Canada’s Drag Race
Hey, what’s up, bonjour, and what a bonjour it is indeed! Canada’s Drag Race, a.k.a. the other-other white meat of Drag Races, is back-back-back-bacon again for the sequel. And it’s not just the queens who are new to Wërkroom Nōrth; Neither of Brooke Lynn Hytes’s original co-hosts returned for this season for, frankly, depressing reasons. In perhaps a first for any iteration of Drag Race, season one’s producers gave the villain edit to a host — Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman — after giving him the problematic direction to be the “sassy one” of the judges and allegedly feeding him “pre-written negative critiques to read.” This sparked vile, racist bullying online. Bowyer-Chapman made the correct decision to join the Disney+ Doogie Howser reboot (film in Hawaii + Disney $$$) instead of returning for another season of production bullshit. Co-host Stacey McKenzie also didn’t return; the show’s Twitter account broke the news by citing “COVID-related challenges.” We will miss her presence but shall always remember Bob the Drag Queen’s piece of awful advice:
And as for the new judges? We’ll get to them in une minute, because we’ve got 12 new queens to introduce.
First is Vancouver’s Gia Metric, because in this house we use centimetres and kilograms, sweetie. Gia is dripping in Creamsicle orange and says she’s “all the stars in the universe, baby,” if you want to get a sense of both how hot and how gassed up she is.
Which makes Kimora Amour the solar eclipse. The Scarborough queen brings delivery in a black-feathered bodysuit that is very Crows Have Eyes upon first glance, but it works in the context of her “Carnival drag queen” persona.
Pythia is one of those mythology gays radicalized as a child by D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. She walks into the werkroom dressed like a Trojan logo in Breast Cancer Awareness pink. She says the name Pythia comes from the “oracle of Apollo” and shouts out her Greek roots. Has there been a Drag Race queen whose “thing” is being Greek before? Get Canadian legend Nia Vardalos on the line.
Eve 6000 from Toronto enters with a flat Earth joke (but is kidding). She claims to bring the best looks, but, based on her entrance, we have doubts. Eve casts herself as 6000 things: the shady queen, the curvy queen, allegedly a fashion queen. We’ll see if “winner” can be added to Eve’s list.
Suki Doll’s red entrance look is giving major frontrunner vibes. Most queens don’t pull off something like this until the grand finale, but this Montreal queen doesn’t want to waste a second of our time. Her skin is delicately plastered in gold leaf like she’s an overpriced burger and her headpiece is the sort of thing you want to hang a crown on. And does she ever give narration: “Suki Doll is different. She is inno-vative. She gives you things that you couldn’t even i-magine with that tiny little imagination of yours.” We worship.
Adriana toodles out in a little mermaid waist and says “Columbian body and pride” in Spanish and then says “I am fire to your veins” in voiceover, and we appreciate everything about it. She’s the first of two Quebec City queens really putting the ho in bonhomme.
Beth hits us with a new urbanist meme for transit-oriented teens, asking, “Is the SkyTrain still runnin’?” She’s from Vancouver, and is giving Rick Moranis in those confessionals. As for the entrance look, it’s the open-coat-over-body-suit thing that William/Carrie Bradshaw invented, only in Ilona Verley colors and festooned with “Beth Beth Beth Beth Beth Beth.”
Apparently, drag queens still call themselves variations on “ISIS,” including Icesis Couture from Ottawa. She’s going for the Vivienne Westwood thing in a bumblebee tartan sculptural lampshade look. She says she doesn’t have a signature style,” but between her extremely plaid entrance, boy, and (spoiler alert) runway looks, we’d disagree and say the brand is indeed strong.
Océane Aqua-Black is the most aggressively Quebecois queen since Rita Baga, and we are obsédés. The Pink Pantheress (not that Pink Pantheress) exercises her language law rights with two entrance catchphrases: “Hello, uglies!” in French, and then in English, “Oh, the ocean is rising, and she’s so salty.” (We bet when Greta Thunberg walks into a room, she says the exact same two things.) There is nothing not to love about Océane Aqua-Black. Between her name (which sounds like a spicier Icelandic Ultra Blue), smile, laugh, entrance look (a big pink shabby-chic coat over a pink athletic bodysuit), and, most of all, her boy look, which is Guy Fieri swapping sunglasses for sensible readers.
Stephanie Prince from Calgary is dressed as a sexy Jollibee mascot, so she already has our hearts. This charming, beautiful Filipinx queen opens with “I’m Stephanie Prince, I’m 24 years old, and I love cilantro,” and now I want her to ghostwrite my Hinge profile because that’s just perfect.
The final girls through the door (best friend Vancouverites), are the impeccably named Kendall Gender, dressed in all-brown Skims-chic and braids, and Synthia Kiss, dressed in a Katya wig and an unfortunately ugly as hell dress. Both Synthia and Eve 6000 really went for the purple-green-black Spirit Halloween colorways.
As the queens hug and introduce themselves, we learn that this season’s clique has already arrived pre-formed: Gia Metric, Kendall Gender, and Synthia Kiss are known as the Brat Pack in Vancity. Beth is aware of them but not included in the trio, setting up a possible Jinkx vs. Rolaskatox dynamic. The balance has also totally shifted this season from Toronto to Québec and Vancouver queens, so expect a lot more circus and athleisure influence in this year’s drag, respectively.
RuPaul makes her once-an-episode pre-recorded video appearance before meeting the three new judges (because we’re counting Brooke Lynn Hytes’ additional filler as the third new judge). There’s former Fashion Police panelist Brad Goreski, whose appearance to Brooke’s left has child-actor-gets-recast-in-’90s-sitcom feels (That is not the Becky I remember). To Brooke’s other left is actress Amanda Brugel, who I learn plays Rita on The Handmaid’s Tale (shame All-Stars 3 got to the handmaid motif first). Brooke announces the prize: 100 thou and a sickening supply of beauty products from Shoppers Drug Mart, which is Canada’s answer to CVS, minus the carpeting. The dolls gasp. I scream.
The mini-challenge is a throwback photoshoot situation where the gals jump into a pit of foam blocks and look like they’re snatching a crown to be filled in later in post. They’re photographed by extra special guest judge Caitlin Cronenberg, who, yes, is the daughter of David Cronenberg. The highlight is Eve getting stuck in the foam and fished out like a dead possum in the pool, and the lowlight is when Océane fucks up her knee during the stunt. It’s not a Drag Race premiere without an injury. Suki Doll wins the challenge, mostly by showing up in a fit that matches the backdrop.
The first maxi challenge of the season is a design challenge that has the girls raiding a coat check closet to make “haute check couture that screams premiere party eleganza.” Props for a concept that feels uniquely Canadian (coats, ergo coat checks, are needed 13 months of the year), but what makes this challenge a little muddled is that while coat checks are full of, well, clothes, the contestants can’t just throw an outfit together, they have to remix it with the other creative materials like ticket stubs, feathers, and a bowl of lemons.
This week’s topic at the makeup mirror talking club is Kimora Amour’s teenage son, of whom he is very proud. Meanwhile, Océane’s knee remains busted, and she admits that she’s “blind” when she does her makeup because she doesn’t wear contacts (The reads write themselves, folks). Also, it looks like Océane is sitting on the floor to do her makeup. That ain’t right. Production better get some more accommodating chairs for the larger queens.
On the runway, the queens model their premiere looks with varying degrees of success. Of the safe gals, we’ll give props to Pythia’s “Y2Gay” lime green and Rock Lobster bouffant combo and Synthia Kiss for wearing her gold lamé jumpsuit so well. Thankfully, Océane is safe after playing up her knee injury by staggering along in one of those morning-after-office-slag-limping-home-with-her-heels-off-and-makeup-running “comedic” looks. Also, Kimora looked like a pinata.
The tops include Suki Doll, who makes her beautiful dusky jewel-tone drapery dance in an impeccably constructed tripping hazard; Stephanie Price, who sold a constructed comic book heroine masterpiece entirely out of posters with impossibly fun stage presence; and Icesis Couture, who wins the challenge with a smart jacket set with layered tickets running down the side. The judges are gagging over this look, but it mostly looks like a jacket she grabbed off the coat check rack, especially considering Stephanie’s clever construction and Suki’s glamour.
The bottoms include Beth with a black spiky bodice top and limp sad bottom and limp sad stage presence; Eve 6000, who serves camp narrative from the neck up but barely elevates the rest of her look out of bodysuit territory; and Gia Metric in pastel yeast infection diaper-cut half-jeggings that broke my brain. I knew the judges would say it wasn’t serving premiere, and sure enough, that’s what they went for. It’s a more interesting look than, say, Beth’s, but it called to mind a vision of Gigi Goode without her perfectionist’s eye. The judges are unanimous in their picks, making me miss having Michelle around to disagree with everybody.
This week’s lip-sync is set to Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater,” but not before Eve 6000 has a commercial break-length crying fit after being declared “safe.” This lip-sync is a weird one. Beth is nervous and out of it the whole time, doing the saddest-ever version of that Megan Thee Stallion move where she lies butt-up on the floor and rhythmically pounds her first like she’s having a sexy tantrum. Meanwhile, Gia can strut, but beyond that, her choices are bizarre. She wiggles her arms around like Norma Desmond dancing Salome, then strips off her shirt to boy chest and pump her fist in the air. The whole thing is kind of giving Carrot Top at a Chili Peppers show. But at least it had energy and confidence, so Beth is the season’s first sashay. Beth is a young queen who’s clearly clever, but she is obviously a little green for this. That’s one Vancouverite down, one Brat Pack remaining.
• “Bitch, you better bring it to the floor, because I will always give you what? Kimora Amour.” We are officially eating out of the palm of Kimora’s hand. You know a queen’s got the goods when you can picture Matt Rogers’ future impression of them.
• “I’m Synthia Kiss, I’m 29 years old, and I’m so excited for jury duty. It’s our civic right!” We love a civic-minded hottie.
• “Sksksksksksk” — Stephanie Prince when the judges praised her look. No one else is doing it like her.