It's back! RuPaul's Drag Race has returned to our screens once more, with season 12 already giving life to hoards of tired Drag Race fans around the world.
So far, the casting has been a highlight - with a diverse mix of queens from around the United States (and Paris!) bringing different strengths to the main stage. There's Widow Von'Du's perfect talking head, Gigi Goode's flawless fashion, Heidi N Closet's softly-spoken charm, and Jackie Cox's, well, everything.
And that's just the first group of queens!
Because the two groups of queens haven't competed together yet, we're ranking them in two groups. If you haven't already, you can watch the second group of queens enter the work room here.
1. Heidi N Closet
This could be a tad controversial, but frankly, I don't care! Heidi might have the worst drag name in Drag Race history (sans Kalorie Karbdashian), but she more than makes up for it in spirit and dance-moves, not to mention an inexplicable allergy to kale (or hotel detergent). At a time when Drag Race contestants are manufacturing their own brands beyond recognition, often too self-aware to let the magic of television do its thing, Heidi feels like a queen straight from the early days of Drag Race, with a huge potential to fine-tune her makeup skills and take the competition by storm. Not only that, but slaying a choreographed dance number after a night in the emergency room? That's what we call work ethic!
2. Jackie Cox
Our Persian queen has already cemented her place as a front-runner, in my opinion. She delivers on all fronts: fashion, keen sense of character, a knowledge of queer history, and a razor-sharp wit to boot. She has a similar kind-but-killer vibe to that of one Bianca Del Rio - and we all know how that turned out.
3. Gigi Goode
I LOVE Gigi. For me, she is the strongest queen of the bunch fashion-wise, with a clear eye for aesthetics AND a pleasant enough personality. Having said that, her lip sync did trigger some Pearl trauma, but I won't hold that against her just yet. She mightn't be able to touch her toes, but I'm excited to see what she sews! She's self-aware and intelligent and unafraid of making an impact, so if she can pull out some serious comedy, she'll have huge potential. 'Uge.
4. Widow Von'Du
Widow Von'Du is serving up everything I so badly wanted Silky Nutmeg Ganache to deliver in season 11. Great commentary, strong sense of fashion - and she knows how to tear up the stage in a lip-sync. For me, it'll come down to whether Widow can perform on the comedy front. If so, she could be a real contender, and possibly the first big girl to win the show.
5. Nicky Doll
She's French, sassy, and delivers on the fashion front. Definitely a contender, if she can pull out the stops performance-wise, but I worry she'll get in her head surrounded by so many strong comedy queens. Here's hoping she can survive to say the word 'hummus' a few more times.
6. Crystal Methyd
For some reason, Crystal Methyd gives me first-season Ben De La Creme vibes - an obvious well of talent, but not enough confidence to convey it properly. With her One Direction tattoo and growing mullet, however, I'm thinking she'll be an underdog to root for.
Brita was fine! It's great to see some Polynesian representation on the main stage. Had she been in the second batch of queens, she might've had more of a chance to shine. But against this group, she faded into the background a bit.
Honestly, the first batch of queens were so strong that they felt like a regular season's top 6 - so absolutely no shade to the queens ranked lower in the group. The bar was high! For the second batch of queens, I'm judging only on entrance looks and their meet-the-queen packages, as well as a sneak peak over their socials to gauge potential.
1. Rock M. Sokura
After the bursting cyst that was Soju's legacy in season 11, it's exciting to see a strong Asian contender in the fold - with a clear sense of humour ("Am I really Japanese or is it cultural appropriation? Time will tell!"), this manga-inspired queen has what it takes to get deep into the competition. Here's hoping she has the self-belief to fulfill her own potential.
2. Jaida Essence Hall
Jaida is serving up some real top-4 energy and professionalism. Her glistening shoulders literally knocked me over, and I'm willing to bet she knows her way around a stage.
For fans of Drag Race UK, there's big Cheryl Hole vibes with this one - and I'm kinda here for it. Jan is clearly a huge talent, with a polished look and strong singing voice. But she also seems like a character who could, with time, become a little grating. Guess we'll have to see how she's edited.
4. Aiden Zhane
I'm not sure why, but every season of Drag Race has an immediate outcast; someone who doesn't quite embody the popular notions of what makes someone a successful drag queen. In season 12, it LOOKS like Aiden fills this quota - and the other girls throwing shade in her direction is already making me root for her. BUT a little digging would reveal that she has a history of transphobic comments. So, next!
5. Dahlia Sin
I... don't have a lot to say here. Not in a mean way, just in a I've-seen-it-before-and-the-bravado-kills-me kind of way.