It’s a Super Sweet 16 (well, more like 15!) MTV premiere for RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2023. We’re starting our year with a two-hour premiere that served it all on the main stage.
Plus, Ariana Grande was the iconic A-list guest judge this time around for the premiere. Jaws fell to the floor and stayed there for a long time!
RuPaul’s Drag Race has typically done a split premiere for the past few seasons.
We’d get two weeks of the queens split into equal groups introducing themselves and performing in the same challenges. Then, there would be fake eliminations where the queens would “miraculously” come back into the competition. It’s a formula.
This premiere had two episodes, but the structure felt so different. No more waiting around and painting by numbers! The momentum kicked into high gear to get through 16 iterations of every queen performing.
Irene Dubois: You are out of breath already!
Aura Mayari: Girl, I was doing too much.
Irene Dubois: You were doing the utmost!
[They all laugh]
It felt very refreshing to get something new and start the competition. The stakes mattered in this premiere, which is important for a big competition like this. Queens do need to go home.
Thankfully, Drag Race has learned its lesson from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14. No more wasted weeks; let’s get on with the eliminations.
Before we get to the elimination, we gotta talk about some of the best looks and performances of the night!
The top entrance looks came from Anetra, Malaysia Babydoll Foxx, Sasha Colby, Amethyst, and Mistress Isabelle Brooks. Anetra’s black and yellow spikey leather ensemble was perfect for a stunt queen. You could tell she could easily perform in this outfit at a moment’s notice.
And it showed it had a bit of edge to her.
Amethyst had a similar vibe to her neon Y2K pop diva look. The inspiration brought back plenty of nostalgia to the music scene of the past, and even though it’s been done before on Drag Race, she pulled off the look well.
Malaysia’s fox gown was pure camp and glamor. It’s hard to take the look seriously with the fox tail and ears, but the ensemble was fashionable. It helped that the fox was fitted to her body and didn’t look like a onesie.
Sasha’s and Mistress’s ensembles were stunning from head to toe!
Sasha Colby is a legendary drag queen whose entrance look didn’t disappoint. The big hair, the intricate bodysuit design, and the makeup tied it together into one beautiful ensemble. I can’t wait for what she brings to the runway next.
Luxx Noir London: It’s so pretty in here. Oh my god!
Irene Dubois: It’s very nice. It reminds me of your face.
Luxx Noir London: Ugh, thank you!
Irene Dubois: Brick. [Laughs]
Mistress equally served style and flair with the black lace gown. Though, her choice of kitten heels could only work for the entrance. Let the queens make all the jokes, but not the judges.
Could you imagine if she wore a kitten heel in front of RuPaul and Michelle Visage? They would tear it down.
It was a nice touch to have the Mini Challenge return to its roots by honoring RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1 and RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2. We’re 15 seasons into the franchise; nostalgia is a part of the herstory.
Photoshoot challenges are ingrained in the spirit of the show. The style and themes have changed over the years, so the photoshoots haven’t ever truly gone away.
Though, nothing compares to when the queens are thrown into outrageous scenarios.
Car wash with hoses shot into their faces? Riding a motorcycle with a fan blowing their way? Love it. Give us all the chaos.
Irene Dubois and Loosey DeLuca winning the Mini Challenges were surprising choices. RuPaul typically goes for overtly sexy or overtly comedic for the final photos.
Luxx Noir London, Aura Mayari, and Sasha Colby had sexier final shots than Irene. By comparison, her shot was cleaner and less chaotic. However, the final shot wasn’t her covered in water or as drenched as the other queens.
The winning shot should’ve been someone who used the water and Pit Crew more.
For the wind photo, Loosey’s picture was good with the humor she brought. Though, it felt like she was in a close race with Salina EsTitties and Jax since they both brought the camp and the sex. It was anyone’s guess for the second shot.
In the case of the Maxi Challenge, the talent show likes to drop a few traps to trip up queens.
For example, they were choreographing the group number. This move is about causing drama and getting the queens to turn on each other. Someone always tries to take over and be the head choreographer because they think they can do it.
Good job to the producers; they knew exactly what they were doing here.
Oww, my nose. [Head tilt]
Marcia Marcia Marcia
The tension was thick between Aura Mayari and Marcia Marcia Marcia. We can all agree that they aligned on Marcia choreographing, right? So why did it have to be a power struggle for Aura to take over?
If Aura wanted to choreograph, she should’ve taken the job first. This chaos will no doubt come up again in future group challenges.
The talent show performances from the queens were mostly fun. When everyone typically does a lip-sync and dance number, there’s little room for surprises.
Which, just like the choreography, sets up another trap for the queens.
Why try to go outside the box when RuPaul loves a high-energy lip-sync dance number? Avoid doing things like a comedy routine, singing, or performing when it hasn’t been perfected or limits you.
The top and bottom queens were pretty much set.
I agreed with the judges that Anetra, Marcia, and Jax had the best routines of the show. Spice, Luxx, and Salina EsTitties would’ve been the next highest had they not been safe. Their performances were as fun, upbeat, and eye-catching as the top queens.
Anetra’s lip-sync was mind-blowing and fun! She truly is a stunt queen with all those kicks and dance moves.
And the high kicks breaking the wood? Iconic.
The same goes for Jax. Her jump-roping with her braids and then doing multiple backflips on stage will go down as one of the best acrobatic numbers on RuPaul’s Drag Race. She was a clear second; Marcia’s comedic ballet routine would follow after Jax.
On the opposite side, Irene Dubois, Amethyst, and Loosey LaDuca were the right choices for the bottom. Their talent performances paled compared to the others, and in Irene’s case, it wasn’t working from start to finish.
How could the ice water bit be funny? The longer version may have allowed for more jokes and build-up, but it felt flat. In the words of Trinity the Tuck, “Where were the jokes?!”
Amethyst had a decent number with the baby joke. However, the judges were right that the punchline was lost after the baby got revealed earlier. If she had hidden the baby longer, she could’ve been safe.
Loosey’s issues were due to singing live. She looked stiff on stage, and she was very pitchy. Michelle Visage is a professional singer who harshly criticizes any queen for not hitting their notes. It was a bad call on Loosey’s part.
For the runway of “Who is she?!”, the queens served plenty of style and fashion. You can’t go wrong with wearing your signature drag. It’s their outfits!
Plenty of the queens slayed the runway, but the best looks came from Anetra, Malaysia, Sasha Colby, and Jax.
Aura Mayari: What happened?
Irene Dubois: She looked under my skirt and got hit with a secret.
Jax’s New York-inspired bodysuit and jacket fit her perfectly. The look exuded the energy and attitude she brought to the main stage. On the other hand, Malaysia and Sasha went for glamor in gowns that accentuated every feature.
Sasha’s Miss Continental gown was stunning from head to toe!
And it’s no wonder Anetra snatched the Maxi Challenge victory this week. Her futuristic gold gown was chic while also showcasing a new glamorous side to her. A great end to a strong week for her.
The lip-sync of “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande was a clean and simple number. Nothing too outrageous to take away from the song or lead a queen to danger.
Amethyst and Irene Dubois were pretty neck-and-neck for much of the song; they matched the lyrics and vibe well. However, Amethyst had that little extra spark where she embodied the energy and delivered the style.
She seemed right at home, like she knew every lyric in her head and wanted to be Ariana Grande. It was a close race, but she snatched it at the chorus with her splits.
Plus, RuPaul is probably gutted to lose a potential villain this early on in Irene. But her talent show … it was that awkward.
Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:
Sugar and Spice will either thrive after their time on Drag Race, or it will hurt them. Their talkative segments kept going and going.
The Werk Room needs a countdown to pressure the queens to get ready. Maybe a clock with push Sugar and Spice to get ready faster?
A lot of shade from Irene Dubois and Mistress Isabelle Brooks this early. It’s only the premiere; they wasted no time causing drama.
- We must know the tea about Amethyst and Robin Fierce’s past together. There’s a story there!
Now, over to you, Drag Race fans.
What did you think of “One Night Only, Part 1” and “One Night Only, Part 2”?
Are you sad to see Irene Dubois get eliminated first? What was your favorite talent? Which entrance look served it the best?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.