Lost and Fierce
Oooooh, girl! Don’t blame us for being behind on this one. There are far too many Drag Races to recap and when there’s so much overlap between the various international versions, inevitably, one of them’s gonna fall by the wayside. But we kinda have good reason to want to continue our recapping streak (every episode of every franchise except Thailand) and we just can’t keep our mouths shut about Drag Race if we wanted to at this point, so let’s get to it.
Canada’s Drag Race got off to a rocky start least season, but instead of the usual inaugural season issue, rough and not camera-ready queens, this show had the opposite problem: rough and not Drag Race-ready judges. Poor Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman was hounded off the show (and subjected to some heinously racist remarks) by the more rabid sides of the fandom, partially because he just wasn’t a very good fit. As we noted before, the male co-judges on Drag Race tend not to be gorgeous leading men types and some of Jeffrey’s more pointed critiques simply couldn’t land without sounding mean. Star stylist Brad Goreski is more or less taking his place this year and while we find him nearly unlistenable when he’s doing red carpet commentary, we have to begrudgingly admit that his over-the-top ways are a much better fit for this show. Brook Lynne is back in the lead chair, which makes a certain amount of sense because the main host of Drag Race should be a drag queen, but unlike Fred Van Leer (Drag Race Holland) or Supremme (Drag Race España), she’s not the smoothest mistress of ceremonies and she still comes off stiff, despite clearly being directed to loosen up a bit (and being handed a whole lot of groan-worthy jokes). Not trying to be shady, because she’s a stunning queen and she gives great critiques when she’s focused on the technical side of drag, but she simply doesn’t have the large personality that Ru and the other Drag Race hosts have.
Anyway, we’re no doubt going to have more to say about the various judges (including new additions Amanda Brugel and Traci Melchor) down the line, but for now, we’ve got a metric shit-tonne of queens to meet.
Oh god, there are so many of them. It just hit us. Okay, we’ve got to do this drive-by style, especially since it’s hard to get to know any of them when there are so many of them jostling for position in the early episodes. Gia seems like a bit of a smack-talker who could just as easily serve something stunning as something disastrous. She’s exactly the kind of queen Ru and Michelle love to mold. Her entrance look was okay, but she was so damn smart to have a reveal underneath so she could do the photo challenge easily. Her handmade red carpet look was tragic.
Her entrance look was great and her handmade look was way too crafty, but we like Kimora’s confessionals. She’s fun-shady.
Pythia comes off incredibly full of herself. Her bronze age Barbie entrance look was a lot of fun, though. Her hand-crafted look was a horror.
Messy queen. You can just tell. Not just because some of the other queens talked about her rep, but because she demanded attention while two other queens were facing their eliminations. Her little crying jag performance made for a good drag moment, but that’s the thing about the art of drag: in certain ways, it rewards the absolute messiest bitches. Her entrance look was fine and her handmade look was terrible.
LOVELOVELOVE Suki Doll. She’s fabulous, she’s funny, she’s very, very, VERY gay. So gay she can’t end a sentence without a little gasp of gayness at the end. Her entrance look was gorgeous and it pretty much earned her the mini-challenge win because it took such a fantastic picture in motion. We didn’t love her runway look as much as the judges did, but it had a certain eleganza to it.
No memory of this queen at all.
Beth’s entrance look was kind of a mess and you could tell immediately that she was going to be tripped up by self-confidence issues. The top half of her handmade look was great and we loved the early ’80s hair. We don’t think she was the worst on that runway by a long shot, but her shyness and lack of self-confidence killed her chances. Also, “Beth” may be the worst drag queen name we’ve ever heard.
We have to admit that we tend to grimace when Icesis speaks because she does that thing where she talks very loud and very fast while projecting from her diaphragm (think Miley Cyrus). It’s a very “performer” (i.e., LOOKATME) way of speaking, but that’s just us being cranky. Anyway we didn’t love her entrance look, but she did an amazing job on the handmade look. Using the admission tickets that way was a stroke of genius. She absolutely earned the win.
Loved Océane’s entrance look, but her admission that she can’t see her face to do her makeup and the fact that she resorted to “messy drunk girl” drag for her handmade red carpet look has us wondering if she’s got an issue with serving polished looks.
Adorable entrance look, surprisingly fabulous runway look.
Kendall Gender has a great name and is very cute out of drag, but this queen is rough.
Hated her entrance look but kind of loved her red carpet look. Other than that, we’re afraid her drag comes off pretty fatally generic so far.
It came down to Gia and Beth for the lip sync and girl, we guess so. It felt like a bit of a setup to us. Gia’s look was terrible but she’s all personality and bravado. Beth’s look was half-great but she has no self-confidence. It felt like the outcome was inevitable.
To be fair, we think it’s a bad idea for any queen with self esteem issues to try and work their way through or past them on a show like this. Beth didn’t have a path ahead of her to the crown.
Under the Big Top
It seems kind of insane to put the queens through a live-sung Ru-sical this early in the competition, when practically none of the cannon fodder has been weeded out, but we respect the CDR for being that hardass about it.
The big surprise of the night for us was that Synthia Kiss, the girl whose drag we just called generic, offered up not only the best vocal performance of the night, but one of the most smoothly professional song deliveries Drag Race ever saw. We know edited-in reaction shots could’ve been recorded at any time over a period of hours, but we believed it when they showed all the judges dropping their jaws. We just can’t believe she got waved through without any comment. There’s an argument to be made for why she wasn’t in the top (we’ll get to it), but it seemed really wrong to us to let her performance go unremarked upon.
Suki, Adriana and Océane were an absolute mess. As much as we think Ru is overstretched and overexposed, we wish she’d been there just to yell at them for disappointing her. Nothing about their performance gave any indication that they spent more than an hour preparing for it. None of them served particularly great looks, but Océane’s is barely drag at all.
Stephanie Prince and Icesis were similarly terrible and had no energy. Kendall Gender, to our complete surprise, served a pretty great look and a pretty entertaining performance, even though she’s nowhere near as polished a singer as Synthia. This is why the latter just didn’t get the love from the judges. We think they’re taking their cues from Ru, who always loves a bold fuck-it performance over a technically perfect one. Eve’s reveal drag was embarrasingly bad. Pythia’s insane clown performance was surprisingly good. Gia nearly stole the show with a bold, sexy performance that surprised us after her weak showing the week before.
Still too many girls to get through, so we’ll just talk about the tops and bottoms here. Icesis’s look is great and while we think her performance was horrible, we would have thought her runway look would save her here. There were so many bad performances during that number. Gia’s look is fun. Kendall’s is fabulous and we’re wondering if her initial rough drag looks were just here getting off to a rocky start. Eve’s costume is very witty, but we think she should have been in the bottom over Icesis. Ocean’s costume was amazing, but it wasn’t enough to keep her from the lip sync. Pythia really knocked out of the park this week, bit in her runway look and her performance. Loved Suki’s club kid drag.
Ocean and Icesis faced off and like last week’s lip sync, this one felt like it was over before it started. Ocean gave it her all, but we think her short time in the competition was showing too many lacking areas too early on. Like Beth last week, it just didn’t look like she had a way to get to the crown from where she is.
Our book, Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, is on sale wherever fine books are sold!
[Photo Credit: WOW Plus via Tom and Lorenzo]
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