I'm going to attempt to make this post as brief as possible while still offering my updated opinions based on my wonderful time at the NYC Live Premier of RPDR Season 8!
First: all these lovely ladies are sickening in their own ways. At this point I agree with a reddit poster who shall remain nameless (since I'm currently too lazy to look it up): this may be a "Rare" season, like season 6, where there are no duds (mostly: *cough* Magnolia *cough* Kelly *cough*). Second of all the small bit of the first episode they aired at the event has me foaming at the mouth to see more. The opening challenge is probably my favorite in Drag Race Herstory- one that could only exist because of the legacy of brilliance that Drag Race has created. It was both nostalgic, lovely, and exciting. And the main challenge promises to be having us all GAGGING (stop me if I am using too many Drag Race-isms).
Now it's on to the breakdown of my impressions for each girl. In no particular order:
Acid Betty: Acid Betty looked stunning. Her white, corseted gown (which could have been cinched a little tighter) was lovely, her makeup was stunning, and her hair was a work of art. However her performance was a mess. It was completely wrong for the venue, for the event, and especially as the opener. Even worse: she looked absolutely BORED up there on the stage as she shuffled slowly around singing a sadly forgettable, mellow dance track which I believe was titled "I Want To Be Your Fantasy." Intermittently a golden oyster-esque costumed assistant would run out and spray-paint pieces of her outfit, but there wasn't enough spray paint being used to have it give (what I assumed was) the desired effect. It was almost as if she didn't want to distract the audience from the FAR more interesting, colorful and well-produced video she was playing on the screens above the stage. In the end her assistant made one last mad-dash forward where he tossed a couple handfuls of golden confetti into the air in one of the most Sad-Trombone finales I've ever seen. Then she smiled to the dead audience and walked off.
This performance did not really do much to inspire confidence in Acid's chances, but I still love her and have high hopes for her. It remains to be seen if she can deliver when it matters or if the Sad Trombone Moment won't follow her into the season.
Bob The Drag Queen: This bitch. This bitch right here. FUCK. FUCKING HELL. Her performance didn't so much rock as it blew the other girls out of the fucking water. Everything from her choice of song to her outfit to her makeup to her performance was absolute perfection. She did everything right for a show-stopping rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Hell I'm not going to bother describing this, just go watch it here.
My boyfriend Jon, who was standing right behind me summed up our feelings perfectly: if we were to base our predictions off of what we saw Monday night Bob would take the crown in her sleep. So I guess the night did nothing to dethrone her as my pick to win.
Chi Chi DeVayne: the clips we saw from the first episode and her live performance really boosted my opinion of this girl. While she's still not in my Top 5 or 6 favorites she was easily one of the best live performers of the night. Top 2 or 3. She was acrobatic, sexy, energetic- and not even a slowly shifting wig could derail her stellar performance. The girl rocked it, and has me excited to see how she does on the show.
Cynthia Lee Fontaine: another queen who managed to change my expectations of her. While her looks that night were never really anything special (to me) I did enjoyed her attitude - it looks like it's going to be wild. Most importantly: by the end of her time on stage she had me unable to see anything but this: Cynthia Lee Fontaine is the Puerto Rican Jerry Blank. Everything from her expressions, to her weak chin, to her manic, bubbly personality exudes Strangers With Candy Realness- and if anything will get me to root for you faster it would be that sentence right there.
Dax Exclamation Point: I mean I get it. She does Storm extremely well. Flawlessly, in fact. And her performance (as storm) to a very Storm-appropriate song (that I can't quite remember at the moment, but it was very weather-related) was a joy to watch. But so far I'm starting to get much less Queen of Cosplay and far more Queen of Ororo Monroe. Which, you know- nothing wrong with that. But the only thing the performance at the premier did was make me less certain about her range. I'm rooting for her: my Queen of Nerds! However her standing in my current ratings did fall slightly out of favor after Monday Night. I want her to go far in Season 8, but I'm far less certain she will now.
Derrick Barry: she looked good. But damn it, people: DO NOT SING LIVE. Just don't. Unless your name either rhymes with Blinkx, Smadore, Shi Shi or Smourtney I REALLY suggest you avoid it. Derrick's performance began with her singing a Britney Ballad live- and boy did that bring the performance down. It sounded like a really bad karaoke rendition and fell FAR short of the expectations I had for someone who is apparently a really successful Vegas Celebrity Impersonator. It was just embarrassing. And then it was followed up by a surprisingly lackluster Britney lipsynch dance medley. Honestly? I just don't know. I was expecting her live performance to blow everyone else out of the water but it ended up kind of . . . middle of the road. So far I just don't see it.
Kim Chi: I give the award for most Sickening Look of the Night to Miss Kim Chi- hands down. The outfit, makeup and hair she wore in the picture above was just mind-bogglingly good. I want those golden branches for myself. Ugh. And her performance, while on the more mellow, slower side, was sensual and lovely. She used every inch of her billowy, flowing night gown as she danced across the stage like a lovely ghost. I honestly would say her performance was one of the better ones of the night. So yeah, my opinion of her stays: I see her going extremely far.
Laila McQueen: this girl did a fantastic job. Her performance was multi-tiered, funny, irreverent, called out Beetlejuice, and had multiple wig and costume changes right there on stage. The bitch pulled out all the stops here- which is EXACTLY what she should have done. She also had a music video/bondage porn playing on the screens above the stage that were a lot of fun- though it did create the one problem I had with her performance: because the screens were otherwise occupied with bondage porn they were unable to show multiple angles of the stage (like they were for other queens). So when Laila would (frequently) lie down on the floor and writhe no one (save the first couple rows next to the stage and those in the upper floors) could see a goddamn thing. So future reference, Laila: if you are going to be using the video screen for a movie, try not to hump the floor as often. For the cheap seats. In the end she managed to change my opinion of her 100%. I'm totally on board with this fabulous girl! GO LAILA!
Naomi Smalls: her performance was fun (though more middle of the road), and her time on the show was great from the small clips I saw of her. I'm still completely excited for this queen- but honestly after the live show my enthusiasm has waned slightly. Don't get me wrong- I'm still absolutely intrigued by this tall, leggy supermodel. However she just didn't wow me with her performance. I'll have to wait and see how well she does on the show, but she has not really convinced me yet that she will be able to hold her own against the likes of Kim Chi, Bob, Thorgy Thor or Acid Betty.
Naysha Lopez: I'm going to make this short: she looked good, I guess. Her performance was okay, I guess. But I have to admit this: I can't remember a damn thing about any of it specifically. It just wasn't memorable. And that puts her pretty damn near the bottom of my list for the night.
Robbie Turner: This girl was easily one of the top performances of the night. The only thing holding her back had absolutely NOTHING to do with her: this was the NYC Premier. As such, in terms of audience enthusiasm, it gave a CLEAR home-field advantage to certain queens (Bob and Thorgy to be specific- Acid was an anomaly). However I would argue that Robbie's lipsynch was easily as good as Thorgy's, and only came in second to Bob (home field advantage or not Bob KILLED IT.) But the audience was noticeably less enthusiastic about it. Which was rubbish, because Robbie was both hilarious and irreverent. She dressed as an old, classy lady, lipsynched to a disco song, and towards the end stripped out of her dress to reveal a golden leotard and long, Izma-esque floppy boobies that flailed around as she twisted about on stage. LOVED IT and still have high hopes for this girl (even with the ominous lack of Robbie in preview footage or spotlights).
Thorgy Thor: Thorgy was EXACTLY the girl to get to close the show. Her high-octane, BRILLIANT performance just BURSTED with joy. Her happiness was infectious and had the entire venue deafeningly cheering for her. And while her performance didn't change my opinion of her that's actually extremely impressive- because I was already holding her in Near-Impossible-To-Sustain- Levels of Regard. This girl. This girl right here brings the world around her to technicolor LIFE. And if she doesn't snatch the crown out of Bob's fingers she will, I guarantee you, be receiving Miss Congeniality. Because damn. Also: the fat suit for her Runway Outfit was a stroke of GENIUS (see above).
That's all for now! And BOY was that more than I was expecting to write. As it always is. See you all at the ACTUAL premier! CANNOT FUCKING WAIT!