26th Apr2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race 13×16’ Review

by Rhys Payne

We have finally reached the final episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race! This has been a season that has created some incredibly iconic moments like Lala Ri’s bag dress compared to Utica’s sleeping bag outfit or Symone’s powerful BLM outfit. We also had the first-ever trans man competing on the show (Gottmik) who has given us some of the most incredible looks we have ever seen on the runway! Despite everyone online commenting on how this is the never-ending season, I think everyone will be missing their Drag Race fix and this season provided some entertainment when the world needed it most! The whole cast and crew should be proud that they have managed to produce such a fantastic season despite the current global situation.

This weeks review starts with some good and some bad news (apart from the obvious one of it being the final episode.) We have a big scale finale which is set in a massive theatre – which I know people were looking forward to, however, the eliminated queens were not able to be in attendance. However, we did manage to get a video package of all eliminated queens showcasing their final gowns! My personal favourites were Lala Ri ,who looked incredible in an Africa inspired print outfit; Denali who showcased a unique cactus bodysuit; and Utica who wore a glamorously black gown that continued her legacy as one of the most fashion-forward queens in drag race history! We also did not get a live audience in the theatre but instead a distanced drive-in audience, which meant the viewers were missing the energy that an audience brings! The drag through the audience was hosted by last season’s winner Jaida Essence Hall which was amazing. This episode started with a lip-sync from none other than Ru Paul herself… yes you read that correctly the queen mother Ru gave us a live performance of her new song “New Friends Silver, Old Friends Gold.” I know what everyone is thinking but no… this was not a body stunt double like that was seen in the “Holli-slay spectacular” but Ru. At sixty years old, Ru is still able to give us a live performance that would give any of the new queens a run for their money but also it is great as we know that lots of people online have been bashing Ru for using a team of people to help her get ready and not being able to do what she asks the contestants to do. So seeing her take part in this drag race staple was exciting and fun! This also really helped to make the event itself feel very special which was great!

After this performance, the remaining four queens were given the chance to walk the runway for the final ‘three’ times. Generally, these looks were all incredible – which is what finale outfits are supposed to be – so the queens have been strategic with outfits which deserves praise. All three of the runway themes we have seen before… which I was a little disappointed in, but the outfits were unlike any other so it did redeem the runway slightly. It was incredible to see Kandy Muse in a gown (as she had stated in the past that she does not enjoy wearing these types of dresses) but on top of that, she gave her homage to the BLM movement. I was totally in love with Rosè’s outfit in this black and white themed section of the runway. She showcased a my fair lady/club kid-inspired black and white outfit which represented who Rosè is! I loved the moment in Rosè’s sit down interview where Ru had asked her to teach her how to say something in a Scottish accent to which Rose answered: “Ellie Diamond” which was an obvious reference to the controversial moment of Drag Race UK season two. The queens were allowed to showcase another drag finale extravaganza runway as in my opinion the last one was quite disappointed and they all managed to redeem themselves! Gottmik looked flawless in a royal blue skeleton look with her signature white clown makeup. She had a gold rib cage that framed a jewelled heart on her actual body which looked amazing! Kandy showcased another gown with this one being peacock inspired which I also really enjoyed. Symone looked flawless in her runway presentation where she wore a half and half dress which combined a white dress with gold armour plates. She also wore Medusa inspired hair that was so wonderfully over-the-top!

This episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race took numerous moments to acknowledge that life is not all rainbows especially right now. Ru Paul took a moment to discuss the Aids pandemic and how devastating it was for the LGBT+ community. They compared this to the current global pandemic and how by standing together we can get through anything. This was followed by an extremely emotional tribute to Chi Devanye from Season 8 (who tragically lost her life earlier this year) this was an amazing homage to the iconic queen who was taken way too soon. I have to admit that I shed a few tears during this section as it was very emotional. As if these tributes were not enough, they pulled on the heartstrings as the remaining queens performed a lip-sync performance of Bette Midler’s “Friends” which talks about missing friends who are no longer around. This was not your usual camp, over-the-top performance but instead a very emotional rendition that was filmed inside the theatre and in front of the audience itself.

The final four were told they had to lip-sync against one another for the chance to be crowned the next Drag Race superstar and all the songs were from the catalogue of the iconic Britney Spears! The first performance was Kandy vs Rosè and if you have read any of my reviews you will know I am a massive fan of Rosè and have not historically been the biggest Kandy fan. I have to admit though, Kandy turned out this lip-sync and deserved to go through the finale lip-sync. It was a shame to see Rosè get eliminated but I have no doubt that she is destined for wonderful things and I will personally be keeping a close eye on what she gets up to! In the other lip-sync Symone beat Gottmik to “Gimme More.” Gottmik turned out one of her best lip-sync performance from the whole show but, unfortunately, Symone is a lip-syncing powerhouse (and she had had three experiences of this before). In the finale, we saw Kandy and Symone battle against one another, where Symone delivered all the theatrics we needed. She started the performance with a wonderful costume reveals, from a black leather jacket into a glorious yellow fringe outfit. My favourite, however, was the fact that Symone had managed to made a massive hairpiece that exploded at the climax of the song!

We also saw the return of Heidi N Closet from the previous season who presented the award for Mrs Congeniality. It was announced that Lala Ri was the winner of this award which I did not expect but it was great that all the other queens were given $2000 to provide entertainment in a time when the world needed it most! Jaida then made her way to the theatre and showcased an incredible burgundy outfit that flawlessly clashed beautifully with a black and white print on her top half. Jaida announced that the winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 13 is …. (spoiler alert) … Symone… which I had to admit I knew from about episode 3 but she still deserves massive amounts of praise!

This was a great season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race with an episode that was as grand as it could have been while adhering to the current guidelines. Kandy proved why she deserves a place in the top four and the right queen , in my opinion , was given the crown.

****½  4.5/5


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