Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under recap – Episode 4 – Ru-cycle

I’m proud to say that I caught the blatant foreshadowing last week of someone being inside the trash pile and correctly guessed it would be Art Simone. It’s not rocket surgery, but it still feels good to be correct. Now hopefully I’ll also be correct that next week, the show and Rupaul will address Scarlett Adams’ storied history of cultural appropriation and blackface. I attended a viewing party this week which featured an appearance from Coco Jumbo and Maxi Shield following and when they discussed the runway, Coco said of Scarlett, “I didn’t recognise her in whiteface” and honestly it is too perfect of a commentary not to write down.

Putting that aside for now, Art is back on Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under (hooray and she is clearly incredibly talented and went home as a gag but also, where’s the second chance for Jojo Zaho and Coco Jumbo who I also adore?), it’s a design/sewing challenge (a.k.a. the best challenge) and the queens are blatantly reading each other all over the place.

Etcetera is becoming one of my favourite queens on the show. I love that her references are very old Hollywood and classic drag glamour, she is unafraid to tell it like it is, particularly when questioning Elektra’s taste level and Kita Mean’s design skills, and they are proudly, openly non-binary, which is incredibly important representation on any level, but particularly from someone as young and self-assured as Etcetera. I understood her 1920s reference on the runway, but agree that the skirt was a little too simple.

I’ve said it before, I want Maxi to win this competition. She’s far and away the funniest, most grounded cast member. Her quips in the workroom were hilarious, about not being an idiot and getting sewing lessons, about Scarlett being really lovely and that “she must just not like you, Elektra,” I just adore her. And her runway was glorious. I’m a sucker for any kind of graffiti print, and I love a Vivienne Westwood namedrop/reference, so as I slurred at Maxi later in the evening, “you were robbed!”

I thought all the queens did a pretty good job of creating an outfit out of rubbish, and while we have seen iterations of most of these before, that’s also due to the raw material being provided. If you don’t want to see pages and video tapes, don’t provide them, Rupaul’s producers. Similarly for ball pit paraphernalia, picnic rugs and those bags I don’t know the name of that Maxi used.

Elektra and Kita were deemed safe, which I suppose is fine but I found their colour schemes pretty repellent. The primaries of Kita’s and that umbrella hat that Etcetera rightly lampooned, were pretty unpleasant on the eye. And while Elektra looked sleek and glamorous (if not glam-diculous), the mustard browns of the ties was again fairly repellant. But while safe is good because you survive the week, it’s also boring because you were just not good enough and not bad enough to be a top or a bottom.

And then we have Karen From Finance. I must admit, they’re not giving Karen a lot of screen time. Since she won the first episode, she’s faded into the background a little, and she was literally in the background glowering at Art Simone while Kita Mean explained the rivalry between them in her talking head. Based on this week’s baffling decision to poorly recreate Schapelle Corby and her boogie board (this is somehow acceptable to make fun of a woman who spent nine years in a Balinese prison for smuggling, while making fun of Lindy Chamberlain is not? I’m not saying either is ok or not, we can make up our own minds, but I’m wondering where Karen’s line in the sand is…) and her safe status over the past few weeks, plus Art’s now glaring favouritism, I’d be a little concerned if I was Karen as well.

But Karen did somehow win the rather pedestrian lip sync, and poor, lovely, beautiful, kind even when she was being quite shady, Anita Wigl’it is sent home. I actually really loved her VHS and book pages dress and thought it was done in a high-fashion way, but she shouldn’t have told Rupaul she’d be doing it with a glue gun, because that’s probably what elicited such negative critiques.

Other bits:

  • I watched this episode at Ginger’s at The Oxford Hotel in Sydney, hosted by the wonderful Felicity Frockaccino and featuring performances from Coco Jumbo, Carmen Geddit and Maxi Shield afterwards and it was absolutely fantastic.
  • I was very happy to see Elz Carrad, star of the New Zealand film Rūrangi, part of the Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival this year, on the judging panel this week.
  • What will Ru need to ‘address’ on the main stage next week? Hopefully the Scarlett Adams controversy.
  • Rhys Nicholson is proving himself every week to be absolutely filthy and hilarious, I loved the repetition and changing emphasis of ‘I didn’t peg her, period’ and ‘You didn’t peg her period?’ Beautiful.
  • Glam-diculous. Patent it, put it on T-shirts. Also looking forward to Maxi Shield’s fair suck of the sav, which Ru openly stole, making its way to Drag Race US.

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