It’s week two of the season premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race (a/k/a The Big Opening) and we finally get to meet the remaining seven queens competing to become America’s Next Drag Superstar. There’s talent, fashion and ferocity to come, so let’s get into it.
As the episode enters, we reunite with the first seen queens we met last week as they lament the heartbreaking elimination of Orion Story. June Jambalaya cleans the mirror message from our Michigan queen and declares, “this jambalaya’s got a lot more simmering to do.” Let’s hope so. The queens congratulated Kornbread on her win and wondered aloud about their unseen (as of yet) competition. And…here they come.
First into the room is another Latinx queen, Jorgeous from Nashville, Tennessee who was just that in red feathers and spicy attitude. Next up, we meet Fresno, California’s Deja Skye, working her curves in more polka dots and a fluorescent yellow wig. Next in is NYC’s own Jasmine Kennedie who not only made me gasp with her stoned and feathered entrance look and full violet wig, but her face out of drag was giving me serious young Christopher Reeve (RIP) vibes. What fabulous bone structure. Sigh. And now, let the controversy begin. Arkansas’ Maddy Morphosis (the first cis het male to compete on the show) has entered the werk room, serving Guy Fieri realness (or, according to a lot of Twitter users the second coming of Tina Burner.) I love the cheekiness. Good on you, Maddy. And. Now Atlanta’s in the house! Welcome Angeria Paris Van Micheals, also clad head to toe in polka dots. London-born Lady Camden enters and serves a 90s Spice Girl fantasy, complete with a candy bra and, lastly, welcome grunge punk rock girl Daya Betty, clad in yellow and black rocker gear. Check out their entrances here:
As with the first batch of queens, Ru challenges the dolls to be model drag queens posing in a giant bowl of Tic Tacs. Talk about playing with your food. While not nearly as chaotic as last week’s spinning wheel of death photo shoot, the results were pretty darned good, with Ru asking the queens to react to various questions using their faces and body language. Jasmine, Jorgeous and Angeria served the glam and Maddy found Santino’s hat in the bowl (a Merle and Santino reference in the first two episodes? Who would have thunk it?) In the end, Ru declares Angeria the winner.
After the shoot and our first look at the dolls out of drag, Ru announces that round 2 of the CNTs is heading to the mainstage, meaning that the queen-etstants are tasked with showing off their talents in front of Ru and judges Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and guest judge Alicia Keys. As the queens get settled in, Ru enters the werk room to chat with the queens about their talents (and doesn’t seem impressed that some are lip syncing for the CNTs), ultimately revealing that Maddy identifies as straight (a fact Daya already knew) and dropping jaws in the process. Maddy says she feels validated and hopes the negativity can avoid her on the show. The queens grill Maddy about her drag journey and she answers their questions thoughtfully and intelligently. Lady Camden later admitted she had “Maddy” respect for her fellow competitor.
After a pep talk from Alicia Keys, it’s time for talent. First up is Jorgeous, doing a seductive lip sync and looking fabulous. Jasmine flips and high kicks her way through another lip sync and Daya Bettty also (surprise!) does a lip sync to P!nk’s “Get the Party Started.” Finally…Lady Camden gives us something different, a modern ballet dance to “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai. Deja Skye does a “comic cheerleading routine” that, much like Orion’s aerobics instructor bit las week, failed to land. Ooh, you in danger, girl. Maddy proved to be quite adept at blues guitar and Angeria delighted the judges with (yes) another lip sync, but it was to her own original song (which was instantly catchy.) I don’t know about you, but I really would like to see talents other than lip syncing if these talent shows show up on future seasons. I think it’s way more interesting to see the queens do things you wouldn’t see them do at the club on a regular basis. (I will make an exception if they’re performing their own songs, as Angeria and Kornbread did deserve the praise from the judges for their numbers.) Let’s just get some more variety. More blues guitar playing, poetry reciting and quick dressmaking queens, please!
After the CNTs, the queens hit the runway to serve us Sickening Signature Drag. Jorgeous had a purple gown that revealed a dazzling catsuit. Deja was in a curve-hugging black and cerulean blue (thanks, Carson) lace gown, Jasmine was resplendent in a gold gown with a plunging neckline that highlighted her (really good) breastplate and a wig that was probably featured in the movie Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Maddy gave us a headless Marie Antoinette fantasy in a creative (and beautiful) look and Angeria slayed in a wine-colored pageant gown and signature huge hair. Lady Camden took us to a 90s rave in a pastel peacock fantasy and Daya sported a blue wig and a dress made of ribbons.
The judges make their decision and declare Angeria as this week’s winner. Jorgeous, Jasmine, Lady Camden and Maddy are all safe. So, it’s down to Daya and Deja, lip syncing for their lives to Alicia Keys’ monster hit “Fallin.’” Both queens did fine lip service to the song, but in the end, Daya Betty had to sashay away and gave us my favorite exit line since Miss Vanjie, uttering “Well, shit” as she left the stage. Well put, my queen.
Our MVP: I know this is going to come off as biased, but, being from Atlanta myself, I have to give it to the “southern belle from the ATL” Angeria. She embodies the passion and artistry of the Atlanta pageant scene and she deserved every last kudo from the judges this week. Alicia Keys said her original song was great and she’s not wrong. My favorite Angeria moment was the amazing advice she gave to Lady Camden during Untucked, “You’ve gotta be you to be unique.” (I need this on a pillow, stat.) She gives great confessional and proves she’s got the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to stick around in the competition. Mark my words.
Next week, the queens all come together and Ru’s big (sweet) twist is revealed! Until then, just remember, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an “Amen”?