13th Apr2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×14’ Review

by Rhys Payne

Last week saw both Kandy Muse and Olivia Lux in the bottom two with Olivia been told to leave the competition. She had only been doing drag for just over a year so to get this far in the competition (beating out drag icons such as Tina Burner and Tamisha Imann) is incredible! I can’t wait to how much she will progress over time and I am sure she is destined for great things as she gains more and more experience. Though I don’t understand how Kandy was allowed to progress with that messy pocket inspired outfit as I thought it was the worst outfit I have seen… since her alien look a few weeks ago! But this led to a very interesting discussion led by Bob the drag queen (who was the winner of season 8) where she talked about how a designer had made the outfit, so for Kandy to disregard the look and even going as far as refusing to wear it in posts on social media must have been very damaging for whoever had spent the time/effort to make the outfit. On the top in last weeks episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race was Rose who won the episode and has, over the competition, built a lot of momentum going into the end of this race! She won last week and based on the challenge this week I believe she is going to add another win this week too.

As Olivia had gone home we are now down to the top four, which has added pressure as the finale and crown are in everybody’s sights. It was announced last week that the challenge this week was a musical challenge where the queens had to write, record and perform an original version to Ru Paul’s new song ‘Lucky.’ Also the queens had to take part in a podcast with Ru Paul and Michelle which showed a more human and relatable side to everyone. I found Gottmik’s interview on the podcast was incredible – where she talked about the origin of her drag name and had the two hosts laughing throughout! Due to these two segments, there was no mini-challenge so we skated right to the rehearsal process for the new song.

Going into the challenge, Rose was very confident as musical theatre is something she is very familiar with. However, in the last musical challenge, both Symone and Kandy were in the bottom two so they had the added pressure of Ru-deeming themselves from that disappointing performance. I have to say that the overall production value of this performance was so good! They had fixed the mixing issues that occurred in ‘A Little Bit of Love’ from Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK and the queens performed in a fully-produced music video rather than just dancing on the runway. Each queen performed in unique props and staging, with cohesive colour schemes which made it feel like a high-quality music video. I thought Gottmik’s verse in this song was incredible considering she is not known for songwriting/singing etc. She has found this creative lane which is a hybrid of camp comedy and traditional sexy outfit, which was showcase flawlessly in her lingerie clown look she used for the music video performance! It was no surprise that Rose also did amazingly well in this challenge. She had spent a lot of the episode bigging up her rap skills and I thought she would fall victim to the “I do this all the time” curse that has been discussed in previous episodes… but I was so wrong! Her verse started in the classic campy, Broadway-style performance but turned into a fast rap by the end which was amazing to listen to. Symone was good but due to being placed right after Rose she did pale in comparison and it is clear that musical creation is not something Symone has a lot of experience in but she still did fairly well! FYI, the new song ‘Lucky’ is now available to listen to on Spotify and is a great upbeat song for any summer party!

The runway theme this week was “Drag Excellence”, which is supposed to be a showcase of the queens best drag! I was a little disappointed by the quality of outfits on this runway, as some of these queens have been turning incredible looks throughout the season and I don’t think many did showcase their best drag outfits here. I have to give Kandy props, her hair and make up this week was stunning! In my opinion, it was the best she has looked throughout the whole season! Rose wore a wonderful tartan gown that was inspired by her Scottish heritage which was super fun. It appears that Symone shines most in outfits that are sleek and simplistic and where she looks/feels the most beautiful. Her BLM outfit was minimalistic and so was her outfit this week, which had the most incredibly over-the-top sleeves that looked incredible on her! After the runway sections that did the classic “what would you say to younger you?” segment where they show the queens pictures of them as young kids. What was particularly unique about this section was that Gottmik was shown a picture of them before they had transitioned and delivered a very powerful speech about self-acceptance. Symone also delivered a very powerful speech during this section of the episode too!

If you have ever watched a Ru Paul’s Drag Race episode, you know that the queens battle against each other via the medium of a lip-sync to see who goes home and who will continue in the competition; so when it was announced that the queens would perform individually for a place in the finale it was incredible! We had not seen Rose or Gottmik lip-sync for their lives since the first episodes in this season, so I was very excited to see what they can do! After each queen had performed with the whole runway to use, it was announced that all four queens would be heading to the finale (so yet another episode where no one goes home!) Next week will be the reunion episode, where the eliminated queens will return to catch up and talk about the show – which always brings bucket loads of drama and the week after is the actual finale!

Overall, this was a musical episode that had one of the most well constructed musical performance in Drag Race her-story but I do think that many of the queens did not showcase drag excellence on the way. There was a shocking twist that added a lot of uncertainty and excitement which is why I would rate this episode…

****½  4.5/5

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