The Week in Drag – Season 16 Premiere Recap, Mariah Gets Exposed, Glam Slam Crowns a Champ and More

Christine Fitzgerald 10 Min Read
10 Min Read
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16
Screenshot via YouTube

Hello, hello, hello! We are back from a holiday break, and Ru and the Queens are kicking off 2024 with a bang.

This week, we met the first seven competitors for the crown with the premiere of season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the episode has us excited to see which of these talented performers will be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar.

While we may have been dreaming of sugar plums dancing in our heads and popping bottles on New Year’s Eve, the queens have been busy creating content, and we’ve got a packed post with the latest from some of our faves. There’s so much to get to, so let’s get going and bring it to the runway!

Of course, the top news of the week is the premiere of season 16 of Drag Race on MTV. Some may complain about the spilt premiere set-up, but I love it because it gives us more time to get to know these queens. As the lights come up in the werk room, we meet our first queen of sweet season 16, the radiant Q. We also meet a new member of Kandy Muse’s drag family, Xunami Muse, the queen with my favorite name of the season, Amanda Tori Meating, Miami’s own Morphine Love Dion, Sapphira Cristál (who has the best confessional look so far), Vegas showgirl Mirage and the queen who is going the delightfully eccentric route, Dawn. Check out their entrances right here.   

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As Ru tells us there are plenty of “twists, turns, tantrums and tiaras” on the way and tells the assembled queens about their first mini-challenge. In the grand tradition of Drag Race, it’s the photo shoot, but instead of hoses, wind machines, and feathers, the dolls are posing for Ru’s Ring doorbell. Their tasked with posing the house down and most of the queens understood the assignment. We also get a cameo from the legendary Love Connie, playing Ru’s nosy neighbor. Dawn gets points for making Ru laugh. When the self-professed vegan tells Ru that she thinks animals should be allowed to vote, Ru asks if they would vote for him and Dawn replies, “not you.” Sapphira also delivered laughs along with her posing and ended up with the win.

This week’s maxi challenge pays tribute to Drag Race’s TV home, MTV, while simultaneously dragging us all back to the 90s. It’s time for the Spring Break Talent Show. After Ru gives out the assignment, she throws a few twists into the mix. First off, immunity is back. The winner of the challenge not only receives $5K but also the chance to earn immunity from a future elimination. Secondly, Ru and the judges are not picking the winners this week…the queens are judging each other with Rate-A-Queen™.

As the queens prep for the show, they receive a special visitor, guest judge Charlize Theron, who is clad in Dior and delivers South African baked treats. She gives them a pep talk and proves why she’s an awesome ally to the LGBTQ+ community. You go, Charlize. Afterward, Morphine reveals that even though she lives with her family, they are unaware that she does drag. I can’t wait to get to know the rest of these girls.  

It's time for the talent show, hosted by the wonderful Derrick Barry, in full Britney 90s drag. Morphine does a steamy and spicy dance showcasing her Hispanic heritage, Amanda shows off her comedic skills with a performance of her song “My Kitty” and Dawn gave an out-of-this-world performance of her signature song “Valley of the Dawn” (I thought she was going to be more like Willow Pill and/or Jimbo, but I can see that eccentricity peeking through, so I enjoyed this. Q was the queen who ended up putting the variety into the show with a bizarre (but hilarious) puppet show (because everyone loves puppets!)  Mirage brought the acrobatics and heel clacks to her song (and proves with she dubs herself “the Swiffer of Las Vegas” and last but not least, Sapphira sings live opera with some cheeky subtitles that cracked Ru up.  

The runway theme this week is “Ru-veal Yourself”. Morphine gives us Miami socialite on the beach, with her towel dress and turban revealing a bathing suit; Dawn serves Bride of the Abominable Snowman realness and reveals to another of her mixed print marvels; Amanda’s wig falls off as she steps onto the runway and her doll look reveals a three-breasted purple alien. (Seems on-brand for Amanda.) Xunami comes out in a nicely tailored red jacket to reveal a feathered mini dress and an S&M-inspired, barely-there look. Qis the most glamorous insect. Have you ever seen, revealing gorgeous, multi-colored wings (in a look she created all by herself…it was amazing), Mirage wore Miami Dolphins colors (loved the shout-out from the judges) in a feathered showgirl look and Sapphira donned a royal blue coat (definitely her color) and revealed a tiny outfit with oddly placed boobs (thanks to a too-small breastplate.) All in all, a great first runway.

The judges gave their critiques, and then the queens had to rank their competition, kind of like how they do it on The Circle. The vote landed Q and Sapphira in the top two (no one was eliminated), and they faced off in a lip sync for the win to “Break My Soul” by Beyoncé. This was Sapphira’s lip sync all the way with a high kicking, boob-bouncing performance. She got the win and immunity. Next week, we meet the remaining seven queens and see what they’ve got to offer. I can’t wait to see how that turns out.   

The season 16 dolls are on the press circuit, so expect lots of chatter from them in the next few weeks. Mirage, Morphine Love Dion, & Sapphira Cristál chat about the new season and their drag journeys with Out.

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Celebrate the new year with Violet and Gottmik on “No Gorge.” The pair discuss what’s out from 2023 and share their resolutions for 2024.

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Priyanka and Lemon also celebrate the arrival of 2024 on “Come Through.”

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Here’s a countdown of a different kind. Watch as Trixie Mattel shares her favorite cosmetics of 2023.

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She’s in her YouTube era…Mistress Isabelle Brooks is here with a new GRWM video. Watch as she creates her signature look.

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The gorgeous (and super sweet) Mariah Paris Balenciaga talks season three with Joseph Shepherd on “Exposed.”  

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Cheryl Hole chats about Drag Race UK with Joseph in another clip from “Exposed.” Catch full episodes every Thursday on OUTtv.

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After the queens fulfilled their Project Runway dreams, it’s time for the “Glam Slam Grand Finale.” Luxx Noir London and Olivia Lux battle it out to see who can create the most festive and fierce holiday couture look.

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Bob and Monét are still talking about the Ru girls, and here they are with part eight of their ongoing series. Starting with season 9 and Jaymes Mansfield, the pair also spill the tea on Eureka, Aja, Valentina and Kimora Blac.

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The therapists are in…Bob and Monét are back, answering more fan questions on the latest “Sibling Rivalry.” If you’re looking for advice on smiling or acceptance, they’ve got it for you.

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In anticipation of the upcoming DragCon UK on January 13-14 Blu Hydrangea and Cheryl Hole toot and boot the UK’s past looks from DragCon.

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Trixie and Katya seem to never run out of topics for “UNHhhh” and this week they talk about all things windows…from home accessories to computer operating systems.

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Jaymes rehabs a wig from Eureka O’Hara and it’s (as always) a superb transformation.

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Half of season 15’s iconic wonder twins, Sugar, is Maddy Morphosis’ latest guest on “Give It to Me Straight.”

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And that’s a wrap for this week. We’ll be back with lots more from the queens next week. Until we meet again, stay safe, stay healthy, support the queens and say LOVE!


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