Canada’s Drag Race
To paraphrase esteemed poet laureate Hilary Erhard Duff, Kyne could not do the math, so she got out of the equation. Enough did not equal enough for the judges, evidently, and the YouTube queen followed the narrative so familiar to overconfident social-media queens on Drag Race. Tynomi vows that she will not find herself in the bottom lip-syncing again, but if she does, “I am taking no prisoners.” Word to Tynomi: Don’t vow to not be in the bottom and then follow it with an “if …” stipulation. It gives the editors everything they want.
Ru makes her weekly contract-mandated video appearance, saying something aboot how Canadians say “sore-y” too much. As a Canadian who lives in the States and has to self-consciously overcorrect into saying “saaaahhhhry” (am I doing it right?), this was triggering but fair. Then it’s mini challenge time! The girls greet special guest Traci Melchor, who gets the special moniker of “Canada’s Squirrel Friend,” meaning she’ll pop up for the occasional mini challenge. Traci announces that the girls will pair up as trilingual news anchors for a morning show called “Canada Gay-M,” and hoooooo boy, if you thought normal teleprompter literacy challenges were tough on the gals (see: season 11’s Rachel Maddow mini challenge), try having to switch between anglais/francais/drag-lish. Rita and Kiara have a leg up as the only team with two French girls. Bobo and Ilona tap into that twinning energy from last week. Starzy and Tynomi are serving “Anglophone fourth-grader bullshitting their way through Ontario’s French curriculum” realness. Lemon and Priyanka are polished, funny, and have great improvisational chemistry, giving them the win. But best of all is Jimbo (a statement that’s just generally true in any context but definitely true in this mini challenge), doing a Nancy Grace impersonation that should make Acid Betty ashamed of herself. She keeps accidentally stealing BOA’s teleprompter lines, and BOA can’t even get mad about it because it’s hilarious. Best of all: She stays in character long after they’re done with the mini challenge, keeping the bit going in the werkroom. This would be obnoxious behavior coming from literally anyone else, but Jimbo is Canada’s most special angel and we appreciate her commitment to the bit.
For the maxi challenge, the girls split up into two groups for a rap battle called “Sorry Not Sorry Aboot It.” Ilona’s sore about getting picked last twice in a row, but she airs out her feels and her team moves past it. Team Captain Priyanka wants to call their team “Priyanka and the Dolls,” mostly as a joke, but Other Team Captain Lemon wants to call her team “The Dolls,” extremely sincerely. Pri’s team settles on The Mooseknuckles, which if ya don’t know, is camel toe for balls. Kiara (Team Dolls) is feeling extra-confident because she’s a dancer, and Jimbo (Team Dolls) does some riffing and has a great singing voice because there’s nothing Jimbo can’t do.
The girls head to the main stage to record their verses with music producer Ralph, and I mostly just feel bad for them thinking about how cold the set must be: These girls are wearing coats and they’re tuqued up. Kiara reveals that she is known in Montreal as a kai-kai queen, which is to say a queen with queen-on-queen proclivities, and we get a little taste of it in her standout verse: “Kiki wanna kai-kai, but none of these queens are my type.” It’s the catchiest flow since Alexis Mateo rapping about Daddy Yankee. Team Mooseknuckles is next, they all have singles on iTunes, and they won’t let Ralph forget it. Except for Starzy, who’s out of her element and is letting her nerves come through. We also learn that Rita can chanter. Ceci est some pipes.
The girls then reenter the main stage for some dance lessons with choreographer Hollywood Jade and his assistant Irvin, who are so intimidatingly synchronized they look like that meme of Dragonite and Charizard. This challenge exposes Jimbo’s first known weakness: picking up choreo. She says, “I do not like being bad at things. I hate it.” She clearly spends her life being amazing at everything else, so who can blame her? But at least Jimbo can be carried by the pro dancers on her team, Lemon, Kiara, and Tynomi. Priyanka’s team, on the other hand, has a harder time writ large with the choreo.
On elimination day in the workroom, BOA picks up on some saltiness from her old friend Bobo, who Lemon theorizes is mad because she’s not used to BOA getting more praise than her, IRL. The Toronto girls were clearly surprised to see BOA cast on the show when she first walked into the werkroom, and it must throw them all for a loop that the judges clearly eat her up. For the episode’s Real Talk Makeup Mirror Moment (™), Priyanka reveals that she’s not out to her father, because “I don’t want him to hate me,” and that she lies to him about dating a girl named Priyanka. It’s always heartbreaking to watch a Drag Race contestant talking about homophobia in their families and communities, but Pri’s story has a happy ending: Priyanka did end up coming out to her dad, and wrote a very nice thread about it on the night this episode first aired. Happy for you, Pri!
DEBORAH FUCKING COX is the extra-special guest, so the stakes are extremely fucking high for the girls performing their girl-group diss tracks. The general conceit of the whole number is “Canadians are polite but drag queens are shady: discuss,” and the whole thing’s worth it for the line “désolé, bitches!” The “hosers/I called you a ho, sir” is also a nice touch on the part of the Canada’s Drag Race songwriters (and/or … Ralph?) The editing on this challenge is super shady, filling the segment with close ups of Starzy, Ilona, BOA, and Jimbo stumbling through their choreo. The number ends with a four-part harmony “live/laugh/love,” a phrase that’s never not funny, sorry not sorry.
The runway category is Quebecky With the Good Hair, which is kind of a flop. Kiara wears Kyne’s gold disco jumpsuit after the balls fell off. Tynomi unfortunately serves an accidental Jade Jolie homage. BOA is Borat with a merkin. Starzy is Cousin Itt in the back and blonde Chun-Li with a long stringy beard in the front. For this two-in-one reveal, I was expecting a front-facing Morticia or Wednesday hair look, as were the judges, who call out Starzy on the mismatch. Not only are Lemon and Priyanka standouts in the rap battle, but their runway looks win the night as well. Ilona’s playful powder-blue plush poodle concept is adorable and saves her from the bottom.
Ever since Starzy’s puffer jacket was deemed merely “safe” in episode one, there’s been something of a judging problem on Canada’s Drag Race. It emerges again here, when Jeffrey makes Kiara cry despite her having the best hook in the challenge, questioning her taste level for a perfectly inoffensive disco look. Then, Jeffrey calls out Tynomi for forgetting her words, which did not come across as far as I could tell when I rewatched it. Even if Tynomi did mess up some of her lip sync, she had great stage presence in that rap battle, nailing the choreo. Meanwhile, they put BOA in the top, which is basically just gaslighting the audience at this point. BOA on top? But Rita only safe? Je m’excuse???
In the mini intra-episode Untucked, Kiara’s still crying, Tynomi’s confidence has been shot, and Scarlett’s still pissed at BOA. Priyanka wins the week, because not only was she a pro in the challenge, but on the runway she looked like a damn Tide Pod (a.k.a. a forbidden snacc). Starzy and Tynomi are in the bottom, and have to Lip Sync for Their Life to Deborah Cox’s “Absolutely Not.” Tynomi is once again able to do what she does best, and next week, there will be one less Starzy in the sky. Her loss is our loss and the timing is especially terrible, because next week, we’re getting another design challenge! Two in four episodes! These S3 vibes!
• Rita: “Practice your French, ladies!”
Scarlett: “Maybe you should practice your English.”
• “My name is Nancy Grace, and I am full-blown pissed to be here, but good morning anyway.” Every word out of Jimbo’s mouth is a typeface mug I’d want to buy.
• Lemon: “I’m a straight-up rapstress … I literally only listen to rap music.”
Jeffrey: “Like who, Iggy Azalea?”
• Jimbo to Lemon, who’s wearing a damn lemon tree atop her head: “Do you think everyone thought you looked like Groot’s sexy mother?”
• Stacey McKenzie’s Lisa Frank look this episode was everything and more.