New year, new start, and a new season to find America's Next Drag Superstar. The only resolution is to slay our Fridays with drag excellence.
The first batch of seven queens entered the Werk Room on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 1 to make their grand entrance. In recent years, it's been a non-elimination round, but the premiere kept us on our toes.
Did RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 erupt with a bang? Or, is the fire waiting with batch 2?
"Big Opening No. 1" was a cheeky and refreshing round that felt like classic Drag Race fun.
We were treated to everything good about a typical Drag Race episode with all the newness of a premiere. There were no filler scenes and no dragging out the game for weeks; the competition felt like it started.
Plus, the first batch of seven queens was hilarious!
The group seemed to be having a great time and enjoyed being in the Werk Room. From Kornbread "The Snack" Jeté's general comedy to the offbeat jokes from Willow Pill, you could feel their excitement and joy in playing the game.
Based on the Werk Room entrances, the best looks were Alyssa Hunter, Bosco, Kornbread, and Kerri Colby.
Alyssa's hunter-inspired outfit looked well-constructed and something that she could've worn right onto the runway.
She could prove to be one of the fashionable queens in the competition. The same goes for Bosco and her campy devil jumpsuit. Her runway look eclipsed it as the better devil ensemble this round. (We'll get to the runways later.)
[In confessional] Oh my gosh, Kerri is like … it’s like looking in the sun. It hurts my eyes because she’s so gorgeous.Willow Pill
Kornbread's black leather coat dress matched her personality perfectly. She balanced a stunning chic look with comedy. Kornbread may be the top comedy queen, but this was the first of her three great looks this round.
And Kerri Colby's fabulous white gown with the trans flag was stunning! It's a simple look, but her supermodel personality elevated it to be a showstopper.
It's no wonder that Kerri won the Mini Challenge too. Her natural talent is serving face and fierce looks in front of the camera; she barely had to try!
Placing the queens on the spinning finale wheel is the type of shenanigans that is fun and carefree. None of the queens would be judged harshly if they failed the Mini Challenge. There's not much they can do when they're spinning upside down in a circle.
The way to do well here was by serving looks or bringing lots of jokes to make RuPaul look.
Kornbread and Willow Pill easily won extra favor. RuPaul could barely keep it together from all the comedy. It's a smart strategy because making RuPaul laugh is a surefire way to survive a few rounds.
The Maxi Challenge also proved this as the routines with strong comedy elements won over the judges.
The talent show is an iconic challenge for RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, but it hasn't been a staple for the mainline series. You can never truly predict how the queens will perform. And in most cases, the routines end up being lip-syncs of the queens' original songs.
I liked that the talent show felt varied and well-paced.
Of course, there were a few lip-syncs, but the queens thought outside the box. We haven't had a jump rope talent, or a "self-care lip-sync" before in the Drag Race franchise. The talent show felt like something new to follow.
Though, the talent performances mainly were hit-or-miss. Some did well, but while a queen may have had a strong talent, their execution was a bit sloppy or could've used some work.
Overall, none of the segments blew it out of the water.
My favorites were Bosco, Kornbread, Kerri Colby, and Willow Pill. Bosco's burlesque routine channeled sexiness, but she could've pushed to add more sultry fire. It's a strong performance that just needed a little more.
Is you hungry? Cause Bitch, I’m baked.Kornbread
Kornbread's lip-sync had all the comedy that could stand on its own. She didn't need dance moves or any big showstoppers; all she needed were those stares to make everyone laugh. Compared to her, Willow's lip-sync made no sense and lots of sense simultaneously; it was so weird and offbeat that it strangely worked.
And Kerri's jump rope routine was a hit! If she had only started jumping earlier, she could've snatched the Maxi Challenge win away from Kornbread.
The three other talent performances were fine, but they paled compared to the others.
Alyssa's rock-inspired number didn't match her drag persona at all. You do a different style for Snatch Game or an acting/comedy challenge, but the talent didn't showcase anything about Alyssa.
I’m Bosco, and I’m here to show the world that I’m not just some skanky alternative girl from Seattle. I’m THE skanky alternative girl from Seattle. [Laughs]Bosco
June had a strong talent, but it was very messy. I agreed with the judges; I kept noticing her headband falling, taking her focus out of the dancing. Orion Story, on the other hand, had some funny moments, but the set-up of her number eclipsed them.
Did anyone else feel the second-hand embarrassment of not knowing what was coming next? All three earned their placements at the bottom three.
For the runway of "Signature Showstopping Drag," the best ensembles came from Alyssa Hunter, Bosco, Kornbread, Kerri Colby, and June Jambalaya.
Alyssa's My Fair Lady-inspired silhouette has been done to death on Drag Race. However, she looked effortlessly fashionable walking the runway. The dress almost redeemed her questionable talent show number.
I’m the first one? Always number one.Alyssa Hunter
Bosco and Kerri each had fabulous outfits that highlighted their fashion queen statuses. Kerri reminded me of Kylie Sonique Love with her fur and sexy aesthetic, so we may be in store for more bombshell looks. And Bosco's devil look here exuded editorial glam; if her first look was the starter, this devil stole the show.
In Kornbread's and June's case, they served glamor all over the runway! The judges weren't prepared for all the silver and gold they strutted onto the stage. I'm excited to see what ensembles they bring next.
June and Orion landing at the bottom two to lip-sync made a lot of sense.
June's strong runway couldn't ultimately make up for her messy talent performance. And compared to Alyssa, who didn't slay it in the talent show either, Alyssa's talent show was a tad more organized.
Orion, on the other hand, had a rough week all around.
A confusing and awkward Maxi Challenge performance paired with a less-than-stellar runway outfit is a recipe for a low spot. The cheeky nod of the third breast got her a few laughs, but it's not the type of surprise that keeps a queen out of the bottom.
The lip-sync of "Water Me" by Lizzo was fun and upbeat.
June had this win in the bag from the second she served face to the judges. Her facial expressions and energy were on point for the song. She brought Lizzo energy to the main stage.
Orion tried to keep up, but this song wasn't in her wheelhouse. June outperformed her with the energy that needed to match the number.
At least Orion threw in a few surprises and tricks to compete against June. It's better to fight to the bitter end instead of giving up halfway through.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
Calling it now: Willow Pill will survive long into the competition just from RuPaul having the gag about saying her name alone.
Why do queens even try wearing green on the runway? It's a well-known fact Michelle Visage hates the color with a passion.
- It's great to have the Pit Crew around more in-person.
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!
What did you think of "Big Opening No. 1"?
What was your favorite look of the night? Are you sad to see Orion Story leave? Which talent performance did you love most?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.