Welcome, queens, to the inaugural recap of the 13th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Isn’t it inspirational that RuPaul Charles, with just a waistline and a penchant for dick puns, has built a Drag Empire now spanning 13 seasons. RuPaul, if you’re reading this, please buy us a house with your fracking money! It’s been a shitty year, so what better way to kick off 2021 than with a bunch of drag queens lip syncing to songs you’d mostly skip if they came on the radio?
My name is Daniel Trainor and my entire life is a dick pun.
And I’m Sam Stone, a person who, despite what I tell people at parties, would accept fracking money AHEM.
Mother Ru has some twists and turns planned for us, so without further ado, let’s get “sick’ning” as I’ve often heard people say.
DT: It wouldn’t be a season of “Drag Race” without the immediate threat of things being “like they’ve never been before.” Our New York girlie Kandy Muse is the first queen into the Werk Room, wearing her best Britney and Justin 2001 American Music Awards cosplay, complete with a denim boombox. I assume it only plays Kacey Musgraves.
SS: Kandy clomps around the Werk Room shouting, in classic Drag Race fashion, until our second queen, Joey Jay enters, with the iconic entrance line “Filler queen!” which will either be clever and self-aware, or sad and ironic depending on how well Joey does.
DT: Joey calls herself “the dumbest bitch you’ll ever meet,” which is actually my thing.
SS: Daniel famously won the Oscar for Dumbest Bitch in the Business in 2004, and that was a competitive year. In a twist (OMG!), we head to the main stage immediately, and Ru is dressed like she’s starring in one of those ASMR slime videos…AS THE SLIME, DARLING!!!!
DT: The judges are separated by big slabs of plexiglass which, legally speaking, is the only way Ross Matthews is allowed near me.
SS: While filming during the pandemic means that things may be very different this season, RuPaul is still introducing Ross Matthews as “hilarious” which is, generously, a reach.
DT: RuPaul announces that the season will kick off with six lip syncs. However, no context is given for what the lip syncs really mean. It’s all very chaotic, and the queens are just as confused as we are.
SS: A very nervous-looking Kandy and Joey are asked to lip sync to “Call Me Maybe,” which is fine, but I would have preferred a deeper Carly cut. At this point, who hasn’t lip synced to “Call Me Maybe?” Where’s “Fever?!” Where’s “Want You In My Room?!” THE OPPORTUNITIES WERE ENDLESS.
DT: Kandy and Joey both Carly SLAY Jepsen the lip sync, but it’s Kandy who wins it, which means Joey gets the “pork chop,” and at this point I fully have no idea what is going on.
SS: Didn’t win that Dumb Bitch award for nothing, I see. Joey exits the mainstage, unsure of her fate, and suddenly we’re back in the Werk Room, welcoming our next two queens to this Alice in Wonderland of a RPDR episode.
DT: Denali walks in on figure skates, fully looking like Tara Lipinski in “Swan Lake.”
SS: Denali is a professional figure skater, which, for this dumbass recapper begs the question, why is she not professionally figure skating full time? As the saying goes “If you can do anything other than drag, go do that” (or is that just what a stranger told me the one time I tried on a blonde wig for seven minutes?).
DT: LaLa Ri joins Denali in the Werk Room wearing the drag version of a Hillary Clinton pantsuit, which Denali wastes absolutely no time in attacking, revealing herself to be more Tonya Harding than Tara Lipinski.
SS: It’s at this point that I realized Denali will have to lip sync in figure skates, and I suddenly have an appreciation for the integral work that reality TV producers do for our society. I think they should get the vaccine first! There! I said it!
DT: Denali is lip syncing in figure skates and doing cartwheels with her tits out, like a high priestess of homosexuality. It’s by far the gayest thing I’ve ever seen, and I once saw Leslie Jordan eating a popsicle while driving a convertible.
SS: Despite all of this, LaLa Ri is the victor of our second lip sync, and Denali hobbles off the stage to join Joey in the “Porkchop Loading Dock” surrounded by photos of the first queens to be eliminated from their respective seasons. Suddenly things are feeling very ominous.
DT: Next up, Symone enters the Werk Room wearing a dress made of Polaroids of herself, meanwhile nine months into quarantine, I start crying at the sight of a camera.
SS: Tamisha Iman enters after Symone, and immediately emits some BEA (Big Auntie Energy) in her Big Red Pantsuit with Insane Pointy Shoulders™ which has a distinct Jafar from Aladdin energy to it.
DT: On the mainstage, Tamisha reveals that she’s been doing drag for 30 years, and the judges respond by talking to her like she’s hard of hearing. We also learn that Tamisha is in remission from stage 3 colon cancer, which feels like a very somber thing to learn from a drag queen wearing seriously the largest fake tits I’ve ever seen.
SS: Symone and Tamisha’s lip sync to Janet Jackson’s “The Pleasure Principle” is arguably one of the most interesting, not because of acrobatics or wig reveals, but because Tamisha’s choreography hovers somewhere between a serviceable Janet Jackson impression, and a tweenage breakdancer, while Symone is in diva performance mode, living the lyrics. The juxtaposition is jarring, but fascinating.
DT: “The Pleasure Principle,” it turns out, is a terrible song to lip sync to! But Symone takes the win, sending our aunt with huge honkers to the Porkchop Loading Dock.
SS: Our next combo is Gottmik and Utica Queen, who flounce into the Werk Room looking like a pocket-sized version of Gene Simmons and a traveling Depression-era clown, respectively.
DT: Gottmik, who claims to be inspired by unheralded names like McQueen and Picasso, mostly looks like a fancy hot dog. Utica Queen, meanwhile, has the chaotic energy of a golden retriever on stimulants.
SS: On the mainstage, Utica is having a visible Panique Attaque, but finds the strength within herself to share the story of how she overcame a childhood strawberry allergy, and Gottmik bravely admits she is not a lip sync assassin, directly before lip syncing on a reality show that centers largely around lip syncing.
DT: I was not expecting to Google “can you outgrow a strawberry allergy” when I woke up today, but thank you “Drag Race” and thank you Utica. It turns out the answer is yes, you can! See, Mom, television is educational!
SS: Gottmik and Utica are asked to lip sync to Lindsay Lohan’s iconic “Rumors,” so while her “Mean Girls” co-star Amanda Seyfried is steamrolling to an Oscar nomination this year, at least Lindsay has…this.
DT: Utica is stumbling around the stage like a drunk Ronald McDonald, while Gottmik mostly just struts around and hits a split. It’s refreshing to see a lip sync where neither queen is good at dancing or performance. Go on girls, give us nothing!
SS: Ok! More entrances! At this point we are living in 1993 blockbuster “Groundhog Day.” Next we meet Rosé, who purportedly lives “at the intersection of Wit Avenue, and Fashion Boulevard” which…I believe is in the neighborhood of “Delusion” (just south of Hell’s Kitchen, I think).
DT: Rosé says she’s like if Robin Williams and Jim Carrey had a daughter, which is how I assumed we got Jojo Siwa? She’s joined by Olivia Lux, who has only been doing drag for a year-and-a-half, yet finds herself on the show. I’m sure this won’t enrage any of the other queens at all.
SS: Despite being new to the scene, Olivia Lux correctly posits that the only thing needed to win a lip sync is some kind of outfit reveal. She gingerly steps out of her ruffled Laffy Taffy-looking dress revealing a body suit, and clinches the lip sync in that moment. Rosé is visibly shaken, and exits the mainstage with our favorite exit line of the series, “I’m confused, but bye, I think.”
DT: Our final group enters the Werk Room, led by Tina Burner, looking like Carmen Sandiego after a weekend on Fire Island.
SS: It’s immediately clear that Tina is our Miss Congeniality and you can quote me on THAT, darling honey. She’s soon joined by Kahmora Hall, who’s bravely chosen to be The Mean One this season, and is soon launching shady asides, which hardly ruffle our queen Tina
DT: Kahmora says Tina looks like a “sexy hot dog.” SHE SHOULD HAVE SEEN GOTTMIK! Elliott with 2 T’s entrance makes the group a trifecta. I have 2 T’s (thoughts) about that drag name and neither of them are good.
SS: It’s a three-way lip sync honey!! The stage is very full, and there’s a lot to watch. Tina holds her own, Kahmora somehow does ok in her Bob Mackie gown, and Elliott is also there.
DT: Tina kills the Lil’ Kim verse on “Lady Marmalade,” which is really all that matters. She wins the lip sync, sending both Kahmora and Elliot(t) to the Loading Dock to meet the other losers.
SS: You may be wondering what in the fuck and hell the deal is, at this point, and you wouldn’t be alone! Neither the girls, nor, us, your gorgeous recappers, were quite sure what was going to happen.
DT: In a somewhat overproduced bit, Michelle tells Ru that she’s eliminated too many girls. So, via some sort of microphone contraption, Ru sends word to the queens in the Dock that they will be responsible for sending somebody home. HOW will this happen? WHEN will this happen? Is Denali still wearing her ice skates??? It’s all a mystery to us, but we’ll find out next week!
SS: Cliffhangers should be legally outlawed, because knowing what happens is the point of TV. Hold on was I accidentally a genius just then? Ok gotta go write an award winning think piece, LYLAS!