RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE S13E10 “Freaky Friday Queens”: The Makeover Challenge Causes Any Icy, Spicy Shake-Up

Elliott With 2 Ts has left the building and there is a new energy in the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13 workroom. Utica turned it out in last week’s lip sync and as she erases Elliott’s lipstick message from the mirror, she is whooping and smiling, saying that she feels empowered by her performance: “I feel like I have a new Energizer Bunny battery inside and now I really want to win.” Utica has such an interesting, fun vibe that she brings to the show and, while it’s not likely that she’ll win the crown, I’m so glad she’s here for another week – especially when this week’s episode is all about the makeover challenge!

Like the Snatch Game, the makeover challenge is a Drag Race staple that always comes towards the end of the season, where queens must turn special guests into members of their drag family; it requires semi-matching outfits, excellent makeup skills, and the ability to turn a complete stranger into a runway-stomping drag queen. But, with COVID-19 restrictions, how exactly are they going to pull off this challenge for season 13?

Drag Doppelgängers

With an even number of queens, it’s revealed (Ru-vealed?) that they will be paired up and must makeover each other, essentially turning the other into their doppelgänger and creating a Freaky Friday runway moment. There’s a quick scene where psychic Char Margolis does readings for the queens, bringing up information that any story producer could feed her, like the fact that Kandy didn’t like Rosé at first and the absolutely WILD notion that Utica, a queen from a town with the population of 291, grew up on a farm.

The scene is in lieu of a mini-challenge and the only real, tangible thing that comes out of it is Tina’s dad not being supportive of their coming out as gay before his death. When the queens return to the workroom, RuPaul uses the previous to clumsily set up which queens are “psychically connected” and then partner them up that way. This means that Rosé is with Tina, Denali is with Olivia, Utica is with Symone, and Gottmik is with Kandy. When Ru tells them that they have to turn their partner into their doppelgänger, a few of the queens are not happy, namely, Tina, who complains about Rosé’s “caveman” browbone (rude!) and Symone, who is worried about how different her drag is from Utica’s.

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE S13E10 "Freaky Friday Queens": The Makeover Challenge Causes Any Icy, Spicy Shake-Up
source: VH1

As they all prepare for the makeovers, we see Denali and Olivia hit it off immediately, with Denali turning Olivia into a fellow ice skating princess and then Tina begrudgingly accepting Rosé as her partner and a bit of the vice versa. This Tina-Rosé tension has been slightly simmering all season long but it’s barely anything; the two make small shady comments about each other in the confessionals and it really seems like a difference in personalities as well as being played up for TV. It’s clear though that Rosé is not a fan of Tina’s aesthetic, but, honestly, who can blame her? Nonetheless, they do seem to be having a good time as they attempt to fit into each other’s clothes.

Moving on to Symone and Utica, the two of them are very similar in size and build, making things really easy for them in that regard, but Symone is nervous about trying to understand Utica’s kooky take on fashion, particularly with what Utica has in mind for her to wear on the runway (more on that later). Utica is also having a bit of a hard time with what Symone has pulled out for her as it’s a direct reference to the 1997 film B.A.P.S. starring Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle and Utica is worried about being appropriative of Black culture (similar to her concerns of wearing a brown afro in last week’s Snatch Game), especially when Symone says she wants to make Utica “as Black American Princess as possible”. Utica is concerned that it may be inappropriate for her to wear Symone’s garments but Symone reassures her that it will turn out fine and that Symone’s drag is very pro-Black and that it’s important for Utica to focus on the essence of Symone when wearing her garment.

Last are Kandy and Gottmik who are having a little bit of a tough time as they have completely different body types – Kandy is tall and a little bigger while Gottmik is very petite and small, meaning that they have to reconstruct each other’s garments so that they work for the other. When RuPaul does the walkthrough, we learn that Gottmik is adopted and that Kandy once worked as a makeup artist and is technically more certified than Gottmik who is THE makeup queen of season 13. While there was some worry that the two may not fare well in the challenge, this revelation eases that and basically guarantees that their pairing will be at least safe.

The best part of the entire pre-runway sequence is when each pairing goes out to the mainstage and is taught how to BE the other, in movement and body language as well as look. Olivia and Denali seem to have it down as Denali takes on Olivia’s pageant presence and Olivia learns how to move like an ice skater, while Rosé has to camp up her every movement the Tina Burner way and Tina has to learn Rosé’s little twirls and feminine attitude all the way down to her fingertips.

When Symone and Utica learn how to embody each other’s movements, it is a delight to see Utica embrace the signature Symone Walk and for Symone to put herself into Utica’s awkward-yet-beautiful pantomimes. Utica describes her body as “The da Vinci Man” (she means “The Vitruvian Man”) and how she’s always trying to scope out the extension and limits of her own limbs when she walks. It’s a great description of how Utica moves and honestly, that’s probably how I’m going to make my walks around my apartment from now on, Carol Burnett facial expressions optional.

“When what you see is what you lack, then selfless love will change you back”

After Gottmik and Kandy return from their rehearsal, they ask Gottmik to do her Kandy walk and, because she’s nervous, she doesn’t sell it well to the other queens.  This brings up a concerning point when Kandy says she’s going to learn the lip sync song: will they all be judged as pairs? What happens if you do a great job but your partner doesn’t in this Freaky Friday scenario? This is further speculated on as Tina and Rosé get into drag and talk about learning from each other and coming to an understanding that’s required when embodying another person on the runway – it’s from this exchange that any tension between the two is alleviated.

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE S13E10 "Freaky Friday Queens": The Makeover Challenge Causes Any Icy, Spicy Shake-Up
source: VH1

The rest of the queens also bond as they put their own mugs onto their partners: Olivia and Denali talk about the strong women in their lives who have inspired them and their drag while Gottmik opens up about being in touch with his more feminine side. He talks about how it held him back from transitioning and accepting that he is a man, and how using that signature Gottmik clown-white makeup helped him really find himself: “just because I have a feminine side does not mean I’m not a guy, too. If these bitches [the other contestants who are very gay and feminine while also being cisgender men] are guys, I’m a guy, like get into it!” It’s an important and much-needed perspective on television for a trans man to talk about his experiences and relationship to femininity and masculinity.

It’s time for the runway and joining RuPaulMichelle Visage, and Carson Kressley on the judging panel is once again actor and comedian Loni Love, making this her third appearance this season as an extra special guest judge. As each individual queen makes their way on the runway, it’s fantastic to see their interpretations of their partners but nobody compares to Symone as Utica and Utica as Symone, who finally gives RuPaul what she wants from Utica’s runways – it’s so obvious that the two of them are going to be the winners.

As for Gottmik and Kandy, the two everyone was worried about, they both nail each other’s little -isms, particularly Gottmik who lets her inner New York Banjee Girl attitude out on the stage. As the judges go down the line with their critiques, it’s obvious that, despite Denali doing an excellent job at turning Olivia into her, the judges don’t quite see the same thing for Denali as she’s dressed up as a pageant queen which is not necessarily how Olivia portrays herself on the runway (according to the judges). When Loni Love gives her critiques to Utica and Symone, it’s beautifully poignant and she commends the two queens on bringing out each other’s personalities as they walked the runway.

After the critiques, RuPaul asks each of the queens that dreaded question, “Who should go home this week, and why?” As it goes down the line, Rosé, Tina, Symone, Utica, Gottmik all say Olivia; Olivia says Utica (based on the overall competition); Denali says Kandy since she put Gottmik in a flame outfit that is more of Tina’s “brand” than Kandy’s. This causes Kandy to pop off at Denali, saying that Tina doesn’t own the colors red, orange, and yellow (despite it being the theme for the majority of her looks) and that she and Gottmik had the hardest challenge out of everybody onstage, putting them way above everyone else. It gets a little heated and it’s clear that Kandy was not happy with Denali saying her name, which is probably why she says that both Olivia and Denali should be the ones to go home. It’s a nice dose of conflama (always a must for a reality TV show!) but it does come off as a bit of an overreaction for Kandy to lash out on the stage the way she does. At the end of the day though, I’m not mad at Kandy popping off so I’m not going to hold it against her, and as revealed in Untucked, Denali didn’t want to say Kandy but she had to pick somebody that wasn’t herself or her partner, Olivia. Denali gets upset in the Untucked lounge and we all know why – she and Olivia are the ones in the bottom two.

There aren’t a whole lot of surprises this episode as the bottom queens and the top queens are the most obvious. RuPaul declares Symone and Utica the winners of the makeover challenge – one of the most deserved wins of the entire season – and then has Olivia and Symone Lip Sync For Your Life to the gospel song “Shackles (Praise You)” by Mary Mary.

RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE S13E10 "Freaky Friday Queens": The Makeover Challenge Causes Any Icy, Spicy Shake-Up
source: VH1

Their performances are… a choice. The song is all about God, which Denali tries to portray in her movements but it’s clear she’s holding back from her usual lip-sync go-to’s. It may be the restrictions from the gown she’s wearing or Denali may feel defeated but she just doesn’t fully deliver. And it’s a damn shame too because if she had, she maybe would have stayed another week because Olivia’s take on the song was awkward and did not fit with the song whatsoever. But, when it came right down to it, Olivia has more wins than Denali AND she was called out on the stage by most of the other queens – of course, RuPaul is going to keep her for another week.


Denali was one of the most talented queens of the entire season and it is really sad to see her sashay away. Not only was she the first queen to enter the workroom wearing ice skates, she lip-synced in those same ice skates! That’s a huge deal! She brought us some amazing meme-able reaction shots, some gorgeous drag, and the phrase “flopiana.” Though Denali will not walk away with the crown, she has certainly won the hearts of the fans and will undoubtedly return for All-Stars.

As for the seven remaining queens, things are getting interesting as far as report cards go. Symone is once again the frontrunner with 3 wins, while Gottmik and Olivia are right behind her with their 2 wins. Rosé has 1 win and now Utica has earned her first win. However, Tina and Kandy are the only queens left who have yet to win a challenge, and considering how things went this week, they may be the next queens on the chopping block. Next week’s challenge will be all about branding and marketing oneself, which Tina may actually have the chance to win since she has made it her mission to be THE red, orange, and yellow queen. As things get down to the wire, it is almost set in stone that the top four queens will be Symone, Gottmik, Olivia, and Rosé, based on their wins and their strengths. Tina, Utica, or Kandy could potentially coast their way to the finale but, at this point, it’s not likely. No worries though! There are six more weeks of Drag Race!

What did you think of the makeover challenge? Did Denali deserve to go home? Let us know in the comments below!

A new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 can be seen every Friday at 8/7c on VH1.

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