Just as we were thinking we needed some time away from RuPaul's Drag Race to fully make peace with the ending of All Stars 3, the Season 10 premier arrived and delivered that sweet gay gush gush that we all crave. As fun as it is to see our old favs come back, there's nothing quite like seeing a brand-new pack of dragoons enter the (upgraded!) workroom and our (still slightly aching) hearts. Not only that, but this might have been one of the most thoroughly thought-through season premiers in a while. Between the mini-challenge and the main challenge, we got a sneak peak of almost all the traits the queens will need to survive and thrive in the competition. We got a taste of their dancing abilities (or lack thereof), sewing skills, fashion inclinations, and personalities. If only there were a way to sneak in a small acting challenge as well.
We'll get into the individual queens and their entrance looks below, in the power rankings, but the main takeaway from the entrances is that, for the third season in the row, we've got a big crew of New York City queens who all already know each other. There are five this season, to be exact. More than a third of the cast. Don't get me wrong, New York is most certainly full of talented and deserving drag queens. I live here, after all. But an NYC-heavy cast does lead to pre-established cliques that can up the girls' comfort levels, and it's worth noting that the winners of the last two seasons were NYC queens. I'd also be remiss if I didn't take the time to say that, while I live in New York, I'm a Miami boy at heart. That city is an established drag mecca (you've seen The Birdcage, right?), and yet, in 10 episodes and 114 queens, we've only had one queen represent the city on the show. That queen was Latrice Royale, but no matter how legendary she is, she's still just one queen in ten seasons. This is all just to say, there's certainly still a lot of drag talent out there, in places other than New York City. This is also to say: Support your local queens! Whether it's going out to the bar or taking a stand in your Ru-Caps.
With that said, the mini-challenge tonight didn't constitute much of an actual challenge, but it was still more enjoyable than some random mini-game. The girls were tasked with doing their best runway walk in the middle of a sea of the show's most notable (or, at least, most available) past contestants. Of course, some of the queens who come from the same cities or drag families might have had a bit of an advantage in the comfort department, but, whatever—it was still a fun gag. It was also a gag to see some of our old favorites back. I could laugh at Mariah Balenciaga talking about ripped fishnets for years, and no one on this show has ever been more delightful to watch get confused over something than Yara Sofia.
Monét wins it, thanks to her tongue-in-cheek triple death watch.
With that decided, Ru proclaims that the main challenge will be a repeat of the show's first ever challenge, Drag on a Dime. The queens must construct garments out of items from a dollar store, and, again, we'll get to this on a queen-by-queen level below, but before we do—we also realized we all desperately need new Christina Aguilera music.
Now, to our completely nonserious power rankings:
1. Mayhem Miller
Entrance Look: Red-carpet ready, by wearing the red carpet.
A lot of Drag Race diehards didn't even need Mayhem's backstory explained. She's part of the elite L.A.-based drag clique that has given us many of the show's most beloved queens (Raja, Detox, Morgan, Raven, Willam, and Delta, just to name but a few), and she's seen her sisters travel the globe while she's had to settle for superstardom at Micky's WeHo. There have been rumors for seasons now that she may make the cut, just like there have been rumors for years that Melania was leaving Donald. They never came true. She was the odd L.A.-girl out (well, except for Rhea Litre, but there's always season 15), and finally she's made it on. There are a lot of expectations on her shoulders, but she avails herself quite professionally. A cartwheel in a gown is, as Trixie pointed out, always a gag, and her black latex number was one of the best constructed on the runway. A little quibble: We wouldn't have minded a little bit of color worked in there somewhere. Still, Mayhem proves that the hype was real and that the wait was worth it.
2. Miz Cracker
Entrance Look: This is niche, but: a blue version of the Girls Aloud video "Something News."
One of the big surprises of the episode was the reveal that her name is a shortened version of her original drag moniker, "Brianna Cracker," and not just a straight-up intentional confrontation. Because she certainly has the sense of humor to make you think she'd chosen that name from the start.
Being honest though, while I thought the silhouette of her top was interesting, I was sort of concerned she'd wind up in the bottom due to execution. Then, when the judges started praising it, I thought, Sure, actually, you know what, it's good, and she showed it. Maybe because we're all just in a place where we're ready to accept what the judges say and not get to upset about it. Where Cracker really shined, though, was with her ping-pong wit on the runway, and she's clearly a producer favorite, with a built-in season-long storyline, thanks to her apparent Coco vs. Alissa–esque frenemy situation with Aquaria.
3. Monét X. Change
Entrance Looks: Rosie the Riveting.
Proving she's not dirty money, Monét gives us a surprisingly hygiene-themed episode here with her janitorial-realness entrance look and sponge-y ballgown in the main challenge. Monét sweeps the mini-challenge, but is merely safe for the main runway. The Brillo Pad couture was a risk that likely paid off with some viewers, but it didn't seem to do much for the judges. It might have been sold better with a more traditional wig. Still, her personality shone through in the episode, and she took up a lot of airtime. That's always a promising sign.
4. Monique Heart
Entrance Look: A gold record during the disco era.
Monique has—no pun intended—heart, she has charisma, she has confidence, and she has given us a lot of the makings of a fan-favorite already. The fact that she was left out of the top was truly the face crack of the episode. Her hair alone was one of the best things on that runway. At least the editors had the kindness to let her call it out via a talking head. Likewise, we'll stage our own quiet protest by bumping her up near our top here.
5. Blair St. Clair
Entrance Look: Straight off the bus at Grand Central before she discovers the booze, pills, and random rivalries with Andrew Lloyd Webber that theatrical stardom can bring.
Ah, Blair St. Clair, the queen who looks like an Broadway ingenue in drag, and the star of a Christian Claymation kids special. As the first queen ever to represent Indiana, we also have to imagine that, somewhere out there in TV land, she is making Leslie Knope very proud. She gives off sort of an Ivy Winters vibe, personality-wise (which is far from a bad thing), and I don't expect her to jump willingly into any drama on set or shade in the talking heads. Plus, she seemed the most timid walking the runway in the mini-challenge. So while she doesn't take up much screen time during the episode, she emerges in the top three thanks to her sophisticated take on reflective windshield visors (though we do have to agree with Michelle that it was a bit confusing when viewed from the back). Who knows where Ms. St. Clair will go from here, but we've seen quite a few theater-world dramas. Sometimes it's the innocent-seeming ingenue who bares her claws on the way to the top.
6. Yuhua Hamasaki
Entrance Look: Bianca Del Yangtze (What? It's a river in China. Get it? Whatever. It's better than "Ankh! Ankh!").
We'll definitely be quoting "Hi, gay people" (or using the .GIF of it) for some time to come. She's funny and quirky without being too much, though we'd need to bring in a whole different writer for a whole new think piece to get into her lowlight moment during the episode.
7. Eureka O'Hara
Entrance Look: A Phoenix that rose from the ashes and went to Vegas.
No use avoiding what we were promised in Season 9, and why waste a perfectly good box? The show wastes no time in bringing the return of Eureka by having her enter the workroom first. Her return takes up most of her storyline here, and considering all she went through, bringing her back for Season 10 was the least the show could have done for her.
Entrance Look: New wave rouge.
Aquaria is the youngest queen this season, but she has apparently been doing drag since she was 14, so she's no newbie at this. She's already built up an impressive following, both online and in New York, and is definitely a character to watch here. Her runway look was a play for a big, interesting silhouette, with the giganta-hat and skirt, but there wasn't that much else to it.
9. Asia O'Hara
Entrance Look: A Texas businesswoman who came to werk.
We expect good things from Asia, but it's clear that drama and confrontation don't run in the O'Hara family, despite what we might have thought.
10. The Vixen
Entrance Look: A child's pop-up book about the city of Chicago.
Vixen's pool-noodle exoskeleton look was a good idea with some poor execution. Vixen, however, seems like an overall interesting, talented queen who we'll see more out of in future episodes.
11. Kameron Michaels
Entrance Look: A contestant during the Rock of Love reunion episode.
I once heard an old queen quip that, back in the '80s, every gay man went to get injected with either steroids or silicon, with no in between. I don't believe that was always the case, and it's certainly not true now, when "Get you a man who can do both"–drag is an entire Instagram genre. Yes, bodybuilders by day, lip-synch by night is a whole thing now. Though it's perhaps not the best sign for Kameron that her storyline for the first episode has more to do with her bulging muscles than with her drag. The luau look didn't do much to change that, but there's still plenty of time to shine.
12. Dusty Ray Bottoms
Entrance Look: Lydia Deetz combined with Claire Brewster (only true '90s kids will understand).
There were quite a few queens who could have wound up in the "bottom 3, but j/k you're not lip-synching" spot, and we're not quite sure why they chose Dusty. We don't have a problem with her Yayoi Kusama makeup, and the construction of her garment was solid. If they were trying to instigate some windshield visor vs. windshield visor between two of the sweetest queens in the cast, it just didn't read.
13. Kalorie Karbdashian Williams
Entrance Look: Jiggly lukewarm.
The word for that dress: bankrupt. The words for that lip-synch can't be found right now because I'm still processing. Good Ru, was that something.
14? Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
Entrance Look: The Birdcage ... literally
Damn, Season 10 certainly isn't playing. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo had all the making of a Drag Race star. We were already counting on her to get so famous that Luis Guzman would have no choice but to play her father in a music video (side note: Can you play Luis Guzman in Snatch Game?). Everything she said cracked us up, and we were sure she was in for a run that would take her at least to the midpoint of the season. Then, just like that, she was gone. Then again, nothing is final in Drag Race until the crown gets placed atop the winner's wig.