Because time is now a thin current that slides away while only the reliable eternity of the Drag Race multiverse remains, a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race will soon begin afresh, though the show’s reliable archetypes remain eternal.
Ru and company seem to have decided to rely heavily on the “ingenue who started doing drag roughly 30 minutes before filming began” that worked so well with Gigi Goode last season, with many of the queens saying this was their first or second audition for the show with drag experience that more or less also matches that brief timeline. But an interesting addition to a setup that could leave some contestants without the benefit of experience enjoyed by more seasoned performers is the fact that Ru has let one contestant, LaLa Ri, bring her drag mommy with her—to compete against. LaLa and Tanisha Iman are both performers from Atlanta, and while LaLa is just three years into her drag career, Tanisha said she had “at least 30 years on the girls” during the “Meet the Queens” announcement video on YouTube.
This mother/daughter juxtaposition, unfortunately, feels like one of the few fresh storylines on a series that is beginning to feel anchored by the weight of its own archetypes. An ice skater/martial arts queen, Denali, seems like an offering to the Jan Sport/Kameron Michaels-shaped hole in our hearts, and though I am sure that I will end up loving her more than most of my own family members Conway, Arkansas’s Symone seems hand-selected to appeal to my undying love for Heidi N. Closet and the irreplaceable Chi Chi Devayne, may she rest in peace. Symone and her glorious wig, apparently styled by none other than Gigi Goode obviously has my “country as a catfish sandwich” allegiance from the jump, as I grew up just a few hours away from her hometown of Conway, Arkansas, and have cousins there, obviously bringing Symone and I fairly close to becoming best friends.
And while no one queen truly seemed to be a hands-down frontrunner over the others, a few seemed like ones to watch. Kahmora Hall already has a large following in Chicago and seems like the funny, beautiful consummate drag professional.
Tina Burner is an NYC veteran who describes herself as a “costume clown” and could either turn out to be this season’s Bianca or this season’s Brita, as there’s generally very little in-between for this character.
Likewise, Rosé walks the NYC “showgirl” walk, but as Miz Cracker proved that can sometimes be as much of a hindrance when comes to getting out of one’s own head as it is an advantage in the competition.
Season 13's self-appointed “kooky” queen grew up on a farm in the midwest and loves positivity, and I hope I’m just a bitter cynic who has already forgotten the beautiful, surprising lesson of Season 12—even though they’re usually Milks, sometimes there’s a Crystal hidden in there.
I am utterly charmed by Aja’s drag daughter Kandy Muse and her Vanjie voice. When asked to describe her drag style, she answered “ho.” I hope that ginger beehive makes at least one more appearance.
Other contestants include Joey Jay, a person who doesn’t wear wigs which is sure to thrill Michelle, Gottmik—the show’s first-ever trans man contestant—Olivia Lux, who describes herself as a “fetus of drag,” and Elliott, a Las Vegas “corporate queen,” which is likely sure to genuinely thrill Ru who has been busy building a Vegas empire around selling out rows of casino drag show seats to executives in town for the big tech convention or whatever.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 premieres on January 1.