06th Apr2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×13’ Review

by Rhys Payne

People are still talking about last weeks roast, due to the accusations of body shaming by Utica, who went home. She has since apologised for her ‘jokes’ but I am sure this is not how she would want to be remembered in the competition. Instead, I hope people will remember her for her iconic fashion, including THAT sleeping bag dress that was made in the werk room. Unfortunately, Utica went home but on the other side of the competition, Kandy clutched her first win which all the queens cheered for when it was announced! Having the other queens cheer you on after you get your first win must have been a weird hybrid of adulation and somewhat belittling but it came at a time when she had not a win, so must have given her some momentum at a time when she needed it most!

There was no mini-challenge this week so the whole focus was on the maxi challenge which was acting in the cleverly named “Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens!” This was a clear reference to the iconic 1989 comedy film starring Rick Moranis but also a reference to the catchphrase of Stacy Lane Matthews from Ru Paul’s Drag Race season 3 which I enjoyed! This show contained one of the best character breakdowns I have ever heard. The character in this show who was (played by Gottmik) was called Chardonnay who was described as the “whiney” one which is a clever play-on-words and I thought was hilarious. While the queens were preparing for this performance they received a cameo masterclass from Scarlett Johansson, where she gave the queens some hints and tips on acting. I love these zoom masterclasses as the queens get focused advice on how to perform well before being in front of the directors etc. Later in the episode but still in the workroom, Gottmik delivered an important discussion of gender representation. She discussed how there was no one like her on TV as a child, as all the trans people on screen were either hyper-masculine or hyper-feminine, which many people don’t usually fit into. This led to a discussion about how some people/drag queens want to look super feminine where is some are more manly and both are okay! It is important for everyone to feel represented on TV and not just generalised stereotypes and so now is the time to encourage TV to have a more realistic perspective on real life!

Gottmik in this season has been an incredible catalyst for change, being the first trans man on the show, also through the conversations she has been facilitating but also showing everyone that they are so much more than just being “a make-up artist”. Nothing showcased this more than during the acting challenge where she performed on a green-screen being attacked by a cat paw while acting as a character who is allergic to cats. This was an incredible performance but also hilariously funny! Rose continues to grow into herself during this competition (and continues to be one of my personal favourites) as she lets down this guard of how the viewers will react, which allows her to be more relatable and stop striving for perfection all the time. I thought that including Michelle in the scene was brilliant and having her stealing stuff from the werkroom was hilarious! However, saying her footsteps sound like a wild elephant was probably a bit close to the bone after Utica’s comments in last weeks roast. The sketch also contained some very clever references to the reading challenge through the line “the library is now open” and wearing funky glasses. I also really enjoyed the reference to queens going on the show without knowing how to sew!

The runway theme in this weeks episode was one of the wildest I have ever heard. The theme was pockets… yes you read that right pockets! How on earth would the queens go to make outfits that fit the theme of pockets? Well, they did and they were amazing! Rose looked incredible will a black and white mod-inspired outfit that was covered in large pockets which revealed into a dress with smaller pockets which was so wonderfully camp! Gottmik’s outfit this week was inspired by the Disney film Hercules, with a massive trench coat that has hundred of watches on the inside but also had gold watches and chains on her myself. This was a homage to the scene in Hercules where a flasher tried to sell sundials – though popular culture references is not something we have seen that much from Gottmik. Symone, yet again, looked incredible in her runway outfit! It was a denim pocket and she wore an almost red and yellow mullet (which the judges did comment was similar to Tina Burner’s colour scheme.) While we are talking about Tina Burner, if you follow her on Instagram you would have seen her outfit for the pockets runway which was a black tuxedo with bright coloured handkerchiefs which was inspired by classic magicians!

I have to be honest I did not enjoy Kandy’s outfit one bit and the judges didn’t either, as she ended up in the bottom alongside Olivia. This is Kandy’s third time in the bottom and Olivia’s second and so due to the outfit and frequency in the bottom I would have sent Kandy home. However, Ru disagreed with me and sent home Olivia which I don’t agree with but alas! If you have read any of my reviews of Ru Paul’s Drag Race you will know I live for the musical challenge, and next week will be one of those! The queens must write, record and perform an original verse to one of Ru Paul’s new songs. There is a lot of work that goes into these musical challenges and I recently wrote an article that discussed all the elements if you would like to give it a read… In the end this weeks episode was a lot of fun with one of the most bizarre runway themes I can recall.

****½ 4.5/5

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