RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 Episode 5 Review: The Bag Ball

Are you ready for the ball, darling? You know they bring it to you every season.

That’s right! Thirty-six outfits strutted the runway on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 Episode 5. It’s a lot to take in all within one round.

Some killed it and others blew the judges away. But one queen walked away with the worst runway outfit in Drag Race herstory.

The ball challenges have been getting bigger and bigger throughout the years. Does anyone else remember when they used to be run during the Top 4 or Top 5?

Now, it’s a large party with up to 36 ensembles walking the runway during a single episode.

The problem here is that it’s too many outfits to assess and appreciate in a short amount of time. It’s one look after another before they’re quickly forgotten as the next look takes its place.

And, when the round is already jam-packed with a Mini Challenge, challenge prep, and mirror moments, it all becomes overstuffed with scenes. A lot happened this round and it felt overwhelming by the time the queens had to lip-sync.

“The Bag Ball” would’ve been a stronger episode had it trimmed away some elements to showcase more time on the runway.

One of those moments is the baby Mini Challenge.

Did we really need the baby dance-off with everything else going on? Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to see the queens let loose and have a ball. You could tell they had a great time acting like babies and shaking their stuff to RuPaul. (And Lala Ri twerked the house down!)

Her milk bottle brings all the toys to the yard!


However, the Mini Challenge didn’t play a huge part in the round. If that segment got taken away, it wouldn’t have affected the Maxi Challenge performance or outcome.

If it came down to it, either the baby challenge or the impromptu Werk Room ball should’ve stayed. I’d choose the latter because it included the history of the ball scene, the queens dancing together, and more of their sisterly moments.

Symone and Lala Ri not knowing how to sew were shocking to hear, especially since this is RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13.

There is ALWAYS a sewing challenge on Drag Race. (Always.) The queens know by now they’re going to need to construct outfits to win a challenge or two.

Did they take any lessons beforehand?

Lala Ri’s and Symone’s final outfits shined a clear light on which queen will prosper and which one will get an early elimination.

Kandy Muse: But right now, Symone has two wins under her belt and she’s my biggest competition here right now because…
Tamisha Iman: No, no, no. No, no, no. Don’t … no, no. She is competition, but she ain’t your biggest. You haven’t seen us yet.

Lala’s days are numbered. That bag corset was horrible! Seriously, it’s the worst runway outfit to ever walk down the runway on Drag Race, even more so than Alyssa’s campy camera dress.

Lala’s corset was hot glued and unfinished. Symone’s nautical dress, on the other hand, at least had a style and position it wanted to take. Plus, it fit her aesthetic and was well-constructed enough to match the vibe of the runway.

It’s shocking that Lala Ri’s dress didn’t get her eliminated.

When it came to the “Mixed Bag” runway, the queens were the most creative here with their looks.

Denali, Joey Jay, Symone, Rosé, Olivia Lux, Kandy Muse, and Utica Queen shined the brightest with their ensembles.

Denali, Symone, and Kandy had clever ideas that played nicely with humor and style. Denali and Symone thought outside the box with their inflatable looks, and Kandy looked polished as the magician, which was a nice development after her previous fashion mishaps.

[In confessional] She is not a judge. She doesn’t get to decide why I was safe. My job is to win, not to listen to peasants and what they have to say about me.

Elliott with 2 Ts

Rosé, Olivia, and Utica took a few nods for their designed looks. Rosé as the bagpipes was well-constructed and fashionable, and Utica’s puppy outfit balanced high fashion with humor.

Olivia’s outfit looked great, but coming off the heels of Symone who also did a boxing runway on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 Episode 2, there was some expected comparison. Symone’s previous look killed it with her mix of swagger and personality.

Joey Jay, on the other hand, looked amazing on the runway in the Poison IV ensemble. However, she should’ve been confident in her outfit’s theme and gone with the flow from the judges.

Killing a joke in Drag Race could hurt a queen’s chances more than they realize.

For the “Money Bags” runway, did anyone else notice the queens followed a similar type of aesthetic?

The majority were in business suits or business-like attire. We get it, you own 51% of this company!

Denali, Symone, Olivia Lux, Gottmik, Tina Burner, and Utica had the strongest looks by far.

Utica, Denali, Tina, and Olivia each had different variations of the businesswoman mogul. They were rich, opulent, and jazzed up their outfits to set themselves apart from the other queens. Their looks, like Olivia’s sophisticated cape/blue elegance, Tina’s fitted houndstooth, Denali’s fitted Cruella gown, and Utica’s play with the accessories hanging from her suit, brought unexpected energy to the runway.

Symone’s futuristic suit was a different play on the theme. The pink fabric helped her stand out, but the cut-outs and collar turned it into a high-fashion statement.

Though, Gottmik’s outfit alone is the real draw. Was her Money Bags outfit the look of the night?

You could see the jaws from the judges drop. Michelle Visage was blown away and speechless when Gottmik’s second look hit the runway; this look sealed the deal and won her the challenge.

And it’s a deserved win!

The outfit was fitted to the gods and covered in head-to-toe crystals. Plus, her makeup and hair added to the modern and polished aesthetic overall. When they talk about great fashion on Drag Race, this look is a great example.

For the constructed bag runway, Olivia Lux, Gottmik, Rosé, and Utica had the strongest looks.

Olivia’s Athena-inspired outfit looked rich and expensive. Based on this ensemble, she has a talent for constructing outfits and choosing the perfect colors; the blend of the holographic bags looked seamless and fashionable.

Rosé’s silver femme fatale look was creative and fun. Sure, the playfulness of the spinning bags was a gimmick, but it’s those fine touches that reel in the judges.

The same goes with Gottmik’s Matrix-inspired look and the decision to go minimalistic with her outfit. She killed it by doing something different that made her visibly stand out from the other queens.

[In confessional] Just because you did exceptionally well in this particular challenge. Now all of a sudden, you’re sitting beside Michelle?! No bitch, get back over here in this line. You’re number 12. Take your original spot, right back over here with this twisted busted wig on your head. Ka-pow!

Tamisha Iman

Utica, on the other hand, was the clear winner of this runway.

Her use of the sleeping bags and constructing them into a high-fashion gown was a marvel. Sleeping Bags isn’t the easiest material to work with, so Utica deserves a lot of credit for finding a way to rein them in, construct them, and turn them into a fitted masterpiece that could be in a magazine photoshoot.

If it wasn’t for Gottmik’s strong second and third look, Utica’s third runway would’ve won her the challenge.

The lip-sync of “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea was a very close race that either Lala or Joey could’ve won. But, the thrill of finding out who won wasn’t as strong because it’s obvious that neither Lala nor Joey will win Drag Race.

Hear me out: Lala Ri is a lip-sync assassin and has won two songs. That skill came out during “Fancy” when she added plenty of humor, jokes, swag, and moves. However, she’s underperformed in the challenges and created one of the worst outfits ever.

Joey has the personality and lip-sync skills, but her fashion taste was questionable and she wasn’t strong in challenges either.

During this lip-sync, Lala brought down the house with her humor and personality; all she had to do was a few moves for RuPaul to laugh and win her over. But she can’t rely on that talent to carry her through the competition.

The inevitability might be coming sooner than expected.

Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:

  • The mirror moment about Black Lives Matter/Rayshard Brooks was a heartwarming and deep conversation for the queens to have. Kudos to RuPaul’s Drag Race for adding this dialogue to “The Bag Ball.”
  • Kandy Muse’s list of rivalries is growing. Elliott with 2 Ts, Tamisha Iman … she isn’t wasting any time.
  • Kandy looked so heartbroken when Joey Jay got the boot.
  • Can Nicole Byer stick around as a permanent judge? She’s so funny and amazing!
  • Tamisha and Lala not being in the bottom two together was the biggest twist of the night. That development is the type of thing the Drag Race producers love to plan for their plots.

Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!

What did you think of “The Bag Ball”?

Would you go on Drag Race not having strong sewing skills? Will a fight break out between Kandy Muse and Tamisha Iman? Do you agree with the elimination?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.


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