The 11th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on VH1 Thursday, February 28.
There’s usually a level of excitement that exists when RPDR comes back, however it’s getting to the point with this show where we are on a merry go round that won’t let us get off for a breather. All Stars 4 just ended two weeks ago, and we had a 2018 that had not one, not two, but three different seasons air over the course of that particular year (All Stars 3, RPDR season 10, part of AS4).
Now we are introduced to a new flock of queens who are competing for that coveted title, whether we like it or not. My thoughts so far after the first episode? Meh. All I got from watching this one was that Vanessa Vanjie Matteo was back, Silty Nutmeg Ganache has no idea how freaking extra she is, and poor Soju simply wasn’t ready for a show like this.
Vanjie is the first one in the room. I’m not shocked she was brought back, given how much of a breakout star she became for simply saying her name three times and walking backwards after being eliminated in episode one last year. Vanjie decided to hide from several of the queens until she emerged to greet them, even though they pretty much knew that she was going to be part of the season regardless.
The group for the most part had underwhelming personalities except for a few. Silky was instantly likable the minute she walked in, however the changed as the show went on. Others that I was drawn too were Yvie Oddly, Nina West and Ariel Versace. Forgive me for saying this too, but the fashions from the queen’s entrance looks were subpar compared to past seasons.
RuPaul comes into the werk room in one of his colorful outfits to introduce the ladies to the season and their first mini-challenge. It revolved around them posing on set with legendary queens from the past including Ginger Minj, Jasmine Masters and Raja. Think of this as what they did in the season 8 premiere, only most of the past queens didn’t win their season.
It was a cute challenge, with Silky winning in the end. Her prize was a $2,500 wig gift card of sorts but she really won more screen time to be her extra as f**k persona.
The maxi-challenge didn’t stray too far from what this show has done in the past… over and over again. Each were assigned luggage that had the names of legendary past contestants on them. It was up to the queens to design an outfit around the materials provided that showed off their aesthetic. I was hoping the season would kick off with something different and fresh for these queens to create and concoct, but RPDR has a history with repeating challenges a lot.
It’s hard to remember anything that happened in the werk room prior to the ladies making their debut on the runway… even with guest judge Miley Cyrus going undercover as a crew member. Silky took over. The focus of this episode was about her and how loud she was, to the point where it frustrated the hell out of the others like Ariel. Ariel could easily be pointed out as the bitchy one of the season, however her remarks about Silky were valid in that she knew she was on TV and milking her personality for all its worth. I like Silky, however there’s ways of adjusting that kind of behavior to where you come off as likable and not annoying.
Silky was the one to discover who Miley was, which then led to her carrying the “We Can’t Stop” singer in circles around the other queens and pretending the two of them were a wrecking ball. Ugh. Just stop please. This is just like when Eureka took over with Lady Gaga when she surprised the season 9 queens during their premiere. I give props to Miley for handling herself well in such an awkward situation.
It’s time for the runway! The minute Brooke Lynn Hytes stormed the stage in her Detox-inspired outfit I knew she was going to win. The construction of her outfit was far superior to everyone else’s. Vanjie redeemed herself completely compared to the flowery-doll mess that she wore in the S10 premiere. Plastique Tiara’s aesthetic will be one to watch this season, as what she was able to design in the first episode will hopefully lead to many more breathtaking ensembles.
The bottom three were Soju, Nina West and Kahanna Montrese. I was so confused by Soju on the runway. For one, she wore flats. Secondly, her outfit had way too much going on. Third, she talked about her painful cyst. None of these things made sense, yet some of the judges enjoyed her awkward presence. For me, it just came across like someone who wasn’t ready for prime time, and another example of a YouTube queen not really knowing what to do on a show like this (Jaymes Mansfield, Charlie Hides).
Kahanna and Nina deserved to be in the bottom based on their looks, however Nina saved herself with her personality which led to Kahanna and Soju lip syncing for their lives. They performed a Hannah Montana classic, “Best of Both Worlds,” which saw Soju packing and Kahanna being safe.
Notes on the first episode:
The momentum is low. Really low. This group is evoking season 7 vibes with how bored I am with them so far. I hope that changes.
The pit crew has competition this year in the handsome department, as so many of these queens are fine as f**k outside of drag. Hayyyyyy Kahanna.
Miley was a blast to watch, even when she was spinning in circles thanks to Silky.
No one has been given a winner’s edit just yet. Yes, only one episode has aired, but this show has a way of subtly letting us know who will go the distance from the get. If there is a droplet of who that could be so far, my money is on Plastique, but who knows?
This is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other Contributing Writers.