An Australian girl group episode and not a Bardot member in sight? I hate to see it. Did our Aussie (and Kiwi) girls give us the next Frock Destroyers? No. But did they do a pretty great job all around? I guess it depends on your opinion. For me there were definitely some standouts but it seems I was not aligned with the judges at all this week.
I’ve been reading recently some conspiracy theories that say that Rupaul Charles actually never went to New Zealand to shoot Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under. And it’s been a fascinating ride that forced me to evaluate every moment he was on screen and mentally compare it to other seasons. And I’ve come up with a big, I have no idea. Ru doesn’t normally get physically close to anyone in a normal series, so it all seems above board to me. So perhaps he’s never really there.
But that aside, this episode was fairly by-the-numbers. Just after Art’s elimination, reading her mirror message, we get to see that Coco’s ‘soz bitch’ from last week was in fact meant in a cruel way. I love Art, but I also love a villain and Coco’s complete lack of respect for and joy at sending Art home must be celebrated for that, regardless of the pettiness. It was interesting that Art chose to name Karen From Finance as the winner of the season (hearkening all the way back to US season 3 when Mariah Paris Balenciaga said ‘Condragulations Raja’) and also that Karen seemed so visibly miffed by this. It’s hard to argue with the fact that Karen is getting a winner’s edit but I can see her not wanting this pointed out.
The mini challenge was a stupid (as Michelle Visage says later in the episode, ‘the highest compliment on this show’) Baywatch-themed, slo-mo advertisement for Manscaper. I guess rampant sponsorship and product placement has made the leap from the United States, even if Ru herself may not have.
Arbitrarily, Elektra and Scarlett are chosen as winners, setting them up for their storylines nicely. They select queens with very little fuss, saving the gorgeous Maxi Shield for last, but she dgaf so it’s fine.
In fact it’s all done with little fuss. Even the drama teased last week was a fake-out. Which made me pretty annoyed. But moving on to the all-singing, all-dancing maxi challenge.
There was a strange rivalry between Scarlett Adams and Etcetera Etcetera, with the latter giving a great many notes to everyone on the team and seeming to be oblivious to causing any irritation, and Scarlett being determined to showcase herself and win win win.
Coco Jumbo is a confusing character to me. In her confessionals, she appears to be a brutally direct, villainous queen who is confident in her performance ability. Having seen her perform live prior to the show, I’d agree with this. However the performer on the runway is much more watered down. It’s a dissonance that ultimately lands her in the bottom again, which I can’t say I disagree with.
Kita and Anita, the two New Zealand queens with experience and money for looks (and the hosts of the television show House of Drag in New Zealand) are the rivalry I want them to exploit. Kita seems to be getting a fairly good edit as a strong contender, with Anita getting an underdog edit, so I have faith Anita will prevail.
Maxi Shield has my heart. After this episode, I’m rooting for her to win. Her ‘get it done’ attitude and willingness to try even far out of her comfort zone as she was singing and dancing is a joy to watch. In the performance itself, I was hysterical watching her totter around the other girls with her giant breastplate swinging around. I also loved how much time she spent on the floor as well and don’t know what Michelle was talking about.
The runway gave us two things I didn’t even know I wanted. Rupaul saying bogan, our Aussie word du jour for this week. And Rupaul saying ‘look at moi, look at moi’, just like the glorious Kath Day-Knight from Kath and Kim. Spectacular.
The looks for the Bogan
Formal Prom Realness were a very mixed bag. Some went down an 80s route, which is fine but not particularly bogan, and others were just baffling, such as Anita and Kita. I will admit that I was loving the goon bag dress concept from Scarlett Adams, but have now seen Art Simone’s look for the episode and well, I think it speaks for itself. Other than the goon, I was mostly enamoured with Maxi Shield and her glorious chaperone. Yes, it was 80s, but this also fits today and was incredible.
It also gave us a golden untucked moment with Scarlett frothing over being told she was a star by Michelle and Maxi cutting her down to say ‘well, I got that from Rupaul, didn’t I.’ And that was the moment I decided Maxi should win season one of Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under.
The lip sync was fairly inevitable, though from Maxi’s snub of Coco on the runway to Coco not even knowing Elektra’s name (I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Alexis) and her clear joy in sending Art home, it’s a bit of a shame this simmering villain has now gone. We’re still trimming the fat, but with only seven queens left, it won’t be long until the top four, here’s hoping it includes Maxi Shield.
- Just a personal shout out, I watched this episode at a viewing party at the Imperial in Erskineville Sydney, hosted by Etcetera Etcetera, and it was a lot of fun. Etcetera performed upstairs later with her ‘amateur’ colleagues Ruby Slippers and Riot, so I got a bit of local drag in too.
- Karen and Etcetera were both pretty background this episode, and both safe. Hopefully this changes next week.
- Scarlett’s wibbly wobbly prosthetics in the mini challenge were pretty hilarious.
- Rhys Nicholson making old jokes about Michelle Visage and her girl group Seduction being from the 1960s was perfection.
- Next week is a design challenge which is my favourite challenge. I can’t wait to see what disasters end up walking down the runway.