RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 Episode 1 Review: Grand Opening # 1
New year, new start and new season to find America’s Next Drag Superstar. The only resolution is to kill our Fridays with flirtatious excellence.
The first batch of seven queens entered the Werk Room in Episode 1 of Season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race to make their grand entrance. The last few years it wasn’t a playoff round, but the first has kept us on our toes.
Has RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14 broken out? Or, does the fire wait with lot 2?
“Big Opening No. 1” was a cheeky, refreshing round that felt like classic Drag Race fun.
We were treated to everything good about a typical Drag Race episode with all the newness of a premiere. There were no filler scenes and no game drag for weeks; the competition seemed to have started.
Plus, the first batch of seven queens was hilarious!
The group seemed to be having a good time and enjoyed being in the Werk room. From Kornbread’s general comedy “The Snack” Thrown to the quirky jokes of Willow Pill, you could feel their excitement and joy in playing the game.
From the Werk room entries, the best looks were Alyssa Hunter, Bosco, Kornbread and Kerri Colby.
Alyssa’s hunter-inspired outfit looked well built and something she could have worn right on the trail.
She could turn out to be one of the trendy queens of competition. The same goes for Bosco and his campy devil suit. His runway look has eclipsed him as the Devil’s Best Set this round. (We’ll get to the slopes later.)
[In confessional] Oh my God, Kerri is like… it’s like looking at the sun. It hurts my eyes because she is so gorgeous.
Kornbread’s black leather coat dress matched her personality perfectly. She balanced a stunning chic look with comedy. Kornbread might be the best queen in comedy, but it was the first of her three big looks this round.
And Kerri Colby’s fabulous white dress with the trans flag looked gorgeous! It’s a simple look, but his modeling personality has elevated him to star status.
It’s no wonder Kerri won the Mini Challenge as well. His natural talent is at the service of the face and the fierce looks in front of the camera; she barely had to try!
Placing the queens on the final spinning wheel is the kind of fun, carefree shenanigans. None of the queens would be judged harshly if they failed the Mini Challenge. There isn’t much they can do when they turn upside down in a circle.
The way to do well here was to serve up looks or bring a lot of jokes to make RuPaul look like.
Kornbread and Willow Pill easily earned an additional favor. RuPaul could barely keep up with all the comedy. This is a smart strategy because making RuPaul laugh is a sure-fire way to survive a few turns.
The Maxi Challenge also proved it, as routines with strong comedy elements won over the judges.
The talent show is an iconic challenge for RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, but it hasn’t been a staple of the main series. You can never really predict how queens will behave. And in most cases, the routines end up being lip syncs of the queens’ original songs.
I liked that the talent show was varied and well paced.
Of course, there were some lip syncs, but the queens thought outside the box. We’ve never had skipping rope or “lip-syncing for self-care” talent before in the Drag Race franchise. The talent show seemed like something new to watch.
However, talent performance was mostly hit and miss. Some did well, but even though a Queen had great talent, their execution was a bit sloppy or could have required a bit of work.
Overall, none of the segments blew it out of the water.
My favorites were Bosco, Kornbread, Kerri Colby and Willow Pill. Bosco’s burlesque routine channeled sex appeal, but she could have pushed to add more sultry fire. It’s a solid performance that just needed a little more.
Are you hungry? Because bitch, I’m done.
Kornbread’s lip sync had all the comedy that could stand on its own. She didn’t need dance moves or big tricks; all she needed were those looks to make everyone laugh. Compared to her, Willow’s lip sync made no sense and a lot of sense simultaneously; it was so weird and quirky that it worked strangely.
And Kerri’s jump rope routine was a hit! If she had only started jumping earlier, she could have snatched the Maxi Challenge victory from Kornbread.
The other three talent performances were good, but they were pale compared to the others.
Alyssa’s rock-inspired number didn’t match her dragster character at all. You’re doing a different style for Snatch Game or an actor / comedy challenge, but the talent hasn’t shown anything on Alyssa.
I’m Bosco, and I’m here to show the world that I’m not just a skanky alternative girl from Seattle. I’m THE skanky alternative girl from Seattle. [Laughs]
June had a strong talent, but it was very messy. I agreed with the judges; I kept noticing her blindfold falling off, preventing her from concentrating on the dance. Orion Story, on the other hand, had some fun times, but his number setup overshadowed them.
Did anyone else feel the secondary embarrassment of not knowing what was to come next? All three have secured their place among the bottom three.
For the “Signature Showstopping Drag” parade, the best ensembles came from Alyssa Hunter, Bosco, Kornbread, Kerri Colby and June Jambalaya.
Alyssa’s My Fair Lady-inspired silhouette was made to death on Drag Race. However, she looked effortlessly fashionable while walking the runway. The dress almost redeemed her questionable talent show number.
I’m the first ? Always number one.
Bosco and Kerri each had fabulous outfits that showcased their status as Fashion Queen. Kerri reminded me of Kylie Sonique Love with her furry and sexy aesthetic, so maybe we are waiting for more bombshell looks. And Bosco’s evil gaze exuded editorial glamor here; if his first look was the starter, this heck stole the show.
In the case of Kornbread and June, they served up glamor all over the catwalk! The judges weren’t prepared for all the silver and gold they strutted on stage. I can’t wait to see what sets they bring next.
June and Orion landing on the last two for lip sync made a lot of sense.
June’s solid track ultimately couldn’t make up for her messy talented performance. And compared to Alyssa, who also didn’t kill him in the talent show, Alyssa’s talent show was a bit more organized.
Orion, on the other hand, has had a rough week all around.
A confusing and awkward Maxi Challenge performance paired with less-than-stellar track handling is a recipe for a low point. The cheeky nod of the third breast has made her laugh a few times, but it’s not the kind of surprise that keeps a queen from hiding.
Lizzo’s “Water Me” lip sync was fun and upbeat.
June had this victory in the bag from the second she served against the judges. His facial expressions and energy were there for the song. She brought Lizzo’s energy to the main stage.
Orion tried to follow, but that song was not in his wheelhouse. June overcame her with the energy to match the number.
At least Orion threw in some surprises and tricks to compete with June. It’s better to fight to the end rather than give up halfway.
Final thoughts from the Werk room:
- Call Him Now: Willow Pill will survive a long time in competition just because RuPaul has the gag order to say her name alone.
- Why do queens even try to wear green on the track? It is well known, Michelle Visage hates color with a passion.
- It’s great to have the Pit Crew more present in person.
Now to you Drag Race fans!
What did you think of “Big Opening No. 1”?
What was your favorite look of the evening? Are you sad to see Orion Story go? Which talented performance did you like the most?
Share your opinion in the comments below.
Justin carreiro is a writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.