’ve been looking up this year’s queens ahead of the show, which I normally do not do. I wanted to get to know their online personas and see how that compared to my first impressions of the queens as they entered. And there were some surprises!
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo — I am excited to have Vanjie back on the show! She is hilarious whenever she opens her mouth. The fact that she hid when she walked in was fantastic. I’m of the opinion that the first queen sent home should always get to come back, or at the very least I’d like to see a RuDemption season of All Stars featuring only queens that went home early. Vanessa is a great example of this working. (House of Mateo, drag daughter of Alexis Mateo)
Nina West — Now, that is drag! I love a classic, campy queen. Nina delivers that and then some. I’ve been really excited by her leading up to the show, and for the most part I was enjoying her on the show. “Elevengendary” is one of my favorite new words… it’s so stupid! I’m not sure what happened with the disease-ridden dress she made, but I’m looking forward to her redeeming herself with better looks.
Shuga Cain — Prior to the first episode airing, I was neither here nor there for Shuga Cain. What really won me over was her confessionals and commentary. Her entry look was great, but I wasn’t convinced by the runway look… still, Shuga was my favorite of the first episode. Her boy looks was perfect, and it probably helps a lot that she is 40. I respond more to queens around my own age. I hope she gets really far in the season.
Plastique Tiara — Maybe I’m being overly critical of Plastique, but I’m not really impressed. I don’t get lost is “beauty” like others, including RuPaul, tend to. I think she’s okay, but I’m just not that interested in her look. Yeah, she’s pretty. I want more; maybe she will prove me wrong and show herself to be incredibly talented as well. (House of Edwards, drag daughter of Alyssa Edwards)
Mercedes Iman Diamond — Mercedes won me over with her entrance into the workroom, giving a beautiful ululation. It was so much, and it was so fantastic. That said, Mercedes was a little low-key during the rest of the episode. She needs to figure out how to get her screen time, or she’s probably headed home soon. I am so interested in seeing what she has to offer. I don’t think a design challenge necessarily showcases every queen. Mercedes did just fine at the challenge, but I have seen some of her other looks online and I hope we get the chance to see something new and amazing
Scarlet Envy — Before the show, Scarlet was one of the queens I was excited about. She was in my pre-show top 5. Honestly though, I don’t really like her. She has this whole laissez-faire attitude that says to me that she doesn’t care to try; she seems to think she doesn’t have to. I didn’t like her entrance look or her runway look. And I hope the attitude is just early nervousness. I want to be won over.
Honey Davenport — Oh, Honey! Honey is giving me drag as much as Nina West, but in a different way. Seasoned queen. Her looks and talent seem strong, but she did fade into the background for the first episode. That’s okay, she has time to come forward and take control of some things. I love how genuine she seems and I don’t imagine too much fake drama from Honey. I think the fact that so many of this season’s queens are a part of large drag families could lead to a more interesting discussion of drag culture and the way the houses work. (House of Davenport, drag mother of Monét X Change)
A’Keria C Davenport — Another Davenport. I didn’t get much from A’Keria, but it’s early in the season. I wan’t completely disinterested, but I’m looking forward to seeing who this queen is! (House of Davenport)
Yvie Oddly — Yes, yes, yes! I think RuPaul used to do a really good job of leading the viewers through the world of drag by introducing new styles each season. Ru has said before that in order for the public to love Alaska, for example, they needed to first fall in love with Sharon Needles. And then the journey seemed to sort of stop. I feel like seasons seven through ten were largely filled with queens of styles we had seen before in some way, even if many of them were amazing. As viewers, we did get pulled into some interesting directions by some of the queens: Katya, Monique Heart, Sasha Velour. But the most interesting of those were more like exotic flavors of things that had appeared on the show already. Yvie Oddly is bringing something new. It’s so much more committed to a bizarre club kid aesthetic that we could be in for a really interesting ride! That said, it is entirely possible that we see nothing new and that Yvie isn’t able to translate her look into a competition. We shall see. I’m glad we get the chance.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache — Did someone order EXTRA? Silky is just so much. I’m loving it. I can’t imaging being in love with her as a fellow contestant, but as a viewer I am eating it up! Silky was in my pre-show top 5, and I think the first episode took some of the shine off of her for me, but not too much. I’m still really excited about her, but she was slightly less put together than I would have liked. Silky is also getting a lot of hate from “fans” online. I am going to address that at some point; it is disappointing to see people not lifting up drag, but trying to tear it down… and thinking their opinion is relevant. Stay in your lane and enjoy the show… because I’m expecting some incredible things from Miss Silky Nutmeg Ganache.
Brooke Lynn Hites — I’m actually shocked that it took eleven seasons to get a Canadian queen on the show. Brooke Lynn is another queen that has her game on point. She is really polished and funny, and I think for me as a viewer I’m going to have trouble falling in love with her if she doesn’t show vulnerability. I’m always excited when a queen doesn’t do that in the first episode or two, and then starts showing all of herself. It’s a smart way of playing things; we will see if Brooke Lynn is able to pull that off, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing it.
Ariel Versace — I had no opinion of Ariel Versace before the show; I don’t really seek out Instagram queens. Her look is interesting, but I did not care for her attitude during the first episode. I get the feeling she is going to be a queen I never warm to, but who does really well. There are some issues that Ariel Versace brings up in me, and those things might not have all that much to do with the queen herself. We’ll see how things go. I’m trying to not cement my feelings on any of the queens this early.
Ra’jah O’Hara — Okay, she’s both an O’Hara and a Davenport. This is why I’d love to have a broader discussion on how houses work. So, yeah… Ra’jah was there. I wan’t mad at anything she did, and I’m looking forward to falling in love with her. I think her confessionals could be some of the best of the season, so bring ’em on! (House of O’Hara & House of Davenport)
Kahanna Montrese — I’m not going to lie, I don’t really get it. Her personality is fantastic, and she has all the confidence in the world, but I wasn’t terribly excited about Kahanna during the first episode. I can say she killed the lip sync. She just did. I hope I’m just wrong about her; I love when a queen proves me completely wrong. (House of Montrese, drag daughter of Coco Montrese)
Soju — Someone had to go first, and this time is was the first oozing cyst queen. Gross. Soju is dynamic and fun; I was disappointed to see her sashay away. Not that one could argue that she deserved to stay; she didn’t. But it was still sad because she is such a fun queen. I hope she gets to come back to the show in some capacity. I actually think the show needs to tap the queens more often in general.
My Current Top 5: Suga Cain, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, Brooke Lynn Hites, Nina West, Yvie Oddly