Are you ready to pledge allegiance to the drag?
After 11 seasons of love, liberty, and lots of one-liners, RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 1 came to slay with a new batch of queens that served amazing talent and fashion. And in patriotic-style!
Let me be your Paul Revere and say the queens didn't just come: they came, they conquered, and the battle for the crown will be the toughest one yet.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of "I'm That Bitch", the premiere felt very reminiscent of two episodes back in 2014 and 2015: RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6 Episode 1 and RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7 Episode 1.
Since the series has doubled in seasons since then, it's no wonder that Drag Race is paying homage to some of the best premieres from the past. This nostalgia has been a loving nod these last few years.
The split opening twist keeps the queens on their toes and forces them to stand out from the crowd. Plus, who doesn't love a seasonal runway? (Come on, fashion week!)
Oh, god … I’m hella nervous right now! Because, with only being seven of us here, the microscope is on each and every one of us, and any little slip-up could send us right out that door.Heidi N Closet
I love the return of this twist because it allows the viewers to get to know the queens individually and their styles before competing against 13 other players. It helps us to learn their names, understand their drag style, and how they'll perform on reality TV.
Some confessional queens emerged (Brita, Heidi). Some potential lipsync assassins (Widow, Heidi). And a few that need to push their personalities out from the pack (Gigi).
From the mix of queens in Batch A, RuPaul's Drag Race focused primarily on New York City and southern performers.
We had clear fashion queens (Gigi Goode, Nicky Doll), Broadway and entertainment queens (Jackie Cox, Brita), dancing queens (Widow Von'Du, Heidi N Closet), and comedy queens (Crystal Methyd).
There was a good combination of queens in Batch A; they showcased a range of talent and skills needed to win Drag Race. Though, we'll have to find out which queens have the personality and sewing skills to back it up.
Trust me, those themes come in handy and quick!
Based on their entrance outfits/introductions alone, Brita, Nicky, and Gigi stood out the best for their overall aesthetic.
They had a more polished look that tends to earn approval from the judges, and since there is a fashion component, the odds are high that they will bring it on the runway. And, outside of Drag Race, I've heard great things about Brita and Nicky, so they pleasantly met those early expectations.
Widow, Jackie, and Heidi served fun entrances and confessionals that captured their style. They'll be interesting to watch as the rounds move on. And then there was Crystal...
I can definitely tell that these other b****** are feeling some type of way about Ms. Crystal. But, y’all better be ready. The b**** is fierce!Widow Von’Du
Her makeup is reminiscent of RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars Season 3 winner Trixie Mattel and she plays the comedy queen angle too. But from the onset, there is a fear of messiness and being an early boot.
Crystal is unique and will go there with her fashion (i.e. the red demon for her sparkle runway), but we can't ignore the "Michelle Visage" in the room.
Michelle loves when queens can change up their style and polish up their ideas. She surprisingly loved Crystal's first round, but this is also the season premiere and no one went home.
I won't be surprised if Michelle's feedback goes down this path and pushes Crystal into the bottom two at some point.
The first Mini Challenge captured fashion at its finest with a Spring and Fall runway collection.
Obviously, Nicky and Gigi delivered high-fashion eleganza that took RuPaul's breath away. (Will this be a fashion queen's year? It's still too early to tell, but Nicky is looking like Top 4 potential.)
Widow needs to start paying attention to the finer details of her outfits. Her energy and personality are amazing, and she's delivering it with her fierceness. However, her Fall outfit looked unfitted before and after she did the reveal. This feeling stayed consistent with her sparkle runway as well.
I don't want to see her go the way of Vinegar Strokes from RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 1. Widow has the potential to go far. As the competition gets tougher, those little details will be what RuPaul uses to place in the bottom.
Heidi is lucky that this was a non-elimination round! (Girl, you could hear the gasps as her headpiece/wig fell off during the Spring runway!)
It's an unofficial rule on Drag Race that if a wig comes off without another wig, flowers, or anything under it, you're ending up in the bottom and most likely going home. Many queens have tried it and failed.
Accidents happen, but this round was a saving grace. Tape it down, pin it in, glue it ... do whatever it takes to keep the wig fastened unless you have a trick in mind.
The Main Challenge is where we got the best look into the work habits, talent, and personalities of the queens. No one can hide in the background during a lipsync/singing performance; the judges are watching everyone.
Heidi and Widow will no doubt be the lipsync assassins and choreographers this year. They have the moves on the dance floor and served acrobatics that none of the others could achieve. (Did you see Widow's backbend?!)
Though, I'll put money on the guess that Heidi will be asked to choreograph more often. Tensions kept popping up between Widow vs. Brita & Jackie that moved away from light frustrations to actual frustration. Especially between Widow and Brita.
Widow Von’Du: [Loudly breathes air] I hope you can hear all that air I exclaimed from my body.
[Cut back to Nicky teaching a dance move]
Heidi N Closet: I’m feeling some auras from Window. I can feel the steam coming off her wig.
Crystal Methyd: Widow is frustrated and I don’t blame her. We can’t get through a single move. People keep chiming in with what they want to do.
[Cut back to group arguing about moves]
Widow Von’Du: There’s just too many m*****-****** chefs in this goddamn kitchen!
These are two queens with strong personalities and egos who want to be the star. It's shocking that Brita kept refusing/doubting her moves to then see her choreograph, and for Widow to completely shut down in frustration.
For a choreography challenge, the group has to let someone be the leader and take their feedback. The practicing session descended into chaos.
This tension could be the early signs of the first feud of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12.
The performance of "I'm That Bitch" is so catchy and fun. (Excuse me while I listen to it on Spotify a few hundred times.)
Brita, Widow, Jackie, and Heidi had the best raps from the groups. Their verses were clever, witty, and hit the beat hard. And, Widow and Heidi stole the show with their dance moves!
In contrast to their earlier runway, Gigi and Nicky faded into the background. Their weakness might be the dancing and personality component; they looked uncomfortable trying to keep up with the dance moves, especially Gigi.
This won't be the last time a dance number will come up, so Gigi will have to practice hard and let go or else she'll fall into the bottom.
Nicki Minaj served as the guest judge, and can I say, she was amazing!
Don't you love it when the judges have so much fun being on Drag Race too? Nicki had the time of her life and she got into it with all the sparkly outfits, the rapping, and the performance.
Her critiques didn't provide a lot of feedback; it was mostly about how much she loved the contestants and their lyrics. But, her feedback to Heidi should be noted and applied. That was sound advice that will help Heidi later on to watch her makeup and hair.
Nicki Minaj: Your face is just shutting everybody down. You look like a Barbie out of the box.
Nicky Doll: I wanted to let you know that I named myself Nicky Doll after you.
Nicki Minaj: Well, you are doing me proud!
Since this was a non-elimination round, much of the critiques from the judges were light and fun. Heidi and Nicky got the most negative feedback and need for improvement, so if this were reversed, they most likely would've been in the bottom.
This tone looks like it will completely change in two weeks once queens will start being eliminated.
Did anyone like the nod to RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars? The cash tip is a pleasant surprise that threw everyone for a loop, including this writer.
Widow and Gigi delivered an upbeat and hilarious lipsync of "Starships" by Nicki Minaj. Each both brought different styles to the table and proved that they weren't going to go lightly; they wanted that money!
As mentioned above, Widow has the "lipsync assassin" title wrapped up in a bow. She flipped, spun, and danced circles around Gigi; she dominated that stage. Gigi, on the other hand, played it more comedically and held her own.
However, I am hesitant about their future performances. Widow can't always rely on her acrobatics to save her and Gigi also needs to dance during her lipsyncs.
Thankfully, the two ended up on the top, so they're starting the game off on the right foot.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
The producer not understanding Nicky Doll is going to be an ongoing joke this season. I can just tell.
The "Mirror Moment" of Jackie and Nicky talking about performing drag around the world and the prejudices received is an important topic to discuss as people do get hurt. I love that Drag Race is a platform where the queens can have these conversations and inform the mainstream public.
Crystal warmed my heart with the Freddy Krueger reference.
It's Raven! She can read someone to filth about her outfit. A great surprise.
Poor Heidi! Allergic reactions are serious concerns. I'm glad she's feeling better.
- Nicki's fake entrance as the new RuPaul: hilarious!
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "I'm That Bitch"?
Will tensions flare up between Widow and Brita? Will Michelle continue to love Crystal's aesthetic? How will things change when the next batch of queens arrive?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.