Spoilers for Legendary season three below.
Legendary concluded its third season on June 9, leaving one house $100,000 richer and leaving viewers with a full season of incredible performances to remember. The House of Juicy Couture’s win was a foregone conclusion after about four episodes, and its sheer and utter dominance (it won Superior House five times. Five!) could have led to a boring competition. The reason it didn’t? Because Legendary has the best judging panel on TV.
The judges have always been Legendary’s not-so-secret weapon, and this season they became the real stars of the show. Celebrity stylist Law Roach, with his love of fashion and drama; ballroom legend Leiomy, with her love of performances that complete the damn challenge; and actress Jameela Jamil, who is a producer of the show and is thus still there, were joined by actress, singer, host, and workaholic Keke Palmer, who was brought in to replace rapper Megan Thee Stallion as the fourth judge. While Megan was certainly missed, Palmer fit right in on a judging panel that fought, celebrated, scored, and kept the show entertaining as hell.
So we thought it only appropriate to return the favor and spend a bit of time judging the judges, scoring each on the four elements of judging: personality, judgment, looks, and willingness to fight, all of which are equally important in having not only a fair judging panel but an entertaining one. Five extra challenge points are awarded for best use of the gag flag, a fun but ultimately unnecessary addition this season, which allows a judge to save a house from having to go into the redemption battle. (Yes, it’s because the House of Tisci got screwed over last season. Yes, we miss them too.) One note before we start: We’re not including the guest judges on the roster because they’re too diverse in quality to quantify generally. Just know that the best were Leslie Jones, Dominique Jackson and Kelly Rowland, and the worst was the twink who sang.
Seasons served: 3
• Personality: 7/10 — It’s fine.
• Judgment: 8/10 — It’s getting better.
• Looks: 7/10 — Also getting better, but she still needs to switch up the hair more.
• Willingness to fight: 5/10 — She has yet to competently read Law Roach.
Look, Jamil is getting better. Our least qualified and most controversial judge seemed to spend most of her time on previous seasons apologizing just for being there. This season, she took baby steps to finding a voice. Of all the judges, she most consistently pointed out that the House of Makaveli, the battlecats with nine lives, weren’t up to par. Ultimately, though, Jamil is at her best when she’s the Charlie Brown to Legendary’s Lucy: constantly trying to have a great moment and getting the football pulled away at the last minute. This season, that happened when she pulled her gag flag for the House of Yohji Yamamoto in episode five, thus saving it from elimination despite its dismal score, and instead of getting an emotional moment with the house, Mother Aoki Lee Yamamoto used the moment to shade Leiomy, whose opinion she actually cared about. The scene ended with Mother Yamamoto hugging Leiomy, not Jamil. “I don’t think anyone’s had a more upsetting or disappointing gag flag moment than me,” said Jamil. Well, yeah.
Seasons served: 3
• Personality: 10/10 — I like drama, what can I say?
• Judgment: 9/10 — I like drama, what can I say?
• Looks: 9/10— The green bodysuit didn’t work for me (for me!).
• Willingness to fight: 10/10 — This is his category.
On a lot of levels, Law Roach is Legendary. He’s the judge who goes viral every season for being rude to a house. He’s the judge who styles himself and Jamil. He’s the judge with the biggest catchphrase (“You did what needed to be done!”). He’s clearly having a blast on that panel, whether he’s noting the House of Revlon’s Schiaparelli references or asking Mara Makaveli if they want to meet him outside. Excitement over Law’s contributions to the panel will vary, but if you come to the show for drama, Law’s gonna give you drama. Small points are deducted for his continued support of the House of Makaveli because at some point you just have to mercy kill what is clearly the weakest house in every category but the battles.
Seasons served: 1
• Personality: 10/10 — Took her role seriously but still had fun. What else do you want?
• Judgment: 9/10 — Point deducted for the Mission Impossiball incident.
• Looks: 10/10 — Has anybody ever looked better than Keke in that pink swimsuit?
• Willingness to fight: 10/10 — “Law, you’re just so tired” was the line of the season.
Tens, tens, tens (and one nine!) across the board! Palmer walked into the season with big shoes to fill as both the only new judge and the person replacing Megan Thee Stallion. Was she intimidated by the challenge? Nope! She had some truly great lines this season, including the indelible “Y’all still talking about that?” in response to the discussion of her (admittedly wrong) choice to give House of Makaveli a ten at the Mission Impossiball. Her standout moment, though, was her face-off against Law Roach at the end of the Hot in the Shade Ball, which was so good it prompted even Law to acknowledge defeat with a smiling “You ate that.” In fact, she ate the whole season.
Seasons served: 3
• Personality: 10/10 — She’s crazy, she’s sexy, she’s cool.
• Judgment: 10/10 — What, I’m gonna criticize Leiomy’s judgment?
• Looks: 10/10 — The anime look lives in my mind rent free.
• Willingness to fight: 10/10 — Always ready, never excessive.
• Gag-flag challenge win: +5 — Her use of it was truly funny.
Leiomy maintains top-dog status as Legendary’s resident ballroom expert, 360 creator, and no-bullshit taker. She started the season on a high note with her downright vicious read of the House of Lyght, saying, “When it came down to the elements of vogue, it gave very ‘I just learned this choreography today, and I don’t know what voguing is.’” And ultimately, there is only one judge to whom Brooklyn Juicy Couture, the best contestant of the season, could reasonably dedicate her Slay-ground Play-ground Ball performance, and it’s Leiomy. There is only one judge whose innovations form the basis of an entire Legendary challenge, and it’s Leiomy. There is only one judge who could refuse to evaluate a battle and then proceed to walk off the show because it was so bad, and it’s Leiomy. She gets an additional five points for using the gag flag on the House of Juicy Couture, which was never in danger in the first place. Makes sense, since she hated it anyway. More reality-TV judges should just do whatever they want! Tens across the board, a challenge win, and a hearty finger clap are in order.