Monday, April 18, 2016

Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 8 Predictions After Episode 4



I'm even more behind than I was when I ranked the queens after watching episode 1 on March 21, but I just finished watching the fourth episode, so now is a good time to check in. If you're up to date, feel free to laugh quietly at how wrong I am. If you're even more behind than I am, BEWARE SPOILERS.


#1: Acid Betty (previous rank: 1; change: 0)
Acid Betty has turned out consistently imaginative, richly detailed, solidly constructed, and conceptually cohesive runway looks, including her creepy neon mer-person and her Roller Derby punk supervillain (which Michelle Visage found "samey" i.e. too much in Acid Betty's wheelhouse, but I liked). In the acting and musical challenges, she is reasonably skilled but, more importantly, energetic and charismatic. She's universally disliked by the other queens for being obnoxious, perfectionistic, and disdainful in team challenges, but the team portion of the competition is almost over, and anyway it hasn't seemed to hurt.

#2: Bob the Drag Queen (previous rank: 3; change: +1)
In the Empire acting challenge, Bob proved herself to be a solidly funny improv comedian with star-quality charisma. She also turns out consistently strong runway looks, showing versatile ability to range from begowned beautiful lady to crazy sci-fi robot. On the negative side, Bob has cracked a little under the pressure, including snapping at the director during the music challenge. She still turned out a decent performance, but hopefully this doesn't indicate a pattern of inability to take notes.

#3: Kim Chi (previous rank: 2; change -1)
Honestly, I should probably be ranking Kim Chi lower. She seemed flawless in episode 1, but has since demonstrated marked weaknesses. Notably, she can't do a decent runway walk, which is kind of important! The dancing challenge revealed her to be repressed and uncomfortable in her skin, two serious downsides that can seriously impact every activity. But she has been gamely throwing herself into every challenge, and even in the dancing challenge she was able lampshade her problems by playing up a comically nerdy character. She remains my pick for Miss Congeniality, especially after making the show's first-ever use of the new Shade Tree confessional to say something like, "All the other girls have been so nice. I'm going to do my best." (small smile) Nice try and thanks for playing, K.C., but that is the opposite of shade! You are pure sunshine, my friend.

#4: Thorgy Thor (previous rank: 9; change +5)
I found Thorgy Thor boring the first episode, but she's since impressed me a lot more. She is clearly a strong, talented performer. She came in a close second to Bob in the Empire comedy acting challenge, carrying the lead role for her team. She was the most charismatic member of her band in the music challenge, and she's been turning out consistently strong runway looks. I can't help but think of her, though, as a "less so" version of Acid Betty.

#5: Robbie Turner (previous rank: 11; change +6)
Robbie represents the biggest turnaround from my previous rankings, where I actually placed her at the bottom, a.k.a. Most Likely to Go Home Next. Three episodes later, she's not only still her, but I no longer expect her to go home imminently. Despite her awkward first episode and a bit of pressure-cracking in the acting challenge, she's clearly a skilled, funny queen with solid constume and comedic acting skills. Actually, she appeared to contribute most to her acting team with well-received directing notes, which didn't help her as much as it helped them. Along with her sympathetic faces during make-up time, this makes her my second possible pick for Miss Congeniality.

#6: Chi Chi DeVayne (previous rank: 4; change -2)
Chi Chi is funny, smart, and charismatic; your eyes go to her in the various challenges, which is pretty much the definition of star quality. She's also a fantastically talented lip syncher, which is the secret superpower that can lead you to victory in RPDR even if you do nothing else well. But she doesn't take notes especially well and she makes excuses, behaviors that are typically frowned on in the RuVerse.

#7: Naomi Smalls (previous rank: 6; change -1)
As expected, Naomi Smalls has survived the first few rounds of cuts, but I'm not sure how much longer she'll last. She's gorgeous and obviously has a sophisticated sense of fashion, but she's never really stood out in any of the challenges. She's type of queen who's always "safe," which lets you coast in the first half of the season, but this type of safe competence is no longer enough once you find yourself head-to-head with the top contenders.

#8: Derick Barry (previous rank: 5; change -3)
I initially placed Derick the in the category of "People I Think Will Stick Around For Awhile But Not Win" on the basis of a skilled and confident professional-level modelling performance in episode 1, but a sneaking suspicion that she had no other tricks beyond her uncanny Britney impersonation. Well, her episode 1 skill and competence level has not been repeated, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that she's out of her element when not being Britney. Croissant describes her as having "the personality of a shiny dead fish." She's now my pick for next to go home.

That's it, those are my predictions for things that have already happened, but I don't know about! please don't tell me

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