Acid Betty is a loudly and brightly colored “bitch” queen. She is from New York, which generally means a more experimental/club scene vibe. She would probably fit right in at a rave. Experimental drag has been popular in the past. Sharon Needles, whose look was “spooky,” won season 4. I am generally pretty pumped about experimental drag, but I do not like mean queens. Acid Betty seems to be proud of her meanness, and consider it an attribute. In the past, shady queens like PhiPhi O’Hara and Roxxxy Andrews have made it into the top 3 queens (seasons 4 and 5 respectively)—so meanness does not necessarily precede talent. I chose Acid Betty because Gracie did not want her, and I felt very indifferent about it. It was actually sort of like “I took Bob and Laila who are great, so I’ll also take Acid Betty to even the playing field.” But she might be great. She is like 1000 years old. Maybe she has improved with age, like a fine cheese.
Bob the Drag Queen is unquestionably my favorite. She is also from New York, and in some of her past looks the “experimental” side of New York drag is pretty clear. She is hilarious and super charming, so she will certainly be a fan favorite. Funny/charming queens often seem to get some wiggle room from Ru (because she is won over by humor) and being funny has been a huge asset for queens in the past. Jinkx Monsoon and Bianca del Rio, who won season 5 and 6 respectively, were both comedy queens. Bob is a queen of color, and has done blackface in the past—black performers doing blackface is actually my favorite (brb gagging). Usually blackface is bad but reclaiming that part of American history by incorporating it into your drag act is actually amazing. I chose Bob because she is hilarious (“my name is my father’s name…yeah, his name was ‘the drag queen’”). I fought for Bob to be on my team.
Laila McQueen is a trashy punk rock queen (I LIVE), which puts her comfortably as my second favorite queen of this season. Her look is very similar to that of season 6’s Adore Delano—who was top 3. She is from Gloucester, Massachusetts. She chose her name because she thought it sounded like a name a classy stripper might have and that is my kind of logic. Her aesthetic is like “don’t care/teenage rebel” and I love it. Because that is who I am in my heart. In spite of her fla-ze-dah aesthetic, she is very calculating in her appearance, and pulls off a look that is simultaneously polished and thrown together. I chose Laila primarily because she looks a little like Adore. I fought for Laila. I basically let Gracie make all the other choices. She also uses random hashtags on her instagram, just based on whatever is on her mind. #buttermilkpancakes
Naomi Smalls is a 21-year-old queen from California. She is young—which typically means unpolished—but not having seen her performance yet, I cannot say that with any certainty. I chose her because her name is a combination of Naomi Campbell and Biggie Smalls, which is another example of my kind of logic, and also Gracie did not really care. I do not have a strong opinion about her, but I do like the way she went about choosing her drag name.
Naysha Lopez is a pageant queen from Chicago. The first queen I can think of who was a pageant queen from Chicago is PhiPhi O’Hara, who was actually really unpleasant. Her main role was to be mean to Sharon Needles, the spooky queen (“go back to Party City where you belong!”). So I approach Naysha with some caution. She is very pretty (fishy), which has been beneficial for queens in the past—as long as they are fishy, can beat their face for the gods and know their silhouettes. If she can keep Ru and the judges gagging on her eleganza, and succeed in comedic challenges, then she is in with a shot. I usually sort of hate pageant queens, because they TEND to be shady and just not super interesting to me. The primary notable exception is Alyssa Edwards who is fierce, and unintentionally hilarious. If Naysha is unintentionally hilarious, I might fall in love with her, but I’m not holding my breath. I think that she is in with a chance as a pageant queen, but I am not particularly excited about her.
Robbie Turner is from Seattle, which means she is probably pretty weird. Ben de la Creme (placed 5th in season 6) and Jinkx Monsoon (winner of season 5) both hail from Seattle, and are pretty weird (Jinkx more than Dela). I am hoping to fall in love with Robbie because she is a weirdo from Seattle. She got Jinkx’s endorsement, which seems like a good sign. I wanted Robbie primarily because she looks a little bit like one of my favorite queens from season 6, Laganja Estranja. Gracie says she doesn’t, but she’s wrong. Robbie is supposed to be very funny which—like I said for Bob—can be a tremendous asset, assuming she is also good at walking the runway. And also she’s weird. And does Liza impersonations maybe? So I feel very good about her.
Kim Chi is a Korean-American fashion queen from Chicago. She was the first season 8 queen announced, and many fans immediately compared her to her BFF, Trixie Mattel of season 7. Though Kim’s make-up in the promo is reminiscent of Trixie, she has a much more diverse range of looks, from monochromatic haute couture to McDonalds french fry containers and live birds. Kim describes herself as a “high fashion anime character,” which I love. Kim is one of the strongest queens on my team, and will definitely slay the fashion and sewing challenges. Though she is funny, I don’t know how she will perform in acting challenges. Regardless, Kim Chi is definitely one to watch.
Thorgy (rhymes with orgy) Thor is another queen I’m very excited about. In fact, I’m surprised Tara wasn’t more impressed with her. She said she’d rather have Robbie than Thorgy, which was obviously a lapse in judgement. Thorgy has been auditioning for Drag Race since season 1, and I really think it’s her time to shine. She is a self-proclaimed “fashion clown” from Brooklyn. Her look is heavy on the clown part. She’s also a high-energy lip syncer who makes a lot of her own costumes. She also plays the cello, which I am 100 percent sure will come in handy on the show. Watching her interviews and performances, it’s hard not to fall in love with Thorgy. Her only known flaw is that she does not like emojis.
I chose Cynthia Lee Fontaine for my team because she seemed very fun and genuine in her “Meet the Queen” video. I think we can expect bold and beautiful looks and plenty of body-ody-ody from Cynthia. After watching some videos of her lipsync performances, I knew I made the right choice. Girl is a performer. But I do have some concerns about Cynthia. In the past, some sickening Puerto Rican queens have been discounted by the other girls and sent home earlier than they should have (e.g. season 5’s Lineysha Sparx or season 6’s April Carrion). Yara Sofia and Alexis Mateo of season 3 and All Stars were mocked for their Puerto Rican accents and excluded from the “Heathers”, season 3’s “pretty girl” clique. I worry that Cynthia might receive the same kind of shade. But even more concerning is the fact that she’s friends with Phi Phi O’Hara from season 4. As Tara correctly pointed out, Phi Phi sucks. I didn’t like Phi Phi when she was on the show, but now I straight up hate her because of a series of pictures she posted to Instagram of her My Little Pony drag. As long as Cynthia doesn’t dress like a cartoon horse, I think she’s got a pretty good shot.
Derrick Barry is likely the most polished queen of season 8. She is a successful Britney Spears impersonator in Las Vegas. You may remember Derrick from her appearance on America’s Got Talent a few years back. She did well on the show, but Piers Morgan was not at all impressed (because he is an idiot). Don’t let Derrick’s amazing Britney impersonation fool you; she is not a one-trick pony. I think we’ll all be surprised by the looks Derrick brings to the main stage this season. Many fans are expecting her to live up to the success of Chad Michaels, the world’s premier Cher impersonator, runner up of season 4, and winner of All Stars (but she only won because she was dying and Ru just wanted her to be happy). Those are some big stilettos to fill, but I think Derrick can do it.
My biggest question is whether or not Derrick will do Britney in Snatch Game, Drag Race’s celebrity impersonation challenge. The first ever Snatch Game was won by Tatianna’s hilarious Britney impression in season 2. Doing Britney in Snatch Game is a big risk. Not only will Derrick have to top Tati’s killer performance, but she’ll also risk being pigeon-holed as just a Britney impersonator. I predict that Derrick will slay Snatch Game, but often be critiqued by the judges for being “too polished” and not “real” enough. But that doesn’t really mean anything because it’s just what the judges say when they can’t find anything wrong with a queen.
Chi Chi DeVayne isn’t as famous as some of the other queens, and fans are speculating that she’ll go home early. But I can’t help but like her. After watching the “Meet the Queens” videos, Chi Chi is the one I’d most want to be friends with. Her favorite RuPaul saying is “that one hundred thousand dollars.” Her favorite emoji is the dead one. She named herself after a character in To Wong Foo. She sings and dances and paints the house down. So forget the h8rs, I want Chi Chi on my team.
Dax Exclamationpoint is another queen who I was surprised Tara did not want. She’s famous for her cosplay, so we know the girl can sew. She’s also the drag mother of last season’s winner Violet Chachki, so I think we can expect her to be pretty shady. In her “Meet the Queens” video, Dax says, “I’d rather be anywhere else than watching some bitch lipsync to Britney Spears for an hour and a half.” She’s def side-eyeing Derrick. But her “bitchiness” doesn’t bother me. She’s bringing something new to mainstage. Cosplay is a genre of drag that has a huge fan base, but has never really been represented on the show. We also tend to think of cosplay and nerdom as a white people thing, so I love to see a queen of color slaying in some comic book inspired costumes. Dax likes to be edgy in her style and performances, and I live, but it’s not enough to just be “edgy.” If you’re doing a character that doesn’t fit into the standard idea of drag, you have to be very talented.