Drag Race 13, Episode 12: Radiant and Slightly Noseless

I think that’s a pretty good visual summation of this episode from start to finish.

It’s the roast episode and how will everyone fair after we sent home The Comedy Queen of New Yawk? Well according to her version of the roast that she posted to YouTube, better.

Burnt Out

Fresh after having sent home nightmare teddy bear Tina Burner, Utica’s emotions are all over the place (which sets a pretty good precedent for the rest of the episode) as she can’t seem to decide on whether or not she feels very guilty for sending home THE Comedy Impresario of New Yawk or if the lipsync is an enlivening experience, actually.
Her unique brand of Sunday School Teacher Chipperness is beginning to grate on some of the other queens, mostly because it’s kind of hard to read Utica but also because can you imagine having to live in close proximity for several weeks with someone who is literally Miss Frizzle on bath salts? Sometimes you might be exploring the wonders of the human body and others you might be experience the salmon fertilization first hand.
Kandy is also more than a little tetchy about the fact she hasn’t won anything but $2,500 in a Mini Challenge yet. At least it was cold hard cash, Elliott and Tamisha got £2,500 worth of ugly wallpaper!

In happy news, everyone now at least fits on the sofas and because of the runway theme last week it looks like a conference meeting in Monsters inc

and somehow the scariest one there is Symone’s normal beautiful face poking out of her full on fursuit.

Makeup Beat Up

This week’s Mini Challenge was for the queens to put together a YouTube Makeup Tutorial with the twist that 1 queen will be the face and the other will be the arms, which did mean they’d have to wear smocks that made Symone look like the most imposing choir teacher I’ve ever seen

They other part of the challenge was that they’d have to shill for the least offensively ugly of the four Norvina Palettes by Anastasia Beverley Hills that nobody asked for or particularly liked

Beauty YouTube this time last year when they unsuspectingly dropped the 3 large Norvina Palettes was the funniest thing because EVERYONE was baffled about what ABH thought they were doing. 2020 was a vintage year for Beauty YouTube if nobody else.

Really the aim of the game was to produce as busted a mug as you possibly could, or in Utica’s case, force Gottmik to eat as much of the product as you possibly could

I love that between the black smock, the pig pastel wig and Utica’s constant flourishing Gottmik looked like a character of the day from Little Witch Academia

Olivia and Symone were on a bit of a back footing because Olivia could barely reach higher than Symone’s jawline

“We’ll start our smoky eye on my jawline, apparently!”

Truly taking the crown though was the powerhouse that was Rosé’s pitch perfect impersonation of a Beauty Guru and the haphazard fists of Kandy Muse that created this particular masterpiece

it’s like Picasso painted a picture of Rosé in Tina Burner’s drag

The resemblance is uncanny.


The Main Challenge this week is for the queens to put on a Roast of all the Miss Congeniality winners that lived close enough to LA to get passed Covid regulations. This meant the targets were Heidi N Closet looking like Mortal Kombat MJ

Valentina looking radiant and slightly noseless

and Nina West who looked like she was wearing a paper cup you get at Pride

and Nina West’s Shoulders. Seriously, that was just about the only material anyone had on Nina, just 5 shoulder jokes in different forms, over and over again like the background art of a Hanna Barbera cartoon, which is weird considering her runway walk IS RIGHT THERE.

For winning the Mini Challenge both Rosé and Kandy get to choose the order of the roast – and remember if you want to screw someone over you make them open or close

Oh. It’s almost like the order is entirely pointless and you live and die by your material (that you definitely didn’t buy prior to coming to the show…)
It is probably somewhat harder to close because everyone before you will probably take the easy jokes, although you could take one look around the room and probably realise that Utica, Olivia and Symone couldn’t write a joke if it was standing in front of them. But through the sheer force of Kandy stroking Rosé’s ego, Rosé decides that Yes! She does have the uniqueness, charisma, nerve and talent to close the show, so the final order is:


Due to Covid there will of course be no audience, and yes this will make the entire thing incredibly awkward as Michelle’s forced cackle echoes through the studio.

Kandy Amusing

With Kandy her biggest obstacle was always going to be enunciation – that and the fact she just really wanted to say “CUNTgeniality” on television – WHERE WAS THE WARNING ABOUT BLEEPING FOR A’WHORA!?
She managed to overcome both though and produced a pretty stellar set while looking glowing

I was worried at first that she was going to rely on the classic drag queen crutch of saying “bitch” after every sentence but she caught herself after the first three instances. Her jokes weren’t the most inventive but I am glad she brought up the whole Rent Live! incident – honestly, if you haven’t seen Valentina’s performance of Today 4 U yet, it is incredible. She’s dressed like The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and singing like someone in a local double glazing advert.
I wish Kandy had done more with the infamous Aja quote about Valentina but I’m guessing that the whole Former Haus of Aja are kind of sick of it at this point so we were lucky to even get a token reference.
Then, like everyone else, of course her reads of the judges were significantly better because they didn’t have to come up with them in 24 hours and they just payed for jokes that have already bee done of the Haters Roast Tour by the likes of Sherry Vine and Jackie Beat. At this point, I genuinely think between Sherry and Jackie they’ve probably scripted 70% of the roasts.

Kandy did a really good job of setting the mood and had one of the best handovers to Symone who looked rather blindsided by being told she had the voice of a gargoyle

I’m being beaten by a bird!


It didn’t bode well for Symone the moment she began providing full on Harvard style citations after every joke she made to explain which movie, TV show, meme or cereal box she was referencing but I hadn’t expected it to go quite so badly! It was literally all of the worst parts of Farrah Moan’s roast and Blair St. Clair’s stand up routine that was made up of 80% rifling through notes. It wasn’t *quite* as pointedly mean as Farrah’s roast, although she did just call Olivia poor and Heidi destitute

while merely chastising Valentina for not knowing the words to an Ariana Grande song that I’m not even sure Ariane Grande knows the lyrics to

It’s a pity because all it was was that Symone had overthought everything and I think she would have been better off if she had fully committed to playing a character rather than kind of but not fully going for it. She looked gorgeous though

it really reminds me of the golden, bunny-eared bow look that Ru wore in season 7

which just happens to be my favourite Ru look of all time.

Bombs Away!

I can’t even bring myself to watch this a second time for recapping purposes. I could barely get through it the first time without pausing every 2 seconds and pacing around my room like an anxious zoo animal. It’s also entirely the reason why I pushed this recap back until Sunday because I needed a full 24 hours to even mostly digest it, which I might do for all of the Drag Race recaps from now on.

Utica is obviously in a lot of hot water right now for the fat jokes that she made, which might seem strange to some people considering just about all the queens made some sort of a size related joke. The main difference is Utica *only* made fat jokes, and they weren’t even really jokes: making wide motions while staring at Loni Love is not a joke

that’s something fat people have experienced in real life all the time, it’s not humour, it’s just a public shaming.
There is also the fact it was a roast and in a roast there is the belief that nothing is off limits which I think is exactly why a roast doesn’t work for Drag Race which, however badly executed, has this ethos of love and acceptance which fans have become very attached to – it’s why we have a tragedy mirror sequence at the 25 minute mark every episode. So seeing a queen just flat out going for the jugular by making whale noises and falling just short of calling someone “fatty” doesn’t sit well. But also, even in a roast your jokes have to be funny.
And then just adding to the disparity is the fact she’s dressed like a Carrie Bradshaw Party Clown

or Alice Tinker from The Vicar of Dibley going to a wedding.
And she was told that the jokes were inappropriate or just flat out mean NUMEROUS times and yet like some sort of twelve year old edgelord she decided to double-triple-quadruple down and pretend that Michelle was just misunderstanding the deep humour of her bad Lion King joke. So it’s no wonder that Loni Love heckled her

to which Heidi’s reaction was maybe the highlight of the entire roast

The one joke I will give her is the moment she asked RuPaul to stand up because of the basically confirmed rumours that RuPaul sits behind the desk wearing sweatpants for the judging, which at least earned her a Drag Race first

and from there the Nice Girls Roast just became the Utica Roast.

Gott Jokes!

Gottmik must have just thanked her lucky stars that Utica handed her some opening zingers on a silver platter, also Gottmik could have been utterly terrible and she still would have been a cringe palate cleanser.
After her success in Snatch Game we’ve kind of known that Gottmik definitely has comedy chops and I was curious to see how she would do without having the Paris Hilton persona to hide behind and whether or not she would fall back on her LA-isms or not. It turns out not, she’s quite the comedy powerhouse – what I will say is that most of her real big hitters were jokes about the judges that were very much the equivalent of trying to pass off a box of Taste The Difference brownies as homemade. Her delivery of everything, especially the joke about Ru’s hit song, was immaculate though – it reminded me a lot of Katherine Ryan’s style.

My only real criticism is that her set felt disappointingly short but it also might be because of the fact that Utica’s set destroyed the very concept of time and relativity.

Liv(e) at the Apollo!

I genuinely think Olivia had some of the best jokes of the lot – most of which she probably splashed a cool $10 a word on – but her choice to deliver them like a child giving a presentation on the history of a country was such a weird choice. Obviously she was trying to lean in to the whole “act cute and shank them” advice that Loni gave her but I just felt really uncomfortable as she stood there talking like a little girl and bouncing on the balls of her feet like she really needed to pee.

I’m not quite sure why Michelle acted so cool to the joke about Nina West having auditioned 28 times for 13 seasons because I thought it and the joke about Ru signing the Declaration of Independence as Parent/Guardian were her best jokes and two of the stronger jokes of the entire roast.

It’s All Coming Up Rosé

Rosé was even more in her element this week than she was in the Rusical and was living out her full Alyssa Edwards fantasy over in the corner laughing at her own jokes under her breath

It wasn’t much of a surprise that Michelle and Loni barely had a critique for her during their little workshopping session and she was phenomenal during the roast while looking like Dolly Parton in Unlikley Angel

I don’t quite know what Michell meant by the fact that Rosé was thrown off by the silence of the room because she, at least in the edit, came across as very confident and natural – the flow was good, she hit the beats and waited for laughs where she needed to, it was masterful comedic delivery even if the jokes were maybe slightly predictable.

The queens at least made it easy to divide them into a clear Top 3 and Bottom 3 with Kandy, Rosé and Gottmik all acing the challenge while Utica and Symone utterly bombed and Olivia’s weird energy made everyone uncomfortable.
I’m surprised they didn’t give the win to Gottmik but for storyline purposes it made more sense giving it to Kandy whose set was also very good. I’m annoyed that Rosé didn’t give us a full stunned Jan-face though.

Olivia is granted another reprieve and it’s a lipsync between Symone and Utica’s limbs.

Tears of a Clown

The lipsync song this week is No More Tears Left To Cry by Ariana Grande. I’m on record as saying that I think Ariana Grande songs are terrible for lipsyncs because of her own lack of enunciation but I think NMTLTC is probably the best of a bad situation.

Neither Utica or Symone are stunt queens so really it was just about how well you could sell a song while walking from one end of the stage to the other and who could not be utterly delighted by Symone’s Olympic level top lip choreography

and not even Utica zipping passed in the foreground could steal the moment from the God-like glow she exudes whenever the stage lights hit her

Honestly, she really is divine – and this 1940s starlet look really works for her.

Utica being Utica played the song comedically and did her usual, hovering sea creature thing

which was a fun performance but there was just something about the cool, calm elegance of Symone that edged her out and Symone is saved

While Utica gives one Hell of a sign off

I’ll be interested to see what she brings when she inevitably comes back for an All Stars season given that she now has the premature backing of Vogue – I love that they chose her as the fashion queen of the season after her sleeping bag outfit and everything subsequently kind of got shat on by the judges.

And so, we’ve reached our Top 5

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