RuPaul’s Drag Race kicked off its tenth season Thursday (March 22) night with a throwback challenge (Drag on a Dime, the first-ever challenge on season 1 of the groundbreaking reality series), an extra special guest (Christina F—king Aguilera, come thruuuuuuu) and runway mini challenge that brought back a bevy of past winners and fan favorites, from Katya to Jinkx Monsoon to Adore Delano to Bob the Drag Queen to Tempest DuJour. As we enter a new season of buffoonery, riggery and straight up tomfoolery, here’s what Billboard Pride Editor Patrick Crowley and Deputy Editor, Digital, Joe Lynch thought about the season 10 premiere.
Patrick: Wow! It seems like just last week we were recapping the season finale of All Stars. Time flies.
Joe: Hahahaha. Right? After such a long Drag Race-free period, it’s wonderful to have it back in our lives. And Jesus — they’re really milking it. Ninety minutes of Drag Race, and an HOUR of televised Untucked? Before we talk about the episode I have to say, I prefer the YouTube Untucked episodes, which are much looser and less tooled to force a dramatic arc. Also as someone who loves watching Drag Race in a bar and then watching queens perform IRL afterward, I was getting antsy after 2.5 hours of TV for the real drag to start.
Patrick: You shut your mouth with that blasphemy. I get what you’re saying about watching a live show after Drag Race airs, but this 2.5 hour eleganza was a gift from the gay gods! And what a friggin’ premiere episode this was. The sour taste of All Stars is gone. I am so ready for this season! Let’s talk entrances, who were your favs?
Joe: I love Cracker’s saltiness IRL, and I liked her entrance. I loved Dusty Ray Bottoms’ entrance (“Never loved ya,” genius) and Yuhua’s was great, too. As for lewks, I loved Dusty’s the most. And although I’m glad to see Eureka again, I have to say that Flash Gordon/chicken outfit was not the most flattering thing to re-enter the competition with….
Patrick: I agree! I’m so excited to see what Eureka does, but that entrance outfit was a choice. My favorite entrance was Monét — though I almost wish she didn’t do a tearaway and kept sweeping. I also loved Aquaria’s punk rock lewk. It was so different than her promo look that I barely recognized her!
Joe: Yeah I’ve seen Aquaria before IRL and she is a FORCE to be reckoned with, especially for 21, just a master of presenting herself. Although the editing is definitely setting her up as the villain, I’ve heard she’s super nice actually (don’t personally know her). But I suppose if you’re going to move your head back and forth that fierce on TV, you’re going to be cast as the bitch. Speaking of young — Blair St. Clair. Not the youngest on the show at 22, but absolutely looks like she’s 14. Every time boy Blair was on the screen I was like, “Is RuPaul’s Drag Race Jr. a thing now?”
Patrick: Ha! Aquaria called Blair a boy scout out of drag and I died. But she makes one fishy queen — damn. I’m really excited for this cast. I can also confirm that Aquaria was incredibly sweet and professional at the premiere party. So let’s talk about the mini-challenge with all the Drag Race alum! Who were you most excited to see? I loved that Katya was there, and Jinkx’s moment with Aquaria was fantastic.
Joe: Oh my God, I was gagging over Manila’s look – you put her on your All Stars 4 wishlist and I cannot agree more, I want more Luzon in my life. Chad looked fierce, and it was cute seeing how excited Bob was to see Cracker do the runway. Speaking of, whose runway had you going? Monet stood out for me and OMG Mayhem Miller doing a cartwheel in a tight-fitting gown? How? Just….how?? I was also super gagging over Asia O’Hara’s fringe look, the Dolly cowgirl fringe, absolutely gorge. And I was sort of living for Mariah Balenciaga reading Kalorie Karbdashian for ripped fishnets on the runway.
Patrick: AHHHH! I was so happy to see Mariah back. And her criticism was correct! This is season ten, henny! Let’s talk about the drag on a dime challenge. Can we agree that Monique Heart was *robbed*? I think Mayhem absolutely deserved the win, and her teary speech hit me in the feels, but leaving Monique out of the top didn’t feel correct.
Joe: Oh totally, Monique Heart’s Queen of Hearts look was honestly, for me, one of the top 20 runway looks I’ve seen on this show. 1) The fact that she pulled that out for a Drag on a Dime challenge and 2) just the structural beauty of it, truly incredible. I was confused why she wasn’t in the top. But yes, Mayhem’s glove look was astonishing. The bottom two was correctly chosen, Vanessa’s personality is compelling but that look was like a fucked up scrunchie with limbs and a head sticking out of it. But I felt bad to see her go so soon, she has a lot of personality. But hey, we can’t keep everyone! It actually reminded me of season 9. Like Jaymes Mansfield, really fun personality but was the right choice to send home first. I’m still dearly hoping that there will be an All Stars season consisting solely of the first girls to go home.
Patrick: I would honestly watch a series that just followed Vanessa around doing the most basic human things. Grocery shopping. Going to the gym. Heading out for a night on the town. Literally anything. She made such an impression in this 1.5 hours and I need more! I loved the juxtaposition of her hyper-feminine outfit with her harsh speaking voice. That said, Kalorie came to play with that lip sync. Her outfit was a disaster but that performance was stunning. Can we talk about Xtina for a minute though?
Joe: OMG, the bar I was at absolutely screamed when they announced Farrah Moan was coming back, and credit to Xtina, it took everyone like 30 seconds to realize that it was, in fact, Christina Aguilera and not Farrah Moan. Her look was spot-on and her Farrah impersonation was hysterical, almost as good as Aguilera doing Samantha from Sex and the City on SNL back in the day. And huge respect to a guest who doesn’t just show up but shows up to perform — Kristin Chenoweth doing Snatch Game, Vanessa Hudgens lip syncing against a pork chop, and now this.
Patrick: Ummmm absolutely! Ands how can you forget Gaga’s entrance last season. Iconic. Christina’s kiki with the girls during Untucked was everything. She seemed so much more at ease than she ever did on The Voice. You could tell that she was genuinely excited to be there. And I can’t believe she dated a closet case. I’ve been listening to “Infatuation” all day. But let’s get to it: based off the first episode, who are your personal top three?
Joe: Oooh, Patrick with the tough questions. I guess….Monique Heart because of that insanely great look. Monét x Change for the entrance look and the runway. Miz Cracker, whose Drag on a Dime lewk was also a stunner — like, the ability to create that from junk is a gift. Plus, funny AF, I love a queen who doesn’t miss a beat and can lob one liners a Ru like it’s no thing. Makes sense she’s Bob’s daughter.
Patrick: I’m not quite on the Cracker train yet, but I’m sure I’ll be a convert soon. I always love the wackadoodle contestants and she seems to be making a play for that role. I’d say my top 3 also includes Monique and Monét, with Mayhem rounding it out. You can tell that finally making it on the show has meant so much for her — and she hasn’t disappointed yet. But this is Drag Race, so who knows what will happen next week!
Joe: I cannot wait to see Alyssa Edwards coach them through dance moves. So. Excited.