It’s time, my drag-loving darlings! That’s right, we’ve made it through a year of ten spinoff seasons of Drag Race to return to the mothership! And, mother has arrived with a massive cast of queens, so put on your reading glasses and get ready for my RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 Pre-Season Power Rankings.
This will be my eighth year writing about Drag Race in some form or another, which is wild! This time around, there’s plenty to write about: the show is launching with sixteen drag artists! The most, ever!
Each weekend (life allowing) I’ll share my Drag Race Power Rankings after the episode airs. My Drag Power Rankings aren’t about how good a queen is at drag or how much I personally like them. They are purely about predicting how well a queen might perform on the show based on their performance to date and how they are treated by the show’s editors
When it comes to the Pre-Season, I base my rankings off of two watches of each queen’s “Meet The Queens” promo interview and a quick 5-minute spin through their social media.
My Power Rankings are not about tearing any artist down. I revere Drag Race because I think it’s the most challenging competition show on television. Contestants need to act, sing, dance, model, lip sync, host, perform stand-up, sell products, write songs, make their own costumes, and more – all while applying face after face of stunning and intricate make-up. At this point in my life I’ve tried to do the majority of those things individually and they’re all pretty challenging.
And, I’ve done very few of them while wearing a corset and high heels.
While the tone of some of my critiques can be very pointed, every queen who competes on Drag Race is a world-class artist. I respect every one of them. I could spend an entire year and not get close to any of their performances in most challenges (except, of course, for songwriting).
One thing to keep in mind is that these “Meet The Queens” promos are shot after some or all of the season is complete. That means that the queens are interviewing with full knowledge of who will be first out and who will be a frontrunner. Drawing conclusions from these interviews isn’t just about prognosticating. Sometimes there are obvious tells from the queens about how things are going to go.
Who’s on top based on first impressions solely from their Meet The Queens and social media? And, who do I think is likely to receive the first boot when the season premieres on MTV this Friday?
Readers, start your engines! And, may the best drag queen win!
Reminders: I typically refer to Drag Race artists with their drag names and with she/her pronouns even when they are not in drag, which is the convention of the show. Some performers may have different personal pronouns. Drag is inherently brave, political, and artistic, and all drag is valid. It’s also hard to do. I’m commenting on drag artistry in how it comes across in relation to this specific television program, but the reason I’m commenting at all is because I celebrate all drag!
#1 Sasha Colby
Sasha Colby says she’s “your favorite drag queen’s favorite drag queen,” and she’s not lying.
Living in New Zealand and not going to bars, I’m not exposed to many queens from off the show unless they make a big splash on social media. Yet, I know exactly who Sasha is! Not only because she is Kerri Colby’s drag mother, but because I’ve rarely heard another current queen be so revered by Drag Race contestants (other than Roxxxy Andrews).
Many queens mention her as an inspiration (especially trans queens!), GotMik featured her in a body-positive photoshoot, Alaska and Willam will take any opportunity to namedrop her on Race Chaser, and any queen who talks about the pageant system inevitably mentions her alongside other crowned queens like Brooke Lynn Hytes and Vanessa Van Cartier.
Sasha has been a drag performer for twenty years. She’s not a queen who was inspired by Drag Race, but the kind of queen who inspired WOW to think they could produce a show like this!
Does that mean anything in 2023? Pageantry and longevity don’t always translate to Drag Race success. We’ve had former Miss Continental Naysha Lopez dismissed as a first out back on Season 8! We’ve seen experienced Los Angeles workhorses like Morgan McMichaels and Mayhem Miller burn brightly and quickly fade away on multiple seasons. Ru brutally cut UK veteran Joe Black twice in a row!
Here’s why I don’t think that’s a problem for Sasha: She’s not only a pageant queen. She’s not only a showgirl and barroom veteran.
She’s also someone who has already been exposed to the worlds of high fashion and Hollywood.
The big weakness a lot of comparable queens inevitably hit up against is not knowing how to translate their veteran drag skills to camera. Or, if they do, they’re used to having the final edit on themselves to they can look glamorous and witty.
Sasha is not going to have that problem.
The question then becomes: Is she really finalist material? In this cast, I really think she is. I love that in talking about herself she says she is a “goddest sl*t” who is addicted to splits while remaining a huge nerd. That’s a perfect description of the qualities Drag Race is looking for from a winner.
If I have one concern about Sasha, it’s make-up. As a professional model, a lot of her Instagram looks include a credit for a make-up artist. In trying to snag a featured photo, I struggled to find one where she produced her own make-up and looked as amazing as she does in her modeling shots.
When Sasha paints herself, she has a tendency to go VERY HEAVY on her eye make-up in a way that can both blot her eyes out and make them look too-close together. You can even see it in this MTQ with how she brings her white liner so far up into the bridge of her nose. I know it’s part of the illusion of making her nose look thin, but there’s something odd about the proportions.
Yet, with 20 years of experience, I have to believe that’s going to be an easy fix! And, as the photo above proves, she can look great without it. If that’s Sasha’s only concern, it should be smooth sailing from here to the finale.
The first thing I picked up from Anetra is that she has a real ease with the camera.
There are a lot of tacky, too-busy looks inspired by this drag racing promo theme, but Anetra managed to make the theme work for her in bold black, white, and yellow. I also LOVE her paint. Sometimes when queens do massive black eyeliner wings like hers it turns their eyes into balls of soot. Anetra’s are crisp and well-angled to work with her tall, angular face.
It doesn’t feel like Anetra is being forced at gunpoint to restate the producer’s interview questions in the form of a statement like it has for so many other queens over the years.. She is a natural public speaker without being a “look at me look at me look at me” loudmouth. That skill tends to be the aspect of Meet The Queens that is the most highly-correlated with Drag Race success.
A lot of moments in this interview makes it feel like Anetra is going to be a total hardass, and then she pivots with answers like “I do drag to inspire my own queerness.” There’s a real authenticity to that – to being able to say you are competitive and then show vulnerability in the next breath.
That’s going to play well on the main stage, as is her ability to be reserved but speak with calm confidence.
Anetra also looks great. Not just in this promo, but pretty much all the time if her Instagram is to be believed.
I really enjoyed this MTQ and I could easily watch it again. I think that gives us a finalist.
#3 Luxx Noir London
I can tell you right now RuPaul is going to love. this. queen.
Luxx Noir London is naturally charismatic and comedic. She has the gift of gab and she does it with charm. I could watch her silly and brashly confident interview on a loop for an hour.
Alas, I’m limited to two viewings for the writing of this post. During both of those watches, I was getting vibes that reminded me of two other queens. Neither are are direct comparison, but Luxx has things in common with both. Both bode well for her success on the show.
First, I was immediately getting vibes of UK Season 4’s Black Peppa from Luxx. I don’t think Luxx has a similar aesthetic or personality to Peppa. Instead, there’s something familiar about her confidence and the way she laughs at herself while she speaks.
(That turns out to be an intriguing comparison, as I’ve just learned while writing this post that they share a drag mother: one of my all-time favorite queens, Mo Heart! Once I learned that, I could see a certain “Facts are facts, America” quality to how the both of them interview. There’s a common spark there. I don’t know if Mo is just amazing at finding it or if she helps to ignite it, but all three of them have it in common.)
The other similar vibe I get from Luxx is Aquaria.
Now, let’s not get it twisted – Aquaria did not have this ease back on Season 10. Her MTQ interview was mega-awkward and she came off as a drag robot for most of the season even as she racked up challenge wins. I didn’t actually start to like her until well after she was crowned.
Something I will always remember about Aquaria is that she spoke about how she would take pictures of herself in drag, then digitally manipulate them to how she meant for them to look, and then the next time she put on makeup she would try to become that thing.
I get exactly that vibe from Luxx Noir London. As she says, her delusion is her reality. If she’s dreamt up some outlandish form of success, I believe she is going to find a way to make it real. A great example: She’s released her own music, and it’s not “drag music,” It’s legit dance music with unique production choices. I’d spin it even without the context of Drag Race.
Also, not for nothing, but Luxx’s MTQ make-up look is totally unique in this crowd. I’ve seen these white eyebrows, hyper-contoured nose, and outlined neon eye before, but not paired like this and not in this cast.
I think Luxx Noir London just might have what it takes to win Drag Race. Unless her confidence leads her to an early stumble, we could have a finalist on our hands.
Jax is a MAJOR personality, and if she can back that up with performance and fashion she might make a deep run on this show.
I love that Jax plainly says, “I do drag because it’s what gets me up in the morning.” There has been a trend on recent seasons to have queens who are the drag something – whether that’s dancer, filmmaker, songwriter, etc. Some of those queens are winners! They’re all amazing things to be. Heck, it’s the kind of drag queen I would be if I was a drag queen!
But, Jax is a drag queen because she is a drag queen.
While I’m not comparing her to Angeria, I got a similar vibe from Angeria in Season 14. She was uniquely talented at fashion and singing, but she was mostly doing drag to do drag.
I think that plays well on newer seasons of Drag Race. Ru will always like a queen who is compelled by the power of drag to be a drag queen more than she likes a deliberate multi-hyphenate who happens to be doing it in a wig, make-up, and heels.
Or, who knows, maybe Jax is going to be a drag athlete thanks to her extensive competitive history. Which, actually, would be pretty cool!
There are a few elements here that give me slight pause.
Jax calls herself “banjee.” As a NYC queen she might have a real claim to that term, but it’s one of those things that a lot of queens throw around but few follow up on. How do you bring authentic street swagger to Drag Race?
Also, from a styling perspective, the silver hoop earrings and wrist bangle are fighting with the rest of her outfit. It’s not a huge problem, but it makes me wonder about her eye for style. We’ve seen plenty of queens felled by over-fussy looks. You’ve got to know how to edit (or else you’ll be blaming it on the edit).
Finally, Jax’s make-up is sort of … small? I noticed it in the first close-up in the Meet The Queens, and it’s consistent across her socials. She’s not the kind of queen who carves out a brand new face out of her own. She’s accentuating her existing features. I get the feeling that’s going to draw some commentary from the judges – especially Michelle.
Jax could be a real threat if she has the suitcase to last over a dozen runways and can take notes on her make-up skills. We haven’t had a queen like her recently on the US franchise. I’m just not sure I get winner from her quite yet. I need to see her in action.
#5 Malaysia Babydoll Foxx
Malaysia Babydoll Foxx is an old-school queen with serious experience on a season that might not need another old-school queen, thanks to the presence of Sasha Colby. What might have made Malaysia stand out sans Sasha might be the same thing that leaves her stuck in Sasha’s shadow.
Being an old-school queen isn’t the only thing Malaysia has going for her, but I’ll admit she leaves me a little bit confused about her other positive qualities.
She’s a pageant queen, but she enters them more to break their rules than to win. So, she… plays to lose?
She makes a point of saying that Miami is full of flipping and twirling queens, but that’s not her brand – but then later says, “the leg goes extremely high.” Which is it?!
The contradictions intrigue me. They’re more interesting than hearing a queen say “I can do it all,” and they’re not defeatist either. It gives me the sense that Malaysia is someone unique. It convinces me that she won’t be relying on delusion to get her through the show.
It also makes me curious to know what staple Drag Race challenges she will kill in. Is she a design queen? A comedy queen? Her socials don’t reveal much. Her Instagram shows barely any drag looks and just some of her styling work. From a younger queen I’d be concerned, but from Malaysia it just adds to her mystery.
For all of those reasons, Malaysia strikes me as a wild card with major potential. I suspect Ru is going to really enjoy her, because she always likes this kind of queen. But, what is she going to have to distinguish her from Sasha and slip her past some of these young, hyper-aerobic queens?
I can’t say that I’m getting “winner” from her, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she is a finalist.
#6 Mistress Isabelle Brooks
Mistress Isabelle Brooks is extremely compelling when she speaks to the camera. She’s a queen who knows exactly who she is and what she can offer.
I’m obsessed with Mistress Isabelle coming right out and saying she does “traditional drag, very well.” You don’t always have to be “out of the box” to win Drag Race, and after Willow’s win last year I would not be surprised if we course-correct back to someone more classic and obvious.
I also love that she says she wouldn’t have signed up if she didn’t think she had what it takes to win. That’s the level of self-belief I am looking for in a Meet The Queens interview.
Mistress Isabelle hints that she is packing several plot threads that Ru loves to feature. She’s highly competitive. She loved the catty Season 4 Sharon/PhiPhi drama. And, she alludes to an unaccepting family. Ru is going to eat all of that up with a spoon.
Plus, her Instagram shows off some amazing outfits that escalate from bar queen to sci-fi to full-on showgirl. Mistress Isabelle has range, y’all.
I can’t see Mistress Isabelle Brooks getting an early boot in favor of the skinny pop princess crowd I have ranked lower than here.
Yet, for some reason I’m getting “last queen dismissed before the finals” from Mistress. I feel like I can foresee that crushing final elimination – maybe just because Sasha could suck all of the air out of the room when it comes to the fundamentals of “traditional” drag. But… if the “falling just short of the finale” pendulum swings towards another queen, Mistress Isabelle could sneak into the finals. If she does, she might be one of the few queens on this cast who can go toe-to-toe with Sasha in every category.
#7 Robin Fierce
Robin Fierce’s Meet The Queen interview is the one that makes me think the most about the fact that it was shot after the season ended.
To me, Robin comes off the most quietly confident out of all sixteen of these queens. She is absolutely gorgeous. She’s a singer and a dancer. Even before she highlighted the power of her positivity I could feel it from her!
Also, she was ready with a snappy statement about why she’s America’s Next Drag Superstar. I always think that’s a good sign. A winning queen should know why she’ll be the winner – especially with some or all of the season already shot!
Yet, I can’t help but read into Robin’s few less-confident comments. She claims she isn’t competitive, and does it in a demure way. It comes off less like she’s focused on herself, and more like she backed down from something. She waffles a few times on whether she’s a comedy queen or not and specifically calls out that Snatch Game makes her nervous.
From a queen trying to temper expectations in a pre-competition interview, that all makes sense. When said after the fact… ?
I’m not sure if Robin is strategic enough to sandbag herself by giving the viewers low expectations. Instead, is she hinting that she will fall prey to a comedy challenge? And, do I detect a tinge of regret or resignation from those comments? I don’t get any of that tentativeness from her own socials, where she is non-stop gorgeous and smiling.
If I could I strip away my meta-analysis, I’d have Robin an obvious finalist based on her looks and her interview! She feels like someone who can compete on the level of all three of Sasha, Luxx, and Anetra. Maybe her weird mix of strength and regret means she’s a shocking boot or that she makes it all the way but is an underdog.
We’ll know the answers soon enough! Personally? She’s my #2 favorite behind a queen we’ll meet much, much lower on this list. However, something is telling me she won’t quite make it to the finale.
#8 Loosey LaDuca
I love Loosey LaDuca’s style and her massive blue eyeshadow. She has one of my favorite looks in this line-up and she has a real ease in speaking about herself.
I have a foreboding feeling that Loosey is a queen with many talents who will have trouble igniting a spark with Ru on the main stage. That makes me think of past performers like Tina Burner. She had all of the tools anyone could need to do well on Drag Race, but Ru simply wasn’t featuring her.
I don’t think Loosey is anything like Tina, but I kinda get a similar vibe from them both. They are both professional bar queens who know how to get campy and engage an audience. Both would’ve killed on Seasons 3-8.
Things are different in a post-Sasha-Velour world. Classic drag workhorses don’t snag the crown unless they have a real artistic streak beneath.
That said, I think Loosey has what a lot of these other queens lack: an obvious storyline. Her “construction worker by day, drag queen by night” identity is unique across all seasons of Drag Race. Aside from the obvious example of Kameron Michaels, we haven’t had a lot of queens on the US franchise who are coded very dude out of drag and who work in a straight-cis-male-dominated field.
That could help Loosey stand out from this ocean of competitors even more than her talents do. And, you know Ru is going to love joking about it!
Ultimately, Loosey tags her own potential biggest weakness in her interview: over-confidence. It’s not just that pride comes before a fall. It’s also that Ru will cut a queen if she doesn’t feel like they will progress through the show and be somewhat molded by it. I think a major determinant of Loosey’s potential success is if she is quick to take notes and improve.
#9 Aura Mayari
Aura has charisma in spades and has no trouble talking about herself. So, why am I getting “mid-out” energy from her?
First of all, she strikes me as a potential lip sync assassin who is going to be thrown to the bottom a few times purely for Ru’s entertainment. She’s from Nashville, a market known for incredible performers. She says that she’s the best in town, and if that’s true it means she’s taken up the standard from queens like Brooke and Jorgeous.
That’s a high bar to clear, but it also immediately sets her up for some bottom placements. That’s just how things go on Drag Race when you bill yourself as the greatest dancer before the season even begins.
I also think there’s a tinge of over-confidence in this interview – and not the entirely healthy kind. This is a show that sometimes loves to humble a self-assured queen.
Aura says she is nicknamed “the walking filter” and dares the camera to zoom in, and when it does I notice some… issues. Similarly, when checking out her website I could easily clock her boy-brows through her eyeshadow in her featured image.
That’s totally normal! No drag queen is made out of perfectly molded plastic, no matter how many injectables they get to try to make it so. Aura’s make-up is gorgeous and she turns out some great club looks on Insta and TikTok. But, over-confidence can make the chips in your armor more evident, especially when you’re inviting a close-up examination. That’s not going to fly if she tries it with Michelle.
More than that, I’m just not getting identity from Aura. She repeatedly doubles down that what her different than other queens is that she’s pretty and she can perform, but that’s true of almost the entire cast of every season of Drag Race! She says she can dance, sing, and deliver comedy, but to me that sounds like, “I’ve put in the work to cover the basics for being on this show” more than it sounds like “I’m uniquely qualified to be America’s next drag superstar.”
We’ll see if Ru agrees.
#10 Marcia Marcia Marcia
Marcia, if you (or your rabid fans) ever read this I want to first say: it’s not personal. Marcia seems like a sweet and charming person.
WHY WOULD YOU COME ON DRAG RACE IF YOU WERE THIS QUEEN WITH THIS AESTHETIC AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR CAREER?
RuPaul is never, NEVER going to crown a Broadway-dropout turned drag newbie. We have seen again and again that this is explicitly not what Ru considers to be a drag superstar. Plus, the winner’s circle already includes Jinx (who is about to star as a billed lead in an actual Broadway show) as well as Bianca (who actually had a real Broadway job but just loved drag more).
Ru also doesn’t give a single fuck about someone whose aesthetics combine Broadway, Hannah Montana, and Saturday morning cartoons. That’s all going to be lost on her.
We already know the full possible spectrum of placements for Marcia Cubed. At worst, she’s a Dusty Ray Bottoms who never gets to show her stuff and is dismissed early (and I loved Dusty Ray Bottoms). At mid, she’s a Blair or Jan, who has the chops but is ignored enough by Ru that she cracks under the pressure (and I loved Jan). At absolute best she’s a Rosé, who will be delightfully proficient at everything and dismissed as a “professional” by Ru and Michelle in the final accounting (and I loved Rosé).
Basically what I’m saying is that I know I am going to love Marcia^3 and I know it is going to crush me when she is eliminated too early, so I have already hardened my heart when it comes to being positive about her chances on the show. If she had another five years of life- and drag-experience to fill out her ingénue perspective she’d have a lot more narrative heft behind her.
It’s that life experience that creates a Monét or a Miss Cracker out of a New Yorker with Broadway dreams, as well as many other queens who aren’t related to Bob. And, neither one of them won on the first try, either!
Once Ru realizes that she doesn’t plan to crown Marcia (which will take all of two seconds), she’s not going to have the motive to hand out a lot of accolades to Marcia unless she pulls a Rosé and is head-and-shoulders above reproach in every single challenge. And, frankly, Marcia^3 doesn’t have Rosé’s depth of experience or the hook of being in an already-successful girl group.
That’s not to say that Marcia will be bad at Drag Race. In fact, I think she’ll snag several highs and maybe even a win in singing, dancing, or design (she makes all of her own clothes) if Ru is feeling generous. Marcia is also a terrific actor, as you can see in Louder Than Words – a critically lauded short film.
Marcia^3’s socials show off a lot of subtle “beautiful girl realness” drag, 60s mod-inspired outfits, and strong lip sync skills with plenty of stunts. After seeing Ru and Michelle’s muted reaction to Dakota Schiffer on UK Season 4, I wonder if they’ll react similarly to Marcia’s “mod by way of Ariana Grande” low-key drag.
I’d love to be wrong about everything above, because Marcia actually seems pretty cool and self-aware. However, if there is a single thing I am most sure of in this pre-season ranking, it is that there is no way she will win this season. I would bet $100,000 on it.
Spice is one half of the TikTok twin act coming to Season 15, and I have a strong suspicion she’s the stronger half.
Many folks will assume that Spice’s novelty status makes her easy fodder for more-experience queens. But, I think there’s something unique to her gothy doll act that separates her from the crowd of blonde young queens in this line-up (including her own sister).
Being a TikTok queen comes with some advantages. Spice might have the most-interesting makeup out of this entire line-up of queens, and it is BLENDED. Social media queens are used to having their makeup examined up close. When the camera cuts in for the side profile shot there is not a single rough edge to be seen.
Spice knows how to talk and keep talking. TikTok is actually a very close analog to many Drag Race challenges, which give you anywhere from 15-60 seconds to make your mark. She’s used to throwing out constant bite-sized pieces of content that might become meme-able. She did not stumble a single time in her Meet The Queens without smoothly recovering. If she said something wrong she talked right past it! Being well-trained in churning out TikTok videos every day is a major plus.
Finally, I suspect Spice’s looks are going to be a little glossier than the typical bar queen costume. Even her MTQ look stands out from the pack thanks to it being all-black and its massive pigtails.
We all know the major minuses of being a social media queen already. Particularly, a potential lack of stage awareness and an inability to be funny without controlling your own edit.
Spice’s socials don’t show off much more than her MTQ does. She has a slightly more 2000s scene kid vibe than her sister, but we’re coming from a season where Daya Betty crushed that sort of look a few times. If anything, it feels like Spice is ready to lean more into being a boy model with a slightly punk-glam flavor. (So… a gothy Ken doll?)
However, in watching and re-watching Spice’s Meet The Queens, I get a little more of a perspective on drag from her than I do from Amethyst, Poppy, or her sister Sugar – and, maybe even more than I do from Marcia. Spice is more fun to listen to than any of them.
Will Ru care, or will Spice be another beautiful young queen whose humor is completely lost on Ru?
#12 Salina EsTitties
Salina EsTitties is 100% fake in her all-screaming all-the-time Meet The Queens.
I don’t think that’s a bad thing… but I’m not entirely sure.
Being a Drag Queen is all about artifice. Many queens could never make it through an entire interview while playing a character, even if that character is just a heightened version of themselves.
However, if your drag is about playing a character and that character is a VERY LOUD STEREOTYPE, I’m just not sure how that’s going to play on the show. Sure, in some challenges it’s going to serve you well, but it sucks a lot of air out of every room. Not everyone has the sheer charisma of a Miss Vanjie, who can turn being the loudest one in the room into major bank.
Also, making all of your drag about “BREASTS! LOOK! LOOK AT THESE BREASTS” can border on a misogynistic caricature.
Salina is up front that she considers herself primarily an actress. She has plans to snag a “Drag Race EGOT.” If we take her at her word, then this whole Meet The Queens could be a calculated act to make sure she pops for the camera in a way so many queens usually don’t. She even says, “your earlobes are throbbing, that makes me way different than those other bitches.” It could all be a choice.
If that’s the case, and if she can turn this loudmouth brash character on and off at will, that’s a good thing. It’s also a risk. We’ve seen plenty of “I don’t know the real you” comments from Ru and Michelle, especially for queens like Ben de la Creme who tend to be “on” all the time.
Salina’s socials show a few versatile looks that don’t totally mirror her promo make-up with its dark-lined lips. They also reveal she loves Broadway (on this In the Heights cover) as much as club music (on this pretty awesome house-y X-Mas song, which I totally purchased). That was enough to make me believe a lot of what we see in the MTQ is a character and not her full-time personality, which caused me to bump her up a few spots in the ranking. (I originally had her at #15!)
(I also learned she is 11-years sober! I love it!)
At one point in her MTQ, Salina says, “drag is like a vessel for me to be my utmost creative authentic self that I can’t be out of drag as Jason. Salina EsTitties gives me POWER.” If she allows us to meet the less-powerful Jason and lets him show through in some of her drag, she could be a stealth assassin – a brash, confident multi-hyphenate without a hint of delusion.
It’s hard to think of any other US finalist who has been struck from this kind of a mold. Salina namechecks the inimitable Alexis Matteo, and if she’s really bringing that energy and a background in theatre she could be unstoppable.
Or, she could just be a loud queen who is quickly told to sashay away.
Based on Meet The Queens, I’d say Amethyst is a young queen who is likely a funny performer, but doesn’t yet have the force of personality to hold the attention of the camera. Nor does she appear to have one thing that she has completely mastered (except for her own nose).
Maybe this is a generational thing, but a lot of Amethyst’s attempt at humor fizzle quickly for me. And, Ru is old enough to be my Auntie!
In her MTQ, Amethyst is pushing hard with “I’m so stupid and random and weird” humor, but it’s hard to make that work within the structure of Drag Race. Yes, Willow snuck some of it in, but she never pretended she was all about being stupid. Stupid was one of her many shades. Similarly, Ms. Cracker often brought “stupid” but backed it with a razor sharp wit to mock her own dumbness.
Amethyst claims that everything about her is “WEIRD,” but she struggles for an actual example. She comes off as mild and well-adjusted. That’s fine, but then you cannot fight against it with your entire brand. Just say you’re a basic goofball and leave it at that.
Also, she talks about loving “control,” but you can’t control the edit – and the more you try to self-produce, the more Ru tends to zero in on you and try to break your psyche.
Amethyst’s Instagram show her in a lot of drag that is giving “young girl at the club.” It’s all cute, but not conceptual (except for that time she dressed as a cat to perform “WAP”). However, the real show is on TikTok. She’s got some solid dance skills, but she’s also addicted to adding verses into pop songs (some of which are great).
I’m getting early-out from Amethyst’s MTQ, but her socials tell a slightly different story. She’s a budding pop princess who also serves tons of delightfully stupid lip sync mixes. I think she needed another year or two to figure out how her drag shows off the intersections of those two interests, because she’s great at both of them.
I suspect she’ll be good at a few things, but in this cast she’s not going to be the best at any of them. Even if she survives some early eliminations, she’s going to have trouble racking up a win. I think she needed some more time to bake before coming to the show.
#14 Irene Dubois
Irene Dubois is quirky as fuck and Ru is not going to give a single fuck about that.
Irene has an easy way of talking that makes it feel like there’s no camera standing between her and the viewer. She is constantly setting up her own jokes and knocking down the punchlines. She’s highly entertaining, but she also seems smart.
She also has BY FAR the best promo look. Look at the sheer amount of rhinestones! Look at that wig! Check out her eye makeup! There are layers upon layers happening in there and this queen can PAINT.
Then why the hell do I have her ranked this low? Because I’m telling you right now: RuPaul will not be entertained by Irene Dubois, even though we are going to adore her as an audience. Irene likes to riff in her own alien world of humor, and Ru is not going to willingly visit that planet. Ru’s not going to give her enough time to set up and knock down all these jokes. She’s going to do the raised eyebrows and silent sniff reaction to Irene. I can feel it in my bones.
Do you all remember Rock M Sakura? Remember how she was awesome and a potential winner across several challenges and Ru refused to care? I’m getting that vibe from Irene, but with a little more self-knowledge.
Irene’s socials show that this “Alien Queen” identity isn’t just put on for the show – she has always delivered glitter-encrusted intergalactic drag. Even when she delivers a more straight-up glamorous look it’s absurdly camp, like this take on Marie Antoinette.
You know what? I don’t care that Ru won’t care about Irene. I dig this vibin’, sober alien oddball, even if she’s not going to take the crown. She is my favorite queen of this entire Meet The Queens, but that comes as no surprise. I always love Seattle queens!
I will be pleasantly surprised if she makes it to the halfway point.
#15 Princess Poppy
Princess Poppy gives major “first out realness” in her Meet The Queens.
The producers didn’t do her any favors with starting the edit with her talking about being nervous and continuing the edit with her contradicting herself about what she loves to do (“standup… no, scratch that”).
That’s not to say that everything about Princess Poppy is bad. She’s not the major disaster she claims to be! I love the giant frill of her costume and how it all looks like its a deconstructed inflatable pool float. I’m also really into some of the simplicity of her make-up – especially the wide, flat nose.
But, that’s not enough to win Drag Race, and I’m having a hard time picturing her standing out in this crowd. She says she loves hosting and lip syncing. One of those things doesn’t happen much on Drag Race, and the other… well, I suspect she’ll get to do it at least once!
There isn’t a lot to see on her socials. I think she may have recently scrubbed her Instagram, given the length of time between posts. Poppy has done a few interesting alt-drag looks, but she mostly delivers blonde-bombshell looks with a similar paint to her MTQ (which, again, I love). The performance videos on her TikTok involve hip wiggling to terrific upbeat drag staples.
I get the sense that I’m not going to get the chance to do too much writing about Poppy over the course of this season. We’ll see if she can prove me wrong.
I didn’t get to form an opinion on Sugar, because the Meet The Queens editors did it for me!
Sugar’s entire segment feels like it is edited to mock her. They fast forward through her explanations, they don’t include a single funny line, and they splice Spice into the edit repeatedly. Spice appears in Sugar’s interview package as much as she is in it herself!
Sugar doesn’t help that by having no perspective on drag other than “I’m a doll.” In a world full of skinny, young, blonde-wigged queens who could be walking Bratz dolls, you need a little something more. Spice felt immediately distinct from Marcia, Amethyst, and Poppy, but Sugar feels like a less-developed echo of them.
Sugar may not have the sharpness of Spice, but one trait they do share is their incredibly blended makeup! I like Spice’s look slightly better, but they’re both the cleanest makeup of the entire cast.
That impression holds up when checking out Sugar’s socials. Her make-up is always on-point. Instagram shows off an array of cute-but-similar looks that you could describe as “pop princess doll.” Plenty of gloss, but nothing surprising. However, I was surprised to read Sugar styles her own wigs. Strong wigotry cannot win a Drag Race season on its own, but it shows that Sugar is involved in her drag look from top to bottom.
I’ve never seen Drag Race send a clearer message about a queen being disposable in a MTQ. Is that because Sugar gave them barely anything to work with and is an early out? Is there actual production animosity towards her – perhaps because she quits rather than lip sync against her sister? Or, is this an elaborate ruse to disguise her strength in the competition?
I think it’s the first of those. Sugar isn’t distinct on her own, but she’s still part of a hard-to-ignore twin stunt-casting when combined with her sister. There’s major story potential in having both twins on, booting one early (in a lip sync against the other!), and then watching the other come into her own for a few weeks. If I’m right about that, I think that Sugar is going to be the sacrificial lamb of the pair.