The handbags may have been tiny on Friday’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but the twists were big. And they were plentiful.
Following last week’s game-changing Season 13 premiere, TVLine readers were gunning for either Kahmora Hall, Elliott With 2 Ts or Utica Queen to become the official Pork Chop of Season 13. And the show was more than happy to grant their wish… with one major catch.
Friday’s episode kicked off with the seven queens who lost their lip sync battles — Kahmora, Elliott, Utica, Joey Jay, Rosé, Tanisha Iman and Denali — voting to send one girl home in order to save themselves. Joey summed up the situation perfectly: “This is f–ed!”
While most of the queens expressed displeasure with this curveball (“We can’t vote! We don’t even know each other yet!”), Rosé had a slightly more sensible reaction, acknowledging that the decision would have to be made based on their first impressions of one another. Joey and Utica tied with the most votes, forcing Ru to instate a “tie-breaker voting round,” which each queen only voting for either Joey or Utica.
“I’m just dreading the worst,” Utica confessed, though her fears turned out to be unwarranted, as Elliott was ultimately the one sent packing. “It’s been a lovely 15 minutes with all of you,” Elliott told the group on her way out. “I got sent home for something I didn’t have any say in. That sucks. I’m 100-percent heartbroken.”
But then, another twist! Last week’s winners gathered in the werkroom for their first out-of-drag meeting with Mama Ru, only to receive some shocking news. The queens would be joined by “someone I don’t think got a fair chance last week,” Ru told them. “And it’s someone I think will fit in well.” Enter… Elliott?!
Tina Burner was understandably confused (“I sent that bitch packing! Why is she back?”), but as Ru explained, her decision was made in the spirit of teaching her newest children an important lesson: “No matter what happens in here, out there or online, don’t let anyone make you feel like a loser.”
After receiving their marching orders for this week’s mini challenge — a runway show featuring a “ladylike daytime look” and a “vampy nighttime look that says, ‘I’m a whore!’” — the queens got ready to rumble, with tensions already flaring between Elliott and Kandy Muse. The drama began when Elliott asked Kandy if she was worried that being a member of a famous drag family — she’s the daughter of Aja and sister of Dahlia Sin — could end up being a curse that will get her sent home early. The question felt a little scripted (we’ve got to call it like we see it!), but the angry reaction from Kandy was real.
Mini challenge time! Gottmik kicked things off in a tight latex dress decorated to resemble a sunny day (one of our favorite looks of the night!), then switched things up with an ensemble befitting a “spooky seductress.” She completed the look with a tasteful pastie, explaining that she enjoys baring her chest now that she’s had top surgery. Next up, Kandy rocked a red-and-gold flowy look to prove that “a big girl can be fashion forward.” Unfortunately, the judges were considerably less impressed by her second look, which was basically a devil costume with a hole where the tail was presumably supposed to go.
LaLa Ri went for a “Southern belle” motif in a simple gown, an experience that was only memorable because she got her heel stuck in the dress and almost fell. For her second look, LaLa opted for “pleather, not leather. A bitch can’t afford it. But I’m still serving like it’s leather!” Next up, Olivia Lux transitioned from a “lavender fantasy” by day to a glittery, burgundy number for “a night at the opera.”
Symone turned up the fun in a ’90s-inspired striped pantsuit, complete with a surprise cape, followed by a look that was part mother goddess-meets-Matrix. (“The bitch has arrived!”) Up next, Tina lived her Carrie Bradshaw fantasy, before squeezing herself into a sexy latex look. (“My boots are up to my p–y!”) And then there was Elliott, who kept her daytime look red and tight, before whisking us away to a “gentleman’s club on fetish night.”
With that double runway behind them, the queens proceeded to this week’s main challenge: a group performance — complete with self-written solo verses — of RuPaul’s “Condragulations.” The rehearsal process went relatively smoothly, but when it came time for Gottmik to practice her part, she explained, “My gender dysphoria took over my soul.” She had hoped to discuss her transgender journey with her fellow queens in the right setting, but now here she was singing about it as part of a big group number. Fortunately, she was able to open up to some of her Season 13 sisters later on in the episode, receiving plenty of love and encouragement. (For the record, Gottmik uses the pronouns “she/her” while in drag, and “he/him” out of drag.)
This week’s runway (“Lamé, You Stay!”) found Gottmik embracing her inner sea dragon, Kandy giving us an “Austin Powers fembot moment” in a furry nightgown, LaLa looking like a “limited edition Willy Wonka” chocolate bar, Olivia channeling a “water lily goddess,” Symone gearing up to fight someone in a fashionable boxing getup, Tina serving Tin Man realness, and Elliott living her “rhinestone titty fantasy.”
After announcing Olivia and Symone as the top two queens, Ru dropped yet another twist: “This week, there are no bottoms. Only tops… with the exception of the judges’ panel, of course.” That meant no one was going home, and that Olivia and Symone would instead be lip syncing for a $5,000 cash tip. And from the moment Dua Lipa’s “Break My Heart” started playing, the battle was on. Condragulations, Symone!
How do you feel about Elliott re-entering the competition? Drop a comment with your thoughts on Season 13 below.