Celebrity Drag Race Premiere Recap: Nico Tortortella Vs. Jordan Connor


The kitty girls are finally out of the bag: a Younger heartthrob, a Riverdale bad boy and a stand-up comedian were the first three contestants on RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race.

Friday’s premiere, the first of four 90-minute installments, let Nico Tortorella, Jordan Connor and Jermaine Fowler loose in the iconic Drag Race workroom for a heel-to-heel battle of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. For charity, of course.

With a well-documented appreciation for the art of drag, Tortorella was immediately the favorite to win; neither Connor nor Fowler have any experience playing with gender. Yet it was Connor who won the mini challenge, a dragged-up obstacle course that ended with a lip sync set to Ru’s iconic jam “Jealous of My Boogie.” (For what it’s worth, Tortorella gave Connor a run for his money in this challenge, whereas Fowler just kind of stumbled around like one of the Real Housewives on a vacation bender.)

As payment for his victory, the unexpected assassin was given the honor of pairing his fellow competitors with one of the “Queen Supremes,” choosing to put himself with Trixie Mattel, Tortorella with Monet X Change and Fowler with Bob the Drag Queen. And because the celebrities needed to get the full Drag Race experience in a single episode, Ru wasted no time dropping them into the fishiest shark tank of all: The Snatch Game!

Despite claiming to be more of a dramatic actor than a comedian, Connor made a strong showing as Chrissy Teigen, remaining both in character and on his toes. Tortorella also fully embodied Lucille Ball, giving us a slightly more muscular version of the iconic sitcom star. And at Ru’s suggestion, Fowler crafted a new character for the game: a female version of Kevin Hart named — wait for it — Kevina Hart.

Then came the main event, as all three celebrities hit the runway for the last leg of the competition. And speaking of legs, let’s take a closer look at all three drag makeovers. First up, Jordan Connor as Babykins La Roux:

Drag Race Jordan Connor

Up next, Jermaine Fowler as Miss Mimi Teapot:

Drag Race Jermaine Fowler

And Nico Tortorella as Olivette Isyou:

Drag Race Nico Tortorella

And what would a true Drag Race competition be without a lip sync? Following the judges’ critiques, the contestants returned to the runway for a group performance of Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” (Poor Tortorella thought they had a hell of a ru-veal planned, only to be upstaged in the moment by Connor pulling a rose out of his, uh, undercarriage.)

After taking the entire evening into consideration, Ru announced that Celebrity Drag Race‘s first winner is Jordan Connor, who took home $30,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” he told the judges. “I feel so empowered as a man and as a woman, and I want to spread that everywhere I go. Everyone should do drag once in their life. It’s incredible.”

Lest you think this latest Drag Race offshoot is solely about outer beauty, however, let’s consider some of the sweeter moments from Friday’s premiere. How refreshing was Connor’s discussion with Trixie about drag making him feel even more secure in his masculinity? And as for Fowler feeling like he saw his late mother again through his drag… just thinking about that gets me all misty.

Do you think the right celeb won Friday’s premiere? Grade the results (and the episode) below, then drop a comment with more of your thoughts.







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