Happy New Year, darlings! If you’re reading this, you’ve survived 2020. Give yourself a pat on the cyst. We’ve made it to a new year and a new season, and what better way to celebrate than with a brand-new recap!
(Hold for applause…)
We’re getting this shindig started with a crazy-ass bitch right off the bat: Kandy Muse from the former Haus of Aja is here to make an impact.
And yes, that’s “former” as in major drama. But are we surprised? These Brooklyn girls love the drama. Kandy immediately shades her former cyster and clarifies she’s now part of the DollHaus instead—with her other sis Dahlia Sin. Will Kandy be a first out like Miss Broccoli? We shall see.
The next queen in is Joey Jay, self-proclaimed “filler queen.” Miss Thing comes in covered in chicken feathers and tells Kandy drag is her side job. By her own admission, Joey’s a basic bitch and a Vanessa Carlton fan. “But don’t underestimate us Vanessa Carltons,” she warns.
The two queens have been getting to know each other for approximately 15 seconds when RuPaul‘s “she done already done had herses” rings out and the lights flash.
Ru’s pre-challenge intro now comes from a screen that’s masquerading as a hanging picture the rest of the time.
In her intro, Mama Ru asks the girls to come meet her on the main stage. Immediately.
Ru’s Lewk Ruview (Our first of the year!)
She looks like a Barbie doll and a jellyfish had an illegitimate love child… and I love it.
So here we are—the two queens are already on the main stage, facing the panel of socially distanced judges.
The judges chat it up with Kandy and Joey for a minute, then turn the script on its head… again. They’re about to lip-sync for their life.
That’s right, bitch—we’re 8 minutes in and the dolls are already lip-syncing. The song is “Call Me Maybe” by gay icon Carly Rae Jepsen.
Kandy Muse cleverly starts and ends the song by pressing an imaginary button on her denim boom box, getting laughs from Ru and the judges right away. She also fakes a split, which is always entertaining.
Joey Jay has one funny moment where she acts shook to be hearing echoes during the bridge, but aside from that, her performance is straight-forward; perhaps a missed opportunity considering this is a pretty goofy song.
Kandy Muse wins! Which means Joey Jay is… going home?!
With one queen down, we head back to the werk room to start this whole process over.
Denali is a figure skater queen, and she walks (well, waddles) in on ice skates wearing this cute performer’s getup and extra long braided hair. She’s from Chicago, and she will cut a bitch just like she’s cutting up that linoleum.
Her soon-to-be competitor is Lala Ri, a fun entertainer in a very basic entrance lewk. Denali is not impressed.
The queens are called to the main stage, meet the judges, and bam, time to lip-sync.
The lip-sync song is one of my all-time faves, “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls. Denali does a great job with the resources she has: ice skates and a very skimpy outfit. So on the one hand, she does a cartwheel in ice skates (werk bitch). On the other hand, her boy titties are hanging out for a lot of the song.
Lala Ri’s outfit, by virtue of being a lot more boring, has fewer malfunctions and allows her to do a decent, if a bit safe, job performing the song. She survives the lip-sync.
But as a devastated Denali makes her way backstage, she stumbles upon… Joey Jay, who’s just hanging out in this area.
Looks like Joey and Denali get to sit and wait in this spot—the “Porchop Loading Dock,” full of pictures of first out queens.
What happens next? Before we can find out, we’re heading back to the werk room to meet the next pair of queens!
Season 13 is about to get a whole lot more amazing: The Ebony Enchantress, Symone, is here to slay! You can just tell by looking at this hoe that she’s going to bring the C.U.N.T. to the main stage. I’m excited. Symone is wearing a dress made of polaroids of her. Come on, self-love.
Here’s a queen who was originally supposed to be on Season 12: Tamisha Iman, a dynasty matriarch and consummate professional. Inexperience? Tamisha doesn’t know her.
On the main stage, Mama Iman talks about how she’s been doing drag for 30 years and was supposed to be on Season 12 when her doctors announced she had stage 3 colon cancer. But she beat that cancer’s ass and recovered and she’s back for a second chance.
The girls now need to lip-sync to “The Pleasure Principle” by Janet Jackson.
Tamisha starts off very strong with some excellent Janet choreo, pulling all the moves and showing she knows what she’s doing. However, it looks like she eventually wears herself out and has a little less energy for the second half of the song.
Symone isn’t serving as much of a choreography, but her lip-syncing is FLAWLESS: she knows all the words and delivers them with personality and a touch of humor.
So Symone stays and poor cancer survivor Tamisha goes. This episode’s format is starting to feel as cruel and unfair as 2020 has.
On her way out, Tamisha meets Joey Jay and Denali. Denali’s now persuaded there’s some sort of shenanigans planned for the Porkchop girls and that they might not actually be eliminated after all. But if this is really it for them, Tamisha’s accepting her fate and taking it in stride.
Six queens down, seven to go. Whew. This premiere is intense.
Next up is a queen who’s already revolutionized Drag Race: Gottmik is a TRANS MAN who does girl drag. Let’s all take a second to process that.
Gottmik is a makeup artist first and foremost, and you can tell by the way she paints; she is a lewk queen through and through. It’ll be interesting to see what else she has up her sleeve.
Gottmik has some competition in the weird queen department this year, though: Utica Queen has also arrived and she is glorious. Utica is very clown-esque, very fun, and super infectious. Not like in a Covid way! But her enthusiasm is contagious AF.
Moving forward to the lip-sync: it’s “Rumors” by Lindsay Lohan. Totally the right kind of song for two weird queens. Not. Gottmik does a decent job with it, going as far as to throw herself into a very aggressive-looking split.
Utica, on the other hand, is not doing that great, struggling a bit with the intensity of the song and dealing with her hair getting in her face. A lot.
Gottmik shantays, which means Utica has to go. She takes the L gracefully and exits with a smile, shouting “I’ll get you for this, RuPaul!” as she leaves.
The next victim of this sick, twisted game is Rosé, from New York City. Rosé comes in with a blacked-out tooth for a touch of comedy, but realizing she’s the “first one in,” she decides to wipe it off and just be glamour. Not sure I understand that logic.
Her opponent is Olivia Lux, also from Britaville. Olivia and Rosé know each other from the New York circles. In fact, last time they saw each other, Olivia was competing in a competition that Rosé hosted. WHAT ARE THE ODDS.
Olivia’s only been doing drag for a year and a half, so Rosé thinks of her as an inexperienced baby queen. But as we all know, Drag Race has a tendency to turn those kinds of expectations on their head. Heads?
On the main stage, Rosé reveals she’s part of the New York drag queen girl group Stephanie’s Child, which includes Jan. Should we be expecting similarities in their style, then?
The lip-sync song for these girls is “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King. Rosé attacks the song (literally, almost) by being very intense, theatrical, and passionate. It’s a good performance, but it’s a bit much.
Olivia miraculously has an outfit reveal and throws in some lightheartedness and comedy by playing on the “haunting” theme in the lyrics and pretending to run away from ghosts. It’s a cute bit that brings a smile to the judges’ faces.
So Olivia shockingly defeats her elder in the lip-sync, sending a flabbergasted Rosé “home” as she watches, totally lost.
Our next queen in the werk room is Tina Burner, a New York legend. This is another NY queen who has quite a reputation. Most people know who she is. But will she be able to prove why she’s a legend, or is she going to go more the Brita direction? Time will tell.
Did someone order a fishy queen? It’s time to introduce this season’s most biological woman, the gorgeous Kahmora Hall. This gal from Chicago has beauty to spare, not to mention the extravagant wardrobe to go with it. But don’t you dare call her “Kimora” or she will cut a bitch. It’s KAHmora with a KAH sound. KAH. Okah?
Wait, record scratch: we have a THIRD queen entering the werk room for this round. It’s the gag of the season.
Elliott with 2 Ts (yes, that is all her name) comes in with this terrible cheerleader-like intro that is so cringey, it circles all the way back into being hilarious.
Right away, Tina Burner and Kahmora Hall aren’t super impressed with Elliott. If the poor entrance skit alone wasn’t enough, the girls don’t love her outfit either. Kahmora asks her “what her inspiration was.” Which we know is code for “what were you thinking.”
All three queens are summoned to the main stage together, where RuPaul tells Elliott she loves her outfit.
Last lip-sync of the night (thank God): “Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink. Cue screams of gay joy.
Elliott pulls off a middle split, which is not easy. But aside from that, her dancing is very white girl. It’s not bad, but it’s not particularly great.
Kahmora looks great and does a good job with the lyrics, but her performance is wholly unmemorable. I don’t think she does a single thing to get the judges’ attention, besides a little death drop near the end.
Tina hits every note of the song, nails the Lil’ Kim rap, and peppers her performance with obscene gestures that bring the laughter. She absolutely murders the other girls.
Tina wins and BOTH the other girls are given the chop. They show up backstage and meet the rest of the “eliminated” cysts. Speculation continues on what their actual situation is. The moods range from disbelief to anger to pure confusion.
Tina Burner gets to return to the werk room, where the winning queens are now assembled with cocktails.
They discuss the girls they beat out, and everyone gets an idea for what the rest of the cast looks like. Tina takes note of Rosé being here, hinting she has a bit of an attitude and might be trouble.
In the Porkchop Loading Dock, RuPaul makes a microphone announcement telling the eliminated queens they are basically free to go—thus brutally crushing their dreams.
Then, for shits and giggles, Michelle Visage reminds Ru they’ve got a whole season to film and maybe eliminating seven girls in one episode is not the T.
With another microphone message, Ru tells the queens they CAN stay… but they’ll have to vote to decide which of them goes home. All Stars 5 style. Right now.
Girlllll… This is a lot. I’m all for ratings stunts, but why you gotta put these girls through all this, Ru?! These are real people you’re fucking with! This ain’t Final Destination 96!
Shall we do a roll call? (I’m trying out different names for this section this season. Bear with me.)
Kandy Muse – Kandy comes with a strange handicap in that she’s so closely associated with Dahlia Sin, who went home first last season. Maybe because of that, people anticipate she might be an early out too this year. But so far, the girl looks pretty polished and she’s been bringing the personality, so I see her sticking around at least a few weeks.
Joey Jay – I like Joey. She might not be quite as unique or charismatic as some of these other girls, but she’s beautiful and entertaining and a fellow Vanessa Carlton lover! Do NOT send my fellow basic bitch home on day one!
Lala Ri – I will be honest… I’m not very impressed so far. This is a pretty good cast at first glance, but if I had to single out one weak link… Miss Ri is it. She’s lucky she won her lip-sync, because I think she’d most likely be the first on the chopping block if she hadn’t.
Denali – Denali feels like a frontrunner to me, which is why it’s so shocking that she lost that lip-sync—especially in ice skates! My personal theory is they’re trying to balance both groups out with some strong competitors in each team, in case these split teams do last a few episodes apart. If that’s the case, Denali will be one of the bigger stars on that side of the galaxy.
Symone – Symone has a lot of charisma, a super charming accent, and she’s already got Ru’s interest piqued. Not to mention she is gorgeous and a good lip-syncer. She’s going to be one to watch, for sure.
Tamisha Iman – The nerve of bringing a queen back on the show after she barely survived stage 3 cancer just to make her think she’s going home on day one. Have some respect for Grandma! I do like Tamisha, she seems like an entertaining gal. And the poise and class with which she took that defeat are seriously admirable.
Gottmik – It’s been one episode and I am already FASCINATED by Gottmik. I’ve never personally heard of a trans man who does drag, and I can’t wait to know more about her. I think she’s going to have a lot to teach the children about the art of drag gender expression, and she has an incredible aesthetic to boot.
Utica Queen – I worry about how hard Utica took this premiere’s twists. She seems like such a creative little ball of joy whose light was extinguished a tiny bit this week. I really hope she pulls through and allows herself to let that light shine again this season. I love her style and personality!
Olivia Lux – Olivia is the season’s baby ingenue, having only been doing drag for about a year. Everyone’s going to underestimate her, and for good reason—but she did win her lip-sync, so we’ll see what she’s really capable of. There’s no denying she’s a beauty.
Rosé – It’s terrible, but I already know the show has no intention of letting Rosé take this crown. Like her sister Jan, she’s likely here to provide good TV and be sent home halfway through the season. She seems like she has a lot more of a temper than Jan, though, so I look forward to seeing that bubble up in the coming weeks.
Tina Burner – This one is going to be a serious threat. Like other campy New York queens before her, the one aspect she might struggle with is aesthetics. Aside from that, it’s obvious Madam Burner’s talents will be lighting a fire under everyone else’s ass. Not sorry.
Kahmora Hall – Kahmora is GORGEOUS, and seems like a shady one. But we don’t know much else about her so far. I worry she may get lost in the beauty of it all and forget to have fun. We’ll have to see what she turns out.
Elliott with 2 Ts – I am so, so worried that this is going to be the gal who really does get sent home first without a single chance to show what she’s capable of. I’ve been really enjoying her confessionals so far and it seems so cruel to cut anyone’s chances short, honestly. I hope she can stay at least one or two more episodes.
Well, queens, this was an intense premiere. We shall see what Ru has in store for her
victims competitors quite soon. Stay tuned!