RuPaul Drag Race Season 13

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Ally Hjort

    RuPaul has built a drag dynasty around his name and his craft. He has numerous tv-shows, a convention, and a show on the Vegas Strip dedicated to the art of drag and RuPaul’s Drag Race as a whole. So what makes season 13 something to talk about?

    Let’s start with your typical season of Drag Race. On the first day, each queen comes through the “werkroom” doors one-by-one and gives their introduction. In some of the past seasons, they’ve done 2 separate entrances, so the cast is randomly split into 2 groups that compete separately during the first 2 episodes and during the third episode, the 2 groups meet and they continue the rest of the competition together. 

    The entire competition is a series of mini and maxi challenges that can range from singing and performing songs they wrote to improv challenges, such as their famous “Snatch Game,” to acting challenges, etc. At the end of every episode, there’s a “lip sync for your life” where the 2 queens who did the worst in the maxi challenge have to lip-sync and perform a predetermined song. Whoever wins stays and the loser “sashays away” and is eliminated from the competition.

    Season 13 starts with 2 queens walking in, they do their introduction, they meet, and then a message from RuPaul plays on the big tv screen at the front of the werkroom telling them to come to the main stage. They soon come to find RuPaul and the 3 other judges (who are sitting between giant pieces of glass to prevent contact between each other) waiting for them. RuPaul tells them they will be lip-syncing for their lives (the first thing they do?). They then declare one queen the winner and one queen the loser. 

    We don’t know where the winning queen goes but the losing queen finds themself in “The Porkchop Loading Dock ” (Victoria “Porkchop” Parker was the first queen to ever be sent home on Drag Race in season 1). This pattern continues until the entire cast is split into a group of winners and losers. Watching the whole process of the 2 queens entering and then facing off on the main stage was interesting at first but then it started to feel repetitive after 3 rounds.

    I found myself waiting for the lip syncs to be over so we could find out whether the entire group of losers is actually going home. Is RuPaul going to send half of the cast home to create a smaller cast for coronavirus precautions? Are they all staying and that’s just how Ru decided they should be split into groups? We shall see.

    This was a distinctive start from any previous season. I was definitely sitting on the edge of my seat near the end of the episode to find out what happened in the end. The twist caught me off guard and I became eager to watch the next episode. The only thing about watching a show as it airs on tv is that you can’t binge the show, which is disappointing but I also can’t wait that long.

    This season also welcomes their first trans-male contestant, Gottmik. Gottmik is the first transgender person to be open about their identity before coming onto the show. Gottmik walked through the doors knowing he was making history, and delivered his entrance line, “it’s time to crash the cis-tem.” It’s definitely a step in the right direction for the show.

    Like season 12, this cast is shaping up to have a lot of talented queens, all with different strengths and weaknesses. As far as frontrunners go, there are a lot of good choices as to who I could see going far or even winning the competition (disregarding their initial group placement). Symone and Gottmik both seem well-rounded in terms of outfits and personality and I could see them winning a lot of challenges. Queens like Utica and Tamisha, I’m more so excited to see what they’re going to bring to the challenges and how they’ll implement their own styles. For Rosé and Joey Jay, I’m not sure how long they’re going to stay but Joey Jay surprised me with their performance in episode 3 and Rosé is known to be very comedic, so I’m excited to see how she’ll do in the Snatch Game. One common theme with these 6 queens is that they all have a unique style and a compelling personality that I’m sure will get them far in the competition.

     So far, there aren’t any queens I dislike but apparently there’s some pre-established drama between 2 of the New York queens, per usual. I anticipate there will be more drama than season 12, which would make this a well-rounded season in terms of reality competition shows.

    You may be wondering why you should watch this show and not something else. The truth is, there aren’t any huge new ways RuPaul’s Drag Race has changed their competition. If you are interested in watching what is considered the Olympics of drag, then I would strongly recommend tuning in this season, even if you haven’t watched any of the previous seasons. There’s hardly a moment where I’m not entertained, but if this kind of show isn’t your thing then it isn’t your thing.

    Overall, I have high hopes for this season and I can’t wait to see what’s brought to the main stage every week.