Hey Jush! You ready for some more Drag Race? Because this gay-ass merry-go-round ain’t stopping any time soon. So go fix your hair, go fix your mug, strap in, and let’s have a kiki.
That was the gayest paragraph I’ve ever written.
We open our Season 11 premiere with the good old werk room and a very familiar sound: Miss Vanjie… Miss Vaaanjieee….
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo is back with a vengeance! And this time, she ain’t leaving after the first episode. Maybe the second. We’ll see.
After thottin’ and boppin’ around the werk room for a minute, Vanjie skitters off to a corner and hides behind a screen.
The first non-Vanjie queen to enter the werk room is Nina West, a campy, old-school drag legend. Nina is well-known ’round these parts, so she hopes the other gals will be intimidated when they see her.
Next up is Shuga Cain! Shuga is a quirky, fun queen who’s actually pretty new at this whole drag thing. She’s only been doing drag for like, a year and a half.
And speaking of talented young bitches…
Plastique Tiara is 21 years old, which makes me feel like I have accomplished nothing in life. She’s a proud Vietnamese queen with a wild amount of polish for her age.
Mercedes Iman Diamond is RuPaul’s Drag Race’s first-ever Muslim queen, and she shows it off with a traditional ululation that effectively startles the shit out of everyone else in the room. Sasha Velour found dead.
Next up is Scarlet Envy, a queen who––
The body is snatched, but holy fudge sticks, that is a MINIMAL amount of makeup. Like… MI-NI-MAL.
The next queen is Honey Davenport, a super-padded, versatile queen. She’s got a good look going for sure, and she seems fun.
The queens kiki about whether there will be any returning queens. Everyone immediately goes to the obvious choice––who, in turn, pops out for them.
We have another Davenport! A’Keria Chanel Davenport (mouthful alert!) is in the house. A’Keria is a pageant girl, and she’s ready to take on the world.
Now for something completely different: It’s Yvie Oddly, this season’s weird queen. As her name implies, Ms. Oddly isn’t your conventional fishy queen. She’s here to shake shit up, and I’m excited for it.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache is large and in charge––and she’s about to take over this whole fucking season. More on that later.
Our next queen is Brooke Lynn Hytes, and she’s not actually from anywhere near New York––we have Canadian fish in the house. Brooke Lynn introduces herself as the “Queen of the North.”
Madam Hytes is a classically trained ballet dancer, and she has the poise and experience that comes with that. I’m excited to see more of her.
This year’s Instagram celebrity queen is here! Ariel Versace is pretty famous already, but she’s here to show she’s not just a pretty face with filters slapped on. Time will tell!
Ra’Jah D. O’Hara is here! And guess what the D. stands for: Davenport!! THREE DAVENPORTS. Ra’Jah seems like a fun gal, but both her earrings fall off almost immediately upon saying hi to the other queens, so… that’s a lil’ messy.
Kahanna Montrese is a self-proclaimed “hip-hop showgirl,” and more importantly, Coco Montrese‘s drag daughter. She’s here to pick up where her mama left off and get that crown for the Montreses.
Soju is a Korean-American queen, known for her YouTube presence and her connections with many Ru girls. She’s already pretty well-known, but now she’s here for her claim to stardom.
Ariel Versace isn’t convinced that Soju can do much more than sit in front of a computer and recap Drag Race. (I feel very attacked.) Soju insists she is much more than just a YouTube personality.
And that is fifteen! RuPaul immediately comes into greet the queens––where’s my “she done already done had herses” tho?
Ru explains this season is all about celebrating the show’s incredible legacy of past queens––and in that spirit, legendary Ru girls will be showing up on a regular basis this season.
The season’s first mini-challenge is a good old photoshoot session. But there’s a twist: each queen will be teamed up with a beloved Ru girl and will be in charge of directing the pair during their shoot.
Shuga Cain is paired with Jasmine Masters and goes for a wild catfight shtick. Also, Jasmine looks stun.
Hilariously, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo decides to shove her partner Farrah Moan against the wall and stand in front of her. Security!
Silky Ganache and Mariah Paris Balenciaga go full-on cover of Vogue, and it’s pretty gorge.
Yvie Oddly and Adore Delano have excellent chemistry together and my god, who do I have to fuck to get Adore Delano back on All Stars?
Some other highlights: Ra’Jah O’Hara’s earrings fall off two or three more times. Ariel Versace shades the shit out of Eureka. Mercedes Iman Diamond is super nervous and has no idea how to direct Delta Work.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache wins the mini-challenge!
With that out of the way, it’s time for the main challenge: For each queen, Silky gets to assign a trunk of luggage belonging to a Drag Race legend––and with each of those trunks’ contents, the queens will need to put together a lewk of their own. Plastique Tiara not-so-subtly begs Silky to give her Violet Chachki‘s trunk, but Silky gives it to Scarlet Envy instead.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo can’t help but feel nervous about this first maxi-challenge. After all, last season’s first episode was also a sewing challenge and it’s what got her sent home before her time. So Miss Vanjie is gonna do everything in her power to avoid a misstep this time around.
Soju got Kim Chi‘s trunk, and she’s excited to be constructing her first outfit ever (oh dear). She’s also feeling a little lazy about showing her body, so she wants to make a Hanbok––a traditional Korean gown that tends to be extraordinarily poofy.
Miss Vanjie spies Soju literally piling mountains of fabric onto her mannequin until it’s just an indistinct blob of colors. Vanjie warns Soju not to make the same mistakes she did and to make sure she has a silhouette among all that fabric.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache isn’t a fan of her trunk’s contents (which she picked for herself!), and is instead choosing to make the most of her newfound reality TV fame by dancing around the werk room and goofing off left and right. It’s fun for like ten minutes and then it starts to get a bit much. When she tries to get the queens to play along with her catchphrases, no one replies.
Speaking of struggles, Nina West is also not much of a garment maker. She’s trying to figure out what to do with her trunk of Thorgy Thor-themed stuff, and asks Brooke Lynn Hytes what she thinks about using a tambourine as a hat. Brooke Lynn looks at her, says nothing, makes no facial expressions, nada. Just… pure, stone cold silence.
Unbeknownst to the queens, as they’ve been starting their makeup to prepare for the main stage, a new “crew member” has entered the werk room. BJ the nerdy boom operator is actually Miley Cyrus in disguise!
Silky Ganache is still doing her thing, which involves a lot of shouting and singing. Several of the queens are starting to be over her loudness. Ariel Versace in particular is so done.
“BJ” has been in the werk room for a while now and he’s gone completely unnoticed still. Time to kick things up a notch: one of the other crew members approaches A’Keria Davenport to get her mic re-wired (or however that stuff works, I have no idea). So BJ gets all up in A’Keria’s face, but still nada. Silky Ganache, however, finally pieces things together. And then goes full WWE on Miley and carries her around the room in excitement.
Once the craziness has died down a bit, Miley kikis with the queens and gives them some advice about breathing and staying calm.
Let’s get on the runwaayyy!
It’s time for the queens to show off what they pulled together from their respective trunks.
Plastique Tiara got Sasha Velour‘s box, and she’s made this gorgeous, Valentina-style ensemble. It’s really fucking pretty.
Brooke Lynn Hytes has channeled Detox‘s fluorescent craziness into this high-fashion, beautifully form-fitting superhero getup. Werk.
Honey Davenport’s BenDeLaCreme-flavored creation is a little on the basic side, but it’s flattering for her figure and the giant flower on her head is cute, so, it’s a’ight.
Ariel Versace has transformed Laganja Estranja‘s “If it ain’t green I ain’t interested okurr” fantasy into a Poison Ivy cosplay, which is pretty imaginative. The attention to detail is great here.
Yvie Oddly is officially one of my favorites this season. She’s taken Alaska Thunderfuck‘s trunk and made it 100% her own thing by constructing an outfit made of plastic. And her head is bald and glittery. Love.
A’Keria Chanel Davenport is killing it. Her trunk contained Bebe Zahara Benet‘s stuff, but you can hardly even tell, which I think is a win. And that hair, my goodness.
Scarlet Envy is wearing SLIGHTLY more makeup than in her entrance look and her Violet Chachki-based outfit is decent, so… she gets a pass for now.
You know how Miss Vanjie told Soju to be careful with the whole piling all the fabric in the werk room onto her figure thing? Yeah, clearly Soju didn’t listen. She is a blob. Also, the outfit is really poorly constructed.
Ra’Jah O’Hara got Kennedy Davenport. She has a rockin’ body, great hair, and the multicolored sparkly details all over her shoulders and wrists are fierce as hell. But that wrinkly little rainbow belt looks so bad. SO bad.
Mercedes Iman Diamond’s Bianca Del Rio lewk is pretty basic. And even more unfortunate, she’s letting the look wear her rather than the other way around. She just doesn’t seem super present.
Shuga Cain’s Sharon Needles outfit doesn’t look anything like Sharon Needles’ style, so good for her. It’s nothing incredibly complicated, but it works nicely and she is feeling herself on the runway.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo’s Valentina look is so good. She is giving us pure pussy on a stick. This bitch learned her lesson and her body is SNATCHED.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache’s Peppermint lewk is a little iffy. The top part suffers from some ruching and the transitions between the mint green fabric and the sequinses are not great.
Poor Nina West is not happy at all with her final lewk––and for good reason, that shit is fugly––but she does her best to serve it enthusiastically, so points for keeping it Thorgeous.
Kahanna Montrese totally misunderstood the assignment. The queens were told to use the queens’ trunks to create something that’s their own style, but Kahanna has attempted to create something that’s 50% Kahanna’s style, and 50% Katya‘s. It’s kind of a mess, and she also accidentally cheated by using her own clothes.
Ariel, Yvie, Ra’Jah, Silky, Shuga, Scarlet, and Honey are all safe.
Now, some critiques for the other girls: Plastique, Brooke Lynn, A’Keria, and Vanjie are praised for their lewks (yay Vanjie!). Soju, Mercedes, Nina, and Kahanna get low marks. Soju says that in her defense, she has a cyst (?!) that burst in the plane ride here (!!!) and is still oozing.
Kahanna, meanwhile, has a meltdown about trying to get out from Mama Coco Montrese’s shadow and be her own drag queen. Which kind of has nothing to do with her current situation, so, werk.
Backstage, the safe queens are talking shit. Ra’Jah O’Hara and Scarlet Envy think Miss Vanjie already got her shot last year and may not deserve to have been brought back for a second chance. But Silky Ganache thinks Vanjie reminds her of herself, because she probably would need to be brought back next season if she had been eliminated tonight. You know, because of her incredible personality.
Silky keeps redirecting the conversation to herself, and when she asks the queens what their first impression of her was, Ariel straight-up tells her she’s an annoying bitch.
This is a rivalry I am here for.
The ladies bring up discrimination and what it’s like to be black and gay. Yvie Oddly says she made a conscious choice to be visibly gay in an attempt to lessen the profiling done because of her skin color.
The top and bottom queens join the safe girls and Shuga Cain decides to start some shit by asking Scarlet Envy to restate her opinion on Vanjie’s return in front of everyone.
Scarlet thinks it’s not fair that Vanjie got a second chance when some people don’t get any chances at all. Vanjie’s response: “There’s been a lot of girls that got second chances. Do you watch the show?”
Miley Cyrus comes backstage to say hi to the girls and give them some great advice about how important it is to be your true self, show authenticity to the world, and allow people to relate to you by being imperfect.
Deliberations have been had: Brooke Lynn Hytes is this week’s winner!
The first episode’s bottom two are Soju and Kahanna Montrese, and in honor of Miley, the lip-sync song is “Best of Both Worlds” by Hannah Montana.
Poor Soju’s giant-ass dress is basically a ball and chain, so she can’t even go anywhere with it. She desperately attempts a few moves, but doesn’t accomplish much. Plus she doesn’t know the words that well.
Kahanna, on the other hand, learned a thing or two from her lip-sync assassin of a drag mother, because she hits every beat, knows every word, and is highly entertaining. She’s the obvious winner here.
Soju was a promising queen, but a series of unfortunate circumstances and poor choices ended things prematurely for her. It’s a darn shame, but at least she got some exposure from being on the show for a minute, and at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask for.
Now for our first weekly run-down of the season!
Plastique Tiara – Plastique is so, so, so gorgeous. I am entranced with her perfection. Now, what remains to be seen is whether she’s also good at other things, like acting and dancing.
Brooke Lynn Hytes – Brooke Lynn is definitely a winner, winner, chicken dinner. She’s very polished, and that dancer background makes her a focused, competitive bitch. She’ll go far.
Honey Davenport – Honey’s handmade lewk this week was not the best, so I’m waiting to see if she can wow me with her own outfits. She does give good confessionals, so that’s something.
Ariel Versace – I live for how much Ariel just HATES Silky already. She’s a hateful bitch, and that should make for good TV. Now, can she fulfill her promise and prove she’s not just a look queen? Time will tell.
Yvie Oddly – Yvie is this season’s kooky gal, and I love her style. Her two looks so far this season have made me happy, and she’s also a really smart, eloquent girl. I’m rooting for her.
A’Keria Chanel Davenport – There are some long-ass names on this season and it is getting on my last nerve! That said, A’Keria is a pretty fierce bitch. That hair she wore on the runway is a very promising start.
Scarlet Envy – Scarlet’s entrance look makeup was staggeringly bad, and it made it really hard for me to appreciate anything else she did this week. I am traumatized, officially.
Ra’Jah O’Hara – Unfortunately for Ra’Jah, her first impression was that she’s a messy bitch who can’t seem to keep her earrings on. That said, she seems to have a decent sense of style and I’m interested in seeing more of her.
Mercedes Iman Diamond – I’m happy for Mercedes because she’s a great next step for diversity, but my goodness, she is not going to last long if she doesn’t snap out of whatever intimidated funk she is in. She seems intensely subdued so far.
Shuga Cain – I haven’t quite figured Shuga’s shtick out yet, but she seems like a fun, talented girl. And also a bit of a shit-stirrer, so that’s exciting. I look forward to watching her throughout the season.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo – I’m so proud of Miss Vanjie for learning from her mistakes and killing the sewing challenge this time around. That is growth! I hope she gets to stay for a long while.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache – There’s queens with a big personality, and then there’s Silky, who seems to fit in the Eureka box of not knowing when not to be the center of attention. I hope she realizes how grating her behavior is for the other queens before it’s too late and they all just end up despising her. I also would personally appreciate it if she didn’t take up ALL the screen time every week.
Nina West – Nina’s look was a big ol’ boot tonight, but she saved herself with personality. Everyone keeps talking about how much of a drag legend she is, so I hope to actually see proof of that soonish.
Kahanna Montrese – It’s been one episode and Kahanna is already all over the place. She’s a fierce performer, though, so she deserves to stick around and hopefully redeem herself in the coming weeks.
That’s all for the Season 11 premiere, darlings! Who’s your favorite so far? I’ve got a weak spot for Plastique, Brooke Lynn, and Yvie.
And of course, Miss Vaaanjiiieeeee…