RuPaul’s Drag Race: Whatcha Unpackin?

Posted on March 01, 2019

Totally gratuitous an unnecessary banner image. Our only regret is that they’re so very far away from the camera.

Anyway, once more with feeling: WE’RE BACK, YOU JANKY WHORES! We’re also really, really overwhelmed. Dear God, there’s a lot of queens. Any premiere episode of Drag Race is going to be a little overwhelming. All these names and faces – and other faces. All these personalities vying for attention; everyone desperate to NOT be the first queen sent home. Although maybe that’s not such a bad thing …



Vanessa Vanjie Mateo

Of course Miss Vanjie’s back and of course the show is going to give her as much spotlight time as possible. She’s in a unique position here. She’s the only star in a roster full of unknowns – except she’s almost as equally unknown, in terms of what we can expect from her in the competition. The other queens tried to make something out of her return, but that was just silly, since it’s happened before on the show. Personally, we thought they were all just jealous of her obvious star power.




Nina West

Poor Miss Nina didn’t make much of an impression. She came off way too nervous and overwhelmed. We suppose that’s to be expected for someone who tried so many times for the show. To actually be there must have been a lot for her.



Shuga Cain

She seems like fun.



Plastique Tiara

Pretty, low-key so far.

If you notice, we’re not saying a lot about the lewks here. We’re gonna have to get a little shady to explain why.



Mercedes Iman Diamond

First, it was a bit of a shock to go to a new season right after wrapping an All-Star season because the difference in the queens is impossible to ignore. All-Stars features well-compensated queens with very good careers and trunks full of high-end costumes. Most of the All-Stars have done modeling, magazine spreads, film, television and music work. That’s what makes them All-Stars, of course.

But it takes a little while to recalibrate your settings to welcome a set of new queens, most of whom don’t have All-Star-level careers yet. Our point (said about no single person in particular): These queens were a bit rough, generally speaking.



Scarlet Envy

That’s actually a good thing, because you want to see unknown queens struggle and do the work on camera to become stars. If everyone walked through the Werk Room door at the height of their powers, it would be a pretty boring season overall.

Scarlet’s first look was weird and her second look was kind of mumsy and old-fashioned, to our surprise.


Honey Davenport

In addition, the premiere was simply way too packed for any of these queens – except for the two loudest, Vanjie and Silky – to make any sort of real impression. We can’t really recap much here because the challenges were overstuffed with references to or appearances by queens from previous seasons. That’s fun for the fans, but it the new girls didn’t really get a chance to strut.



A’Keria C. Davenport

And the main challenge didn’t so much give us an impression of each queen generally so much as it let us know which queens can sew. Not that we mind a crafty queen challenge, but doing one now, based on previous queens, meant we got no understanding of the capabilities or potential of the new queens.

A’Keria, as you can see, can sew and has great costume design skills.



Yvie Oddly

Yvie came off just a little full of herself, but she’s the only queen doing something different with her drag, so we’ll give her time and space to back up her mouth.



Silky Nutmeg Ganache

Oof. Guuuuurl.

We were ready to be fans based on the name alone, but the fact remains: girlfriend is obnoxious on camera. She kept talking about wanting her own spinoff show, but she’s nearly impossible to take after more than 5 minutes of screen time. We realize it’s silly to ask a drag queen to tone things down, but she needs to learn how to dole out the Silky instead of dumping it all out at once.

Also, her drag is a mess. That runway dress was held together with visible safety pins.



Brooke Lynn Hytes

Our first impulse is to say “She’s one to watch,” but that’s based on what? Her sewing skills? Because yes, that catsuit is damn impressive and she absolutely deserved to win, but she won based on skills that will likely never come up again in the competition so we’ll have to see. Great looks, though.



Ariel Versace

Girlfriend came to be the bitch and as two Philly queens, we have to say, a little bit of Cherry Hill, NJ-style snotty bitchiness only made us smile in recognition. We see you, girl. Her face work is fantastic, but we can’t say we loved either of these looks.



Ra’Ja O’Hara

Not much of an impression. Seems nice; kinda fab. Great runway look.



Kahanna Montrese

Ditto. We’re not sure why she wound up in the bottom. It’s not a great look of course but it’s about on par with half the other looks on that runway. We’d have picked Silky for the lip sync over her.




Poor girl seemed completely overwhelmed. She had her reasons but good Lord, did we ever cringe as she kept explaining them. Again: it’s silly to ask a drag queen to consider what she’s saying and how she’s saying it, but when it looks like this might be the end of your adventure on television, do NOT walk out the door dropping info bombs that are going to lay there long after you’ve gone. In other words, Soju, you are now and forever the queen with a cyst on her taint. That one’s gonna follow you around for the next decade, girl.



And while she seems sweet enough, the gown was doubly bad for her. First, the design was ugly and awful. Second, it left her immobile during the lip sync and Kahanna simply stomped all over her.



Sorry Cyst-er. You were a victim of your taint, your poor design, and an episode stuffed to the gills with too many references to the past and not enough space for you to make a mark. See you next season, though! That taint story might take off for you like the Vanjie thing did!

We’ll have a bit more to say about the queens and the Untucked episode in today’s podcast. Oh, and did we happen to mention? We’re WRITING A BOOK ABOUT DRAG RACE. 




[Stills: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]

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