Start your engines, it’s another season of RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Season 14 of this seemingly unstoppable show officially kicked off last week, on January 7th, and for the third time in Drag Race herstory (after Seasons 6 and 12) – instead of introducing us to all 14 Queens from the get go – they split the opening episode in two batches of 7 queens each, so now that Episode 2 has aired, it felt right to talk about.
It might come as a surprise to some people but I’ve been watching Drag Race since Season 6. My wife (girlfriend at the time) started to watch them on Netflix UK, and I’d watch the odd one with her, eventually finding myself becoming invested in some of the contestants and wanting to know who was winning. We’ve both been huge fans ever since.
I’ll start by saying that splitting the introduction of the contestants over two episodes is a fantastic choice. We genuinely do get to see more of every queen, rather than trying to juggle 14 new personalities in one hour, where it can be so easy to forget who is who quite quickly. Yes, it’s a shame that one queen still goes home out of each 7, but hey, it’s a competition after all.
The first episode introduced us to some strong queens, like Kornbread Jeté, Kerri Colby and Bosco, as well as some surprising queens such as Willow Pill. It’s too early to get much of an impression from the others, at this stage.
Unfortunately, the first episode also proved – in my opinion – that RuPaul is losing her touch. She lip synced to one of her new songs before the season’s first runway but if a competing queen exuded as little energy in lip syncing as RuPaul did her own song…they’d be called out by all the judges. It felt very out of place, forcing a “look, I still do this” attitude, and while she did do it, she didn’t do it well.
RuPaul also did her usual of making herself laugh with one of her own jokes, then repeating it incessantly at every given opportunity, thus horrifically killing all humour involved. That joke (if you can even call it a joke) was addressing contestant Willow Pill as ‘Wiwwow Piwl’, using a baby voice – cos she looks young. She says it every, single, time. We were only 1 episode down, and it’s already not funny anymore. I think it’s clear that as an individual, RuPaul’s sense of humour has evolved into just finding the weirdest and strangest things absolutely hilarious, whereas I feel as though similar jokes would been received as just weird and strange a few seasons prior.
The second episode, rounding out this season’s batch of queens, gave us the same maxi challenge of a talent show as well as a first in Drag Race herstory in having the first cis gender straight contestant in Maddy Morphosis. The way the ‘reveal’ of this by RuPual to everyone was handled felt a little insensitive to Maddy in my opinion, especially with how fellow queen Daya Betty was dropping hints, almost trying to ‘out’ Maddy’s sexual identity.
This time around, there were no bad jokes from RuPaul, or any judge for that matter, just a totally average talent show, even by Drag Race standards. No-one was cringe worthy awful or bad and there were a few stand out acts – Angeria Paris VanMicheals most notably, but I did like Maddy’s guitar solo even if it was a tad on the low energy side, which isn’t ideal on Drag Race. Talented, it was. Fitting, it wasn’t. Thankfully though, Alicia Keys was the guest judge so was there to appreciate the musical talent.
As a whole, I’m just glad that they didn’t needlessly drag out the opening few episodes as they did in Season 13. It seems as though they learned that that format wasn’t received very well, but we liked getting to know the queens a bit better in the process – hence Season 14’s two part split. It’s looking like it will be another promising season, and also another season that airs simultaneously with another, with ‘Drag Race UK vs The World’, which premieres next month.
And yes. I will be watching that too.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ airs on VH1 in the US and streams on WOW Presents Plus in the UK.