Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race a new batch of queens were put through their paces while the pandemic raged on around them. But that sure as hell didn’t stop them from turning a show. From Symone charming from start to finish – and all the way to crown – to Mik’s iconic Snatch Game, Utica’s kindness saving her from the Pork Chop, Kandy living her best life, Lala Ri’s bag look and Rosé being, well, professional, the dolls served. Good and bad. But thankfully, with a new year, a new batch of dolls are ready to charm their way into our hearts.
First up was my dear Alyssa Hunter looking like the love child of Serena ChaCha and Rosé out of drag – in a swoon way – and like Lady Gaga as an old timey witch in American Horror Story when in drag. She was quickly joined by Bosco looking like Sasha Velour does the devil in drag, in the best way possible. And girl, she is very competitive and ready to fight. Up next was the iconic Kornbread giving Silky in the lip-sync episode levels of perfection – energetic, charming and so damn likeable. Up next was Willow Pill as an extra from Jawbreaker, giving totally vapid delight and ugh, I love her already. I mean, the shirt said ANGLE!
Though not as much as I love Kornbread’s shade for her comfort couture shoes.
Kerri Colby came in looking like an absolute angel – not angle – in full trans flag eleganza. And damn, she was ready to be the Aunty of the season with her good Judy, Kornbread. June Jambalaya was up next and once again, she has history with Kornbread and since she likens herself to Megan Thee Stallion and Phaedra Parks, you KNOW I have no choice but to stan. Rounding out the first group of queens with a screech was Orion Story, complete with an entry paragraph and looking like a star in boudoir glam.
The dolls were gagged by Ru’s arrival welcoming them to the competition and, you know, confirming that they are but half of the dolls to feature this season. And speaking of feature, they would immediately have to compete in the first mini challenge, posing for a photoshoot on the lip sync for the crown spinning wheel with the returning Bryce and Bruno of the Pit Crew who still make me swoon-o. Alyssa was up first and hit every damn angle while June managed to serve sex despite her nerves. Willow was up next serving fully demented and charmed Ru with her name. Orion went from glamour to smut, Bosco was fierce and focused while Kerri got a stunning shot despite nearly drowning in fabric while Kornbread and Ru had the best time ever with Kornbread spinning herself around the place.
Despite Ru’s early love for WIllow and Kornbread, it was ultimately Kerri who took out the win before Ru announced that for this week’s Maxi Challenge, the dolls would be putting on a cheeky Charisma, Nerve and Talent Show to show off all of their mad skillz.
But before we could get to that, the dolls split up to find a workstation and get out of drag. With everyone gagged by Bosco and Willow’s transformation out of drag while Kornbread and June spoke for all of us by thirsting after Alyssa. Everyone turned their attention to Willow, questioning her age, which thankfully is something she is happy about, because she is ready to prove to them she is a star despite the fact they’re all underestimating her.
Oh and it adds nothing to the plot, but Kornbread convinced her new sisters that her talent would be eating hot dogs. And they believed her.
Ru dropped by to get to know the dolls with Kerri admitting her house name was inspired by Dynasty and that she is hoping to live up to the talent and showmanship of her family. Oh and she will be skipping her way through the first challenge. Literally. And again, literally, she learnt to skip at Shady Shores Elementary School. June was up next describing her looks as classy-ratchet to Ru, though when it comes to the talent show, she plans to perform an African dance. Orion admitted to being a shy reserved kid, though would be flipping the script and performing a comedy skit. Ru was still vibing with Willow Pill’s name before we learnt that she is a dear friend of Yvie Oddly’s before sharing that she has cystinosis, which is a kidney disease that causes problems with her eyes, throat and muscles. But most importantly, she described her talent as a lip sync, self-help hybrid. And again, I love her.
Oh and then Ru announced that Lizzo would be this week’s guest judge, delighting – and terrifying – her self-appointed #1 impersonator in L.A., Kornbread.
Elimination Day rolled around with Kornbread smudging her area before Alyssa shared she would be playing guitar, while Bosco will be Wagon Wheel Watusi-ing her way through a Burlesque. Kerri and Kornbread meanwhile were gabbing away while beating their mug, sharing how much they love each other and bonding over their traumatic experiences in the church. Which Kornbread dealt with by straight up farting on a priest like the damn icon she is.
CROWN KORNBREAD NOW.
The dolls were interrupted from beating their mugs by Lizzo who escaped the Green Room to give them some love and a cheeky pep talk. After she left, the dolls were fired up and ready to snatch the first win while all the girls continued to be confused about all things Willow. Which makes me sad because I love lil-low Willow already.
Oh and then Ru performed a song from her new album and well, there were men in tight, white pants with their nips out, so I am happy. So we’ll let it slide, alright?
June Jambalaya opened up the talent show and while she slayed the performance, her headband kept falling over her face and you know Michelle will focus on that. Bosco was sultry as she stripped down, petal by petal, from her beautiful rose gown until she showed her rose bud. Alyssa confused Lizzo with her metal rocker performance and the dolls with the fact she was just air guitaring on an actual guitar. Kerri meanwhile was iconic, serving slutty schoolgirl as she lip synced before her skipping performance kicked into gear and just made me smile. Like Kornbread, just give her the damn crown, ok?
Orion was a trashy mess aerobics instructor and while I love that she went for something different, it went nowhere, until she joked about taking a massive dump which I obviously found hilarious. Kornbread meanwhile came out of the gate ready to make herself the frontrunner, nailing her performance to her own, hilarious, catchy song. Oh and she had a bag of groceries featuring a missing Merle Ginsberg on the milk carton. And that was before she even started eating her fried chicken necklace and intensely looking at the judges. Willow closed out the show and while her sisters were confused, her Enya lip sync around a bath before eating meatballs, tipping them in a bath and jumping in with a slice of toast was ICONIC.
And damn, did she finally have her sisters gagged.
On the Signature Drag runway, June served golden goddess realness while Bosco was a horny, black devil and Alyssa was a pageant-y, feathered delight. Kerri wore a stunning lion coat with a sexy bodysuit made of Ks. Orion was a red and white mushroom delight, complete with three titties. Kornbread meanwhile came out serving full Lizzo, serving eyes, face and swagger and I fucking love her. While Willow closed things out as a neon ugly-glamour mean girl.
June received praise for her performance while Michelle read her for not securing her headband and wearing control tops. Bosco’s performance was universally beloved for all that she did, while Alyssa was praised for doing something different, despite it being one note. Though the judges lived for her runway, despite the fact none of them understand who she is based on the variety she showed in the first episode. Kerri meanwhile received universal praise, despite the fact Ross wished she started skipping earlier and Michelle wanting her to lean into the stupid. Orion made Lizzo uncomfortable, and while the judges loved that she tried something different, they felt she needed more ‘funny’ in her skit. Michelle read Kornbread’s look for needing more polish, though everyone lived for her performance, none more so than Lizzo. Meanwhile Willow’s look was read for being weak, though they unanimously agreed that her talent was demented and PERFECT.
Backstage the dolls were gooped to finally be competing in the competition, talking about how wild it was to be on the mainstage. Kornbread was particularly thrilled to have made such an impression on Lizzo, while Bosco was thrilled that the judges got her. And to live up to her fellow Seattle queens, Jinkx and DeLa. Kerri meanwhile felt she would ultimately be safe which was enough for her in the first episode. The dolls all admitted that they were judging Willow for her entry look, though were gagged by how entertaining she was in her performance and praised her for being so talented as they gladly ate slice after slice of humble pie.
Willow shared that during the performance, she didn’t think the judges were getting her and as such, got into her head and was so negative on the runway. Leading to Kornbread pointing out that she now sees her as her biggest competition and she needs to start believing in herself. June opened up about feeling like she messed up her shot by messing up some of the details. She spoke about not normally wearing tights, though worried about being judged for her body on TV and now regretting letting those fears win. Alyssa then brokedown about the pressure of feeling like she is performing for her people and didn’t want to let anyone down. Leading to a huge pep talk from all the girls AND, obviously, some flirting from Kornbread.
Orion meanwhile felt she got far and away the worst critiques and knew she’d be in the bottom, opening up that she was going to do an original song, though ran out of time due to life and as such, had to pull something together and was glad she got to show off her brand of weird. Which this time led to a pep talk from Bosco. Kornbread asked the dolls who they thought would be in the bottom with everyone kinda agreeding June will likely be joining Orion in the bottom, though Kerri assured them that because there are so few girls in the competition, the judges had to be harder on all of them and as such, they shouldn’t be hard on themselves if they do have to lip sync.
Ultimately Bosco and Willow Pill were sent to safety while Kornbread rightly snatched her first victory of the season. Kerri too was deemed safe, followed by Alyssa Hunter who narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving June and Orion to lip sync for their lives to Water Me by Lizzo. June connected with the lyrics and gave all the Lizzo swag while Orion gave campy, comedy and despite being charming and putting on a hell of a show, there was no way June was going home with that fire. As such, poor Orion became the first doll to exit the competition.
Poor Orion was heartbroken to be the first one to leave but I pulled out my old faithful pep talk, reminding her that first boots are always more memorable than the girls that go in the few weeks after and as such, she now joins the legendary group. I mean, fierce Broc-ally, Kahmora Hall, Jaymes Mansfield? There is enough talent in this group to fill an entire All Stars season!
With that wonderful reminder, Orion was ready and invigorated to go out and take on the world again. As such, we laughed, we cried – did I mention I’m a dear friend and the talent show was based around me? Because it was – and then sat down to a big, comforting bowl of Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash.
While I know it may feel like this isn’t an epic enough meal to be dishing out to someone post-boot, I counter that this is honestly the perfect salve. Cheese? Check. Potato? Check. Punch Flavours? Check. I mean, c’mon, sign me up.
Cheddar, Sour Cream and Orion Story Mash
4-6 washed potatoes, cut into 2cm dice
salt and pepper, to taste
4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup sour cream, plus extra if required
½ cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
Pop the cut potato in a large pot and rinse with water. Fill with enough water to cover with about 2cm to cover, salt like the dead sea and pop on the hob over medium-high heat. Cook for about five-ten minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Drain, return to the hot pot over the hob with the heat off and leave for the moisture to evaporate for a minute. Season to taste, add the spring onions and sour cream and mash until the potatoes are smooth. Stir aggressively, fold through the cheese and return to the lowest heat possible and cook, stirring, for a minute.
Then devour, piping hot, with your favourite protein. Or, you know, in a bowl.
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