The grand finale of Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under plays out in much the same way as any finale of the Drag Race global franchise. That is:
- A lot of pontificating on being part of the Top 4 from the girls
- A meaningful interview with Rupaul and Michelle Visage (or Fred, or Art Arya, or Supremme or Brooke depending on your nation)
- An all-singing, all-dancing performance tied into a re-release of an old Rupaul club hit
- A best drag runway
- Two tearful soliloquys from each queen, one told to a photo of themselves as a child and another explaining why they should become the next Drag Superstar
- A lip sync performance from the top finalists
- A winner being crowned.
We received all of this in the Down Under finale as well, which made it a little by-the-numbers but also a comfortable and dare I say enjoyable end to a very controversial first (but hopefully not last) season.
Firstly, let’s talk about poor Karen From Finance. I can’t remember another queen on the show who dedicated her talking head to explaining why another queen should win the competition but Karen did just that to justify Art’s place in the finale. Combined with her generally middling performance and something that I really struggled to consider ‘best drag’, and she was hit with one of the two worst edits of the episode. It was clear she was not a contender from the start.
The other one who didn’t play their cards right at all was the racist one. When they used her very sad revelation about her biological father simply to give Art Simone an opportunity to talk about her own experience, I thought perhaps it was curtains for her as well. But when she answered the question “Why should you win Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under?” with what amounted to “Because I’m better than the rest of them and have won more challenges,” I became even more certain it wasn’t going to be her either.
And then there’s Art Simone. This was a glowing episode for her. She nailed every look, I loved her verse and the aggressively Australian pronunciation of the lyrics. Her speech was also pretty great and her best drag was elegant and beautiful. But her earlier elimination and mystifying return ‘in the trash’ played against her in popular opinion and probably ruined her chances. But it was clear the producers considered this to be a top 2 with Art Simone and Kita Mean.
Lovely, gorgeous, surprising Kita Mean. Her childhood trauma is still quite raw, but from the start of the episode when she wiped off Elektra’s message about being sent home by the winner of the season, I was pretty sure that was what’s known as foreshadowing. I actually got teary when she spoke on the main stage and her wings look was like a more elevated, more dragtastic version of Courtney Act’s look way back in season six. And then there was the lip sync. This has been a season for props. Maxi Shield and her glittery microphone and now Kita Mean and a rubber glove. The versatility of using it to mimic a rectal exam, fisting and then a cow’s udder? Brilliant. Show stopping. Give her the crown and scepter already!
And so Rupaul did just that. And with a collective sigh of relief, Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under ended on a high note, with the fan favourite winning over the queen who won the most challenges. Condragulations Kita Mean, you deserve it!
- Rupaul did not grace the main stage with her presence in the crowning, lending even more weight to the conspiracy theory that she was not even there.
- Rhys Nicholson is wonderful and should continue in season 2 (please let it continue into season 2).
- Where were all the eliminated queens for the best drag runway? Also no reunion? We have really been left starving this season.
- Who will host season 2? Will it be Rupaul again? Or will Art Simone step up to the plate?