The wait is finally over! RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 is finally upon us. Although Seasons 10 and 11 have received mixed reactions from fans, the recent RuPaul’s Drag Race UK seems to have reinvigorated the series, meaning the hype for Season 12 has been high, and it didn’t disappoint.
This first part of a two-part premiere is easily one of the best premiere episodes in Drag Race History, giving us a great glimpse into half of what is shaping up to be an excellent cast, a superb main challenge, sickening lip-sync and an incredibly special guest judge Nicki Minaj. It seems that Drag Race has found its groove again.
The first queen to sashay her way into the Werk Room was Brita, the self-titled Queen of New York. She entered with a cute leopard print look, and a tremendous amount of confidence that she seemed to begin to lose as the episode continued. Following her, we have Drag Race’s first French queen, Nicky Doll. From the moment she turned that corner into the Werk Room, you can immediately see that Nicky is one fierce fashion queen, and we’re excited to see what other looks she’s going to turn this season.
Widow Von’Du was up next, and she is oozing confidence, asking audiences to get into “AAAAOOOOOOOOLLL (all) of this”. Shortly behind Widow was the Persian Princess of drag, Jackie Cox. Jackie was bursting with energy and seemed like a queen to really keep an eye on this season. Heidi N Closet struts into the Werk Room next in her “pink leprosy print” outfit. From the outset, Heidi seemed like the underdog in the competition. While we’ll later see how great she is at performing, her looks didn’t seem to stand out too much—speaking of looks, the second fashion queen of the season sailed in through the Werk Room doors, with this season’s youngest queen at 21, Gigi Goode.
Gigi came in a full fashion couture pirate fantasy. Like Nicky, Gigi have us excited for the rest of her runway looks this season. The final queen to sashay into the Werk Room was Crystal Methyd, giving full fashion clown realness. While the other queens seem hesitant of Crystal’s look, I personally loved it, with it being my favourite entrance look.
And with that, we have our first seven queens. Similar to Season 6, the queens have been divided this year into two separate groups, with the next six queens appearing in next weeks second premiere. RuPaul made his grand entrance into the Werk Room, announcing the first mini-challenge of the season.
The mini-challenge was a Fall and Spring fashion show, reminiscent of the first mini-challenge from season 7. While no-one tops Violet Chachki’s incredible tartan reveal look, there were still some impressive fashion on show here. RuPaul is joined by judges Michelle Visage and Carson Kressley, along with Drag race alumni Raven and Mayhem Miller and Kimora Blac as (Not) Kanye West & (Not) Kim Kardashian.
The looks are excellent, with no bad looks in the bunch, some highlights being Gigi’s pastel spring look and Nicki’s fall look. Heidi looked stunning in her floral and flowing spring look, and she even managed to carry on after her headpiece fell off. Brita stuck to a watery theme with both of her looks, going for a tulle stream look for spring and oil-spilt ocean for fall.
Crystal stole the runway however with her Fall look, a Freddie Krueger inspired piece of high-fashion couture. Again, Crystal seems to sum up everything about herself with her looks perfectly, and I feel like she is definitely the one to watch this season.
Ru comes back into the Werk Room and reveals to the queens what the first main challenge is going to be. Over the years Drag race has become somewhat formulaic, meaning I was going into this episode expecting the queens to be given a sewing/design/runway based challenge, something that has become accustomed to premiere episodes of Drag race. However, Ru instead announced that the queens will instead be writing and recording their own raps to “I’m That B****”, as well as choreographing and performing the number on the main stage in front of Nicki Minaj. For a first challenge, this easily ranks up high as one of the most demanding.
While the queens seemed to have no issues with writing their own verses, trouble began to brew when it came to choreography. Widow and Heidi are the two queens with the most choreography knowledge and are then nominated to lead the rest of the queens in the rehearsals. Widow becomes frustrated in rehearsals as the other queens’ lack of danceability, mixed with Brita and Jackie’s inputs into the choreography causing her to become stressed and panicking about her future in the competition. She says that she has seen the show enough times to know that the captain is usually the one to go down with their ship.
The day of the main challenge arrived, and while in the Werk Room, Heidi reveals that she is nervous for the challenge due to a lack of sleep and energy. She tells the other queens that she was in the ER the previous night after having an allergic reaction to something from the hotel. The other girls comfort her and Jackie and Nicky discuss what it is like being openly gay within different cultures of the world that aren’t as accepting.
It was time for the main event. The lights began to shine on the runway, but it wasn’t RuPaul walking down but Nicki Minaj, looking elegant in red head to toe. After Ru also walked down the runway, the show wastes no time in getting straight to the performance. Overall, the performance was pretty good, especially considering this is the first challenge for these queens, and this is a challenge usually reserved for the Top 5 or 4 of a season. No one stood out as bad within the challenge, with a few standout moments from Widow, Heidi, Gigi and Jackie. Widow and Heidi killed it with their choreography, while Jackie and Gigi had some great lyrics.
After the challenge, one was time for the first runway of the season, and Category was: Sparkles. Again, similar to the challenge, no one stood out as bad on the runway, although this was overall the weakest runway of the episode. Gigi and Nicky stood out with great, high-fashion couture looks, but it was again Crystal who stole the runway for us. Her monstrous sparkle devil look was easily the most unique look on the runway. She continues to set a high standard for herself. While Gigi and Nicky are being hailed this season’s fashion queen, it’s Crystal that I’m most drawn too after this first episode.
Time for the judge’s mostly lovely critiques. Every queen received positive feedback, with a few pieces of constructive feedback. The main highlight, however, was how great Nicki was as a guest judge. Some judges just seem to be there for the paycheck and just breeze along not really critiquing the queens or can even be unnecessarily aggressive but Nicki hit the perfect balance of being kind, while also not holding back with her critiques and it seems that she thoroughly enjoyed her time on the show.
The gag of it all, after judging and a fun freestyle rap from Nicki, the results were revealed as one by one the queens revealed to be safe. The final three weree Heidi, Widow and Gigi, when Heidi was revealed as safe, we were a little shocked that there was no winner, and that it was Widow and Gigi in the bottom two until Ru revealed that both queens were in fact in the top. In a last-minute twist, Ru revealed that no-one was going home this episode and that the top 2 would instead be lip-syncing to earn $5,000.
The lip-sync was Starships by Nicki Minaj, and for a first lip-sync, it was amazing we don’t think there has ever been a stronger opening lip sync. Both queens gave it everything they had, we were expecting Widow to kill it, but were pleasantly surprised by Gigi who managed to keep up with her. After revealing earlier that she can’t dance, she managed to give her performance comedy and camp.
After the lip-sync Widow is revealed as the winner, giving her the boost she needed after feeling as if she was being set up by the other queens earlier and the episode ends with the promise that the remaining queens are coming next week.
After watching this episode, our excitement for Season 12 is at an all-time high. We have a fantastic cast of queens, with more to come, some incredible guest judges and hopefully some top-tier challenges for the queens. Currently, we’d say that Heidi is our favourite, while her looks aren’t as polished as the others, she definitely has the personality, we do love an underdog story.
Unfortunately, seems Netflix UK is having some issues getting the rights for Untucked sorted, meaning it may not come until the end of the season so it won’t be included in these reviews unless Netflix can release the episodes just after the episode.
Thanks for reading and remember to join us next week for episode 2. Please share your thoughts with us on this season of Drag Race and tell us your favourite queen so far on Twitter @Fuzzable.