Drag Race 13, Episode 5: Trying His Caucasian Best

I love this production of Hamlet!

I see they’re permanently sticking with the early Ball Episode which means 36 looks and that’s why this recap was up a day late… But also I had to take several hours off because LaLa Ri’s bag dress was about to give me a hernia.

Kahmora Hall Away

It’s always interesting to see how the queens react to the first elimination and the moment the competition officially feels real. Denali is obviously in desperate need of validation and to prove herself that she isn’t the bottom queen the first episode made her out to be – I still don’t think she should necessarily have been in the bottom anyway, does anybody remember anything Joey Jay did that episode?

Kandy on the other hand believes Elliott should have been in the bottom 2 and wastes no time at all in telling her so. Elliott tries to joke her way out of the rapidly enclosing Filler Queen prison that she’s doomed to be trapped in for at least the next two or three weeks. In true Elliott style not a single one of them lands.
Kandy is clearly having a bit of a moment and is spiralling out over the fact she didn’t win because of her look – I love that she claimed her original look for the runway was a 46 yard train but she couldn’t get it on the runway… She could never have packed that – they get 2 cases and that would take up at least 3. She says the queen she has to really watch out for Symone (duh) but Tamisha is having NONE OF IT

And I think it’s fair to say that both Tamisha and Kandy feel a little insecure about the events and placements over the last few episodes which is making for a rather paranoid clash.

You Big Baby!

Apparently the call for berets was a transatlantic affair as Olivia Lux is also rocking one

And in an attempt to keep up with the headwear trend, Kandy is serving some Fifth Grade Realness in a bucket hat

And revisiting their childhoods didn’t stop there as the mini challenge is for the queens to dress up as adult babies and twerk… I think it’s fair to say that the Drag Race producers are working through some tough shit right now. I cannot adequatly express how much I hated this challenge and how very uncomfortable it made me, so here’s a collection of images and gifs to illustrate

The only one to marginally pull it off and not look like I was about to have computer confiscated by the FBI was Olivia Lux who just looked the same

Meanwhile Tina Burner somehow looks like an 80 year old women

The winner of the challenge is LaLa Ri for managing to even make the adult baby kinksters in the production team uncomfortable, and she gets a hefty $2500 gift card for Fierce Queen – I hope she enjoys all of the insane pairs of boots she can buy.

Bag Ball

This week it’s the Ball Challenge, which does mean 36 different looks – so strap in, it’s a wild ride. The theme this year is Bags. The first category is Mixed Bag, which has to be a punny title involving the word bag in the description. The second is Miss Moneybags which is essentially Executive Realness repackaged. And lastly we have the Handmade Bags in which the queens have to create a look made entirely out of this collection of hideous bags

(somehow these aren’t even the ugliest bags featured in this episode but we’ll get to that in a second.)

With the challenge involving a Ball, obviously it only takes seconds for the Ballroom Scene to come up and many of the queens revealing they’ve never had the chance to go to one because they don’t have them in their cities. This is all it takes for Tamisha Iman to set up the Tamisha Iman Ballroom Education Centre, performances range from Denali’s level

To Joey Jay trying his Caucasian best

Bless his little cotton socks.

Mixed Bag

We start off with our punny little runway. I’m assuming all of the Queens were pre-assigned a concept to avoid everyone showing up as either a body bag or an old bag. The most successful of the looks were definitely the people that played it less seriously and took a more comedic or character-centric route, Symone’s Fun Bags being the absolute best of the bunch

Honestly crown her right now just for popping her tits

It was just a really great moment to show that Symone can also be incredibly funny on the runway and maintain a fashionable edge.
Denali’s take on Air Bags was also very funny, I’m personally terrified of crash test dummies after a childhood spent watching Mythbusters so that’s maybe why I wasn’t in love with the whole thing but it wasn’t a bad look by any means

I had expected more from Rosé because while the look was well constructed, she was literally just dressed up as a set of bagpipes

I’m also a little confused as to why she’s wearing a busby and not a tam ‘o shanter? Rosé is a self confessed comedian and yet Utica is running circles around her just by dressing up as a humanoid poodle

I kind of wish Utica had had a little waggy tail, just to add that extra little cheeky wink.
Tina Burner also brought a wealth of character to her Brown Baggin’ It gown

I wish the material had been more akin to brown paper, and that she had embellished the mermaid skirt with bottle caps to add a little texture and sparkly, the bottle print fabric with haphazardly stuck on liquor bottles isn’t really doing it for me. Speaking of things being haphazardly stuck to a dress, here’s the first of LaLa Ri’s attempts

There’s just no thought or intent to the placement of the bones beyond the hands on her tits and the coccyx on her ass the rest just looks like she lost a fight against an anatomical model. If she had just done something a little more along the lines of what Gottmik did with her Body Bag she’d have been golden

I have been waiting so long for something like this to walk the runway and I’m so glad it was done to such a high standard. It’s gruesome, it’s terrifying and it’s at least a little bit problematic to be in an episode in which the Queens discussed the rampant murder of black and trans people in America.

It was unfortunate for Olivia that Symone had done her iconic boxing look just a few episodes ago because that was such a good look that Olivia dressed featherweight champion Penelope Pitstop kind of paled in comparison

The shorts are a little too big and somehow she’s done the impossible and achieved camel toe in baggy shorts but her face is just so pretty and the gingery braids? Perfection.

Kandy had a good runway presentation and the look was at least well executed and looked well put together

It again kind of got lost amongst everyone else and with a concept like Bag Of tricks she could really have shone on the runway with something a little more theatrical than a PVC dress with a bunny face on it. But Kandy wasn’t quite as forgettable as Elliott dressed up as a literal giftbag

She just has no energy on the runway, everyone else at least gives it a little bit of gumption and Elliott kind of just strolls. She would ebenfit from taking a few queues from the likes of Tamisha who while looking a little pedestrian had a look that required much more on her characterisation

It was a little rude to give her the “That Old Bag” prompt but she delivered.

And lastly we have Joey Jay who probably over thought “IV Bag” just a little bit too much

I think if she was going to do the whole ivy covered sexy nurse she needed to be bigger with it rather than the awkwardly encroaching crotch plant and the really unfortunate fit of the what we shall generously call outfit. Also the anatomy on the bodysuit is BONKERS.

A Mixed Bag Runway Ranking

  1. Symone McTits
  2. The Disembowelment of Gottmik
  3. Utica’s Tailless Poodle
  4. Crash Test Denali
  5. Old MacRosé
  6. Tinny Burner
  7. The Kandy Amusement
  8. Olivia Lux is Knocked Out
  9. Tamisha Old Ma’am
  10. ScapuLaLa Ri
  11. It’s a Gift Wrap for Elliott
  12. Joey Jay’s Medical Emergency

Miss Moneybags

The aim of this runway was to portray yourself as opulently as possible, which for most of the queens translated to Dynasty Business Suits at Dawn. The pre-production prompt HAD to have bee, “Business woman realness”, it’s the only way to explain the sheer amount of blazers and suits.

While the queens had brought in their meticulously (using that term loosely) planned outfits, a spanner was thrown in the works in the form of tonight’s sponsor, the bag manufacturer Coach! They have apparently produced a range of giant purses in ugly colours with even uglier embellishments, and the queens would have to walk the runway holding one of these lumbering purses in what is one of the worst examples of brand showmanship I had seen since the brand owner himself sent in a VT explaining the bags earlier in the episode

This is why brands use a spokesmodel with charisma.

Some of the looks managed to at least suit their purses, I think Denali was the luckiest with her red purse and her Cruella de Vil inspired outfit

The highlight of the outfit is obviously her stupidly long nail that she’s using as a holder for her cigarette holder.

Olivia also got lucky with a bag that perfectly matched the colours of her outfit and in actuality managed to somewhat improve the outfit

Or at least elevate to a more Rich Bitch level.

Other queens weren’t so lucky and by far the least lucky of them all was Elliott who looked like Mrs. Colonel Sanders and was saddled with this not quite matching pinky-red purse

it’s hideous and they did her boring look dirty! But not quite as dirty as they did Joey Jay was dressed up as the captain of the HMS Jazzy Devil

Kill Bill she claims. She’s wrong. But it’s truly the puce, binary code purse that’s really killing the outfit’s vibe, which on it’s own wouldn’t even be befitting of the category.
Utica was on the same level with an outfit that amalgamated and confused Carol Burnett and Chicago into one puzzling Liza Minelli costume

I don’t know if the knockers pun really works in the context of the runway challenge. I did enjoy her Allison Janey in I, Tonya wig though.

Symone’s outfit threw me slightly, I like it – Armani did a whole collection in this sort of American Diner booth fabric and I was OBSESSED with it and while I do like this, it doesn’t read as opulent to me so much as it does the hottest woman in the Star Wars cantina

And it’s mostly because of the red wig clashing with the bubble gum pink outfit and honstly I think she should have pulled a LaLa Ri and just gone down the runway bald and allowed the outfit to really speak for itself

This was inevitably LaLa’s strongest outfit and she just looks so vibrant and her gleefully exclaiming “I’m a black bitch from Africa!” in her voiceover was one of the highlights of the episode for me. I can see why some people might think it was a little pedestrian or ordinary, but it was no more so than Tamisha offering

This another reason why I’m fully convinced the wardrobe prompt was “business woman realness” because I refuse to believe that Thee Tamisha Iman would bring this in and try to pass it off as opulent. A shirt and skirt from the T.K. MAXX office staples collection and a Renaissance Fair cape? I refuse to believe it. Could she maybe be the scariest woman in a local estate agency? Absolutely.
Kandy’s outfit also rode a weird line within the category

It reads as very “music video” to me and I think in this case the outfit relies a lot on Kandy’s personality to put it over the edge because at the end of the day’s a blazer over a cute lingerie set.

Both Tina and Rosé went in very similar directions with their, Rosé offering up a direct cosplay of Bette Midler in Big Business

Which looks great but isn’t terribly inspired. And Tina Burner showed up in an outfit she claimed was inspired by Miranda Priestly

But I think Tina Burner is just unable to escape The Oeuvre of Joan Crawford, she puts on a suit and it’s instantly Joan.

Lastly we come to Gottmik who the judges go absolutely gaga over

I like it, the twist on the Mafioso pin-stripe suit is really fun but I can’t help but think the whole thing is a little bit too crapped up? The tulle frill and the exposed glittery AND the two toned hair AND the giant red bag (which wasn’t really her fault) is all a little too much. I’d personally ditch the tulle which at the moment is kind of making her look like a character from the movie Shark Tale.

A Miss Moneybags Ranking

  1. Cruella Denali
  2. Tina Burner’s Miranda Beastly
  3. Olivia Luxury
  4. Godfather Gottmik
  5. LaLa Ri Goes Baldly Forth
  6. Symone’s Scuffed Knees
  7. Rosé’s Bette Midler Cosplay
  8. Cold Hard Kandy
  9. Colonel Elliott Sanders
  10. Tamisha Iman’s Office Staples
  11. Utica CE-Chicago
  12. Joey Jay’s Business Pirate

Handmade Bags at Dawn

Now the real challenge kicks in as the queens have to battle it out in order to grab the decent materials from the table. Sadly Gottmik is just a little too delicate for it all and he’s left with just a few silvery drawstring bags to make something out of. With a distinct lack of fabrics this is all he has to show for himself by the time Ru comes around for a mid-episode check in and demi-therapy session

As opposed to Utica who has a whole sleeping bag in the most nauseatingly childish fabric you could imagine

Both of them have the advantage of being experienced sewers with Gottmik having gone to Fashion School in LA and Utica being Utica of course designs costumes for the circus, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Gottmik manages to somehow style out the lack of fabric into an at least attention grabbing outfit

I’m not as big a fan of it as the judges were, I can kind of too easily tell that those are draw strings tied to her legs so what she is essentially is a stripper outfit with cargo short pockets. The difference in colour between her tights and torso is also throwing me off a little but that’s being really nitpicky and I’m sure it has a lot to do with the runway lighting that an error in her colour matching.

Utica on the other hand I completely adore

the fact she has managed to transform that child’s sleeping bag into something that looks really quite sinister and eerie is a real achievement. Does she look a little bit like Boo in Monsters Inc when she’s dressed up as a Monster? Sure, but she’s managed to style it into something that feels pure fashion.

They weren’t the only experienced sewers (that’s SO-ERRS) in the group as both Tina and Olivia have made a lot of their own stuff. Olivia even has an outfit made IKEA bags (you can see her lipsyncing in it on her YouTube channel). Both of them knocked out fairly good designs, I actually really liked Olivia’s which looked like a top tier dance number a pop singer would wear on tour

And Tina Burner just made a perfectly fine leather dress out of a beanbag chair

Way to really just skate by Tina.

Beanbags did happen to cause a little of drama as Kandy was desperate to get her hands on a pink and white cow print one that *of course* Elliott beat her to and ended up making a perfectly fine outfit

It’s actually really well made and styled but with Elliott it just lacks any sort of a performance on the runway and just leaves her utterly forgettable.

So with her beanbag stolen and plans scuppered all Kandy was left with were a few book bags which she planned to turn into an outfit fit for a first day of school and while from the neck up she fully accomplished that with a very cute wig

Ma’am, that is a series of backpacks glued onto a skirt.

Kandy’s skirt of backpacks wasn’t the worst example of haphazard gluing as we’re about to find out with poor LaLa Ri… There are always queens who don’t understand the first thing about sewing and this year it was both Symone and LaLa Ri but while Symone managed to style it out LaLa was left in the dust. She tried her best though, going so far as to get Utica to show her how to use a sewing machine – which Utica got very excited about and was absolutely the best part of the entire episode when LaLa prepared her first bobbin

They grow up so fast!
unfortunately this excitement very quickly wore off as LaLa Ri broke the sewing machine within seconds and deferred to hot gluing faster than it takes Kandy Muse to start a fight. She only ran into more trouble from there as she realised she didn’t actually have enough of the tiny paper gift bags that she was gluing together to finish her garment and that my friends is why we ended up with possibly the worst outfit to have ever walked out onto the mainstage

The utter contempt and instantaneous hatred that Nicole Byer had for the outfit was the second best moment of the episode

The fact she didn’t even choose to do ANYTHING with the bags to maybe change their shape or appearance is so utterly baffling that I can barely get around to the fact she had put a purse wrapped in fuzzy felt on her head and called it a day

Stan LaLa Ri’s audacity.

And now we know that Tamisha is definitely not LaLa’s drag mother as no self-respecting mother would let their baby go out dressed like that while they’ve constructed an dress out of every type of bag and texture going

It’s a little busy and a touch shapeless but it does the job and was at least visually engaging, as was Denali’s Dia de los Muertos inspired look that instantly reminded me of the work of fashion designer Mary Katrantzou in 2012

I honestly feel like the only reason Denali wasn’t in the top was because she had glued her mouth shut with those stones because all three of her outfits were great and I certainly preferred them over Rosé who offered up this limp robotic anemometer

I cannot believe the judges praised this so highly, sure it looked fun when she twirled down the runway but it’s still just a series of bags tied around her waist

You cannot convince me that she put in more work than the likes of Symone who with no sewing experience and a series of anxious sighs throughout the challenge produces a perfectly middling beach outfit

Which again, Symone can sell the fuck out of on the runway like a supermodel getting payed $10,000.

And then really bringing up the rear was Joey Jay who really just looked like the worst wrapped present under the Christmas tree

She well and truly Vanjie’d herself. but at least she didn’t wear the scrunch boots at any point during this runway

And that’s what we call growth!

A Handmade Bag Outfit Ranking

  1. Utica’s Camp Camping
  2. Olivia’s Holographic Dance Outfit
  3. Denali de los Muertos Dress
  4. Gottmik’s Stripper Pockets
  5. Symone’s Beach Pin-up
  6. Rosé the Weathervane
  7. Elliott and the Stolen Beanbag Coat
  8. Tina Turner’s Boring Dress
  9. Tamisha’s Textural Delight
  10. Kandy Muse’s Book Bag Burning
  11. Joey Jay’s Drunk Wrapping
  12. LaLa Ri’s Giftbag Calamity

Based on my rankings, of which I have factored in a weighting for the final selfmade look my top three were Gottmik, Denali and Olivia – Utica just missing out because I absolutely hated that Miss Moneybags look. I think I really would have handed the win to Denali, I found her stuff much more interesting and engaging whereas Gottmilk’s I found grand but overwhelming. That’s this week’s hot take.
My bottom three remain the same with it being Joey, Tamisha and LaLa Ri – I had thought Elliott would end up in there but alas she was born to middle.

LaLa Ri is inevitably and unquestionably in the bottom 2, you can’t get away with just gluing bags to your tits and sticking a pencil case on your head. And joining her there is Joey Jay with Tamisha being forgiven for her boardroom sins.

Lipsync

Joey and LaLa find themselves lipsyncing to Fancy by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX and I think we pretty much knew how this was going to go down, we saw Joey lipsyncing against Kandy in which she spent an inordinate amount of time just standing still and LaLa Ri who managed to win a lipsync against a queen impressively prancing about wearing ice skates. Lala was ready to go from the off

While Joey was more of a slow burn and once again spent a lot of time standing awkwardly

It’s a like a lawn flamingo going through a phase.
She did somewhat turn it around the moment she flung a cloud of money into the air

But unfortunately for her LaLa knew how to turn it around on her and make it her own comedic beat

and really THAT’S how you win a lipsync.
The only thing really going in Joey’s favour was the fact that LaLa’s outfit was rapidly disintegrating

And is a complete miracle that she had any of those bags left on her corest at all considering she shat one out within the first 2 bars of the song

It was nowhere near the absolute stomping that Denali gave Kahmora but it was a pretty obvious win for LaLa Ri and we must bid farewell to Joey Jay

And so, 11 queens remain

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