The first and second episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” concluded with shocking non-eliminations that showed the queens that RuPaul Charles ain’t playing around this season–she is ready to stress them out, wear them out and do everything she can to make them turn it out. By the end of the premiere the set of 13 queens were divided into two groups based on first impression lip syncs: a Winner’s Circle and the girls they beat, the Pork Chop Queens.
Last week the winners group faced off in three runway walks and a group performance of Ru’s song “Condragulations.” Olivia Lux and Symone faced off in a “lip sync for the win” as the top two with Symone edging out to grab the first solo win of the season. This week we expected the losing group to return to the Werk Room for their chance to do the same, albeit to a different song.
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of Season 13, Episode 3 “Phenomenon” to find out what happened on January 15, beginning at 8/7c. After following along with our live updating blog, be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite queens on VH1’s reality TV show, who annoys you the most, and who you think will ultimately join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners list.
8:01 p.m. – After their non-elimination, the Winner’s Circle queens celebrated their continued successes. Symone was shellshocked to have been singled out by her idol, Ru, as the first challenge winner of the season. As a group, knowing that they all still had another day in the competition meant they had more chances to prove themselves. That being said, they knew that the time was soon coming when the other group of queens would join them.
8:04 p.m. – But before the two groups could merge, the Pork Chop Queens re-entered the Werk Room on their own to prep for the challenges ahead of them. First up was a double-header walk in a “Lady and the Vamp” fashion show to re-introduce themselves to Ru, Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews. As the queens applied their faces, they joked about how long of a process makeup is for Kahmora Hall. In fact, she was taking so long that as production began calling the girls to the stage, Kahmora was still in her padding without heels, a wig or any clothes on.
8:15 p.m. – Nevertheless the show had to start. Walking first in the “Lady” category was Denali in a dainty blue dress with a lemon yellow up-do wig that was an ode to her Alaskan roots. Joey Jay worked the catwalk in her natural buzzcut (dyed lavender) with furred boots and a vest. Rosé went pop art in a brightly colored hand-painted geometric dress. Tamisha Iman arrived in raspberry harem pants and a lace cover-up that screamed eleganza. Utica Queen showed off her quirky personality with a ball pit dress that was a nod to 50s mod style. Finally, Kahmora arrived to serve in an all white tea dress that reeked of sophistication.
8:19 p.m. – In the second walk, “Vamp,” Denali opened in a sheer dress that was inspired by Jeremy Scott‘s “women emerging from a burnt ballroom” show. Joey returned in her natural hair (this time red), but in an all black jumpsuit that maintained a punk girl aesthetic. Rosé wore a look she said makes her feel powerful with a cagey brim hat that hid most of her face. Tamisha donned an elegant black dress made of hair pieces for a polished Elvira look. Kahmora also went with black for the second look, but went edgier in a wet-style red wig. Utica finished in a dark priestess ruffled burgundy gown.
8:26 p.m. – Afterward, the queens derobed in the Werk Room and bonded by sharing their ages and discussing their experience with drag. Tamisha took center stage as she opened up about her 30 year career and that she has three biological children that are all older than any of them.
8:29 p.m. – Ru returned to present the main challenge of the week, a group performance of her song “Phenomenon” that would require them to choreograph their own moves as well as write and do vocals of their own unique verses. Denali, Rosé and Joey were all excited by the challenge because of their experience as trained dancers and/or singers.
8:38 p.m. – During rehearsal the queens were willing to let Denali begin the choreographing section as the leader. It didn’t take long for the day to devolve into a mess once Rosé and Joey added their input to Denali’s decisions. With only an hour to rehearse, Tamisha was visibly frustrated by the lack of clarity between the three leading points of view. The group was also concerned with having to manage Kahmora’s inability to pick up even the most simple steps. Luckily by the end, Tamisha unzipped her lips and straightened the group out in order to figure out the final moves with only 10 minutes left.
8:48 p.m. – While preparing for the main stage, Kahmora was showing more of an effort to get ready in time. She also revealed to the group that her relationship back home was a point of vulnerability for her because her partner isn’t entirely supportive of her drag career. In that regard she came to the show with the feeling that drag has always been made to be minimized in her life when she’d like to put it more in the forefront. As a mother of her own dynasty, Tamisha was super supportive of Kahmora and encouraged her to believe in herself and put her dreams first.
8:57 p.m. – On the main stage, Ru was joined by Michelle and Ross, as well as this week’s guest judge Nicole Byer. The group performance was a heavily choreographed set that all of the girls excelled in without any glaring slip ups–Utica and Kahmora were a bit comedic, Joey, Rosé and Denali focused on their dancing, and Tamisha highlighted her experience. Then they walked in a “We’re Here, We’re Sheer, Get Used To It” runway. Denali was in a lavender iris-inspired dress, Joey kept the buzzcut (blue this time!) in another black punk look (fringe this time!), Kahmora wore a Britney Spears “Toxic” era rhinestone body suit with a huge wig, Rosé put on a blue and purple plastic dress in a “signature” pink wig, Tamisha looked gorgeous in a gold glitter gown, and Utica closed the show in a Stevie Nicks-like scarf dress.
9:08 p.m. – In the critique session, the judges told Denali that she keeps her drag interesting by constantly unveiling aspects of herself by incorporating her sex appeal and figure skating. Michelle called Joey “exciting to watch,” but questioned the decision to never wear wigs. Joey said that she doesn’t really feel herself in a wig, but Ross was still not having it and encouraged her to do what she wants to do while also pushing herself. Nicole loved how rich and beautiful Kahmora looked, but Michelle was concerned that her personality was taking a back seat to her fashion. Nicole thought that Kahmora could turn her nerves into comedy in order to inject some personality into her drag. Ross had a tough time critiquing Rosé’s runway look because he wanted to say it was bad without actually saying it was bad. Ru was gagged by Tamisha’s runway dress and called it one of the most beautiful to ever walk the Drag Race stage, but Michelle clocked her for staying too “low key.” Lastly, Utica earned props for going her own way and putting together looks that are completely off the wall. In fact, Nicole equated her drag to taking acid.
9:23 p.m. – After private deliberation, Ru named Denali and Rosé as the top two queens of the week. The other four were safe, resulting in another non-elimination. Left on stage, the top two went head-to-head in a “lip sync for the win” to Britney’s “If You Seek Amy.” Utica noted that Denali was giving a very traditional Britney-like show while Rosé took a more comedic turn on the song. Denali certainly gave a more intentional and cohesive performance and Ru took note. The win and the $5,000 cash tip this time went to Denali. Before letting them leave the stage, Ru made it clear that next week “heads will roll.” Thankfully — it’s time to see some of these girls go home!
NEXT WEEK: For the first time the entire cast meets to begin the competition properly. For their next challenge they’ll show off their comedic chops in a “RuPaulmark” acting challenge.
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