RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 Episode 1 Review: The Pork Chop


RuPaul’s Drag Race is already shaking things up for 2021. (And it’s only the first day of the year!)

During RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 Episode 1, we expected some competition and fierceness as a cast of new queens entered for their chance to be America’s Next Drag Superstar. But, to throw them into the fire with lip-syncs right out the gate, Mama Ru and company weren’t playing around this time.

The competition kicked up fast, and it started the festivities on a high note.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the lip-sync battles, the entrance outfits are a category unto themselves. The ensembles shed some light on the queens’ style, their decision-making, and what they could bring to the table.

The standouts from the entrance looks include Kandy Muse, Denali, Symone, Gottmik, Olivia Lux, Rosé, Tina Burner, and Elliott with 2 Ts.

Each of these outfits was well-constructed, showcased positive features for each of the queens, or stood out for being inventive. In any other season, these looks would be quick style pieces that may get destroyed during a Mini Challenge, but they shined bright even while in movement during the lip-sync.

Tina Burner, Kandy Muse, and Denali had the most inventive looks.

Tina being dressed like a fire hydrant showcased her campy queen status and opened the door for witty jokes/puns. Denali wearing ice skates into the Werk Room is a clever first for Drag Race herstory. And Kandy Muse’s matching denim boombox to her denim outfit highlighted her fun and fierce personality all in one statement.

Symone’s use of Polaroid photos to create a dress also deserves a round of applause.

RuPaul: Michelle Visage, what do you think of the new judges panel?
Michelle Visage: Baby, I feel like I’m the head teller at RuPaul’s Savings & Loan.
[RuPaul laughs]
Michelle Visage: Wanna make a deposit?
[Michelle makes a gesture and everyone laughs]

The dress showcased her creative side and it emphasized her confidence. Only a confident queen could walk into the Werk Room in an outfit made up entirely of herself (and with some photos showing her in nothing at all).

Symone is a queen to watch!

The same goes for Gottmik. Her contrasting makeup/hair and dress color palettes seemed chaotic at first, but they balanced each other out to create an artistic ensemble.

The other queens, on the other hand, wore outfits that were clearly one-time entrance looks only.

Granted, they didn’t know about the lip-sync portion of the competition. However, Drag Race is known for throwing a Mini Challenge into the mix; some of the queens needed to step it up.

LaLa Ri’s outfit looked unfinished. Did anyone else see the loose threads popping out from the jacket?

Joey Jay: Filler queen.
[Joey Jay kisses and does a peace sign.]
Kandy Muse: [In confessional] Filler queen?!

Tamisha Iman lost her neck due to the dress and shoulder pads stealing focus. As RuPaul once said to Jade Jolie, Tamisha needs to edit her aesthetic. The same goes for Utica Queen; her patterns and accessories were contradicting each other.

Kahmora Hall, while wearing a designer gown, could’ve pushed her look even further. The outfit felt simple and safe compared to the other entrance looks.

And Joey Jay should rethink the chicken feathers with that bodysuit. Those red feathers were flying everywhere!

Was anyone surprised Michelle Visage didn’t say anything? (She wouldn’t be impressed.)

As part of the premiere twist, the queens were split into pairs (and one trio) to compete in surprise lip-sync battles. One queen would win and shante, while the other would sashay away and receive the pork chop.

I loved the introduction of this twist!

The lip-sync battle is typically the best part of the episode, and the queens put everything they’ve got on the main stage to stick around. That moment is where we as viewers get to see their fire and determination as their Drag Race lives hang in the balance.

Also, having this twist gave a good indication of which queens could do well in future lip-syncs and which queens need to step it up.

The potential lip-sync assassins also came out of hiding. (But we’ll get into that later on.)

The Kandy Muse vs. Joey Jay lip-sync was a strong battle. Both had the humor to match “Call Me Maybe,” and if this were any other week, they could’ve potentially both got saved.

Kandy is a clever and funny queen. Her lip-sync showed she’ll add the little touches to push ahead; if she ends up in the bottom, that might be her secret weapon.

Joey Jay, on the other hand, will be a lip-sync assassin. You can tell she has an arsenal of moves ready to go when the time is right.

You know, everyone can be a drag queen, but not everyone can be a star. I’m a star!

Kandy Muse

That goes for Symone as well.

In her battle against Tamisha Iman, Symone combined the best of Kandy and Joey (i.e., humor, facial expressions, and dance moves) to blow away the competition. She owned the song and made it hers; Tamisha didn’t stand a chance.

Though, Tamisha has got to watch her arm movement during her lip-syncing. The arms were moving all over to steal focus.

Would Denali have won her lip-sync if she wasn’t dressed as a figure skater?

Granted, she did the best she could in her ice skates and outfit, but it held her back A LOT. Having to balance a shifting gown and not slicing LaLa Ri in half would distract anyone. 

LaLa Ri, however, killed her song! She served a meal on stage and fed the judges with her personality.

As mentioned above, the outfit could’ve been better, but it worked to her advantage for easy movement. If a few things had changed, this lip-sync could’ve gone in either direction.

Olivia Lux vs. Rosé is a case where a queen connected with her song to the point that nothing stood in her way.

Olivia breathed “Ex’s & Oh’s” throughout her entire dance number. Rosé didn’t stand a chance in this number, which is surprising since she had more experience than Olivia.

This result goes to show you can’t rule out Olivia; she has the lip-sync skills to take down a threat like Rosé.

RuPaul: Tonight, we’re doing things just a little differently. For the first time in Drag Race herstory, we’re kicking off the season with six lip-syncs for your lives. Now, some will shante and some will sashay away.
Michelle Visage: Wow.
RuPaul: Ooh child, you ain’t ready for this.
[All the judges laugh.]

On the other hand, a drag legend like Tina Burner showcased her many years of experience to her advantage.

In a three-way battle on stage, Tina stole the focus during “Lady Marmalade.” Her campy gestures and jokes made the judges laugh; that skill might be her golden ticket for surviving well into the competition.

Elliott with 2 Ts could prove to be a lip-sync assassin; her dance skills came in handy to steal some focus from Tina. Kahmora Hall, on the other hand, might be the first boot. RuPaul’s expressions didn’t seem too interested in her lip-syncing, and she got overshadowed by the other queens on stage.

We might need to prepare ourselves for a potential Kahmora boot.

The Gottmik vs. Utica Queen lip-sync was all over the place. (Like, everywhere. All over the stage.)

Having two quirky and off-beat queens lip-syncing together balanced the vibe because they didn’t come across as the outlier. Both had the same energy and their artistic weirdness didn’t get overshadowed by a pageant or sexy queen.

I agree with RuPaul choosing Gottmik as the winner. The performance showcased more dance skills and it had a clear style/structure while Utica’s performance had a lot of chaotic energy.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s fun, campy, and could potentially win a lip-sync or two. However, I’m hesitant if she’ll be able to rein it in and deliver the emotion for more serious songs.

The doubt provided the most uncertainty for the queen’s future in the competition.

Will RuPaul eliminate the queen who gets voted by the others to get the chop?

I’m not too sure that will happen. This vote could be a shocking twist to scare the queens into giving it their all in the future to avoid being the first queen eliminated (again).

This isn’t RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. The queens don’t typically get a lipstick to vote each other out in a regular-season; only Mama Ru decides who sashays away.

Either this will be a first in Drag Race herstory or RuPaul is dropping the first gag to keep the queens (and us) on our toes.

Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:

  • I’m glad the production team took social-distancing seriously by adding in the glass dividers at the judging desk. Any little bit helps to reduce the spread.
  • Does anyone else want to see more first boot queens returns? Those queens should get a shot in an All Stars season one day.
  • Tamisha needs some optimism and to prepare for eventual twists. The show wouldn’t have kept the cut queens together if there wasn’t a surprise in the mix.
  • Rosé is right, Tina Burner doesn’t like her. Tina’s confessional had plenty of shade to it.
  • RuPaul looked gorgeous in that white/purple gown!

Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!

What did you think of “The Pork Chop”?

Did the right queens win their respective lip-syncs? Who are your favorite queens in the competition? Which entrance looks brought down the house?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Justin Carreiro was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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