RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13 is back with a bang and ringing in 2021 with its most dramatic premiere to date – six head-to-head lipsyncs.
Lipsyncing For Your Life is the essential fighting moment for the Queens to keep their head in the game, step up, and prove they’re worthy of their spot, so putting it as the first challenge kind of makes sense.
However, the idea was a little better than the execution, with the format of two queens entering the workroom, only to be told to leave the workroom, and then hitting the main stage, a little bumpy and repetitive.
The final twist didn’t make a whole load of sense either, with who will be sent home remaining a mystery for at least another week.
But on the plus side, it did mean this year’s competitors all had equal screentime (ish) and therefore we got to know and establish them a whole lot easier than previous years.
Here’s our first thoughts of our latest batch of fabulous stars…
We adored Gottmik from the moment she stormed in looking like a member of KISS stormed through a neon Mardi Gras parade.
A bit ditzy but very charming, Gottmik has the words ‘fan favourite’ written across her soul from the get-go.
Let’s hope she has the talents to actually become a champion champion too.
Olivia Lux walked into the room looking like a Fruit Salad sweetie and had the smile to match it.
Still fresh to the drag world, she is in clear admiration of Rose, who she’s forced to compete against immediately in the lip-sync, but not only does she succeed, she thrives in it.
Coming prepared with a reveal in a dress you think is just an entrance look is preparation to the highest degree and we fully support it – and it came in handy when she was thrown in the deep end with a lip sync.
While Rose was the bigger pro, Olivia definitely knows her craft and proved she wasn’t one to underestimate.
Tamisha seemed a little timid walking into the room, but on the stage she really showed up and shined.
Her cancer survival story was incredible, with her looking for little sympathy and more an ackowledgement of ‘this is me, let’s move past it’ – and then she put her money where her mouth is in the lipsync and snatch the win from under Symone.
This one’s a fighter so we’re really interested to see what she has in store next.
Rosé is the kind of queen that we love – got a bit of a reputation to uphold, competitive, and just the right amount of shady.
A body suit though?! Girl… it’s a law at this point that there needs to be more to it, and despite her primed and polished look, this was no way to stand out.
Thank God her lip-sync abilities proved strong and her confessionals proved hilarious, because we can’t help but root for her for some reason.
Utica is what Thorgy Thor and Tammie Brown’s baby might look like – a high ball of energy an a whole load of extra.
While her entrance outfit was certainly tailored to blend all of her weirdness and intricacies together, she may need to be careful in the further challenges if this high energy is to be maintained.
Many queens have fallen before her not knowing how to streamline their sensibilities in a sewing challenge, or being so sure of their own image and brand they don’t work well with others in group challenges.
But right now, she’s a real firework and we’re loving her. And her nuggets.
‘Ebony Enchantress’ Symone’s polaroid dress was a cute enough entrance look, but she seemed pretty quiet and brand new next to Tanisha, who carried herself like she had been in the industry for years.
In this pairing there seemed to be a bit of a ‘old vs new’ battle going on, with Symond providing the fresher take on modern drag, while Tanisha remained classic and old school.
Pretty bubbly with legs that should be illegal, she succeeded in getting some good laughs out of RuPaul.
Her lipsync let her down mainly because it wasn’t that memorable, but we wouldn’t rule this one out just yet – after all look at that fabulous hair piece in her promo!
Another New York queen who declares themselves the ‘premiere costume queen’, Tina won us over with a cheeky shoulder flash and a Showgirls reference in the confessionals.
Formerly of a boyband, she’s used to working among a group to stand out – and in Lady Marmalade it was her and Elliott that really had the win.
We’re interested to see how well they do in future episodes, but Tina struck lucky with this first episode, which was literally made for her to succeed.
Elliott (with two Ts)
Elliott declared herself as ‘a mum with a secret’ and we see what she means, but we were kind of enjoying it.
Definitely feeling those 80s vibes, Elliott knows how to stomp a runway and how to make sure she’s the focus of everyone’s attention – even when she’s sharing a floor with two others.
On meeting Kandy Muse for the first time, it did feel a little like she was trying to be the centre point of a venn diagram between past favourites Vanjie and Aja, with a little Eureka thrown in as a bit extra too.
She’s a lot to take in, which is perfectly find if you like a big and bolshy queen, and we’re personally here for.
But it does make us wonder how nice she’ll play when she’s faced against 11 other queens, rather than just the one.
Her lipsync to Call Me Maybe was cute and her denim boom box was to die for, but we’re hoping she’ll settle down just a tad as she settles in.
Denali walking in on skates dressed like a swan seriously gave us life, and performing the entire lip-sync in the diamond studded blades seriously elevated her.
She went in with a look and it paid off when she strutted into the work room, but after throwing shade at LaLa Ri for wearing ‘a flat wig and a basic bodysuit’, Denali struggled to keep her outfit up in the lip-sync, and she struggled as a result.
Denali certainly has the looks, but does she have the performance to match it?
It doesn’t really say much about your confidence when you declare yourself a ‘filler queen’ the second you walk in through the door.
Her entrance was cute enough, even if her outfit was simple compared to Kandy’s far more intricate costumes, but she shines best in the adorable confessionals.
But if you’re in a drag competition, your highlight shouldn’t be you out of drag, talking about it after.
In the Call Me Maybe lipsync, Joey skipped performing the track itself, in favour of showing off their array of stunts instead, and while it’s more eye-catching to start off with when you’re competing, Kandy knew to play up to the cheesy charm more, and that’s why Joey ultimately lost against her.
We hope if she stays in the competition she’ll step it up a bit more, and knows how to learn fast.
The amount of times Michelle comes after queens in body suits and that’s your first, make an impression outfit?! The audacity.
We have to admit that it paid off seeing as the first challenge was a lipsync, giving her an edge over Denali who struggled in her sleeveless number, but that was pure dumb luck, and just like Rose, it wasn’t enough.
LaLa gave us very little to go off of, which may have been an edit thing but we’re going off what we saw.
While she may have won the lipsync it was Denali that is more memorable out of the two (but only because of the skates and struggling to keep her costume on.)
Kahmora walked in wearing Bob Mackie and speaking a whole load of shade – which could mean she think she’s above it all, or could be an overcompensation for a lack of confidence.
We’re yet to see much of her, but as part of the only three-person lipsync, she faded into the background, didn’t get as many confessional moments and was overshadowed.
As season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall’s drag sister, she already has a big spotlight to steal, so she has her work cut out for her.
RuPaul’s Drag Race continues Fridays on VH1 in the US and Saturdays on Netflix in the Uk.