Joey Moser looks at tonight’s premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race, featuring Lady Gaga as a guest judge. Does the Season 9 premiere werk?
Are you ready to gag on some Gaga? Your level of love for Mother Monster might determine how much you enjoy the premiere episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9. Let’s face it. If you are watching this show after this many years, you know the difference between a Jade Jolie and a Roxxxy Andrews, and you’ll be spilling your vodka and cranberry this entire premiere. Gaga is present throughout the entire episode, and it makes you wonder how the show might be presented differently now that it’s off of the scrappy LOGO network.
When RuPaul debuted her latest batch of girls online, she shocked fans by revealing that Drag Race was moving from Mondays (RIP “Mondays are a drag!”) to Fridays and new episodes will be presented on VH1 (Season 9 reruns will be available on sister channel LOGO). Last season, the majority of the episodes aired simultaneously on both channels. The switch allows for one glorious change: to see these bitches in high-definition. I want to see every sequin, every ounce of eye shadow, and every drop of sweat!
Everyone always lives for the entrances to the Werk Room, so it’s exciting to see these girls come in for the first time. Sasha Velour makes a screamingly bold impression, and drag newbie Valentina is absolutely gorgeous and dramatic. (I already might have a crush on Alexis Michelle, but that’s another story for another time.) This seems to be a strong cast of characters for this year, and the drama is pretty minimal so far (keep one eye open for Trinity Taylor; she seems like she could read you and book a silicone injection appointment at the same time).
To be honest, it might take a few episodes to get the real feel of this season (cue the Madonna track) , because Gaga’s presence is so big. She walks into the Werk Room as if a regular contestant and really flips the girls’ wigs. She’s probably the most involved and knowledgeable guest judge the show has ever had. Gaga is there from beginning to end, and you can legitimately feel the love she has for this community. When she compliments someone on the runway, it comes from a deep respect.
So what if this premiere feels like RuPaul’s Drag Race Presents Lady Gaga Guest Judging on RuPaul’s Drag Race? I could watch Lady Gaga surprise drag queens on a continuous loop until the end of time. Can someone make that a show, please? Does it feel like a prelude or prologue before the competition starts? Kind of. Do I care? No! Drag Race is back!
It definitely feels like Drag Race is stepping into a whole new realm—does anyone else feel like it’s everywhere? RuPaul rightfully won his Emmy at this year’s Creative Emmy Awards, and with the show coming to VH1, it’s going to reach an entirely new audience. A long overdue nomination for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program is inevitable, am I right? What other show, especially a reality show from a tiny network, can say that it’s gaining momentum after almost a decade? A lot of people say change is is a drag, but I don’t think you’d ever hear RuPaul say it.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 premieres tonight on VH1 at 8pm ET.