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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

"Jigsaw's Drag Race": Rupaul's Drag Race 13x01 Review.

Do you want to know my favourite challenges for Rupaul’s Drag Race premiers? When we meet the queens, and then they are given a sewing challenge, to make a dress out of garbage or curtains or wigs. It’s fun, it’s a good way to ease into a season, and to figure out who’s a star early on. But every year for the past few seasons Rupaul has felt the need to alter the formula of a great Drag Race premiere. They have to do a fashion show or write original lyrics and perform a song on the first day. This season Rupaul ups the ante again, with a vicious twist fit for a Saw movie. Split into pairs, the queens needed to do a lip sync for your life right out the gate! The horror!

This twist has some definite benefits, we get more time on each individual queen, to show what they’re about and what inspires their drag. We also learn some of the queen’s backstories. We learn that Tamisha Iman is a brae cancer survivor and that Gotmik is the show’s first trans man to compete.

The other bonus is that we get a chance, right away, to see who can lip-sync, who’s an assassin. Can you imagine seeing some of the shows greatest lip-syncers come out the gate so early?? It’s a great idea in that sense.

And we do get some interesting lip syncs for your life. Kandy Muse amuses with her big jean-denim boom box, (her Jereo) during Call Me Maybe. Denali, not anticipating the twist, had to lip-sync in the ice skates she walked into the workroom with, and slayed, (her loss seemed like the first robbery of the season). Other queens like Symone and Olivia Lux prove their mettle by winning their lip syncs too, while experienced queen Rosé falters, and loses against a much greener opponent.

Behind the scenes, the “losers” were gathered in the “PorkChop Loading Dock” where they were left to ponder whether or not all six of them had truly been eliminated then and there. It was sad, and hilarious, and these scenes were a good breakup after meeting pair after pair of queens. The process definitely became tedious after the third pair of queens had introduced themselves to the judges and panic lip-synced.

The show has definitely become more about the twists that Rupaul can come up with in recent years, how can he surprise viewers, how can he shock the queens and shake up the format. Part of this might just be because the show has been on for so long and so the producers are trying to stop the show becoming repetitive and stagnant. Part of it might be a way to fight back against the “Nancy Drews” on Reddit, who somehow always figure out a seasons cast, as well as some challenges and elimination orders.

This, I think, comes at the expense of both the queens and the fans at home. This year's twist clearly caught the queens unawares and many of them looked scared shitless most of the episode. And while a lip-sync extravaganza is usually a lot of fun, from home this episode just seemed to drag. To top it off, the losing queens now have to vote off a fellow competitor, All-Stars style. They’ve never even met each other. Truly this episode felt more like an episode of Survivor than Drag race.

Still, this group of queens are fun, and we’ve already seen they can all take these twists in stride so I have hope that once the dust has settled we can have a more traditional few episodes so the that queens and the audience can catch their breath.

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