Drag Race Season 13, Episode 1 RECAP: An Anxious Battery Hen

A wild Goldeen appears!

It’s back, at least 3 months too soon and more bloated than ever – it’s The Lockdown Life.

Instead of our usual format of 13 queens entering, posing and saying a quippy line before being forced into a sewing challenge that none of them had the foresight to get sewing lessons for, our Queens enter in twos (and a three) and then have to Lipsync it out, the loser of which gets “Porkchopped” and put into The Porkchop Loading Dock. RuPaul has to make this joke SIX TIMES and it was tired after the first go so it looks like they haven’t changed the writing staff, get ready for the acting challenges, they’re going to be AWFUL.

KANDY MUSE vs JOEY JAY

Kandy is the first Queen into the Werk Room and is dressed in every scrap of denim she could possibly find

The denim boombox is an instantly iconic moment – just for the fact someone had to spend their time shredding thrifted denim jackets and gluing them to a cardboard box to make it look like a piece of 80s nostalgia.
It takes all of 30 seconds for Kandy to both name drop Aja and insult Aja – which Aja obviously took very well and didn’t have a week long meltdown on Instagram Live about it.
She’s joined by Joey Jay who is wearing the wig she promised she would never wear

It’s not a lot to write home about – we are currently living through The Chaps Renaissance and I expect we’ll see a lot of these over this season.
It’s the chicken feather bolero that’s doing all the talking and shedding feathers like an anxious battery hen

They’re the first to be taken to the Main Stage for their lipsync, so at this point the change to the format was a novelty and slightly interesting. They get to explain their outfits to the judges, during which most of Joey Jay’s time is spent saying the word “cluck” – beginning to think she might just be several chickens in a trenchcoat and this is all an elaborate Chicken Run 2 plot.
The two of them have to lipsync to Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae “The One True Saviour” Jepsen – I was CONVINCED they had done this on the show before but according to Google, I am wrong. Talk about The Mandela Effect. I don’t want to overstate her abilities but I think Kandy won the lipsync the moment she put down the boombox and pressed play

She did then proceed to do a VERY literal interpretation of the song

It’s very Junior School Talent Show and did come across as a slightly cursed Shirley Temple performance but it suits the song better than Joey Jay kind of just standing there looking like she was doing a shit

The only other thing to say about Joey’s performance is that her highlighter is OFF THE CHARTS

Like a sodden, glazed donut.

The winner is obviously Kandy Muse, they’re not going to risk getting her eliminated until she’s given them at least 5 weeks worth of catchphrases. And Joey is forced to Sashay Away and use up her quippy exit line. I am very much looking forward to half the queens having to think of a new exit line in a very short space of time because it’s out best chance of getting another brainfart like “Miss Vanjie. Miss Vanjie. Miss… Vaaaaaaanjie!”

DENALI FOX vs LALA RI

The best thing about a format change is how it can always screw over one of the queens and Denali walking in like she’s ready to perform an elaborate Short Program routine set to Dances of The Swans was THAT queen

Never has such a flex proved such a downfall.
Her competitor, LaLa Ri, was much better prepared for all occasions:

Stan responsible Queens who mask.
It is a bodysuit, that she specifically promised she wouldn’t be wearing but for entrance looks I think it’s fine, pantlessness should always be somewhat celebrated.
Her wig is read to filth by Denali, and most of Twitter, I really don’t care because she is as cute as a button and I will protect her with my ENTIRE life.

They have to Lipsync to the drag queen staple, When I Grow Up by The Pussy Cat Dolls and at first it looks like Denali is going to win because she’s pulling off lipsyncing in ice skates remarkably well and whipping her ponytail around like she’s a Mortal Kombat character performing an elaborate finishing move

She is a professional ice skater so it would be a bit embarrassing if she couldn’t stand on dry land in them, but the point still stands, it’s not quite Robbie Turner’s triumphant roller-skating but it’s near enough.
However LaLa really finds her groove towards the end of the song and powers through with an immaculately on point lipsync and she is GLOWING

Meanwhile Denali decides to bend over backwards and gets a little stuck in the position and looks like a demonic goat

Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

LaLa Ri is declared the winner, a decision which Denali is obviously very ok with

I bet she has a real pokerface in The Kiss and Cry.

SYMONE vs TAMISHA IMAN

Leading the next duo is Symone who is wearing a dress made out of polaroids of herself

I love her SO MUCH – she’s got so much personality and I can’t wait for her to be the narrator of the season although I can already feel they’re trying to shove Tina Burner into that position.
Symone is joined by Tamisha Iman, drag legend and part time Jazzy Devil

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – a red suit just makes you look like you’re doing a turn as The Devil in a Broadway production of Faust.
I knew that Tamisha had survived cancer, but I hadn’t realised she was originally cast for Season 12 so it’s amazing that she’s managed to have a real quick turn around! It does leave me wondering who was the last minute replacement and why was it Aiden Zhane?

They find themselves lipsyncing to The Pleasure Principle by Janet Jackson, a song choice almost too obviously designed for Tamisha to win and yet… I get that she was doing the Janet Jackson wild arms and crab scuttling but unless you can do it EXACTLY like Janet, you will kind of just look like a crab in distress

It probably didn’t help that she was wearing a bright red suit with crustacean like protuberances from her shoulders, especially with Symone grooving around the stage with the most glowing skin we’ve seen since Jaida Essence Hall’s own shoulders

Like liquid gold.
There’s just that spark when she performs and I cannot wait to see what she brings to the show because my God she won this by a country mile just by the constant mugging to RuPaul

An icon in the making.

GOTTMIK vs UTICA QUEEN

consider this The Battle of The Quirky Ones. Gottmik is only quirky in that way that every social media star in their 20s is but she does also have a very pronounced aesthetic, at least in her makeup

I’m not a big fan of the beige and neon bodysuit moment, especially with the black pumps which apparently weren’t a big fan of themselves either and promptly made a bid for freedom

And just as she slips them back on Utica Queen bounds into the room like like the The Mad Hatter and a Cabbage Patch Doll had a child that ran off to the join the circus

The strawberry is because she was allergic to strawberries as a child and she powered through it – the bravery, someone give her a Medal of Honor.

They’re lipsync song if the underrated BOP that is Rumors by Lindsay Lohan and it’s by far the weakest of the lipsyncs – it’s mostly just a lot of walking around and then labouredly getting down onto the floor to do this:

It was not Gottmik’s best moment. But she at least wasn’t sabotaged by her own wig like Utica who spent most of her time desperately whipping it out of her face and waging a battle against the massive felt strawberry that she pinned to a precarious wig

Hoisted by her own petard!
I don’t think Utica or Gottmik are particularly concerned with lipsyncs, both seem very much that strain of Drag Queen that exists purely within the realms of aesthetics and given that I think they performed admirably but this could have been a double sashay tbqh, but Gottmik wins because she did the best of the bad stunts I suppose.

ROSÉ vs OLIVIA LUX

I always love it when a Queen prepares an entrance joke that largely relies on the reactions of the other queens and they’re in first and therefore there are no reactions and Rosé did not disappoint me

I really hope this severely outdated form of comedy is a sign of things to come. I would prefer it to “I’M FROM NEW YORK AND I KNOW JAN!” which seems to be her backup schtick.
She’s joined by fellow New York Baby Queen, Olivia Lux whose smile could literally light up the room

She may be dressed up as Marilyn Monroe does Tekken but my eyes go straight to those pearly whites – I hope she generously tips her dentist.
Rosé is very dismissive of Olivia because she’s only done drag for like a year and a half, in no way does this immediately come back to bite her on the ass.

They’re lipsyncing to Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King, a song I am entirely oblivious of – I apologise to Elle King stans everywhere, are there any? It’s a fun song to lipsync to though and both of them did pretty well. The curtain was slightly lifted when Olivia shed her velour gown to reveal a matching velour bodysuit and was obviously entirely prepared for a lipsync

I was slightly irritated by the fact she brought on her teeny, tiny purse and then proceeded to put it on the floor and do… “air baggage”

RuPaul’s Next Top Mime Race is off to a great start!
It wasn’t the end of her miming efforts as she whipped out a raging electric guitar solo

I thought we had effectively banned air instruments during lipsyncs when The Vixen played Air Double Bass?
Rosé was on the side pulling off the usual dance shenanigans, nothing wildly original, she did do quite the death drop and then sort of lay in the background for a good few seconds and I honestly thought she might have knocked herself out

A stunt hasn’t caused me this much anxiety since Silky did that backflop onto the ground and everyone thought she had broken her spine.
What made it so funny though was the juxtaposition of Rosé lying flat on the ground and Olivia Lux skipping around the stage like a toddler – she’s worth every second she’s on TV.
Olivia Lux wins and Rosé is forced to exit the room and lick her wounds backstage with the other chumps. I can’t wait to see how this develops into an entirely toxic personality trait!

TINA BURNER vs KAHMORA HALL vs ELLIOTT

Fire the producer that didn’t have the forethought to just do a twelve queen season.
Tina Burner is the first of the trio to enter and she is VERY subtle about being from New York

It did take me a while longer than I wish to realise that it was a costume based on the Fire Department and that she wasn’t some sort of fast food mascot. I don’t know if I’ll ever be Tina’s biggest fan, I appreciate what she’s bringing to the show, that campy old timey drag is sorely missed on most seasons and maybe my heart will change once we get into the real challenges and she can flex her comedy skills a little more, because her confessionals were not doing it for me.
She’s followed by the ever elegant Kahmora Hall who might just steal the whole season with her Bob Mackie gowns

but while the gowns are quite the statement, it’s her eyebrowless confessional look that truly owns my heart

The (partially made) Mackie Doll has truly entered the building.
And finally the last queen to enter is Elliott who is dressed like the bad makeover someone in an 80s sitcom gets before going on a faux pas laden date

And despite advertising herself as a professional ballet dancer, she crunks into the room like the aforementioned sitcom protagonist – it’s a lot and most of it is bad. Ladies, I feel fairly confident that we may have found our first boot.

They’re lipsyncing to Lady Marmalade, and iconic song WASTED on this mess of a three way lipsync. Kahmora is completely out of it because she’s standing 6 feet behind everyone else because she is wearing a Bob Mackie original gown and is not risking getting it damaged

SHE IS A LADY.
Elliot does a few stunts, a good splits amongst them but mostly just does a yoga flow at the front of the stage

And Tina proceeds to blow them completely out of the water with a fisting gag

And as we know, fisting is the quickest route to RuPaul’s heart and rightfully she wins with both Kahmora and Elliott being banished to the Porkchop Loading Dock, the joke at this point being stretched thinner than strudel dough.

The Porkchop Loading Dock

While the queens talk as they await their fate, Rosé finds out that Tina Burner is on the show and we are treated to a nugget of information that apparently Tina doesn’t Rosé – I am already bored of the inter-New York beefs on this show, can we just ban the city? Or just make New York’s Drag Race. Obviously hosted by Tiffany Pollard.
The twist is eventually revealed and the “eliminated” queens have to vote amongst themselves and eliminate one of their own – which is a stupid twist because NONE OF THEM KNOW EACH OTHER. There is literally no jeopardy, that twist only works on All Stars because of the Queens all being aware of one another and how they did in their challenges – this is essentially picking a name out of a hat – and we’ll only find out who they choose next week.

NEXT WEEK

Michelle really likes purple apparently.

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