01st Feb2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×05’ Review

by Rhys Payne

In last weeks episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race we bid farewell to the gorgeous Kahmora Hall, which must be particularly difficult considering her ‘sister’ Jaida Essence Hall won the previous season of Drag Race. We also bore witness to one of the greatest lip-sync performances in drag race herstory by the dancing diva Denali, who has now lip-synced in every episode of this season (and killed every one of them… **Spoiler alert** the streak ends in this episode.) This weeks episode starts with a discussion between all the queens about the previous challenge, which led to a heated argument between Tamisha and Kandy Muse, as Kandy believed that Symone was her biggest competition (as she has now won two challenges so far this season) and Tamisha felt as if she was overlooking every other queen in the competition. While I understand that Tamisha was there to stand up for the other queens and let everyone know that it’s too early to tell who are the most talented, as it’s only a few episodes in, however Symone has won two episodes in a row now – so I believe she is a front runner of the competition!

Once this drama is over, the episode truly starts with a very entertaining mini-challenge titled “Baby Got Back” which has all the queens in quick (baby) drag and dance around as if they are at a children’s party. I don’t know what sort of kids party these queens have been to but I have never seen kids dance like they did in this challenge. It was ridiculously hilarious and fun to watch, as all the queens didn’t take themselves too seriously and acted the fool on the TV, which was very entertaining. Now the maxi-challenge was bag ball where the queens had to showcase three different looks, one of which has to be made of different types of bags while on the show. The three categories were ‘Mixed Bag’ which needs to include some sort of bag included, ‘Money Bags’ which is a powerful business owner look and then the costume they have made out of bags. The added twist was that the queens must feature a tabby bag that had been altered into a larger than life purse during their looks. This was an obvious method of advertising this new product, which benefits the business which is great. Tamisha Imann and Lala Ri finally addressed the fact that they would be considered as Drag mother and daughter as Tamisha was the first person to put Lala in drag. After this was addressed, Tamisha decided to host a mini ball in the werk room for the queens who had never witnessed one before which was opened by Lala herself.

What was strange about this episode is that usually Ru Paul walks around the werk room to chat to the queens about their work but this week she called over pairs of queens to have a sit down chat with her and to showcase their garments, which was very unusual. While talking about discussions, we also had one of the most powerful werkroom chats in drag race her-story. Having black Americans sit down and talk about the impact the murder or George Floyd and the BLM movement has had on their lives. For me, in the UK we look at all these events through the perspective of the media through a screen but to see people who are personally involved and affected by the recent events was incredibly powerful. On top of all this seeing BLM being discussed on TV is a supe- important thing that needs to have greater representation on television!

Each queen has to showcase three different looks and as there are 12 queens remaining this means we will see 36 different looks on the runway, so it would be impossible to comment on each look so I will only discuss some of the more memorable looks… The opening look this ball was Danali dressed as a crash test dummy which was so wonderfully camp and energetic which I loved. Danali has showcased some fantastic looks so far on this season and this look was no different! Elliott (with 2ts) wore an outfit that looked as if she had simply got a gift bag and cut holes so that she could wear it. The outfit fitted the theme perfectly and was nice, which was great. Rosè wore a tartan outfit that had bagpipes across the sleeves which was stunning! She talked about this outfit being a representation of her Scottish heritage, which I never knew she had. I love a costume that tells a story and so learning this new information helped add to the outfit in my opinion. I enjoyed Kandy Muse theatrics on the runway when she pulled out a magic stick from out of her purse which was very entertaining but I was a little confused as to why this trick was put together with a cat-inspired outfit. She talked about how she wanted to deliver a sexy magician and so the cats didn’t make sense to me. Everyone (myself included) was GAGGED by Gottmik’s outfits in this episode. She wore an asymmetrical pinstriped suit that was covered in crystals which was absolutely out of the world. Her other look was a super fashion-forward look that would be suitable for any professional runway. The other queen that surprised me this week was Utica – as her outfits were also incredible! Her Chicago inspired fitted suit with custom, over-the-top jewellery was amazing but her outfit made out of a sleeping bag was just wow! There are no words to describe how incredible this look was and everyone needs to check it out if you haven’t already! Olivia Lux also deserves a special mention as her holographic, nature-inspired gladiator outfit was also incredible. Now… props need to go to Lala Ri as she walked the runway with an unfinished outfit that was falling apart but still tried her best to sell it to the judges. She was very clever to wear her featured purse on her head and I don’t think I would have the confidence to showcase this garment which had not gone the way she intended.

It was revealed that Joey Jay and Lala are in the bottom this week. There must have been a lot of pressure on Joey Jay as she lost her first lip-syncs and Lala won hers. The lip-sync itself was good and Lala established herself as a lip-sync assassin and owned every inch of the stage; the only problem was that her outfit was falling apart as she performed which did come across as quite messy at times. Lala won the lip-sync so Joey Jay goes home but was interesting about this was that Kandy Muse had expressed that she had a crush on Joey, so was heartbroken when she left. This is similar to the Ivy Winters and Jinkx storyline that occurred in Season 5. I am gutted that Joey has gone home as she brought a very different style of the dra,g with a preference to not wearing wigs.

Overall, this was an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race that focussed on the queen’s creativity with the mini-challenge showing a more relaxed and less serious side to all the queens. Two queens (Utica and Gottmik) shone on the design challenges with Utica establishing herself as a fashion-conscious queen and not just the cooky queen everyone thinks she is.

**** 4/5

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