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Miley Cyrus goes undercover in boy drag for 'RuPaul's Drag Race' premiere

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Pop divas have a herstory of ambushing RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants — on the Season 9 premiere, Lady Gaga went undercover as a very convincing Gaga impersonator, and last year, Christina Aguilera masqueraded as her drag doppelgänger, Farrah Moan. Thursday’s premiere featured Miley Cyrus as the special guest judge — and she practically upstaged the Season 11 queens by wearing an ab-so-lutely sickening dress fashioned out of vinyl records. (“I’m a firm believer that you can build a career on too much,” she noted.)

But Miley enjoyed the best of both worlds, so to speak, as she served boy-drag realness in a surprise behind-the-scenes cameo as baseball-cap-wearing bearded film crew member “Barry Johnson,” aka “BJ.” And in the process, BJ actually made a good case for a RuPaul’s Drag Kings spinoff series. Can we get that greenlighted, please, VH1?

Miley was clearly living her best life on Drag Race this week, spying on the girls’ transformations from behind the Werk Room’s famous two-way mirror, “completely freaking out,” exchanging punny one-liners (and one foul-mouthed Trump dis) with RuPaul and Michelle Visage, dishing out her godmother Dolly Parton’s wisdom to the queens, and ecstatically singing along to bottom-two contestants Soju and Kahanna Montrese’s spirited lip-sync of her Hannah Montana hit “Best of Both Worlds.” That moment elicited her best zinger, when Ru wondered aloud whatever happened to her sweet, blond Disney alter ego, and Miley answered without missing a beat: “A lot of drugs!” This was a total party in the U.S.A.

This wasn’t the first time that Miley had werked a stage with Drag Race queens. In 2015, she and confetti-gun-wielding Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne performed her pot-smoking anthem, “Dooo It!,” at the VMAs with a troupe of past RPDR contestants. And speaking of past contestants, a similar cast-reunion vibe was created Thursday when veteran cover girls Adore Delano, Raja, Manila Luzon, Farrah Moan, Ginger Minj, Jasmine Masters, Derrick Barry, Mariah Balenciaga, Eureka O’Hara, Raven, Delta Work, and Kimora Blac all sashayed onto the set for a photo shoot. And then, the week’s maxi-challenge involved the newbie contestants creating runway outfits inspired by past contestants like BenDeLaCreme, Violet Chachki and Sasha Velour. No reality show on television celebrates its legacy and its alumni quite like Drag Race.

And, finally — also speaking of past contestants — even more halleloo-worthy than the appearance of Miley Cyrus/Barry Johnson on Thursday’s premiere was the reappearance of Miss Vanjie, last season’s gone-too-soon fan favorite/walking meme whose name — uttered in that cartoon-character, pack-a-day rasp — became the most popular RPDR catch phrase ever, even more than “not today, Satan,” “hiiieeeeeee” or “backrolls?” (Everyone, all together now: MISS VAN-JEE! MISS VANNNN-JEEEE!) Vanjie was also living her best Season 11 life — starring in the premiere episode’s cold open and receiving a warm welcome not just from self-declared “fanjie” Miley but from the usually catty and easily threatened contestants, who all seemed delighted to see her. When the beloved Vanjie showed up, it truly seemed like RuPaul’s Best Friend’s Race up in there.

Miss Vanjie already seems likely to snatch this season’s crown, and Soju is already gone, but other contenders that can get an amen include this week’s maxi-challenge winner, sleek platinum ice queen Brooke Lynn Hytes; personality-plus mini-challenge winner Silky Nutmeg Ganache; Nina West, a seasoned comedy queen who cites the Muppets, Harvey Fierstein and Pee-wee Herman as influences; septum-pierced art freak Yvie Oddly; Lisa Frank rainbow princess Ariel Versace; and the exquisitely bone-structured and Fabio-tressed Scarlet Envy, who is even prettier out of drag. Season 11 is about to come in like a wrecking ball.

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