We’re three episodes into the 13th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and (spoiler), we still have 13 queens competing to become America’s Next Drag Superstar.
This week, after a quick check-in with the “top” queens, the remaining queens are finally released from the “Porkchop Loading Dock” and finally get their time to shine. Denali, Joey Jay, Utica Queen, Rosé, Tamisha Iman, and Kahmora Hall face the same challenges as their rivals did last week.
The queens showcased their favorite “lady” and “vamp” looks on the runway and then had to write their own verse and choreograph a routine to “Phenomenon” from RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!
Some of this week’s standouts during the “lady” runway were Kamorah’s stunning white, Dior-esque tea party look, Utica’s fun, ball pit-inspired look and Rosé’s pop art look. “Vamp” standouts were Denali’s “woman emerging from a burnt ballroom” gauzy confection and Tamisha’s tribute to the “vampiest of vamps”, Elvira. In the musical number, Rosé showcased her pipes and Denali high kicked, cartwheeled and split her way into our hearts.
The runway theme was “We’re Here, We’re Sheer, Get Used to It.” Not surprisingly, the queens all stunned and impressed Ru, Michelle, Ross, and guest judge Nicole Byer. Denali and Rosé faced off in the lip sync for the win, giving their all in a performance of Britney Spears’ cheeky “If You Seek Amy.” And, in the end, Ru declared Denail the winner of the week and of a $5,000 “tip.” Next week, all 13 dolls finally meet up and the competition shifts into high gear.
This week’s MVP: Tamisha Iman
After introducing one of the first (and finest) catchphrases of the season, Atlanta queen Tamisha made sure we knew the lady did not want her to go home. The oldest competitor in the werk room at 49 (which isn’t that old) Tamisha is not only a winning pageant queen , she’s also drag mother to the late, great Tandi Iman Dupree (and if you didn’t know who she was before this episode, you will never forget her after this iconic performance) and the biological father to three kids. She has already settled comfortably into the role of den mother for her younger contemporaries and she definitely wears it well.
In the lady/vamp mini challenge, she made a definite impression on the judges. Her daytime look, raspberry-hued harem jumpsuit and a complementary beaded robe wowed and her un-be-weavable tribute to Elvira was a show stopper. She sneakily concealed the fact that she was a skilled choreographer while the queens worked out their moves for the “Phenomenon” dance number but proved to be a master of the confessional during rehearsal.
While she may have been overshadowed by Rosé and Denali in the “Phenomenon” number, her sheer runway look (that she created herself) was so breathtaking that guest judge Nicole said, “I have no jokes, this is stunning.” Ru even said it was “one of the most beautiful dresses to have ever graced the stage.” I may be partial to Atlanta queens, but Tamisha is so deserving of the love and I hope she heeds the judges’ advice and make it bigger. I want to see so much more.
Honorable mention: Denali
After she performed her first lip sync in freaking ice skates, you kind of knew Denali was in this for the long run. Being relegated to the “Porkchop Loading Dock” certainly lit a fire under this ice queen, as she brought it this episode. Her beautiful, blue “lady” look was memorable (and the detail to attention was spot-on) and her dark “vamp” look was iridescent perfection. She slayed during “Phenomenon” and you couldn’t take your eyes off of her during the lip sync. If she keeps it up, she has the potential to ice the competition.
Had to mention: Nicole Byer
I adore Nicole Byer and she certainly deserves to be on this panel, as her appearances on Mano Agapion’s hilarious podcast “Drag Her” and this priceless video where Monique Heart and Trixie Mattel give her a drag makeover prove, she is a super fan. While she always makes me tee-hee, she had some hilarious critiques for the dolls, telling Kahmora, “You look rich. I would rob you in a heartbeat.” She also offered some sage advice for our fashion-forward Barbie, telling her she should turn her (rather obvious) nerves into comedy. Not only was she a fabulous judge, she also rocked a sizzling red patent leather ensemble and a gorgeous wig. How can you not love this woman? Can she be a permanent judge already?
Next week, we may or may not have our first elimination – although I wouldn’t mind spending even more time with these queens. Until then, just remember (as always), if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an “amen”?