This season of Vanderpump Rules, James Kennedy was on the outskirts of the action more than ever. He didn’t go on the cast trip to Mexico. He didn’t go to Jax and Brittany’s engagement party. And only a couple of the cast members attended the puppy shower he held with girlfriend Raquel Leviss. Basically everyone on the cast seems to dislike him besides Tom Sandoval, Ariana, and Scheana (I guess?) and he makes no secret about how much he hates everyone else, too. So, things aren’t looking good for James being on Vanderpump Rules Season 8, right? Well, not so fast.
The main piece of evidence that James will be back for season 8 is the fact that his girlfriend has been hired at SUR. Lisa Vanderpump confirmed Raquel is her new employee during the reunion, and Raquel has also posted about it on Instagram. On April 25, she shared a photo of herself wearing that iconic SUR dress and little crossbody bag, and wrote, “SURprise!!!!! You’re looking at the newest addition to SUR’s wait staff! May I take your order?”
She also more recently posted a pic of James visiting her at work. We know this show far too well to think she was hired purely because of her merits as a server (which may very well exist!), so unless something changes, it seems the plan was for Raquel and, therefore, James to still be part of Pump Rules come next season.
But, something could change. Just because Lisa put the wheels in motion for Raquel to be a server, and thus a SURver, that doesn’t mean it has to still happen. Vanderpump Rules generally films in the summer from June to August. There is still time for the producers to decide that James and Raquel won’t fit in. During the reunion, James has had yelling matches with pretty much everyone, and the only people who even somewhat defended him are Tom, Ariana, and Lisa. After the reunion, there’s no way people like Jax, Brittany, Katie, and Stassi will want to film with James at all, so it will probably come down to how the dynamics of the show are layed out. If the producers allow James to be on the show, but without him filming with certain people, maybe it could work out.
Alternatively, there could be a new group — that James does fit into — introduced on the show. On May 9, he posted a photo on Instagram of himself, Raquel, and some other SUR-related people, and wrote, “Who needs witches when you have wizards #slytherin.”
Katie, Stassi, and Kristen call themselves the Witches of WeHo, which this is clearly referencing. On Reddit, fans have also discussed a secondary group — like the one James posted — as an option for the show. One user wrote, “In another thread I suggested they’ll start introducing a new cast as a B-plot as a test,” and another fan added, “I feel like next season is going to be a test to try something new for season 9 (should there be one).” Someone else put forth another idea, “I would also be ok with a spinoff of the original cast getting married, living in their big houses and having kids.”
It’ll be interesting to see what happens, because, clearly, James doesn’t fit in as it stands. A lot of fans like Vanderpump Rules because the cast members are actually friends, yet go through an outrageous amount of drama together that would break most relationships apart. Sure, Tom defends James, but he wouldn’t pick James over the other cast members who he’s known for years. James simply doesn’t fit into this show, and Raquel working at SUR to force a connection feels like a last-ditch effort. Brittany recently posted about being about to film season 8 on Instagram, so hopefully, we get some info about everyone who made the cut soon.