17th Mar2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×10’ Review

by Rhys Payne

In last weeks episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, we saw the return of the iconic snatch games with had a very mixed bag of impressions. We had a modern interpretation of Mary Queen of Scots by Rosè (who has since created a hilarious sketch of this character adapting to modern life in New York) and most notable an stellar performance of Gotmik as Paris Hilton which was so great that she was deemed the winner of the entire episode. On the other end of the spectrum, we had an interesting performance by Utica as Bob Ross complete with a squirrel Afro (no really!) to avoid any claims of cultural appropriation and a poor performance by Eliott who eventually was told to sashay away. The episode also showcases Seymone being unapologetically black as her snatch was Harriet Tubman and her BLM inspired outfit on the runway was one of the most powerful costumes to ever grace the drag race runway.

Now what you have to keep in mind in this episode that it was titled “Freaky Friday” and it is clear that the producers had thought about all aspects of the episode to help tie it all together for the audience. The mini-‘challenge’ this week was to take part in a psychic reading that was led by a professional medium. The queens were magically transported to the challenge after Ru Paul had cast a spell, which I did find fairly entertaining. However, I did not understand the purpose of this mini-challenge as the queens simply observed someone else doing a psychic reading for them! There were no winners or losers for this challenge… and the medium picked up on psychic connections between the queens and these connections were the grouping for the main challenge.

The main challenge in Ru Paul’s Drag Race this week was the makeover challenge but with a twist. In other seasons a group of people (including army veterans, brides, super fans etc) are brought into the werk room to be made over by the queens – except this was not possible this season due to Covid. Instead, the psychic pairings had to makeover each other to be a reflection of themselves. They essentially have to swap looks, personalities and mannerism to impress the judges and I was instantly scared for the pairing of Symone and Utica due to how different they are. Symone’s drag is all about black empowerment whereas Utica (as a white person) is more focus on the crazy and out-there concepts. This started rocky as Symone discussed Utica in a homage to a black America princess that Utica seemed to be very uncomfortable with. Utica seems to be very sensitive to cultural appropriation and seems to be very scared that people will call her out for it. In the actual runway section, Utica looked so different in an homage to Symone’s drag but I was very confused with Symone’s look. She wore this incredible bodysuit but had a strange brown cape over it which in my opinion looked very poorly made but the seemed to enjoy it! I enjoyed that this episode was titled “Freaky Friday” which started with a psychic challenge and then basically followed the plot of Freaky Friday in the main challenge. I think more work could have been done to flawlessly tie together the lips-ync song (which was Let the Shackles Off My Feet) which I suppose was supernatural but did not fit the theme in my opinion.

Rosè and Tina Burner were paired together and of course, Rosè was made to wear a red and yellow outfit which seems to have become a Tina staple! I did enjoy Tina’s attempt at capturing Rosè’s theatrical flourishes on the runway, which were great to watch! I do think Gotmik and Kandy had the most work to do in this weeks episode, as they are two completely different sizes and so they had to essentially create new outfits for each other – which wasn’t particularly discussed by the judges. My favourite this week (impression-wise) had to be Olivia Lux who was dressed in an outfit very similar to Denali’s entrance look – which was amazing! Denali’s Olivia outfit however was not great, which did lead to these two having to lip-sync against one another; while dressed as one another. Denali is known for her iconic lip-sync in one of the first episodes, where she danced circles around Kamora Hall but this time Denali was in a gown so was not able to do all her flips and tricks. Unfortunately, Denali went home this week and expressed some distress with this decision as her makeover of Olivia was praised but as Olivia did not do so well, they ended up at the bottom. I have to agree with Denali as it was not her work that landed her in the bottom and that must have been incredibly frustrating. On a more positive note, Symone and Utica were declared the winners of this weeks challenge with them both receiving a $5000 cash tip.

Overall, this was a very strange episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race with an illogical mini-challenge and an elimination that I personally found very unfair. There were a few great performances in this weeks episode but I believe they were overlooked as Tina and Rosè did not receive the praise they deserved!

*** 3/5

One Response to “‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×10’ Review”

  • J Britt

    On the runway, Denali did not sell her Olivia personation. Great acting would have saved her, but she just smiled a little and did not even hold the smile the whole time. Olivia is charismatic, vivacious and always ON, always selling herself. Denali looked unhappy, and that’s no way to win.Also, Denali could’ve asked Olivia for an alternative outfit.