Drag Race 13, Episode 14: A Sexier Piece of Garden Furniture

Here we see my sleep paralysis demon psyching themselves up for a good night of haunting.

Is everyone ready for a Faux Finale? Because that’s what a season that started in January needs, another episode with no eliminations.

Not So Lux-y

As it’s the top 4 and everyone is extremely excited about it there isn’t much time to commiserate Olivia before everyone launches into tallying up their wins, a conversation instigated entirely by Rosé so that she can brag about having 3 wins meanwhile Symone attempts to play coy about the fact she has 4 wins under her belt

Humble wont get you shit Symone!
Gottmik has 2 wins in two very important challenges: Snatch Game and The Ball while Kandy has 1 win and the dream of buying a boat. I’m sure she could get a lovely dinghy with the £5,000 she won for winning The Roast.

Then as a treat, one of my favourite things in the world happens and Symone swaps wigs with Rosé and she just looks gorgeous in that big platinum blonde, slightly Cruftsy Shih Tzi wig

then out of nowhere this wig of Gottmik’s appears and I genuinely cannot fathom how or why it came into being

It’s like one of those Monoliths that kept appearing last year, it just exists, there’s no point, nobody knows why, it just inhabits space of its own accord. It is the secret 14th Queen of the season. Are you #TeamBadWig?

For Pod’s Sake

As ever there is no Mini Challenge in the Faux Finale and we skip right to the usual challenge of the queens having to write and record their own verses for the latest song by recording artist RuPaul, who this week has come dressed as a Laura Ashley duvet cover

They will also have to do the usual interview with Ru and Michelle and you’ll be glad to know they’ve given up the pretence of it ever being an actual podcast recording

We love growth.
The podcast is the usual affair of Ru desperately trying to get the queens to admit to some deep dark insecurity, the most gratuitous being Symone who they squeeze an admittance of shyness out of like a Disney villain extracting the soul of a bright eyed adolescent and then proceeds to shower Symone with the usual inspirational quotes that he got from InspiroBot.me

Meanwhile Gottmik avoids any talk of tragedy by just making Ru laugh hysterically by telling him that he got his name, Kade, from a pornstar

a fact Ru knows which means that Ru and Gottmik may have the same taste in porn. Do with that fact as you wish.
Kandy gets told that she’s a very special queen which means she has already signed up to All Stars 7 and Rosé desperately has to try and swerve the JAN IS GOING TO BE SO JAELOUS narrative that the show is hellbent on giving us, all the while trying to really ram home the message that the art of drag has saved her life. Try to be a little more subtle Rosé.

I think after the interviews it becomes slightly more obvious that it’s a race between Symone and Gottmik for the crown with Kandy being the one Ru loves and got further than everyone may have expected because she makes fantastic television and they absolutely want Rosé for an All Stars run against Jan. That is going to happen and it is going to be EXHAUSTING. The main question is if they’ll wait until the third member of Stephanie’s Children, Lagoona Bloo, has been made an official RuGirl or not.

Thank Your Lucky Stars

I think that Lucky is one of Ru’s best songs in years, or at least the one with the most potential, it has that real fun, retro-kitsch vibe to it and yes, it also sounds alarmingly similar to All For One from High School Musical 2. Like scarily similar.

I know the assignment is essentially to make the verse all about themselves and to cram as many Drag Race-isms into the verse as possible (if you’ve not mentioned a crown or Mother Ru, are you really doing drag?) but the verses are always so overtly specific that it doesn’t really invite you to relate to the song or want to listen to it again. I think these songs could achieve so much more if the queens would just tone it down a little bit and make it more like an actual song, I don’t really care if you twisted your ankle during the third challenge, DON’T WRITE A SONG ABOUT IT.

Along with the verse the queens were also going to have to learn choreography which sent alarm bells because three quarters of the queens have wildly subpar dance abilities, lest we forget

That clip of Gottmik skittering around at the back of the group during the Disco-mentary kills me every time, not quite as much as Gottmik in rehearsals with his Steve Zissou hat and dancing like Tina Belcher though

which, might I add, Denali perfectly predicted during the reading challenge

Just call her Cassandra and lock her up in a temple of snakes.
Gottmik’s performance in the actual challenge though was pretty brilliant, something about her padding and proportions just suited the whole 1970s Twist dance

which with her white clown face really gave the whole thing a delightful Rocky Horror vibe

And I could could listen to her saying “Let’s go!” at the end of her verse ALL DAY, it just hits that sweet spot in the ear.

Symone was also a little bit tentative during the rehearsals, no doubt because she was having to “make love to a chair”

this went completely out of the window by the time the final performance came around where she was instead given a sexier piece of garden furniture: the sun lounger

She also had my absolute favourite moment of the entire song where she does to the word “Ebony” what Nadine Coyle does to the word “flour” and gives it at least 13 unnecessary vowels, turning it into a whole new word.
She still obviously struggles with the choreography and there is a distinct lack of full body shots for a lot of the routine compared to what was shown of the other queens, but is unfair how good she looked

I can’t believe she won the Season 11 Orange themed runway two years after it aired.

While I really loved Symone’s set, I think Kandy’s was the cutest, I’m a Strictly Come Dancing fan and therefore have a deep appreciation for the use of a prop bench

and Kandy also just looks really good in yellow while doing The Chicken

A delightful call back to her and Joey Jay meeting for the first time

Her verse is the least memorable for me, mostly because I disassociate the moment she does the whispering in the middle of it – it’s like ASMR which just causes me physical pain, quite how anyone can listen to someone whispering while eating a pickle is a mystery to me.

Lastly we have Rosé who was unsurprisingly the pink queen for this monochrome music video

Her outfit is my least favourite, the ruffled details are back and while not unflattering do seem kind of aged? It feels like the costume of a comedic act in a burlesque show which, while maybe on brand for Rosé kind of stands out when that wasn’t *really* the assignment.
I was expecting more from her big note in the middle of the verse, especially after she nailed it in The Rusical, it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as I think we know she could do. As for the rap breakdown, it was fun, I couldn’t personally understand what she was saying until I put the subtitles on and learned it was complete nonsense

It’s still better than Tina Burner rapping about The Hunger Games 6 years after it lost all relevance.

Again, I really liked this, I loved the return to doing a music video rather than a stage performance, it makes it look that much more polished and feels like an actual step up for a finale. I think Gottmik was my favourite, followed by Rosé, Symone and then Kandy? But really it’s much of a muchness because I think they all did great.

Drag Excellence

As ever the final runway is basically to wear the best gown you can, while still leaving room to elevate yourself when it comes to the actual crowning ceremony which… is hopefully not over Zoom again? I’m still made that Jaida wont be given a proper coronation.

Gottmik was the first out and I was very curious to know what she’d pull out for a very glamorous, final look and I was not disappointed by her complete scalping of Dusty Ray Bottoms

It’s just a perfect nod to her trademark black and white clown face while having that campy edge that a lot of her runways do while still looking incredibly sophisticated. And the makeup, it is not easy to get such crisp shapes without the black bleeding into the white face paint

and the fact there was still a perfect “beauty face” under all of it? It’s a feat of makeup artistry and to think it was done in the limited prep-time they get before their runways. DAMN.
My only wish was that she had some sort of jewellery on her arms, they’re just a little bare and could have added the opulence that the runway calls for.

Kandy was next and she went a very different with a very cute mini dress

It’s very 60s futurism with the structured shoulders, the transparency and the sleeves that look slightly like the tubes they use for doggy agility training. I would have got rid of the collar, I think it’s really boxing her proportions and for whatever reason the wig and makeup really reminds of her clown character from the first real challenge

Actually, it might just be the ruffle?
I would have really loved to see Kandy in something really glamorous and I’m almost inclined to believe that her look from the Trains runway, was actually what her finale look was intended to be

because if you remember, her original trains look was broken and she had to repurpose something else for it…

Rosé was next and fully leaning into her Scottish heritage with a gown that suffers many of the same pitfalls as her previous outfits

It’s just really heavy, the dress seems weighed down, her wig is delightfully MASSIVE but you can almost feel it pulling her neck back. There needed to be some sort of lightness to it, maybe a slit for her legs to poke through, or even just take off the demi-peplum that’s counter-acting the cinching that the belt is trying to do. It’s so nearly perfect.

Lastly we have Symone and this was incredible, who doesn’t love a fuck off massive sleeve?

my favourite detail though was when she came to a standstill and brought in her arms, the dress looked like an 18th century ball gown

Symone will never not look incredible and just to see her succeeding while showcasing distinctly Black American style is a joy, a pleasure and privilege to watch.

They never declare a winner for this episode but I’m pretty confident in saying that Gottmik won. As well as there being no winner declared, there isn’t even a bottom 2 and instead all 4 queens will be lipsyncing AND they’ll be doing it solo, which I had hoped would mean that we were going to get 4 full solo lipsyncs but alas, it was just haphazardly edited into a montage, the best bit of which was watching the non-lipsyncing queens having a conflab at the back of the stage during the performances

spoiler: they’re discussing how Symone is blowing them all out of the water.

LEARN FROM THIS!

They were all lipsyncing to I Learned From the Best by Whitney Houston and quite honestly, Symone won it the moment the white handkerchief came out

It was a lovely little detailed nod to Whitney.
It’s also hard to not be utterly spellbound by the moment the stage lighting hits her

I will never not champion her radiance.
Gottmik’s was a very ordinary balladeering lipsync, a lot of BIG MOUTH, BIG EYES and crouching on the floor in an emotionally devastated foetal position

It’s a valid take.
Rosé was clearly slightly hindered by her heavy ass gown but I did love the moment she hit the echoed “yeah”

other than queens crab walking across another queen’s shot, my favourite lipsync trope is a queen singing their own echo.
We also learn why Kandy really wore her outfit, she knew she was going to be lipsyncing no matter what, she had the least wins, it was a choreography based challenge and she needed something that she could dance in but also WITH A REVEAL

I’m not entirely sure taking off the transparent corset is as big a reveal as she thought it was but we’ll allow it.

And you will be utterly unsurprised that in true Top 4 fashion, not a single one of them was eliminated and I absolutely did not appreciate the fake out of leaving Symone to be the last one called. THAT IS CRUEL MA’AM.

Symone is my obvious favourite and I would love her to win, but I will accept Gottmik too. I really like Kandy but I don’t for a second think she has a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning and with Rosé I just feel like she would do worlds better in an All Stars season having heard the critiques about her fashion and approach to challenges, but also I imagine she wont really need All Stars because hopefully she’ll be booked and blessed throughout the New York theatre world.

I’m not sure if I’ll be recapping the reunion special, unless something insane happens but I might do a little retrospective of the whole season. Best Outfits, worst outfits – that sort of thing.

And so, still 4 Queens remain

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