Only nine months have passed since RuPaul’s Drag Race crowned Symone the winner of Season 13. But if you told us it was less than that, we’d believe you. Also if you said it was more. (The passage of time is no longer a concept we recognize.)
After all, Drag Race-adjacent content has been steadily flooding our streams since the Ebony Enchantress’ coronation back in April, from new seasons of various international editions to festive events like The Bitch Who Stole Christmas. And let’s not forget Queen of the Universe, which was also definitely a thing that happened.
Still, nothing hits the spot quite like a fresh installment of the flagship series, and Friday’s premiere was an absolute feast.
Seven new queens sashayed into the werkroom this week, beginning with Puerto Rican pageant warrior Alyssa Hunter (“It’s hunting season, bitches!”); Seattle’s premier skanky alternative girl Bosco (“Alright, let’s get out there today and make a difference”); Los Angeles shade machine Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté (“Is you hungry? Cause, bitch, I’m baked!”); and an “adorably twisted little doll” from Denver named Willow Pill (“Where am I?”).
We also met L.A. showstopper Kerri Colby (“I have one thing to say: Baby, you already know every kiss begins with a K!”), who draped herself in the colors of the transgender flag; June Jambalaya (“Grab a fork, ladies, jambalaya is served!”), yet another big name from the City of Angels; and Orion Story, who arrived with a screech before delivering the longest entrance line in Drag Race herstory: “Hello? RuPaul? Yes, we’ve been trying to reach you regarding your car’s extended warranty? Oh, perfect, then I just have one more question for you — are you ready, boots?” We get what she was going for, we just have questions about the execution. So many questions.
Watch all seven queens’ entrances in full below:
And what better way to get to know these queens than with a good ol’ fashioned talent show? It’s a time-honored Drag Race tradition that has blessed us with countless iconic moments, from Tatianna’s beatnik performance of “Same Parts” to the question we all wanted to know about Aja: “Is she gonna jump from there?”
Most of the talents were… fine. June kicked off the show with a high-energy African dance, Bosco treated the judges to a floral burlesque number, and Alyssa went full glam-rock with a lip sync to an original song. Others were more exciting, like Kerri’s display of jump-rope excellence and Kornbread turning the runway into her own personal grocery store. And then there was Orion’s awkward, misguided attempt at a fitness comedy routine. (Hey, they can’t all be Phenomenal Phil.)
But the routine we really need to discuss came courtesy of Willow. We had our doubts when she first appeared on stage in a flowing nightgown (as visions of Coco Montreese danced in our heads), but everything changed when we heard those first notes of Enya’s “Only Time.” Did we fully understand the thought process behind Willow flitting around the stage, dropping various items into her bathtub, then messily devouring a plate of meatballs? Absolutely not. But not everything needs to be “understood” to be enjoyed. Some things can just… be.
The runway is also a great way to get to know a queen, so this week’s category (Signature Showstopping Drag) couldn’t have been more appropriate. June came out strong in a glittery, glamorous jumpsuit; Bosco rocked another pair of horns for a look inspired by the idea of Dita Von Teese in hell; Alyssa stunned (and confused) the judges in a My Fairy Lady-esque ensemble constructed with ostrich feathers; Kerri gave a nod to her drag family’s Dynasty roots, rocking an Alexis-approved fur coat; Orion lived her “sexy, weird cartoon fantasy” as a living mushroom; Kornbread showed lots of leg in a chic look that she deemed “fat, Black and uncomfortable”; and Willow tried to pull off something you might see Selena Gomez wearing on Only Murders In the Building. (If you know, you know.)
Now, the results! We’ll start with Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, whose name couldn’t be more appropriate, as the judges ate up absolutely everything she was serving. Guest judge Lizzo even dubbed her a “superstar,” which instantly triggered tears of joy. The fact that Ru announced Kornbread’s victory by saying “winner winner, chicken… necklace?” was merely the icing on this well-deserved cake.
Bosco, Willow and Kerri were all sent to safety, while June, Orion and Alyssa had to sweat it out in the bottom three. Alyssa was ultimately spared, leaving June and Orion to lip sync against one another to the tune of Lizzo’s “Water Me.” (Let’s be real for a minute: “Water Me”?! Having to perform an artist’s song in front of them is nerve-wracking enough, but this is a whole other situation. We could be wrong, but we doubt these queens knew every lyric to this song prior to the competition. So kudos to them both for studying up.)
And while we’re at it, here are some more kudos: These queens both turned it out. While June fully embodied the song’s empowering lyrics, Orion matched her opponent’s energy with a steady stream of tricks and treats. (Wigs on wigs! Three boobs! There was a lot to enjoy.) Still, we were neither surprised nor upset when Orion Story was sent sashaying away. Based on everything she gave us this week, she belonged in the bottom. And while we can’t quite put our finger on it, there’s something about June that tells us she’ll be sticking around for a bit.
OK, let’s talk: Was the right queen eliminated? Who are your favorites (and least favorites) of the season so far? And did you ever think you’d know the name of Lizzo’s vagina, never mind that it would be Shonda Rhimes? Cast your vote in our polls below, then drop a comment with your full review.