At first tease, the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race looked primed to be a ratchet series low, with an uninspired theme and a batch of seemingly unpolished queens, many of whom were serving up anything but fish (not even the tightest tuck could make up for some of those baritone voices). Was Ru finally scraping the bottom of the bedazzled barrel? Luckily, as any man in a dress will attest, looks can easily deceive, and thanks to Drag Race prep parties co-hosted by Logo and nightlife guru Brandon Voss, fans have gotten first-hand proof that these hot new girls are packing the goods indeed.
Earlier this week, at New York's Diamond Horseshoe club, all 14 Season 7 queens turned out to greet a horde of Gotham's rooting Ru fans, after having already flashed their elaganza to onlookers in L.A. and Vegas. Co-hosted by Drag Race alum Shangela, the event included a screening of the season premiere (sans final elimination), plus a runway performance from each and every queen in the running. Not every comer had us gagging, but the five gals below started our engines, proving there's plenty of gas left in the Drag Race tank.
5. Violet Chachki
This raven-haired beauty is already earning a rep for having the tiniest waist in Drag Race herstory, and it surely showed in her runway performance. Cinched to the point that you wondered how she could breathe, let alone lip-sync, Chachki came dressed in flashy layers of emerald green, which she proceeded to shed before all that remained were some pasties on a clearly male chest. The queen's curious androgyny, plus her dancing and fashion skills, will likely make her a top contender.
4. Mrs. Kasha Davis
Keeping it old-school, this gifted camp queen--who calls herself an "international celebrity housewife"--busted out onto the stage in a red-sequined pantsuit to do her best Liza, delivering a rowdy rendition of "New York, New York" to the crowd's delight. Sometimes an energetic lip sync can go a long way, and it helps when you've nailed your subject's mannerisms to the...what? T, hunty.
3. Kennedy Davenport
Hailing from same Davenport drag family that fostered the late Sahara Davenport, this tireless Texan shocked the Ru rabble when she worked every inch of the runway with her curvy, stunningly nimble frame. Spinning, splitting, and high-kicking to an up-tempo urban beat (while throwing in some wicked hair-ography to boot), Davenport got the crowd so pumped that she re-emerged for an encore--the only queen of the night to do so.
It was the opinion of many that Milk, last season's avant garde breakout, was sent packing far too soon. Max, another gender-fucking queen who was apparently built to break the mold (she's staggeringly tall), seems to be Milk's heir apparent, playing off her masculine features to play up her unique drag. In the season premiere, she rocked crutches on the runway. At the New York premiere party, she exuded singular energy while sporting her signature gray locks. Call it grand, grandma chic.
1. Miss Fame
With due respect to the other queens, Ru may as well hand the crown to New York queen Miss Fame today. Staggeringly beautiful both in and out of drag (a prettier boy has never competed in seven seasons of the show), this glamazon is a picture of perfection, her abundance of tattoos only emphasizing the glamour she both wears and emits in spades. Miss Fame describes herself as "out-of-this-world" gorgeous, and no one seemed ready to object at the New York bash. And just in case anyone thought she might make the fatal mistake of resting on pretty, the clear frontrunner left mouths agape when she strutted out to the tune of a Lana Del Rey "Blue Jeans" remix, the perfect va-va-voom vibe to pair with the massive feather fans she waved at her admirers. In truth, it won't matter if Miss Fame wins season 7 or not--she's a bona fide star already.
RuPaul's Drag Race season 7 premieres Monday, March 2 at 9 p.m. EST on Logo.