RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 — Episode 1 – Recap, Video (UPDATED) (VIDEO)

Welcome to the discussion post for the RuPaul’s Drag Race premiere! Tonight, Adam Lambert will serve as a guest judge, and Danny Noriega will compete as Adore Delano!

RuPaul’s Drag Race
Season Six, Episode One
Seven Sisters

Welcome back to the Werk Room, hunts! RuPaul is back with her stable of girls and all new twists and turns. Let’s bring out the popcorn and get started!

It’s starts with an old-timey projector whirr, and a grainy black and white film logo. Instead of the MGM lion, we get RuPaul in a catwoman outfit, making hissing noises. The theme this year seems to be Russ Meyer.

There’s a recap of the last season, framed as a horror movie trailer. Then flash-forwards of Season Six, including gagging faces, tears, meltdowns, and judges. Including Adam Lambert, giving us Blue Steel on the runway. I think we’re going to get a horror movie challenge sometime this season, because there are scenes of the queens covered in blood. There’s a flash a of TV set floating in space — reminiscent of The Twilight Zone… and then we’re into the show.

Adore Delano — American Idol‘s own Danny Noriega — skitters in the door wearing blue hair and a red candy apple wrapper. She seems annoyed that her carefully chosen opening line was wasted on an empty room. She floats around for a bit. then finally settles onto a stool, proclaiming that she has to pee.

BenDelaCreme is the second queen, looking exactly Michelle Visage did in her youth when she was a stand-in for Lucy Ricardo. Instead of an opening line, she’s prepared an entire monologue, which she delivers in a breathless rush. Adore can only stare in shock. Ben, by the way, says her name is “Dela for short, De for shorter, Miss Creme if you’re nasty.” I’m going to stick with Ben for now.

Just as Adore and Ben settle down, Gia Gunn makes her entrance. She wears a bathing suit (under a tearaway), and carries a purse made from two hula hoops. (“Who is that?” whispers Ben.) Adore is delighted.

They exchange some shade, and then Laganja Estranja, looking like the starting forward of the Munchkin Ladie’s Basketball Team, comes in and immediately goes into a death drop. The others applaud, and there is a few minutes of friendly conversation, made awkward as Laganja seems to drop and pop back up a half-dozen times. Although we’re not informed about this, Laganja is the drag daughter of Alyssa Edwards. So, just imagine a very tall, skinny her (with better taste) and you’ll get the idea.

April Carrion marches in, outdoing Madonna in a sexy scouting uniform, with a parachute attached and aviator glasses. She looks so fabulous that I have to rethink my assessment of her “Meet the Queen” video. Her look prompts a “Werk!” from someone (I think it’s Adore). Gia, however, finds her a bit butch. Gia is working the villain role this season. We’ll see how that works out for her.

Kelly Mantle’s entrance is almost too subtle to register. She’s working a 1940s starlet look that Gia finds wanting. Kelly informs us that she’s a working actor, but, unlike Willam, she will not be constantly quoting her IMDB page.

Suddenly, an alien with a long neck and tiny head enters the room. The queens are thrilled and encourage the newest contestant to make a dramatic reveal. This is Vivacious, with a “club kid” outfit, consisting of a huge jacket, and a wig head perched on her own head, like a Dr. Seuss character.* Unfortunately the dramatic reveal is somewhat ruined when Vivacious fumbles for the jacket zipper. But even with the wardrobe malfunction, Vivacious is impressive. You can tell that she’s a bit of history walking into the room and I hope she sticks around long enough to thoroughly school the children.

*By the way, the head has its own name: Ornacia. By now, it’s probably got its own twitter account.

At this point, the She-Mail siren blares, knocking Adore off her stool. “Rutabaga, rutabaga,” whisper the contestants. “Are there only seven queens on this season?” (“I mean, is there no budget this time around?” Gia snarks in a confessional.)

Boy RuPaul explains that this season will have two premieres. The first seven queens will compete this week, and the second seven will compete a week later. This means that no queen will be able to hide in the crowd. With only seven contestants, they will need to bring their game to the very first challenge.

After the commercial, the obligatory Mike Ruiz torture photo shoot takes place. The cinematic theme is now more television focused. The queens must leap off a platform into a box of foam cubes. As they leap, they will be shot against a TV color bar background. Each queen seems to get two leaps in order to get a good photo.

Adore is first and clearly terrified. She manages to give good face, but her legs are splayed out like frog legs. Well, according to her “Meet the Queen” video, she is a mermaid. I’m sure she’s not that used to legs yet. Ben is next. She has a good body, but a weird facial expression. Gia does her jump in a different bathing suit. She’s surprising boring.

Laganja gets a good pose, but her face is hidden by her hair. Also, her Alyssa Edwardisms are causing a vein in Mike Ruiz’s neck to throb. Kelly is both boring and awkward. April gives two different poses — both interesting. Vivacious is rather serious in her face, but I actually love her photo. She looks like a flying superhero (with two heads).

As the contestants remove their drag, Kelly notes that there are a lot of very young men in the room. Vivacious notices that Boy Ben is very different from BenDelaCreme, but that Gia is a lady boy, in or out of clothing. Gia is unimpressed by Kelly’s seventeen years in drag, while Adore is silently freaking out because everyone else brought way more dresses than she did.

Laganja wins the photo challenge, and RuPaul pretends that he’s double-parked in order to get the contestants out to the garage, where he has a truck filled with cardboard boxes. Everyone fears for a moment the seven queens are in the boxes, but it turns out that they are filled with flotsam and jetsam from various TV shows. The main challenge will be to turn this junk into runway couture.

Laganja is tasked with handing out the boxes. Although Adore (who is friends with Laganja) whispers “Golden Girls,” Laganja gives her the Honey Boo-Boo box. Whether this is sabotage or just a misunderstanding is unclear. Laganja takes Dancing with the Stars for herself. April gets Duck Dynasty, Gia gets Keeping up with the Kardashians, Vivacious receives Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey goes to Kelly Mantle, and Ben is left with Golden Girls. “Thank you for being a friend!” she exclaims.

The most unhappy seamstresses in the Werk Room are Adore and April. April piles the flannel and khaki clothing from the box onto her table and stares at it miserably. “It’s crap!” she laments, “Total crrrrap!”

RuPaul goes Tim Gunning through the room. He stops first with Adore and discovers that she doesn’t know how to sew. “I don’t understand these young queens who can’t sew!” RuPaul says. Nobody understands them, Ru. It’s not that difficult a skill to pick up. Even if you don’t have a machine, all hand-sewing requires is a needle and thread, and (speaking as a seamstress) it’s almost as fast.

RuPaul’s dubious face at Vivacious’s concept (wearing a baby dragon on her shoulder) causes a serious look from the club kid. Kelly gets a better reaction to her concept — using large flower petals to create a bodice. “Very Kate Mossy,” Kelly explains. We find out that Kelly is a comedian, very inspired by Carol Burnett.

April’s plan is to tailor a pair of pants to make them more high fashion. RuPaul is not enthusiastic. Every statement Gia makes about her outfit trails into a question, leading RuPaul to suggest she figure out what she’s doing. Then RuPaul gathers then queens to announce “My favorite American Idol, Adam Lambert” as the special celebrity judge.

Just as the queens are about to go onto the runway, Adore discovers that she’s glued her gown onto the sewing dummy. Gia tries to help, but quickly gives up. As the show goes to commercial, Adore is demolishing her dummy, trying desperately to get the skirt off without ripping it to pieces.

We return to the runway. RuPaul wears a dress that is breathtaking. It’s silver with blue-green highlights. I can’t tell if it’s the fabric, or the lights, but it’s fabulous. She flirts a bit with Adam, and introduces Michelle Visage as the “star of Two and a Half Boobs.”

Gia stomps the runway, looking very Kardashian in a silver skating costume. Her hair is high and sculptured. April has a fetching braided hairdo, set off with pheasant tail feathers, a collar made from mossy fabric, a flannel boa, and some kind of metal necklace that probably makes sense to Duck Dynasty fans. Laganja looks like a character from a Tim Burton stop-motion picture. She’s all legs and waving fingers. She wears a silver corset, a black wig that bleeds into a black ruffled collar, a silver headpiece, and a train that will later be described by Michelle as a “schemata.”

Kelly floats sedately down the runway in a pale bodice with overlaid flower petals. Unfortunately, as Michelle puts it, the petals look like slices of bacon. Her white skirt is dull. And it’s wrinkled. All in all, not an outstanding look. Mike Ruiz nails it when he calls her Christine Baranski. Adore is an adorable mess with pink hair and a blue skirt. It’s simple, but her red shoes give her some sass. Vivacious is in a white sheath, accented by a high black collar and a black crow wrist corsage. The look isn’t great, but the walk is.

The final queen on the runway is BenDelaCreme. She’s got on a tightly tailored grey dress with a floral bustle. The floral pattern also peeks out from the collar and hat she wears. She carries a plate of cheesecake, eating a bite as she turns to leave the stage.

The judges’ critique is notable for Gia’s annoying whine of “Absolutely” to every. single. note. RuPaul is happy that April changed her design from pants to a skirt. Mike likes her blend of masculine and feminine elements. Adam flirts so hard with April that Michelle tells them to get a room.

Michelle and Santino disagree over Laganja. She is confused by the hair-to-ruffle look, but Santino loves it. Adam tells her she needs to be a little more fish and she cuts him off with an “Okurrrr,” prompting a very rare sighting of the Adam Lambert bitchface. Adam is kinder to Kelly, calling her look soft and feminine.

When asked about her outfit, Adore pulls out a story of a prom dress designed by Heatherette before they learned how to sew. Vivacious gets clocked for her hairline and her hemline. And Ben explains that she hot-glued her dress together, trying to bring in the Golden Girls theme by making it look as though created by “old, arthritic hands.”

The judges confer. Gia’s personality rubs them the wrong way. Even Adam finds her unlikable. RuPaul dislikes the buzz “boy hair” beneath April’s braids, but Adam finds that look hot. “That’s because you want to [bleep] her,” RuPaul says. Both of them are right, by the way.

Mike thinks Laganja is trying too hard with the catchphrases and such. RuPaul admits being that frantic as a young queen. Kelly elicits sighs; she’s seasoned, but her dress was dreadful. Adam says Adore has an “it” factor and loves Vivacious’s walk. All of them are amazed by Ben’s dress, although Michelle thinks the “terminally delightful” character of BenDelaCreme might get old fast.

“Bring back… my squirrels!” RuPaul calls out. Michelle turns and makes an incredibly cute squirrel face.

As the queens converge — it’s so odd to see only seven of them at this point in the competition! — RuPaul adds another twist: There will be no immunity this season. “Make every moment count,” she warns them. Adore looks terrified again.

There is no top three announced. Just three “safe” queens: Gia, April, and Laganja. Ben is the winner. She receives a custom package of jewelry from Fierce Drag Jewels. Kelly and Vivacious are in the bottom. Vivacious is ready. “I know how to eat a room,” she promises.

The song is “Express Yourself” (Madonna). I can’t really tell how well either of them are doing (as this online video is very jerky), but I can see the judges’ eyes going to Vivacious. By the end, Adam is leaning forward towards Vivacious with delight on his face. Santino looks bored — or unwell.

Unsurprisingly, Kelly is told to sashay away. “I’m so glad we had this time together,” RuPaul says. Kelly pulls sadly at one ear, like Carol Burnett always did at the end of her show.

In the Werk Room, Kelly admits that she’s no sewer. She uses a sweatshop in Van Nuys to make her outfits. “Don’t wear bacon,” is her final advice to future queens. She writes Love U Girlz! Rock your pussies, xoxo, Kelly Mantle. p.s. Eat my bacon!” on the mirror before floating serenely away to her day job as a successful actor. Hopefully now, she’ll stop losing those parts to Jinkx Monsoon.

The Untucked theme this year appears to be E.R. RuPaul introduces the show against a backdrop of sirens and ambulances. There are many clips that spoil various looks from the future that I try not to look too hard at.

The film goes black and white as the queen wend their way to the Silver Lounge. Laganja asks the queens how they feel. After several awkward sips, all of them admit that they are feeling insecure. Laganja thinks she might have to lip synch, she was nervous and her shoes were slipping all over the runway. Kelly cracks “they served me breakfast with bacon.”

“Mama Ru is not playing,” Vivacious declares.

Gia tries to be supportive, telling Kelly, “Drag is your profession,” and Kelly replies, “Acting is my profession.” Gia lets that go, but tells us in a confessional that drag is acting and she’s not seeing much of a character from Kelly.

Vivacious is sure she’ll be lip-synching and the conversation turns to questions about her “New York” walk. Gia — taking on the Ellen DeGeneres role, asks Vivacious if she can vogue. Vivacious reluctantly admits she can bring it if she has to, whereupon Gia starts voguing. The editors try to turn this into a fight by having Vivacious head-talk, “Girl, that’s not cute.”

The bitchiest thing they can get from April is an admission that Laganja might get annoying, and some raised eyebrows when Laganja finishes her drink first. Everyone tells Ben that she’s won. We see Michelle Visage loving Ben’s face (since it’s so similar to her own), and Boy Ben explaining that he developed the look independently of random DJs-turned-reality-show-judges and any resemblance is “a co-winky-dink.” April is praised for ability to make Duck Dynasty attractive — at all. April recounts her despair, but says she made up her mind to work through it.

There’s some discussion of whether or not Laganja was being shady. Adore jokingly accuses Laganja of shade, but Vivacious shuts that down. “That’s your sister,” she says.

The girls are sent to the Gold Lounge, where the Big Pink Furry Box is waiting. Laganja, claiming to be a virgin, opens the box and reads the card. It turns out that they get to see all their leaping photos and laugh at their poses. April and Gia are dinged for having no necks. April notes that Vivacious’s photo is fierce, if you ignore the head under the head. Vivacious delivers the appropriate bitchface to that comment.

Gia once again moves the action along by bringing her mother up out of the blue. She says she has a good relationship with her family, except that her mother won’t discuss drag. Most of the other queens don’t seem to really relate, but Laganja suddenly begins to cry. We get her story — Laganja was very close to her mother (and had no other friends) as a child. But, when she started doing drag, her mother shut her out. Laganja confesses in a talking head that she’s hoping this show will help her mother understand that what she does has value. Vivacious notes that it’s hard, because while drag is an art, most of the world can’t appreciate it as such and just finds it weird. I love her for saying that. While I’m not and can never be a drag queen, there are things I love (like silly TV reality competitions) that other people just find weird. We all have our inner weirdnesses.

So, this was our big opening! I’m wondering if, since it’s another premiere “next week,” we might get the same judges panel again. I’m hoping that’s the case, because it will give us a double-dose of Adam. And if there’s one thing in this world better than drag queens, it’s Adam Lambert flirting with drag queens.

I’m interested in what you all think about the new twists this season. Was it a good or bad idea to split the queens in half for the first challenge? Will the lack of immunity save us from the horror of Alyssa Edwards’ Katy Perry impersonation? What did you think about Danny’s alter-ego Adore? Any favorites from this week?

Let me know!