Technically, last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race was its sixth season premiere. But for the first time in Drag Race history, the 14 contestants have been split into two groups for the first two episodes. While we’ll have to wait until next week to meet the other seven queens, it’s not that radical of a change — if anything, it is a lot easier to keep track of all the new faces — but the stakes are much higher. Sure, a queen might not be forgotten, but it’s also easier to be remembered… for all the wrong reasons. This episode found the queens channeling popular television shows for their walk down the runway. And although there were some jaw-dropping interpretations, others inspired, well, only pursing of the lips.
Honey, Please Don’t: Adore Delano
Poor Adore Delano. After she glued her outfit to her mannequin, it’s hard not to see her as just a cautionary tale about how not to use glue. Honey Boo Boo is a hard look to pull off, so you have to give her credit for incorporating poofy hair and caked-on makeup suitable for a child pageant star, even if her dress looks like a jumble of scrap fabrics haphazardly DIY-ed into a makeshift outfit for a Barbie doll.
Keeping Up With the Shade: Gia Gunn
While her Keeping Up With the Kardashians-inspired outfit veered towards Vegas showgirl territory — albeit, with fabulous feathered black booties — it was her constant shade-throwing that drew attention to Gia Gunn. Though she’s amusing for now, she better check herself, lest she become the token overconfident, unsympathetic contestant who triggers endless eye-rolling.
Golden Glue: BenDeLaCreme
Even though RuPaul is absolutely APPALLED that queens don’t know how to sew these days, BenDeLaCreme did just fine without needle and thread. She wanted her Golden Girls-inspired outfit to look like it was made with “old, arthritic hands,” but there’s no trace of janky arts-and-crafts disaster, even though she only used glue. Guest judge and former Project Runway contestant Santino Rice gave his stamp of approval, and her technical prowess (or just really excellent fakery) snagged her the first win of the competition.
Faking But Not Making It: Laganja Estranja
But sometimes faking isn’t good, especially when it comes to your personality. Although Laganja won the photo mini-challenge, her Dancing With the Stars look featured a weird mishmash of elements that were flashy, but not exactly cohesive. Coupled with an overly fake personality and cawing voice, her schtick gets old fast. She entered the show by dropping to the ground like Gumby, which is the kind of thing you can only watch once or twice. If she drops the accent and the affect, we would all be happier.
Bow Down: April Carrion
Amid a hefty dose of initial pouting, April Carrion werked her magic, eschewing pants for a sexy, sassy, femme Duck Dynasty ensemble that had special guest judge Adam Lambert checking her out. It was the most unexpected turnaround of the night, and her execution was flawless.
Downtown Shabby: Kelly Mantle
Kelly Mantle’s attempt at elegance ended up looking like a bodice of bacon with a ratty skirt, which led to her elimination. But even more important than looking good, when you’ve been in the business for 17 years, you should at least know how to sell it.
Old School: Vivacious
Vivacious is the other veteran queen of the competition, but her Game of Thrones outfit felt half-baked and sloppy, which is why she ended up in the bottom two. But her walk — very NYC, very Paris Is Burning — gave everybody goosebumps. What she lacks in polish, she makes up in conviction. The young’uns don’t have that kind of strut!