Donning a judge’s robe, RuPaul called season 5 of Drag Race to order at the top of the episode last night: “The new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is in session, and these queens are killer!”
At this point — so very, very early in the season — it’s actually pretty hard to tell if the queens are “killer” yet, but I will give them this: They’re looking pretty good so far. I always love the first few minutes of the season premieres, when all the queens come sashaying into the workroom looking all fab. And sure they looked good, but there does seem to be a few snoozers in the mix, and I’m not even talking about Jinkx Monsoon, who proudly announced that she’s “Seattle’s premiere narcoleptic drag queen, thank you.” The episode really only gave us a glimpse at each of the 14 — yes, 14! — ladies, so it’s fair to assume that the queen I found the least interesting — that’d be Ivy Winters — could potentially end up being my favorite, after a great runway or a personal meltdown.
So after that little taste of these new gals, the big question is: Which queen are you rooting for?
I was immediately drawn to Alyssa Edwards, mostly because she billed herself as “the Vanessa Williams of drag”; Penny Tration, if for nothing other than that delightful name (but too bad — SPOILER ALERT — that she went home last night); Alaska, because she seemed to be drama-filled (she basically walked out of the first mini-challenge!) and she’s the boyfriend of my drag idol and last season’s winner, Sharon Needles; Lineysha Sparx, because of that dress on the runway; and Roxxxy Andrews, because she won the thing last night and looked amazing doing it (although I will say that I thought Lineysha was going to take home the prize last night). Plus, Roxxxy wins in my opinion because she’s already sort of vying for the Sound Bite crown for the season. Detox, too, seems to want to get sassy with the Bites. I’m not as big of a fan of her, but it was interesting to see what she had to say and — in her youthful face — see what Chad Michaels might have looked back if he aged in reverse about 20 years.
Some other thoughts from the evening, in superlative award form:
PERSONALITY MOST LIKE SHANGELA: Coco Montrese. In fact, when she first walked in the workroom, I thought it was Shangela, in what would be just one step too far with that whole “Shangela’s Back Again!” joke that played out over the past couple seasons. And when she came back in from the dunk-tank challenge wet as a river rat and was ranting — “Someone forgot to tell them…black people don’t swim!” — I just kept getting flashes of Shangela, Shangela, Shangela! But, I will give Coco some credit: She looked pretty good on the runway, in my opinion.
FASHION MOST LIKE SHANGELA: Jade Jolie. I sort of found Jade to be hilarious, but she didn’t seem to be getting much love from anyone else on the Drag Race set — most of all the judges, who weren’t having it with her crazy, NBC-inspired sparkly peacock gown. I love, love, loved it when RuPaul said she was giving her one word of advice: “Edit.” And that’s all she said. I know that a lot of Shangela’s issues on the runway involved her makeup, but there was something about Jade there in the mix that seemed out of place, much like Shangela was in those early days. I, however, am rooting for Jade. She seemed like the sweetest contestant, surely.
WORST RUNWAY LOOK: Serena ChaCha. I don’t think anyone would disagree there. The judges weren’t into it and kept calling her Drag Pinocchio. Her head seemed to just be floating there! I sort of can’t believe she made it through against Penny.
MOST POTENTIAL FOR FUTURE SHENANIGANS: Jinkx Monsoon. If her narcolepsy weren’t enough, she also said in her original introduction that she’s “Seattle’s youngest MILF. I’m theatrically trained.” I’m into it!
MOST POTENTIAL FOR FUTURE FIREWORKS: Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese. It’s unclear exactly what their beef is — obviously producers are saving that to reveal later — but hopefully it’s good. Like, did one poison the other at that drag pageant thingy? Screw with the other’s tucking materials? Steal a boyfriend?
WORST MINI-CHALLENGE: The under water photo shoot. It was bizarre! Who thought that was a good idea? It just didn’t produce anything too interesting. I have to say, actually, that the mini-challenges that are photo related rarely do. Just, like, what’s the point at all?
MOST TRIPPED-OUT BUS RIDE: That trip the queens took on their way to the Beverly Hills Shopping Spree. LaToya Jackson! Marg Helenberger! Juliette Lewis! Kristen Johnston! Clearly, it was a bunch of shots of all the upcoming judges on the show, but it looked more like something that might have been shot for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
WORST NUDITY EVER: Alaska. ‘Nuff said.
BIGGEST POTENTIAL FOR CRYING JAGS: Alaska, again. This was previewed mostly when the rest of the queens were questioning her about Sharon Needles. “It’s two giant egos in one tiny house,” Alaska told them. “I felt pain and rejection like I’ve never felt in my life.” She continued: “I feel the pressure, seeing as Sharon just won this competition. It’s a huge insecurity of mine. If I was the first to go home, I would be just devastated.” Thankfully, she succeeded there.
So, back to my original question, Drag Race fans: Which queen are you rooting for?
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky