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  • Writer's pictureJordan Wilkerson and Susannah Stengel

Three Cheers for Queers . . . It’s RuPaul’s Triple Premiere!



Spoilers For: The First Three Episodes of Season 13

Were you gagged? Utica Queen and her strawberry were.

Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 12 boasted the second double premiere in RuPaul’s Drag Race Herstory. Well, tens, the Queen of the Small Screen is at again in Season 13, with triple the piping lamé, and nary an elimination in sight in three full eps. So, we’re calling this a triple premiere henny. Deal with it.



Like a Noah’s Ark for feathered, fluffed femmes, RuPaul ferried her contestants in two by two. The sickening gauntlet was thrown again and again as each queen faced off in a lip sync for her life against her buddy within minutes of their arrival. The winner was left to bathe in the glow of their victory, while the losers were sent, with the vexing sound effect of a pig’s squeal echoing in audience ears, to the Pork Chop Loading Dock. Thus, two factions arose: lip sync assassins with an early bloated sense of glory and feisty underdogs with a fire in their corseted bellies.

Let’s feast together on this Pork Chop. Were you gagged or lagged? Hear from two squirrel friends Jordan and Susannah while we sip on parts one, two, and three, and offer our unsolicited tea.

Photos: VH1 ; Illustration: Dillen Phelps

Gottmik and Kandy Muse (far left) won their lip syncs and stick out as notable players.

Tamisha Iman and Denali (far right) got the Pork Chop only to serve nerve and charisma for days.

EP 1: “The Pork Chop”


For the first time in Rupaul’s Drag Race Herstory, the season starts with a lip sync showdown. The losers of each lip sync are ushered away, with Ru strongly implying they literally had just 15 minutes of fame--and it’s up. It was an innovative premiere, but watching the purported losers was uncomfortable.

In retrospect, though, I’m fine with the gag.

As we find out in the next 2 episodes, this is actually the same as the Season 12 premiere, which also initially split the group of queens in two and eliminated no one until they came together. The difference this time is there’s a story behind why the contestants are binned into two groups. I appreciate Episode 1 as a fresh and exciting prequel to what is ultimately a repeat of Season 12’s template. Plus, getting to see all of the queens showcase their lip sync skills to a fantastic playlist is *muah*.


Denali’s entrance look was my fave, though there were many contenders this week. The deciding factor? Her gorgeous ice skater princess look was complete with legit ice skates. And then she lip synced in them!? Gagged.


Joey Jay and Kandy Muse weren’t ready for the main stage. Emotionally.


When the alarm bells of “She done already had herses” clanged through the work room, leaving first Kandy Muse and Joey Jay agog, I gasped on my gag. Then began an exhilarating, overwhelming, and, I would argue, repetitive cycle of trials by lip sync. I watched, names forgotten, no affection, no allegiance, pure delight. And judgment. Plenty of that. It was delicious. BUT

Here’s what I missed:

-The de-dragification beauty moment to reveal each queen underneath. I live for this ru-veal.


-LEARNING ANYTHING ABOUT THEM before they entered my mind’s critique zone.

-The Community Blooming--When Queens Electrify Queens with Their Diversity and Range.


Olivia Lux’s two tone color-blocked sunshine yellow and neon pink halter dress-turned-bodysuit entrance look. I mean, when she put down her teeny-tiny handbag and swung her Barbarella blond high pony as she air-guitared to “Ex’s and Oh’s” in yellow and pink, I melted. You can read me for her hairline all day. I'll deal.


Denali, we feel you. Y’all voting on a final chop was wack. (And perfect.)

OUR TOP READS: Joey Jay’s molting poultry feathers.

EP 2: “Condragulations”


The episode starts off with the Porkchopped girls voting off one of their own. They chose Elliott based on very little. Awkward. We ultimately find out this vote is of little consequence, as Elliott is merely shuffled into the other group. I’m not too upset about it, but why, producers? Aren’t the queens impressive enough without needing a superficial gag to elevate the show’s appeal? In my view, yes. The fashion this episode was fantastic, with Gottmik pulling the most weight. The performance in the main challenge was great, too, though the choreo was a bit basic.

Still, the only thing that really differentiates this episode from Season 12 Episode 1’s layout is forcing half the competitors to vote someone off. Not the cutest way to stay fresh.


Obviously, Gottmik’s “Lamé, You Stay” look takes the crown this week. She rolled up on the runway looking like a lustrous, lamé alien icon. Overall favorite look so far this season. Work, queen.


Denali even gives face when she broods.


The not-so-gracious winners’ circle shows up with personality and teeth as they welcome sadboy-turns-bottom-dog Elliott with 2 T's. The hostile workplace environment created by Elliot’s rejection and infiltration made me like everybody less. I was distracted and so were the queens--waiting for the other shoe to drop. More negativity and less character development by far than your typical episode two, but so much talent. Boisterous, unique, textured talent.

Symone sparkled and won every doll-hair.


Gottmik’s gold lamé construction for “Lamé, You Stay” was art, innovation, and liquidly sensual at once. Each angle surprised. I'm attracted to that look.


Olivia Lux, take me. Anywhere you want.

OUR TOP READS: Kandy’s glory hole. Why??

EP 3: “Phenomenon”


This has the same template as Episode 2, yes. But here’s the difference: there’s wholesomeness in seeing the ‘losing’ queens slay the mini challenge, the main challenge, and the runway. The fashion was as good as last episode's, but the main challenge was way better. Like there was actual, sophisticated choreo...

More importantly, Tamisha’s storyline created an authentic window into drag culture. I felt like I gained insight into the humanity of dedicating one’s life to being a drag mentor.

You can tell the other queens felt similarly, making it all the more wholesome and impactful.


Tamisha Iman’s “We’re Here, We’re Sheer” runway was my favorite this episode. Don’t get me wrong, there were many great looks this week (e.g. all of Rosé’s). But listen: Tamisha’s golden sheer dress was gorgeous, classic drag--and she made it herself!


Elliott with 2 Ts has more than 2 tricks up her '80s coiffed sleeve.


Hey, Judys. I hope you didn’t find the “Lady and Vamp” runway challenge too dull (a different taxonomy then episode two, but the same damn theme), because here we go AGAIN.

The episode inevitably loses pizzazz for this viewer when the challenges come as no surprise and the looks are facing off against challengers we mistily remember from last week.

For the rejected Loading Dock queens, bonding comes easily. This episode served the workroom's stinging signature camaraderie. Since this joyful group collaboration was absent from the first two episodes, I was left wanting--hungry for more community, more competition, and higher stakes. In a world currently confined by isolation, I wanted all the queens to commingle and connect. Clearly, Ru wanted the same, because there were again no casualties this week. Don’t chop me now.

When you sashay away, but get to stay, can you then go on to slay the day? Time will say.


Rosé’s Alexander McQueen-inspired realness on the Vamp runway. For a queen who, in her words, is gonna “go out to get a drink by herself at 6:00 a.m.” I want that headpiece/headspace. #RoséStan


OUR TOP READ: Joey Jay on Kahmora. “Sis, we’re on drag race. It’s not called drag walk.”

The future of our queens is unknown--but bone chilling eliminations are now inevitable.

All the more painful now, as we’ve bonded with everybody.

Thanks, Ru.

We love the pain.


Give us your prediction NOW for TOP QUEEN and lord it over us with a timestamp later!

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