Oh my goodness, the upcoming season of RuPaul’s Drag Race sees the hundredth queen walk through the Work Room door! Who’d have thought, back in 2009, that this America’s Next Top Model rip off for drag queens would turn into a global phenomenon? And like any internationally anticipated media event – a new season of Game of Thrones, the Oscars nominations, the US election – a certain level of ceremony surrounds any and all announcements about what to expect, especially the revelation of the next season’s contestants.
So, are you ready to meet the queens? If that wasn’t exciting enough, I am putting my dignity and journalistic reputation on the line for you by predicting when we will or won’t see each queen sashay away. If any of my predictions are wrong, the gay media elite will strip me of my membership and no one will ever follow me on Twitter again. Only joking, I’m not part of any media elite, I don’t even get paid for this shit. Anyway, in reverse order:
12. Naysha Lopez
Boring and complacent. I’m not the biggest fan of pageant queens, but my problem isn’t with her look. Like other fishy queens before her, she seems to think that beauty – sorry thebeauty – will take her all the way. Get ready to see her crash and burn when she has to do something embarrassing in the first mini challenge, leading to a sub-par lip sync where she tries to hide the fact she doesn’t know the words. Byeeeee.
11. Laila McQueen
If Adore Delano and Sharon Needles had a baby… I don’t want to put her here – I would like to be friends with her and her herd of lesbian fans – but she just doesn’t believe in herself enough. You need to think you’re hot shit to survive Drag Race, and there’s one too many self-deprecating jokes in this video. She’ll flake when the bitchier queens start in on how thirsty her wigs are and try to hide how relieved she is to be going home.
10. Chi Chi DeVayne
I dislike her for saying that being a boy that dresses as a woman is ‘the epitome of drag’. I mean, it is, I guess, but any queen who thinks that looking like a woman is the be all and end will never appeal to me – especially when they side-eye anyone who tries to do anything interesting, as if that never won the show. She may be better than I’ve given her credit for – she claims to be able to sing and dance, and her ‘use of unconventional materials’ in outfits suggests she can sew – but she was also the only queen I had to google when writing this to remind myself who she was. Forgettable.
9. Thorgy Thor
Clearly an experienced queen with a great look, and I would have placed her higher except she’s been auditioning since season 1 of Drag Race. When a queen has auditioned that many times, it always raises the question: how come you didn’t get on before? Expect another Jasmine Masters, someone who can’t quite live up to their ambition, but makes a big impression before leaving early.
Love her look, love her ideas, love that she got into drag because she couldn’t see the kind of drag she wanted out there, and any self-proclaimed Queen of the Nerds is going to gain some fans. But her make up in the promo makes her look cross-eyed, and only Bianca Del Rio can pull that off.
This season’s Puerto Rican queen seems like a lovely person, with a very polished look, but beyond that – so what? I think she’ll put in a solid effort and will get through to the middle of the contest without ever having to lip sync. But once the competition starts getting tougher, I’m not sure she’ll be able to rev it up. Having said that, she might do an Alexis Mateo and keep going for longer than anyone expects.
As soon as she appeared on my screen with the 60s hair and the vintage dress I thought ‘Is she from Seattle?’ Why yes she is, the same city that gave us Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme. Clearly that’s what they like there, and clearly I’ve been watching this show for too long. Anyway, I’m a big fan of her classic Hollywood looks, but I worry she’ll be Tammy Brown-ed: Drag Race is a show with a Top 40 aesthetic, and someone who wants to lip sync to Liza Minnelli is not going to fit in. The producers will keep her around until Snatch Game if at all possible: she’ll win that, then be booted out in the following episode when she’s forced to lip sync to Nicki Minaj against one of the younger queens doing death drops.
She is definitely the funniest one here, and will be a joy to watch. It’s no surprise to see she thinks Latrice Royale would be her Drag Race BFF: with her quick wit and big laugh, she is Ms Royale’s natural heir. However, another thing she inherits from her spiritual mother is a lack of polish which will catch her out in the end. A natural fan favourite, she’ll end up as Miss Congeniality, and her off-Broadway show lip syncing to an audiobook of James Earl Jones reading the Bible will sell out in record time.
4. Kim Chi
I want to say Kim Chi’s in the top three, I really do. Her look is so strong, and so well-executed – that wavy lilac wig in the promo? Perfection – and she’s funny too. Like her friend Trixie Mattel, she is a fully realised creation unlike anything you’ve seen before. She’s also the first Korean drag queen on TV, fact fans. However, she is too similar to Acid Betty (more on her shortly) and in a fight between Kim and Betty, I think Kim is too sweet to win.
At first sight she’s a knock off Willam (blonde hair, strong jawline, male name), but she’s actually a knock off Chad Michaels: Derrick is a Britney Spears impersonator keen to show she’s got more to offer. I don’t think she’s fantastic, but she’s already a consummate professional, performing six nights a week in Las Vegas (though that’s no guarantee of maturity – I’m looking at you, Coco Montrese), and having already appeared on America’s Got Talent, she’s familiar with the process of filming and the dirty tricks producers play to make reality TV good TV. People will complain when she makes top three because they think she’s boring, when really she’s there to provide some variety.
Special mention goes to her polyamorous relationship with an army veteran (previously seen on the season 5 Drag Race makeover episode as Nebraska Thunderfuck) and a ‘celebrity artist’, whatever that means, which sounds like the set up for an m/m romance novel called something like ‘Three’s a Crowd!’
2. Naomi Smalls
Shades of Tyra Sanchez – and RuPaul herself – in this immaculately presented legs-to-here goddess. The attention to detail in her outfit is fantastic, and I especially love the pointed nails to match her pointed collar. She has fashion sense, a sense of humour – she’s named after Naomi Campbell and Biggie Smalls – and she’s made it onto Drag Race with her first ever audition. Thorgy Thor, take note. I might have chosen her for the crown if it weren’t for…
1. Acid Betty
It’s a surprise for many to see Acid Betty on the show, as she’s already legendary. But even for the biggest stars on the drag circuit, $100,000 is a lot of money. It feels like this season is a foregone conclusion: Betty’s clearly in a different league from the others, and, in her own words, ‘a bitch’, who won’t be afraid to lose friends and alienate people in order to snatch that crown. I can’t wait to see some of her Instagram looks recreated on the main stage. You go ahead girl and take what’s yours – just try and let the others catch up a little so it’s fun to watch.
So there you have it, my guaranteed 100% accurate predictions for Season 8. Join me here at Vada on 8th March, when I’ll be dancing over the corpse of Naysha Lopez following the premiere. Let’s hope I DON’T FUCK IT UP! Get it? Of course, yeah. Yeah I know. I know. Just humour me this once, please.