ADTV ranks the Top 12 Drag Race contestants in honor of season eight’s premiere
The arrival of RuPaul’s Drag Race so close after the end of the Oscar season is like gay Christmas.
A lot of people were vocal about the lackluster seventh season (I was just happy to have it back despite all its glaring flaws), but this eighth season roared back onto LOGO on Monday night. Instead of recapping all the wig tossing and shade throwing, I thought I’d rank the queens after their inaugural episode. Of course I couldn’t do it without my best squirrel friend, Megan, and new pal (AwardsDaily TV contributor and Drag Race obsessive) Jalal.
LOGO has been celebrating the return of RuPaul’s Drag Race all weekend, because the premiere is the 100th episode. When the last contestant sashayed into the (You Betta) Werk Room, it was the 100th contestant, so the fledgling network had a lot to celebrate. To commemorate so much lipstick and drama, Ru decided to have his new litter of girls pose with all the past Drag Race winners to see who had real presence. For the main challenge, each queen had to recreate a past design challenge and make it their own.
So who came out on top? And who will surely be eliminated in the next few weeks? Let’s check out the ranking of our Drag Race top 12.
Joey: Kim Chi. This makeup queen walks away with the top spot of the week because she is the combination of 2 very different things: she’s beautiful and she’s a total dork. She won the first main challenge for a stellar photo as well as recreating season three’s hair ensemble challenge. Kim Chi stomped (purposely stumbled?) the runway while looking like a beautified version of The Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and she’s already gaining “awws” from the audience over not coming out to her parents yet. It must be noted that except for Morgan McMichaels (from season two), the queen who wins the first challenge usually goes on to land a spot in the top three. Just saying.
Megan: I 100% agree. She’s refreshing in how sweet she is and her makeup was so on point. I love that she’s into Anime, something we’ve never really seen on DR. But she is young and has only been doing drag for a couple of years according to the episode. Although youth certainly isn’t a bad thing (see Violet Chachki).
Jalal: I’m not surprised to see we are all in agreement over Kim Chi; she is talented, refreshing, and just plain lovable. Have you guys followed her Instagram? It’s absolutely addicting and her friendship with Trixxie and Shea Coulee is adorable.
Joey: Thorgy Thor is colorful and loud. Maybe I’m biased? One of the greatest things about Thorgy is her seeming openness to try new things. She doesn’t want to box herself in. I mean, she came in with a clown red wig and matching skirt. What’s not to love? She had to recreate the cake challenge from season three. Did anyone else notice her slip underneath looked like cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cake?
Megan: I thought her red velvet cake couture was something you don’t see until the middle of the season, which is definitely a compliment. She brought her A game right away.
Jalal: I didn’t have an opinion of Thorgy prior to the premiere but I fell in love with her. Something about her personality is absolutely addicting. Her dress was gorgeous but it reminds me of something that someone else wore in a previous season. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about?
Joey: Bob the Drag Queen has one of the most assured entrances I’ve ever seen. Is she the one to beat? Confidence is this queen’s main quality, and she has a quick fire wit that is reminiscent of another comedy queen (cough…Biance Del Rio). Speaking of Bianca, Ru said in the sixth season that Bianca wasn’t threatened by the competitors of her season. Bob doesn’t seem shaken by anyone in that Werk Room. Bring it, baby.
Megan: Bob totally won me over. At first, I couldn’t remember her among all the queens (it’s always so hard to stand out in episode 1), but her personality shined. I think she’s definitely a contender.
Jalal: I am in love with Bob. I love her Crazy medley and Annalise Keating impersonation on YouTube. She reminds me of Bianca as well. She is funny, confident, and knows exactly how to translate her personality to a television screen. Without a doubt Bob will be Miss Congeniality.
Joey: I don’t know if I like Acid Betty, but I appreciate her artistry and her skill. She (literally) towers over everyone else, and she claims that not even Bianca would mess with her. Her recreation of the money couture challenge from season three was very impressive, but can she exude that vulnerability that RuPaul looks for in each one of her winners?
Megan: I feel like the money couture wasn’t much of a stretch for her. I look forward to seeing what else she offers.
Jalal: I struggled with Acid Betty. I find her personality brash and I am over queens who think they are better than everyone else because they are unique. THIS IS A DRAG COMPETIION, EVERYONE IS UNIQUE. I do think she is talented though but I felt her money dress was more of a replica from season three than her own creation.
Joey: Cynthia Lee Fontaine is easily one of the kookiest drag queens to every sashay through the Werk Room, and normally I would write that off as a hindrance. You can’t pin her down, and that’s rather exciting, isn’t it? Cynthia has a pretty flawless look, and she’s unpredictable. Is that a winning combination or am I just ranking her too high? Is she a Joslyn Fox or is she a Nicole Paige Brooks?
Megan: I think the jury’s still out on this one. If anything, she’s brought a new drag term into the mainstream. I will be now on referring to my junk as my “cuckoo.”
Jalal: I liked Cynthia Lee Fontaine a lot more in the Untucked episode than in the actual premiere. Her kooky demeanor reminded me of Tammy Brown (who is one of my all-time favorites) so that makes me root for her a bit. She’s also a trained opera singer? I might end up warming up to her once I get to know her but for now I am gravitating towards a lot of the other girls.
Joey: I will defend my love of Laila McQueen, and I don’t care who stands in my way. She looked a bit overwhelmed walking into the Werk Room. With such HUGE personalities like Bob the Drag Queen and Acid Betty, it must be easy to be thrown off. Laila strikes me as a hotter version of Adore Delano (other contestants were already making comments about her ass when they all –de-dragged for the first time). I feel like there is something lurking beneath the surface that we aren’t counting on. Hey, she beat out the fishiest queen of the season in the first challenge.
Megan: I didn’t think her look on the runway was as bad as Michelle Visage said. I think Robbie Turner’s look was much worse, and that she should have been in the bottom two.
Jalal: I don’t know what to think of Laila McQueen. I liked her when I researched her online and watched her interviews but everything I saw was months after they actually filmed the season. I think she improved a lot after taping the season which makes me think she doesn’t have a lot to offer on the show. With that being said however she absolutely killed it in the lip sync.
Joey: Naomi Smalls might get on my nerves, but she’s got the goods. I must go on record at guessing that her legs are longer than my entire body. With model intentions and glamorous giraffe gams, it is easy for her to excel in a photography challenge. Is she going to be the type of queen who gets stuck on looking good and not giving the good down the road? She made a strong impression in the mini challenge (That ass! Those legs!), but I’m skeptical.
Megan: I personally wasn’t impressed with her dress on the runway—or the boat she came out with! To paraphrase Michelle Visage, “don’t rely on your body!”
Jalal: I am in love with Naomi. She is young, gorgeous, and knows her way around a good Naomi Campbell reference. I’m worried other queens might start picking on her when they should really take her under their wing. Think Bianca and Trinity. There would be no stopping a Bob & Naomi unity if that happened.
Joey: Naysha Lopez was the prettiest queen of season eight, and she’s already sashayed away. I’ve never been a fan of queens who always only talk about look and aesthetic and glamour, but I was totally crushing on Naysha. History of Drag Race would make us assume that she would send Laila packing in the Lip Synch for Your Life, but Laila turned it out and sent this Puerto Rican beauty packing early.
Megan: That dress was by far the worst. Also, it’s season eight. Learn how to sew. Or don’t admit to the judges you don’t know how to sew!
Jalal: I was sad to see Naysha go but for someone who has been praised for their dancing she should have done better in the lip sync. I have a soft spot for pageant queens (a dying art form maybe?) and because of that I wanted her to do well.
Joey: I think I was over Derrick Barry before season eight started. Mostly known for being the most famous Britney Spears impersonator, Derrick will have a hard time pushing himself out of that box. Michelle Visage challenged her to not to challenge Britney from this moment on in the competition, but does anyone think that she will totally listen to that advice?
Megan: Nope. Even her first look was still totally Britney, even though she told the camera she can do more than Britney.
Jalal: The most interesting element of Derrick Berry hasn’t even been revealed yet; her polyamorous relationship with that soldier that was partnered with Alaska during that challenge during season four. I liked her in the premiere but the editing couldn’t have been more obvious. This season will be all about Michelle criticizing her for only having one trick, Britney.
Joey: Robbie Turner got shady with season four winner Sharon Needles in the mini challenge, and that is unforgivable in my book. You show respect to those winners, bitch! Maybe my Pittsburgh roots are showing? Her hair was thirsty from the get-go, and she forgot to assign herself a good costume in the main challenge (she was tasked to give everyone their look). She was too busy being a bitch that she ended up having to take on the dog design challenge from season four. Karma. By the way, I’m sure it didn’t go unnoticed that she was shady to Sharon in the mini challenge and then almost landed in the bottom 2 by doing a dog-awful job of recreating Sharon’s challenge-winning look…
Megan: She should have been in the bottom two. She looked like a Christmas ornament the dog ate and then shat out.
Jalal: Robbie Turner was my least favorite of the week. Her personality is limp and her dress was awful. I was really excited to see a queen who draws inspiration from the golden age of Hollywood but she is bad at it (similar to the other queen who attempted this, season seven’s Max). I’m ready for her to go.
Joey: Chi Chi DeVayne is charming, but her slow drawwwwl got on my nerves from the minute she walked in. She doesn’t seem like someone that would go really far in this competition.
Megan: She’s going to be trouble. Period. And by trouble, I mean drama.
Jalal: Have you guys watched Untucked yet? It made me look at Chi Chi in a different light. I feel bad for queens who can’t afford the dozens of hypothetical challenges they have to prepare for before the season begins. Chi Chi is at a disadvantage but she’s resourceful. I’m rooting for her.
Joey: Dax ExclamationPoint didn’t get much screentime in the premiere episode, so it’s no wonder she landed dead last in my ranking. She’s a cosplayer and lover of all things nerdy (love connection for her and Kim Chi?), but that shiny forehead and lack of enthusiasm puts her dead last.
Megan: First, she has my favorite drag name of the season. What can I say? I’m a nerd for punctuation references. I love that she’s just as nerdy as Kim Chi, and I would have placed her higher than Laila McQueen (sorry). Maybe she’s not that memorable right now, but neither was Pearl in last season’s early episodes.
Jalal: I like Dax but she was given zero screen time. I see some of myself in her personality and I want her to do well but with so many queens this season that are artistic and bombastic (Acid Betty, Kim Chi) I’m worried that Dax might disappear in the shadows. I would personally rank her 6th or 7th.