Hello and welcome to the second in a new series of posts that will recap the latest spin-off series of the hit reality TV competition RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show has headed north to assess the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent of the very best of Canadian drag in the debut season of Canada’s Drag Race. Across ten weeks, twelve drag performers will battle it out to win $100,000 and the title of “Canada’s First Drag Superstar”.
Last week, the twelve arrived into the Werkroom for the first time and were set the task of creating a fashionable outfit from materials in their boxes that scream of Canadian culture. Rita Baga won the first maxi-challenge of the season, narrowly beating Jimbo. At the other end, Kyne’s outbursts and attitude irritated both the judges and the other competitors, but they narrowly survived the bottom two. Lemon’s jump splits during the Lipsync For Your Life impressed the judges enough to stay, meaning poor Juice Boxx became the first to “Sashay Away”.
Without further ado, here is what happened in week two of Canada’s Drag Race.
The remaining eleven enter the Werkroom for the first time after Juice Boxx’s exit from the competition; it was clear that she had a lot more to give than what she displayed in that first episode, but the outfit wasn’t up to scratch. Lemon takes this shock as a wake-up call and knows that she must deliver as much as she can in the next challenge. Kyne meanwhile continues to spray Jinkx Monsoon’s ‘Delusion’ perfume and thinks she should have won the first challenge, leading to disbelief from the others, most notably from Scarlett BoBo and Kiara, the latter hilariously throwing one of the golden balls from Kyne’s dress onto the floor in confessionals.
The following day, regular judge (and Drag Race alumni) Brooke Lynn Hytes, enters the Werkroom and gives the eleven a mini challenge that has become a regular feature in recent seasons, the freestyle dance challenge. This is given a bit of a twist by playing off Brooke’s dance background and is themed around ballet. Brooke seems to be getting more into her stride as a judge and is showing personality that wasn’t featured much in Season 11. Anastarzia Anaquway and BOA are named as winners of the challenges, though special mention should go to Priyanka for her hilarious miming of pulling a guy’s pants down and… you know.
The two are made team captains for this week’s maxi-challenge, to act in two commercial scenes inspired by the Heritage adverts highlighting the history of Canada. It is good that the challenges so far seem rooted in Canadian culture. BOA’s team consists of Priyanka, Scarlett BoBo, Jimbo, Kyne and Ilona Verley, whilst Anastarzia is working with Tynomi Banks, Rita Baga, Kiara and Lemon.
It is immediately clear who will do well and who will struggle in this challenge. BOA has ADHD, which makes it difficult for her to concentrate on all of the lines on the paper. Tynomi Banks is also struggling with her lines, in particular the annunciation of the words, before Brooke Lynn mentions that she was acting like a deer in headlights on the runway the previous week. There is also an awkward exchange involving Kyne, who “forgives” Brooke Lynn for taking her to task for the previous week.
During filming, BOA struggles with every single exchange, literally having to have her lines drip-fed by Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. Ilona and Scarlett as musical twins are okay, whilst Priyanka is in character throughout. After some direction, the biggest surprise is Kyne, who drags Jimbo across the set to laughs. On the other team, Tynomi also struggles with every line, as much as Lemon is trying to get her through the scene. As good as Lemon is, no one is on Kiara’s level, delivering energy and comedy throughout as a death-dropping performer who can’t death drop anymore.
The category on the runway is to present an elevated version of their first time in drag. Talking about doing drag for the first time, Anastarzia heartbreakingly reveals that she was shot in her own yard coming home from work in her native Bahamas, taking bullets to her chest, arm and stomach, putting her in a life-threatening condition. She survived and claimed asylum to Canada, which highlights how privileged LGBT+ individuals are in some countries compared to those who are targeted in intolerant countries.
On the runway, the special guest host is Shadowhunters‘ Jade Hassoune. I am slowly getting used to this judge format, but wish that they weren’t just regurgitating RuPaul’s lines from the main show. The quality of the two scenes were decent, but some were much better than others. Anastarzia, Ilona, Rita and Scarlett were all named as safe, despite the latter doing a fire swallower trick on stage. Lemon was praised on her runway look and on her acting, especially how her lines flowed and she always stayed in character. Tynomi was critiqued both on her runway and her acting. Kiara knocked it out of the park with her acting, her only critique was that, though beautiful, her runway look was basic. BOA was called out for her lack of confidence on the runway, and only focusing on her lines in the scene. Kyne’s runway look was ripped apart for being inferior to the before picture, and her acting was just okay. Priyanka was funny and engaging throughout the challenge, and her runway look was stunning. Jimbo’s outfit was called as one of the best of the night and her acting was good, if a bit small compared to her huge personality.
In a surprise, Lemon beat Kiara to win the challenge, in a big jump from her bottom two placement the previous week. Though heavily critiqued, BOA was called as safe, meaning Tynomi Banks and Kyne were placed in the bottom two. Performing to Ultra Nate’s “If You Could Read My Mind”, Tynomi was giving face and emoting well, whilst Kyne was connecting to the words but not emoting the song as much. Tynomi Banks thus was spared from elimination, whilst Kyne became the second to leave Canada’s Drag Race.
Next week, the remaining ten contestants are split into two girl groups and have to record lyrics and learn choreography, but who will trip up? My recap of Episode 3 will be up next week.
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