Canada’s Drag Race: Season 1, Episode 4 Recap – “Single-Use Queens”

Hello and welcome to another post recapping the latest spin off 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 queens were split into two competing groups in a song and dance showdown throwing shade at their competitors. Though some soared, with Priyanka earning her first win of the season, many found it difficult. Ilona Verley was saved from the bottom with her runway look, whilst Tynomi Banks found herself in big trouble for the second week in a row. But it was Anastarzia Anaquway, the pageant queen of the season, who became the third eliminated from the competition.

*Warning: This recap contains spoilers*

The big talking point at the start of this episode is that the eliminated queen, Anastarzia, didn’t write a lipstick goodbye message. This ritual has gone all the way back to Season 2 of the original contest and has been held by the various spin-off series. So for Anastarzia to not write a message, even though the remaining queens half-heartedly put it down to her speaking it upon elimination, I fear means that this will be the main legacy of a polished and controlled queen.

Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 Promo (Crave/Out TV, 2020)

There seems to be a storyline developing here, spearheaded by week one winner Rita Baga, that the competition will become Toronto queens versus the rest of Canada. As Rita rightfully puts it, the queens from Toronto seem a lot more battle ready and savage, whereas we have already seen the Quebec sisterhood developing between Rita and Kiara, who have genuine respect for each other. Compare that to the slightly messy drama between BOA and Scarlett BoBo and it is clear who comes off better on camera, as well as the fact that Toronto queens aren’t doing spectacularly in this competition.

The mini challenge is a fun one, especially since it is given by Stacey McKenzie, who seems to be coming out of her shell more. It is a basically a game with many topless guys to find the matching pairs of underwear. Jimbo is the winner of the mini-challenge and basically declares that the others don’t think of her as a threat, not being part of the Toronto community.

The main challenge is another one straight from the Drag Race archives, with a twist. Using recycled materials straight from a bright pink dumpster, the queens will split into three teams and design and produce an iconic fashion line, which need to be cohesive yet made individually. I think these challenges, which are more representative of drag culture and how anything can be used to create a costume, really helps to showcase the ability of the queens. The teams for the maxi challenge are Jimbo, Tynomi Banks and Ilona Verley, Scarlett BoBo, Kiara and Rita Baga, and finally Lemon, BOA and Priyanka. Jimbo, as the winner of the mini-challenge, gets to assign the three dumpsters. Her team gets the paper dumpster, the metal dumpster goes to Lemon’s team, and finally the plastic dumpster to Rita’s group.

Some queens are relishing the opportunity of the challenge, in particular Lemon, who wants to let the judges know that she can construct a silhouette. Others have skills and backgrounds suited to this challenge, but some are already struggling, most notably Scarlett, who feels like she is piling crap on crap. This quickly is noticed by the other Toronto queens, who do throw shade at her, even though they were besties when they were working together. Ilona and Tynomi, who threw the shade, have their own problems; Jimbo’s planned look is completely different from their concept of “sherbet showgirls” that they have to derail their original idea. With the catwalk 1-on-1 between Stacey McKenzie (who is giving some great advice and is coming across as the best judge on the panel at the moment) and Jimbo not completely going right either, their team may be in a bit of trouble.

While getting ready, Ilona and Tynomi talk briefly about the importance of allies in high school, who would let the bullies have it, and how important it was for their development. The biggest story this week is reserved for Scarlett BoBo, who we find out is part of a large drag family that was started thirty years ago, but her drag mother tragically passed away just before filming.

The Guest Host for this week is fashion designer Biddell. I’m glad they chose a guest host who matched the challenge but he didn’t give as much advice compared to the regular judges when it came to looks, which was a bit of a shame. Here are the nine and the looks they brought to the runway, courtesy of Crave/Out TV, in order of appearance:

Scarlett BoBo
Kiara
Rita Baga
BOA
Priyanka
Lemon
Ilona Verley
Tynomi Banks
Jimbo

On the runway, Maison Borata (Scarlett, Kiara and Rita) are named as the winning team, which was the right decision since the three looks were all cohesive yet unique. To no great surprise to myself, Rita Baga wins the challenge; she was the one to me who truly captured this challenge and felt like a scale up from her team-mates. This means she becomes the first queen to win two challenges this season, after the design challenge in episode one. Kiara and Scarlett both do good jobs too, but none are given individual critiques.

In the judges critiques, BOA is told she has good personality but the outfit looks so empty; at this point, she is truly skating by. Priyanka was given complete praise for her runway walk and for such a high fashion concept. Lemon is told that she is beautiful but lacked something to push it over the edge. The general team look lacked cohesion. On Team Papier, Ilona is compared unfavourably to a pinata and for fading into the background. Tynomi receives slightly less harsh critiques than Tynomi but breaks down on the main stage; it is so hard to see her like this and tough to see her avoid the bottom two. Jimbo is praised for the amount of work she put into her looks but the makeup is critiqued, to which Jimbo bites back about not having enough time; is the strain of this competition starting to get to her?

The drama continues backstage when the critiqued queens return. Jimbo makes a small comment about the temperature of the room, only for Ilona to jump on that. Ultimately Jimbo wins the argument and Ilona turns it down. Tynomi is a mess backstage but Ilona makes the whole room turn to her instead; at this point it looks like the two are sewn in for the bottom. That is what happens, but there is a twist. Ilona breaks down upon announcement that she is in the bottom two and she says she can’t do it. But she does perform “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne against Tynomi. And I’m glad she did fight, because it was a brilliant high-energy lipsync from both. Tynomi’s track record in the end was held against her and she becomes the fourth to leave the competition.

Next week, the eight remaining queens play one of the staples of Drag Race: The Snatch Game! But whose impersonations will shine and whose will look like a pale imitation? You can see my review of Episode 5 of Canada’s Drag Race soon!

Do you think the right person was eliminated? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. If you want to keep up to date with the latest posts, subscribe to the blog to receive email notifications when new posts are published, and don’t forget to like this post. See you all next week for another recap of Canada’s Drag Race.

2 comments

  1. I was incredibly shocked by the judging this episode! Ilona and Tynomi may have had costume-y outfits, but this is Drag Race, no? They were both totally cute and polished, so it was disappointing to see them being dragged so hard by the judges. If the judges wanted more couture and less camp, then fine. But they went in hard, criticizing them way harder than I thought they deserved. Unfortunately, Tynomi’s time had come, but I don’t think it necessarily had to be so…. Great Ru-cap! This has been a fierce season so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for the comment. I agree that Tynomi’s time had come, and her outfit did look more appealing on the eye in a way than Ilona’s, but there are a couple of contestants who are skating by at this point. This has been a great season so far, you are totally right!

      Like

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