Contact CU Independent Opinion Staff Writer Max Sendor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT
On March 11, season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” premiered. For those who do not know, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (or RPDR for short) is a reality TV show about drag queens. The best way to describe it is a combination between “America’s Next Top Model,” “Project Runway” and a drag show. Generally, there are 12 to 14 queens competing for the title of America’s next drag superstar. The winner of the show gets $100,000 and a year’s supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics. Each episode consists of a mini challenge, a main challenge and a runway look each week.
The drag queens on the show range greatly in their specialties. Some queens focus on their aesthetics and modeling, while others focus on performance, such as comedic value and charisma. When the show started, there was much less diversity in types of drag than there are now. From the new season specifically, there are 12 queens total that include celebrity impersonators (Derrick Barry), model and aesthetic queens (Acid Betty or Naomi Smalls), comedy queens (Bob the Drag Queen and Thorgy Thor), latin queens (Cynthia Lee Fontaine) and cosplay queens (Kim Chi and Dax Exclamation Point). There are other types of queens in addition to the ones noted above, but they generally fall into one of those categories.
The first episode of a season is exciting because it sets up each queen and shows the first interactions between them. The show aims to cast queens with bigger personalities to make the drama on the show more interesting. The queens make an effort to make a big impression with their looks and establishing their first taglines (and profit off of this later). The queens that stuck out to me coming into the workroom were Bob, Kim Chi and Thorgy. They seemed to have a lot of personality and their outfits were quite distinct. Acid also had a great look but came off as mean.
This 100th episode was all about nostalgia, and now officially 100 queens have been on the show. The challenges in this episode reflected that. The mini challenge was a photoshoot with the previous winners of RPDR, and the main challenge was to create an outfit from a previous season. The look each queen made was then their main stage look which the judges critiqued.This was unique because it put a new take on old challenges as well as showcasing the creativity of the queens themselves. Robbie Turner, a Seattle old-time queen, won the mini challenge and got to assign everyone which previous challenge they would have to do.
The first main stage looks are almost always ones that they have to make at the start, so it is assumed that the queens should come in with clothing construction experience. This, often, is also ignored by a few queens. This season’s queen who didn’t know how to sew was Naysha Lopez, a Puerto Rican queen based in Chicago. This lead to her being in the bottom two. On the flipside, queens like Acid Betty and Kim Chi create their own looks regularly so creating something along a theme was their bread and butter. This got Acid in the top 3 and Kim the win for this first episode.
The outcome of this challenge does not come as a surprise because both of them took risks in their looks and it paid off. RuPaul specifically notes to the queens who were safe that she does not think of safe when she thinks of America’s next drag superstar. Lately, the judges have favored the queens who come out with more avant garde looks for the main stage. It shows more creativity and willingness to take a risk. This is something I love about the show. It puts a magnifying glass on creative people and pushes them to create such amazing, out-of-the-box looks. No other shows compare to the amount of creativity that all of the contestants cumulatively have. They are expected to do their own makeup and frequently make their own outfits.
The bottom two for this week were Naysha and Laila McQueen (a Halloween or goth queen). Naysha did not excel that much in the photoshoot and was not very creative in her main stage look. Laila stumbled in the photoshoot and came up with the worst photo of the bunch. Her main stage look was not bad but the judges felt she could have given more. The queen who gets sent home is chosen by comparing her challenge and lip sync performances to the other bottom two queens. They lip synced to “Applause” by Lady Gaga, and Naysha was sent home.
I am really excited for this season of RPDR because I like all of the queens and they all have a high level of talent. It is not clear who will get out early yet, as they all seem to be threatening to one another as far as their specific talents.
Come back next week to see my reaction to RPDR season 8, episode 2. If you have any questions, feel free to comment them and I will try and address them next week.