“RuPaul’s Drag Race” fans won’t have to wait until New Year’s Day for the Season 13 premiere. The first act just dropped online, introducing the first two contestants and the season’s big twist: six head-to-head lipsyncs right off the bat.
Normally in a premiere episode, all the queens come together and are greeted by host and head judge RuPaul. For Season 13, a pair of queens is immediately whisked off to the main stage to lipsync for their life or risk getting the “pork chop” — a reference to Victoria “Pork Chop” Parker, the very first queen eliminated back in Season 1.
The clip shows Kandy Muse and Joey Jay hitting the stage and performing Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit “Call Me Maybe” in front of judges RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Ross Matthews and Carson Kressley. The judges’ table has been modified this season, with the seats now further apart and plexiglass barriers in between each judge.
Watch the first act above.
Ahead of the premiere, TheWrap caught up with the queens to talk about the new twist.
“I knew coming into Season 13 there was something that was going to be different; every other season is different from each other,” Muse told TheWrap. “Walking in the first day, you automatically think you’re going to meet all the girls and scope out the competition. If this is the first day, what’s the rest of the competition going to be like?”
“I was so shook,” Joey Jay added. “It definitely felt like they were raising the standard. This is something you would normally see on an ‘All-Stars’ and not a regular season. You come in with a specific mindset. Take that and throw it away. RuPaul is going to keep you on your toes.”
While fans will have to wait until Jan. 1 to see what the additional head-to-head pairings are, the other queens teased plenty more drama ahead — some of which revolves around their entrance looks.
“To actualize my greatest fear in the entire world — that very first day on ‘Drag Race’ — was a shock to the system. That greatest fear is simply lip-synching for your life in something you may not be fully ready or prepared to lipsync in,” Denali admitted. “That was a little difficult.”
“Mentally, my mind was ready. But I decided to wear a different pair of shoes, and the shoes were not ready,” Tamisha Iman explained. “I was like, ‘Can we do this another time?’ But it’s like, ‘ready, set and let’s go.'”
“It was so overwhelming,” added Elliott with 2 Ts. “I didn’t have a moment to stretch, I didn’t tie my wig down. There were so many things that you would’ve done to prepare yourself differently if you know that would be the case. I would’ve worn different shoes. I would’ve worn different earrings. I come from a dance background so I want to be able to perform my best. The way it was just thrown at you, I was just caught so off guard.”
“I could not believe it,” Gottmik said. “I couldn’t believe I was on the main stage in my entrance look. I put that entrance look on thinking it would be a cute workroom moment and then here I was, first five minutes, walking towards RuPaul. It really got us in the mentality to be on our toes at all times.”
Others were more confident.
“Once I heard RuPaul call my name to go on the main stage I instantly went into beast mode,” LaLa Ri said. “My costume was sure ready.”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” premieres Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on VH1 and will be simulcast on The CW Network, MTV, MTV2, PopTV and Logo.