19th Jan2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×03’ Review

by Rhys Payne

Season 13 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race has been a rollercoaster of a series so far with shocking lip-syncs in the opening episode, to the inclusion of the franchise first-ever trans man… and the exciting journey continues! We were informed in the previous episode that this week the show will focus on the group B queens (we are not calling them the losers circle because that’s mean!) but they are the queens who did not win the lip-syncs in the opening episode almost three weeks ago! In terms of the show, the queens have been sat in the pork chop lounge for just under two episodes now so it’s about time they were given a chance to showcase their skills and some of them did this and more! It is clear to me that the show is trying to mould Eliott (with 2 ts) into this boiling pot of drama, as she was voted out of the pork chop lounge to ‘go home’ but was placed into the winner’s circle to compete alongside them. I believe that when these two finally meet up there will be a lot of tension and drama around the fact she was the first eliminated but back to the events of this episode!

Episode three follows the same format as the previous episode with a mini-challenge (two contrasting runways), maxi-challenge sponsored by the ‘werk the world’ and another runway at the end of the episode. The first fashion show category was “Lady and the Vamp” with two contrasting looks – with the latter being edgier than the first one. During Joey Jays ‘Meet the Queens’ videos, she made a point of making it clear that she prefers not to wear wigs and I know lots of people tried riding her for her entrance looks… using a wig! However, during her runways in this episode, she did not which I found particularly interesting. I know there have been many queens who have used their natural bald heads as a part of a look but I can’t remember seeing a queen use her natural hair. Joey’s looks in this episode were very punk rock-inspired and the lack of wigs helped her stand out in my opinion!

One of my favourite looks in this episode was worn by Rose which contained bright and bold colours that were very reminiscent of the pop art movement. She has these massively over-the-top shoulders that were so wonderfully camp but also fashionable at the same time! As a self-billed comedy queen, I was wondering what her looks would be like but during this episode, she proved herself as a jack of all trades (but more on that later!) Utica is one of those unique queens were you never know what she is going to do next which does make for fantastic TV but makes it hard to predict if she is going to do well in the challenges. Her first looks was a children’s ball pit on a dress. This made me think of Rock M. Sakura homemade ‘Balls to the Wall’ extravaganza look from the previous season. In the second runway, the looks I loved were Tamisha Iman’s and Utica. Tamisha wore a Mary J. Blige inspired outfit complete with hair fringe all over it which was great and Utica wore wonderful Edwardian outfit with a massive nature covered collar/headpiece that was incredible! Something I had never seen before was the inclusion of the backstage involvement of producers which happened in this episode (I know this happens frequently on Untucked but rarely in the main episodes). There was a massive drama when Kamora Hall was not ready for the first runway as she had spent so much time doing her make-up. The audience watched her get ready, with the lights of the runway going on and off for anticipation of the queens’ entrance but she still was not ready. I do feel somewhat sorry for her as this is going to be incredibly damaging of future looks but it is something that I had not seen before!

The main challenge this episode was to write, record and performed an original verse to the song “Phenomenon”. This again began with a fairly entertaining scene of some of the more rhythmically challenged queens trying to pick up choreography, as well as the clashing of multiple choreographers all trying to promote their own ideas for the show. I have to admit that I am in love with Tamisha Imann who, within the episode, lived up to the legendary mother status she possesses. She quipped during the choreography kerfuffle that the queens were acting like excited children which led to her taking charge as she is a dancer ;but was initially worried that the age gap between her and the other queens would cause an issue. During the actual performance of this song, many queens showcased their vocal and performance-based skills. The opening verse sung by Denali was amazing with fantastic dancing (including kicks and flips across the stage) – which was a spectacle to watch! A queen that surprised me in this challenge was Joey Jay, as the whole time she was stating she wasn’t a write or singer but simply being ‘gay’ would get her through. Which I was skeptical about but she turned up the party during her performance and shocked everyone watching. I enjoyed Tamisha’s performance in this number despite the judge’s comments on being somewhat subdued – which I agree with. She is an actual icon who one to watch in this show and I believe is going to prove that just because she is older than the rest of the queens she can still keep up! Utica during this performance was dressed as if she was going to lead an 80s inspired exercise class in the brightly coloured bodysuit and flailed her arms around as if she was one of those inflatable car salesmen which were very entertaining!

The main runway of this episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race was titled “We Are Here, We Are Sheer” which is another theme inspired by a material the queens must use. Kamora walked the runway with one of the most beautiful dresses, one that showed off her body with fantastically massive hair which was out of this world! I believe (like the judges) that Kamora is a queen who loves fashion and has a passion for looking stunning but has yet to fully showcase her personality. If she can find a way to show the personality we all know she posses I think she will be a force to reckon with! Again in this episode, no one goes home but instead, we get the top two queens competing against each other in a to lip-sync who was Rose and Denali. Both these queens are performers by reading and both lost the first (and to date only) lip-sync they have competed in so there is the added pressure of proving to the audience that they can perform with the best of them. Additionally, in Denali’s initial entrance to the show, she had to lip-sync in ice skates which had to limit her performance skills so now she is allowed to showcase what she does. Denali wins this lip-sync and redeems herself while also winning $5000. As I have already said, there is no elimination this week but Ru informed everyone that starting next week “head’s will roll!”

Overall, this was an episode that gave the group B queens (still not calling them the losers circle) a chance to showcase their skills as we haven’t been able to see a lot of them so far. Tamisha was an icon in this episode and I think she is destined to go for or at least win Miss Congeniality. Many queens were given the chance to redeem themselves and also there were some unique moments splattered throughout the show. I’m eagerly anticipating the episode where the two groups meet as it will be incredible TV!

**** 4/5

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