As usual, based mostly on the contestants “Meet The Queens” videos. Mostly. That and Bob The Drag Queen stans sending me videos of his on twitter.
12. Kim Chi
Yes, we’re down at 12 contestants again for the first time since Season 2. Either this is because the well of talented queens is starting to run dry (make your own Season 7 joke here, everyone else is) or it’s because the rumours of a reduced series length because of All Stars 2 airing later in the year are true. Hopefully the challenges that have been trimmed to make the series fit the order are ALL scripted performanes challenges. Anyway, this one has been hyped and hinted at since about 5 weeks into last year’s show and yes this ranking is entirely backlash based on the fact that based on everything I’ve seen of her she’s really really boring. Or at least so far. Her entire video was just her saying “fashion” over and over again and talking about the variety of hilarious avant-garde things she’s ever hot-glued into her wig, and I swear we just did this with Violet and at least Violet didn’t do her mug like Trixie Mattell as a crab.
11. Robbie Turner
Robbie also seems quite sweet and quite dull. Where Kim’s “thing” is fashion and being from Korea, Robbie’s appears to be old movies, an identity that’s immediately undercut by her drag name being taken from the main character from Atonement.
a) That film was releated in 2007
b) It’s not very good
c) The character is a boy
d) Robbie chose the character to be named after as he was so moral and ethical. (I know right?)
Otherwise Robbie namedropped a whole bunch of people you’d expect his old-before-his-time genre of queen to name drop (Carol Burnett, Meryl Streep, Dolly Parton, Latrice) and otherwise didn’t give me a lot of hang off other than a truly classic case of wonky eye. Robbie loses further points for being given a theme that should be right in his wheelhouse for the castshoot dress-up (50s glamour) and doing precisely nothing with it.
10. Naysha Lopez
Nayesha is this year’s glamour pageant queen of Puerto Rican heritage and also our fishiest queen. Remember the good old days when our PR queens were genderfuck weirdos like Nina Flowers, haute couture pirates like Yara Sofia or sloppy bar-queen messes like Jessica Wild? I miss those days. Nowadays it’s all about polish and constant high NRG dancing to latin dance pop hits I’ve never heard of. Nayesha does at least come in with some awareness of what she’s working against, as she’s pulling…well that face in her cast photo, and her MTQ tape is her reassuring us over and over again that she loves camp and fun and that she can be funny. I mean…I don’t think she can, at all, but at least the desperation bodes well.
I’m not sure if it’s Dax, or Dax!, or Dax ExcalamtionPoint, or DaxclamationPoint. The Internet would suggest the third one, but that’s the worst possible choice, so let’s hope not. Still, better than her original drag name – Chylamidia Marie St James which sounds like something that’d come out of a particularly lame “WHAT’S YOUR DRAG NAME HUNTY GWORL?” feature in the Radio Times online section. Dax! is Violet Chachki’s drag mother, and has some of the same pointed energy, although I’m also picking up hints of Milan and most of all Kelly Mantle within her DNA. I liked her Meet The Queens video a lot, but I’m docking her several points for her aggressive “I’M A NERD!” stance, particularly her hyping up her cosplay. I’m still traumatised from Phi Phi O’Hara becoming a fan favourite now via deeply deeply disturbing My Little Pony dress-up, I don’t need more of that shit. Then some points back on for namedropping Miss Jay from America’s Next Top Model, because I love Miss Jay from America’s Next Top Model.
8. Naomi Smalls
In truth, Naomi didn’t really pop at all in her Introduction video, and her spewing of buzz phrases (“conceptual model glamazon”) instead of actually having a coherent self-concept doesn’t bode well (although her immediate admission that this is what she was doing does). On the other hand, a combination of Naomi Campbell and Biggie Smalls is everything I want in a drag queen and her look is on point. My favourite part of her video though, and the part which endeared her to me most was her answer to her being asked who would be rooting for her at home. Whilst all the other queens bragged about their massive fanbases back home in whatever major metropolitan area they resided in Naomi…said her mom. And immediate family members. Let’s hope they’re rooting for her hard enough to overcome her lack of charisma.
7. Thorgy Thor
I’ve put Thorgy at number 7 on this preliminary ranking but really I feel like I should just place her to one side entirely off on a little table at the side by herself, as I can guarantee that by Week 5 I’ll either love her like I love my sister or loathe her like I loathe your mother. The Bo Selecta make-up job, the high-concept Scandipop name, the hyper-verbosity, the Tilda worship, the poorly hidden high self-regard, the snobbery, the fact that she’s been a perennial auditionee since the very beginning…that TIGERPRINT LEOTARD. All of these are elements that could go either way with my heart and so I’m loath to offer any sort of early definitive opinion of Thorgy at all. Rest assured that if I do this ranking again at the end (I didn’t last season because I don’t think I really ultimately changed my mind about anyone at all in the space of three months of television which is a sure sign of a…not classic) I would heavily bet against her ranking at number 7 again.
6. Acid Betty
Acid Betty’s another one who could go either way. She’s selling herself so hard as the bitch to end all bitches, a venom-spitting, copper-skinned titan of hate that even Bianca Del Rio wouldn’t mess with. And if she’s saying it it has to be at least true enough that they can make an edit out of it. This seems like a mostly fairly low-key, chill, and likable cast, so a cat amongst the pigeons would be welcome. On the other hand, that didn’t come across at all in her video, where she seemed a little stilted and introverted. Still, her look is on point and the last time Leigh Bowery was name-dropped on this show it resulted in the iconic Mimi vs Shangela Judy Jetson hooker fight, so I’m hoping for big things from this one.
5. Laila McQueen
I have to say that I got my life seeing everyone else’s Meet The Queens video featuring them in their best demure retro vintage looks, sat up primly in a parody of 50s PSA videos, then it suddenly cutting to Laila slouched in her bra and knickers with the KFC bucket barely photoshopped out. Laila’s whole thing is that she is a trashy pole dancing queen but ALSO a spooky queen but ALSO a lolrandom comedy queen but ALSO a hardcore dark sided queen and it all makes a twisted kind of sense when you put it together in a youtube video with 817 views of a bar at 8:15pm on a public holiday. I don’t think Laila’s necessarily a very good drag queen but I have faith she’ll be a great Drag Race queen. At least if one of the more polished veterans take her under their wing and teach her a few things about coherence and how to build a fanbase beyond a herd of povincial lesbians. Also I hope the name is a reference to Hollyoaks rather than the fashion designer, although it almost certainly isn’t.
4. Chi Chi DeVayne
PAGEANT QUEEN! And whilst pageant queens have a reputation on this show for being someone staid and traditional, I was impressed by Chi Chi’s MTQ video, both in terms of her attitude (basically Kennedy Davenport turned up a degree or two) and by her answers, most of which were pretty left-field. In fact the only truly “expected” answer she gave was wanting to Lip Sync For Her Life to “Last Dance” by Donna Summer. And there’s nothing wrong with being expected when the answer’s so right. Apart from that it was odd emojis, hashtags based on incoherent noises, RuPaul sayings nobody else would identify as their favourites, recognitions of the importance of To Wong Foo, and tales of coming from a small town of only 600,000 people. I’ve got a feeling that whatever we’re about to get from Chi Chi DeVayne, it’ll be uniquely herses.
3. Derrick Barry
I don’t think we’ve had a queen who’s so Vegas since Chanel. A celebrity impersonater (who really looks very little like the celebrity she’s chosen to impersonate), living in a “thrupple” with two other incredibly minor Vegas celebrities (one of whom was once a drag makeover candidate on this very show), who made it a short distance into America’s Got Talent and has many stories to tell you about it, Derrick reads like a grizzled showbiz veteran at the ripe old age of only 32. She’s got a hashtag ready for all her fans, hair so high and polyester that it constitutes a fire hazard with the studio lighting rigs, and she’s ready to show us all that she’s SO much more than Britney Spears. I know! Britney Spears! That’s who she’s impersonating. You’d never know to look at her.
2. Cynthia Lee Fontaine
Cynthia Lee Fontaine! Beautiful as a goddessessess and funny as a clam! From Austin Texas Yawwwww. Or at least that’s what it sounded like. Cynthia is this year’s designated kooky queen, all mangled English and exaggerated Tammy Brown esque looks to camera, and so far it’s working with me. Whether it’s because of her delicious accent (somewhere between Charo and Jean-Marc Generaux), her Muppety mannerisms, or her FIVE, COUNT THEM FIVE strings of pearls, I am looking forwards to Cynthia leaving it all on the floor in a no doubt doomed quest to be this year’s Miss Congeniality.
1. Bob The Drag Queen