Those tuning in to watch the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 premiere this Monday night might have a few gripes with the way things went down last season. Almost unanimously, fans — and even some former contestants — mocked Season 7 as the show’s worst for its seemingly senseless eliminations, comically bad challenges and, most debatably, a somewhat underwhelming winner in Violet Chachki.
Enter the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 premiere, where those same fans will be watching with an ever-critical eye to see if World of Wonder and LOGO have what it takes to reel back in a disgruntled fan base. Despite a lukewarm reception to last year’s offering, the show does shave a few things working in its favor. Firstly, it’s not like lovers of the art of drag have anywhere else to go. Chile’s version of the show, The Switch, was definitely a little more than rough around the edges; and rumored German and British editions of the series have yet to materialize.
Furthermore, the core audience of RuPaul’s Drag Race is rabid for the release of Season 8 at this point. The premiere, while never promised, has been anticipated as far back as January by many hardcore converts. As teasers have wore on, it became clear that it wasn’t dropping any time early. Now, March 7 has come and viewers’ favorite drag queen reality competition show is back on the air.
The same question has been on every RuPaul’s Drag Race fan’s lips: Will season 8 come back with a vengeance? Even last year’s premiere was relatively well-received compared to the rest of the episodes that followed, especially the 0-laughs “Shakesqueer” challenge. Furthermore, some of the queens from Season 7 are the show’s most beloved, such as Communist prostitute Katya or Barbie doll come to life Trixie Mattel. It’s hard to call what the next few months will bring.
Yet, since the cast list began stacking up for Season 8, it was pretty clear that this would once again be a group of girls ready for their close-up. Bob the Drag Queen, Thorgy Thor, Derrick Barry, Kim Chi and Acid Betty all quickly emerged as favorites, ready to join the likes of Sharon Needles, Alaska Thunderf*** and Willam Belli in the RuPaul’s Drag Race hall of fame.
The good news is that the premiere delivers. The queens that really got the glitter eyeshadow pumping through viewers’ veins are definitely some of the most polished that RuPaul has brought on the show. The Drag Race Season 8 premiere ranks pretty high in terms of the show’s take-off episodes.
You could even argue that it’s the best yet. Just as the heels start clacking into the workroom, the Season 8 staunchly establishes itself. Robbie Turner dashes out with that acerbic RuPaul’s Drag Race wit that was lacking last time around. While Season 7 could never be faulted for its fashion game, Acid Betty and Kim Chi might be giving Violet and Miss Fame some stiff competition from the grave. Britney fans might be finding another Chad Michaels in Derrick’s flawless impersonation of the pop goddess.
Layer over layer, it’s hard to add up all the wins this revived classic has going for it. Just enough that we might be able to forget about last year’s mess. Did you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 premiere? Think it’s going to be make up for Season 7?
[Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images]