Drag Race 13, Episode 8: Catgirl Recognition

Who amongst us didn’t try to cut their own bangs during Lockdown?

I hope you like Rusicals because there is 11 minutes of it in this episode and maybe 3 cast members who can sing. It’s like high school theatre all over again.

TaTa Ri

It speaks volumes of LaLa Ri that all of the Queens seemed genuinely gutted to see her go, particularly Kandy who is mostly sad because The Bald Headed Brigade is still a thing that it trying to happen – how is Kandy a part of every clique? Or has “The Mean Girls” stopped being a thing because I’m not sure Gottmik went within five feet of either Kandy or Tina this episode.

In more positive news Olivia is celebrating her second win in a row and Utica is obviously a little salty about it, not that she really knows how to express it but I am greatly enjoying the other queens slowly coaxing her into being a little more ruthless and shady because her read on Olivia’s hairline was gold

But while Olivia lives it up Denali and Rosé are beginning to crack under the weight of being just safe for a few weeks running round, particularly Denali who is INCENSED that nobody appreciated the fact she dressed up as a beige chandelier, but also because she is clearly still hung up on both Kandy and Utica calling her forgettable in the reading challenge which is only met with the biggest eyeroll from Kandy

And she’s still trying to dine out on the fact she won the Phenomenon challenge – which is all well and good but her only competition in that challenge was Rosé – all Joey did was spell her name, Utica performed as a Sunday School teacher, Kahmora gave a truly cursed performance and Tamisha Iman was perfectly fine and meme-able. The rising panic in Denali as she tries to dig herself out of the filler queen rut is my favourite thing in the world – and she seems to be doing a fairly good job of it.

Social Media: The Unverified Rusical

We don’t get a mini challenge this week because there’s Hell of a lot of prep-work for the Rusical and because we have to give Anne Hathaway enough screentime to both make the booking worth it and give her enough time to go fishing for Emmys.

First of all the queens have to do decide on what roles they will be playing and it’s very interesting to see the hierarchy amongst the queens as Symone, Tina, Olivia, Gottmik and Kandy just choose their roles without any sort of pushback – Gottmik’s might have largely been because the Russian Bot role was being played as Punk Rock and would maybe allow for her personal brand of terrible dancing to be acceptable. Also the role of the Emcee could only have ever been played by Tina with her voice like a badly wound gramophone.

The biggest source of contention is obviously between Denali and Rosé who both want the big role of Foxy who gets the big Barbara Streisand number and Denali sensing that she is fighting a losing battle against Rosé and her gold star membership to the Barbara Streisand Fan Club pivots to wanting the role of Lady Tweets – unfortunately for her the role was just assigned to Utica who after being hustled out of her dream mime role last week has developed quite the backbone and immediately shoots down Denali without hearing her make her case

Which was lowkey the highlight of the episode for me.
Then just to further Denali’s humiliation they make both her and Rosé audition for the role of Foxy – Rosé going first and knocking it out of the park while Denali is a little lacklustre but not awful! Everyone gets to cast a vote and only Utica and Tina vote for Denali – the former because she felt bad over the Lady Tweets debacle and the latter because she wanted to troll Rosé. Denali truly is the Gretchen Weiner of the series.
Also Elliott was cast as the Tok Tik role but she didn’t say a single word in the entire process and I guess everyone just decided that her dour presence best fitted the doomer energy.

So our final roles are:

Emshee: Tina Burner
Foxy: Rosé
Markie Tuckenberg: Olivia Lux
Lady Tweets: Utica
Miss InstaGlam: Symone
Reverend Dr. Lady Linked In: Kandy Muse
Miss TikTok: Elliott
The Russian Bots; Nikita & Natasha: Denali & Gottmik

Denali obviously feels a little defeated by how this has gone and the fact she is now stuck as a Russian Bot because apparently she hasn’t realised that being the comedy role at the end of the Rusical isn’t the golden ticket to a win. This is all up until the point that she is inspired by Anna Hathaway’s tragic tale about how she was only the 9th choice for The Devil Wears Prada – is she still eligible for a Nobel Peace Prize? I’ve never heard such a story of struggle and strife!
And so Denali beginbs hatching her plan to steal the end of the show and demonstrates quite the axel spin

from a standing position and everything!

With Denali firmly out of her Russian funk the struggle bus of the episode was Symone who possesses not a single cell in her body that can sing in any other way than that weird old-timey radio voice that she does while furiously bopping her head and wiggling her shoulders which doesn’t really suit the role of Instagram Queen, not that the outfit they gave her helped much either

Find me a single Instagrammer who is dressing like Daphne from Scooby Doo doing an undercover job.
I actually liked her choreography, she could have been a lot bigger with it but that crawl along the floor?

I think it was rather fabulous and slightly unexpected given that she was so terrible in the training with Jamal Sims that Utica looking like the most nightmarish interpretive dance instructor was landing jokes about her

and the persona of that slightly aloof, out of touch beautiful person was definitely there for me – I got the right vibe from it but I think they were wanting her to play that real Insta Baddie but for some reason hadn’t given her a bodycon dress and 4 inch heels.
Her number also got absolutely NO production value whatsoever ever and was entirely relying on her, while Elliott got the Billie Eilish bit and some cool lighting effects and everyone was gagged by it

And I love Billie Eilish’s music that makes you feel like you’ve been standing in a queue for 6 hours as much as the next person and she nailed the look but vocally there was nothing there and this song very much felt like the one that they wrote last because they hadn’t realised there would be 9 queens because we went three weeks without eliminating anyone.

But while Elliott was mumbling her way through a nothing song Utica had landed herself the timely and very current Hamilton reference – how long do we think they’ve been cooking this one up? And had to sing about the Twitter Algorithim while dressed as an anime schoolgirl sailor?

Why isn’t she in Hamilton inspired period drag? Or is it a refence to the amount of anime avatars on Twitter? If so, it might have been good to put a line about it in the lyrics – there were enough of them. And where are the cat ears, I demand catgirl recognition.
Her take on Lin Manuel Miranda’s unique brand of talk singing (we will not be calling it rapping in this house) was very good and given how tongue tied she was getting in the vocal recording she did remarkably well

Also her lipsync was on point the entire time, and she had my favourite bit of the entire Rusical with this line

I will not be talking about the moment she thrust up against Tina.
They had also obviously minimise and clearly tailored the choreography to Utica’s handicap of only being able to move like the lovechild between the doll from The Re-Deadening and a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man

It’s eye-catching if nothing else.

Because World of Wonder has to delicately court YouTube in order to keep most of their content up and monetised YouTube was not featured in the Social Media Rusical despite having the second largest user base so instead we have famed social media platform LinkedIn being performed by Kandy Muse and what might be the worst wig I’ve ever seen

And yes, I do know about Dida Ritz’s entrance wig that she had to peel off some textured wallpaper 5 minutes before walking into The Werk Room. Nothing about this performance was good, except maybe the part where Kandy momentarily lies down and goes swimming

It caught me so off guard that I’m almost sure I blew a blood vessel in my eye. Jamal Sims was not so amused

I’m not even sure why Kandy immediately grabbed this role, truthfully she and Symone should have swapped – I can see Kandy working with the Instagram role and Symone could have just reprised her Fleg Fectreh performance for this. Kandy would also not have had to lisp her way through so much sibilance which would have at least helped with the vocal performance because I could not understand a word of this but I was also very distracted by that wig. Quite how she managed to have the worst wig on stage when Tina Burner was doing her whole bit with a wig cut like a cross between Velma Kelly and Eddie Munster

Tina was very well suited to her role despite the fact she couldn’t incorporate an overt amount of orange or red into the outfit – I can just about forgive the lips, JUST ABOUT. And while she started off very strong by the time her big bit at the end came around I think we were all so exhausted by this 11 minute musical and that she was following Gottmik and Denali she faded into the background and her big dying scene was bad and the exact opposite of what Anne Hathaway told her to do – she just sort of stopped lipsyncing and lay down, which could have been a comedic beat but was done so casually that it was possible to miss it despite the fact the camera was entirely focusing on her

She needed to play it a lot more like Tia Kofi played the role of Specimen One in RATS!: The Rusical, but it’s also weird that she was having to lipsync her death when she should have just been doing the death screams live, so Michelle is at least partially at fault here but I’m not trying to absolve Tina of her sins, least of all her follicular crimes during her relationship with Graham Norton

The early 2000s were a real disaster for everyone weren’t they?

While Tina was the narrator the two leads in the show are Rosé and Olivia as Foxy and the Mark Zuckerberg parody and they play very well together – I had expected them to push some sort of faux drama considering Olivia was the one that sent Rosé into the Porkchop Loading Dock but thank God they didn’t. I also love that Denali never challenged Olivia for this role considering it has some pretty obvious moments to vocally shine with the amount of vocal runs that Olivia got to do, but then again nobody stands between a theatre kid and their desired part lest they want to end up run through by a prop tree.

I did find Olivia costume weird, I get that Mark Zuckerberg famously only wears that one $400 grey t-shirt, I’m more talking about the wig which felt out of place despite being the Facebook colours which I guess was her reasoning behind it?

Kandy’s greasy looking disaster wig would have made more sense on her given that that’s how they were playing Markie, or were the sweat stains at the end not a deliberate choice?

She was very good but you can’t help but admit that Rosé as Foxy was dancing circles around everyone she was on stage with as she hit every beat and note with flawless precision – we’ll forgive the first two lines which were woefully out of sync because everyone fumbled at some point except, astonishingly, for Utica.
The moment that we truly knew that Rosé was going to win the episode was when she hit the big note and this was Ru’s reaction

She cannot wait to hear Rosé’s verse on the final 4 track that they record.

Rosé would have been a tough act to follow for anyone but Gottmik and Denali, in my opinion, blew everyone out of the water as the two Russian Bots

This was hands down the cleverest of the verses, which is not saying much in a Rusical – although props to them for not a single poop joke, this is progress and we stan growth.
As it turned out they had clearly cut out all of the choreography they had worked on during Jamal’s workshop

and instead given them a pair of large, unwieldy instruments to hold at all times and merely told them to walk around stage, which is still a challenge for Gottmik because try as they might we still all saw her during the Disco-mentary

but she seemed match happier in this role where elegance was not required and she could be as rough and stompy as she liked as she stalked around the stage looking weirdly like Liza Minelli

Interesting choice, I think she was aiming for Joan Jett, it’s easy to aim for one and end up in the other.
And Denali for some reason was pretending to be a house again

Tia Kofi has smashing her kneecaps, Denali has being a house.

I mostly liked the Rusical actually, which apparently is an unpopular opinion. I do think it was too long – we did not need LinkedIn or Tina’s bit at the end which felt like a never ending marathon that would test even Hercules and you could easily condense the Foxy and Markie bit.
Also, weird that the show didn’t really address the rampant issue of death threats, racial abuse and transphobia within its fandom beyond a brief chat between the queens that mostly involved Kandy talking about her viral meme and ended up with “social media is sometimes bad we must also remember it is good, actually.”

inspiring words from Tina Burner, comedy queen.

And It Was All Yellow…

It’s the return of the colour themed runway, this time the queens all have to dress up in their best yellow outfit – a colour that I am not hugely fond of and can very easily look extremely cheap or unflattering. There also aren’t a huge amount yellow pop culture references to draw from – and the few that there are have been done: Big Bird by Manila Luzon, Tweety Pie by Asia O’Hara and Lemon on Canada’s Drag Race kind of dead Rihanna’s omelette dress already. Although of course there is obviously Beyonce’s Lemonade dress which Kandy did phenomenally well

And everything that went on with that wig in the Rusical is instantly forgiven for this delightful cascade of sunflowers that reminds me of John Everett Millais’s portrait of Ophelia. It could easily have swallowed her up – there is A LOT of fabric in there but Kandy still managed to pull through, and it helps that she looked so pretty

I’m a big proponent of yellow and orange blushes so I feel personally vindicated by this.

Of course taxi cabs are also yellow and NEW YAWK QUEEN Tina Burner, who seems to have a penchant for dressing up as vehicles, was not going to let this opportunity slide

It’s fun in a sort of kitsch looking 1950s pin-up style – and thank God she has managed to find a decently sized wig. I think after last week’s beaded tit reveal I’m a little apprehensive whenever Tina accentuates her bosom now but thankfully these were literally just tap lights glued to her breasts and she wasn’t about to flash us a plasticky nip again.
She wasn’t the only taxi cab on the runway and I think Elliott kind of just edged her out

The child’s toy steering wheel aside, I gravitate towards this more because it’s less literal and has more of a fashionable spin on it – as fashionable as a pleather 80s coat and trousers combo can be – but I like the styling too – the choker is interesting and the matching checkerboard gloves are dead cute.

I would have been quite happy going my entire life without thinking about The Mask ever again but Rosé had other plans

I cannot adequately put into words how much I hate this look on every level – it’s super well made and the makeup is done well but it’s cursed beyond any reason or rationale to the point where I would have made her safe just so I didn’t have to look at it anymore.

I’m also a bit bored of this big collared, waterfall hem skirt silhouette – I think a really well tailored zoot suit would have been much more interesting but at this point we should just be happy that Rosé isn’t wearing tulle.

If she wanted to avoid the bottom three Symone really needed to pull out a show stopper and while this is good and perfectly Symone it is also a touch lacklustre

She looks phenomenal in yellow but the straps are too thick and look a little cumbersome and you know she wasn’t fully invested in this look because she was sure to mention that it was a Versace coat and flash the label at least 5 times, but I am obsessed with this wig

I’m into really sculpted curls and waves right now apparently after Bimini’s Grecian statue moment over on Drag Race UK.

While Symone went very modern with hers Utica was throwing it back to the 1500 with her sideless gown, more commonly known as a surcoat

and while I appreciate a historic reference, this is unobjectionably hideous from the fun-fur trim to the weird choice of picnic blankets as a skirt that look more like something a struggling mother in turn of the century Kansas would make. If she truly wanted to give a middle finger to the moralists of 500 years ago she really should have just been naked except for the gown – it still would have been ugly but it’d have been more cohesive with the story. Big fan of the boob wig that just reminded me of Ginny Lemon getting stuck in her breastplate though

And I genuinely think she might have made it into the top over Gottmik if it hadn’t been for this gown because Gottmik’s runway was kind of boring

Everything with Gottmik will be well made, she clearly had money to burn when she was signed up to the show and I’m sure being besties with James Charles helped a little bit. This just doesn’t wow me despite being a cool concept and incredibly well made. I think we’ve just go such a handle on Gottmik’s aesthetic, which isn’t a bad thing, but the only way she could surprise us is if she came out in a really drop dead gorgeous gown a la Olivia Lux

This is stupid good, and those two giant yellow tribbles that she had punched her way through? A campy thrill. Maybe I am a touch biased but how could I not be utterly glamoured by her

How dare she, she has NO RIGHT to look this good at all times.

And lastly we have Denali who looked phenomenal as a boa constrictor

Screw her chandelier look, this is the best she had ever looked. The makeup and the outfit just come together so well and I am obsessed with that headpiece

It’s the right level of artistic and isn’t just the literalness of putting a giant reptile head on your head… Tia Kofi.

A Yellow Runway Ranking

  1. Denali’s Boa Constrict-HER
  2. Kandy’s Hard Lemonade
  3. Olivia Lux Puff
  4. Elliott’s Taxi Cab Service
  5. Gottmik’s Hazardous Crash Test Dummy
  6. Tina Burner’s Rival Taxi Service
  7. Rosé’s Unmasking
  8. Utica’s 500 Year Old Grudge Match with the Moralists
  9. Versace Does Not A Good Look Make

After all that the top three are Rosé, Denali and Gottmik which is fair but I might have switched Gottmik and Utica anyway. The bottom three are Tina Burner for not dying correctly, Kandy Muse and Symone for very much the same reasons.

Rosé takes the win and I imagine Denali is just happy that she got to look into RuPaul’s eyes again and have her say nice things. While Tina is spared elimination and it’s The Bald Headed Brigade facing off in the lipsync.

Bo$$ Bitch

They’re lipsycning to Fifth Harmony’s Bo$$, which talks a lot more about Michelle Obama than I remembered, and I think it was pretty obvious from the beginning how this was going to go down – RuPaul was not about to get rid of the one queen causing the most drama or the talented young fashionista that RuPaul clearly sees a lot of herself in, But none the less we have to go through the motions of Kandy wildly swishing her dress around

and doing one Hell of a high kick, I genuinely thought she was about to dislocate hope, it’s like a snake dislocating its jaws

And also doing what I can only describe as a fall with all the elegance of someone having the rug pulled from beneath their feet

that is not a dance move, that is an injury waiting to happen.

Both of them had their lipsyncs down to incredible detail but for me Symone was just that little bit more captivating, especially when she just crabwalked behind Kandy

I will never not appreciate a crabwalk on the mainstage. Also, Symone had the nerve to throw her Versace coat on the floor

Ma’am, that coat is $1,500 – DON’T PUT IT ON THE FLOOR, hand it to Tina Burner, she might as well be a human coatrack.

Symone does at least get to have the gratification of being saved first and Kandy was ultimately told to sashay away before they decided to pull a stunt right before she gave her exit line and she was actually safe

So 8 episodes into a season and we have eliminated 4 queens. I’m going to need several double eliminations in quick succession. JUST MAKE SOME DECISIONS because at this rate the season is going to outlive us all, just an eternity of Kandy Muse lipsyncs and Elliott and Tina Burner somehow skating by each week.

And so, still 9 queens remain

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