RuPaul's Drag Race premiere recap: 'Oh. My. Gaga!'
Well, well, well kids! Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race is off and running on all cylinders, and I must admit I have had a rad bromance with the show from the start.
So what did we (and by we I mean me — this is just my take, people) think of the Season 9 queens? You know the final decision as to who goes and who stays is up to the highest court in the land — Mama Ru! Let’s start from the very beginning, that’s always a good place to start.
Peppermint: Now you’d think with a name like Peppermint, she’d be sweet and refreshing, but I found this gal to be a little predictable. I felt like I’ve seen or met Peppermint before. This sense of familiarity could serve her well this season. She just needs to pay attention to the details — I think Gaga called her out on her runway look and agreed that she needed a little more edge to make her memorable. I expect to see Peppermint become sickening and sweet.
Valentina: How do I love me some Valentina! Let me count the ways… I almost fell out of my Gucci mules when I heard she had only been doing drag for a short time. In both of her runway moments, she looked like a million pesos! Her makeup, hair and body was snatched to the Gods, as they say. Her looks were highly detailed and she presents like a real pro, but she has a Lucille Ball-like innocence that I found so endearing. She’s one of my faves of the night for sure.
Eureka: Now, I have spent a lot of time in the south and believe me, those gals know how to do drag. It’s pageant central down there, and they give me classic comedy and eleganza every time. And Eureka — unlike the vacuum cleaner — doesn’t suck! She is fun, funny, trashy, retro, glam, self-deprecating and prepared. She said she “came to clean house” and I think she’s going to do just that. How great was her Miss East Tennessee? She was my Waffle House-Walmart-truck stop-Tammy Faye meets divine fantasy come to life. And her Gaga “Telephone” video fashion look was amaze-balls. Who says horizontal stripes are hard to wear? Not Eureka!
Charlie Hides: I haven’t quite figured this one out yet. She says she’s from Boston and London? Sounds too complicated already. She chose Boston for her hometown runway look and went for the ever sexy pilgrim theme. Black skirts and buckled shoes anyone? Didn’t think so! And then the sloppy tear away reveal made me want to say, “Get back on the Mayflower, Madam!” Redemption came in the form of the Brit Awards Gaga look complete with a copy of the Philip Treacy hat-wig-face mask combo. The look was a stellar creation worthy of its original McQueen tribute. But for me, it was a classic case of the dress wearing her. She didn’t sell it for me. Next!
Farrah Moan: What a beauty! She ambled into the workroom like a newborn Bambi — all legs and lashes. But then she lost me at “Hello.” As the other queens noted, she didn’t seem to know where she was or what she was doing. (I’ll have what she’s having!) Both her hometown Vegas look (which looked more Saint Petersburg Palace than Caesar’s Palace to me) and her Gaga get up from “Alejandro” were a bit boring. I think the other queens are on to her scent and could eat her alive.
Sasha Velour: Yay, a New York City gal just like me! She has charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent! And isn’t that the name of the game? Ok, well, it was the name of this episode’s pageant. While her hometown look was one Herring or Hockney too much, it was fresh, chic, original, and of course, artsy. And her Gaga look garnered “applause” from The Lady herself. Velour is most definitely back in style.
Alexis Michelle: Okay so, as a judge on RuPauls Drag Race, I only get to see the queens when they take the stage in the showroom. I don’t know what they look like out of character, and we only get glimpses of their boy personalities here and there. So just like you kids at home, I got my first look at Alexis Michelle out of drag when the show aired. My first thought: Ummm, he’s hot! But I’ll put that aside and try to be objective. I thought her New York City look was sloppy and cheap looking. It just didn’t have the professional finish I would expect of a runway look on season nine of RuPauls Drag Race. I appreciate the sentiment, but not the execution. But her Golden Globes Gaga look was award-worthy. The cut, fit and detail made me think it was real Versace! The makeup and hair — perfection. Oh, and did I mention, out of drag he’s really hot?!
Shea Couleé: There’s no relation to Robert Goulet, just in case you were wondering, as I did when I first heard her name. She hails from Chicago, which is apparently famous for…um…hot dogs? Well, in any event, she thinks outside the bun and her hot dog look was mouth watering! It was fun and a fantasy — just what I like in a queen. And like I said on the show, “Who doesn’t like a hot dog on their head?” Her Gaga look left me less satisfied. And left her in a pickle.
Trinity Taylor: This gal is a real pro. She hails from Orlando where they know a little bit about the fantasy of drag. And, after getting to know her onscreen in the work room, you can tell she came to win. I adore her looks on stage, but after watching the show, I wonder if she may be a little to catty for my taste. (I’m more of dog person.) Anywho, her Orlando-themed look reminded me more of an airbrushed license plate from the Jersey Shore. Which I happen to think looks great on Camaros, but not drag queens. But I became a big fan when she appeared in an American Horror Story: Hotel-inspired Gaga look. The dress, the wig, the blood, and perhaps most importantly, the attitude, were a dead ringer. And can we talk about her body? Probably not as much as she talks about her body, but Trinity is a triple threat — she’s got the look, the talent and the will to win.
Kimora Blac: My first impression? She’s cute. She also full of herself. Which is not cute. She has all the makings of a great queen (she is gorgeous!) but she seems a little too sure of herself (and I’m being nice here). I found her Las Vegas look to be very confusing. It did not read as Vegas to me. Peacock feathers on top of your head do not automatically say “Vegas.” To me it simply says, “Peacock feathers on top the head.” Her Gaga look was pedestrian and didn’t look special — it just looked like Tuesdays at my house.
Jaymes Mansfield: Ah, the pride and joy of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now, I happen to love drag queens from smaller cities. I think they tend to be a bit more creative and less jaded than the big city gals. I love their fresh take and their “straight” off the bus from Allentown innocence. And that’s exactly what I love about Jaymes. Her bovine tribute to Wisconsin was fun but needed to be more over the top. If you’re going to dress like a cow, really milk it! And her Gaga look seemed to be brought to us by Ambien. Nonetheless, I really like her and think she will be one to watch if she takes constructive criticism and grows each week.
Aja: Aja is the edgy Brooklynite — I’ve never been there but I hear Brooklyn is all the rage — so I was expecting more drama from her. Her Lady Liberty look was so expected it made for an “Aja-duh” moment. I thought her Commes de Garçon-Gaga look was cool in theory, but lacked execution. And as my pal Alaska would say, “Your makeup is terrible.”
Nina Bo’Nina Brown: Alas! The unsinkable Nina Bo’Nina Brown! She hails from Atlanta and gave a wacky and weird peach-head runway look that slayed us all. It was just so artsy and she whipped it up out of construction paper, for God’s sake. Construction paper, people! She is a real artist. Her Gaga look was her crowning glory. I think she won the pageant quite simply because she was the most artistic.
And then there was one more. I have to talk about Lady Gaga’s entrance into the work room as the 14th queen. None of the contestants had any idea the real Lady Gaga was going to be on set. So when she sashayed into the work room, I don’t think anyone thought it could really be her. Wasn’t it so fun watching the squeals of delight when they figured it out? Meltdowns were had by all. Even I had one while watching at home! I thought it was especially wonderful when Eureka and Gaga had their moment and Gaga fangirled back, saying she has always loved drag, especially — and I’m paraphrasing through tears here, people — when it gives you the ability to love yourself when you don’t want to be you. Can I get an amen?!
RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.