GPCD Fan Pool: RuPaul’s Drag Race S13, E1

January 3, 2021

Happy Ru year, everyone! Drag Race is back, although not how any of us remembered. The Season 13 opener was a shock to the system, for both the fans and the queens alike. I’ve seen wildly divergent opinions on the new format. 

Some people, including myself, appreciated that it brought us something new, gave us six lipsynchs (of admittedly varying quality), and gave each of the 13 new queens a moment in the spotlight. But others found it boring, repetitive and frankly cruel to the queens who lost the lipsynch. 

Certainly you could see the genuine panic on the faces of most of the contestants when they were told, within 20 minutes of walking into the Work Room, that they could potentially be going home immediately. I don’t know about you, but I felt for them. And in the Pork Chop Loading Dock, it sure seemed that losing broke more than one of those girls (Denali, Tamisha, and Elliott seemed particularly defeated). I certainly don’t think any of those queens believe what they put out on the stage was anywhere close to their best work. So was it actually a good way to introduce the new queens to the public? 

One thing this episode proved: if you are cast on Drag Race, you must be prepared to make the most of every single moment. I do not think that a good chunk of this cast put that into practice. Let me be clear: I like and respect all of these queens. All of them. It takes tremendous courage and talent to go on this show, to be judged by know-nothings (like me!), to say nothing of the actual judges. But between some middling lipsynchs and some weak entrance looks and lines, I saw a lot of missed opportunities.

I have total faith that this will be a great season, as I believe these are all great queens. But personally, if I had to sum up the premiere, it would be very likable queens (with a surfeit of shadiness, which was missing in Season 12) just trying to survive a bonkers premiere premise. The twist was the story. Not what the queens did.

What did you think of the twist? Good way to start a new season, or too produced for your tastes?

On to our pool! 

Thank you to the 30-plus people who elected to participate! Your picks have all been added to a spreadsheet, which you can find here. Big thanks to Michael Schwarz for being our Data Master! I literally could not do this without him. You’ll find that you got points for your “bench” (your pick for season winner and two additional picks), but since this episode didn’t have an episode winner OR eliminee, no bonus points this round. To see exactly how your points add up for this episode, just check out the Episode 1 tab to see how we scored your queens.

The scores also include the points from our Photo Finish fashion critique, which we’ll do every week. HUGE thanks to Curtis Creekmore for all of the video editing work, especially with an incredibly fast turnaround. This week, my special guest is fellow Great Pop Culture Debate Panelist Kate Racculia! If you have an interest in being one of our guest judges, let me know via PM. Here’s this week’s episode, in which we rate the entrance looks:

Thanks again for playing! UP NEXT: Make sure you fill out the Episode 2 poll, which you can find right here!. You’ll need to give us your pick for who will WIN the episode and who will be ELIMINATED. Make sure to get those in before Thursday, January 7, at 5pm to ensure that you get the bonus points for Episode 2!

ALSO: We are doing a Drag Race UK2 poll! Find out more about it RIGHT HERE! Make sure you fill out the pre-show poll and subscribe to the Facebook Group by Tuesday, January 12.

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