Canada’s Drag Race
Big mistake, Canada’s Drag Race. Huge. When Océane Aqua-Black was eliminated in week two, I chalked it up to a classic case of a loveable queen having a bad week and going home too soon. It happens. Last week, Stephanie Prince’s elimination felt untimely — she was one of the most entertaining queens in the room, a deadly mix of peppy and bitchy — though Synthia tore that lip sync fair and square. But (spoiler alert) Suki Doll’s elimination at the end of this week is the sort of thing that Drag Race producers usually use rigga morris to prevent at all costs. Suki Doll is both a stunning drag artist and a great reality-TV character; every word out of her giant mouth has been iconic and quotable. In a season where the actual challenges and runways haven’t been thrilling (barring an exemplary Rusical), the main thing buoying this show week to week has been the contestants’ personalities. And now, some of the most interesting ones to watch are gone. *Sighs in French Canadian.*
This season, the eliminated queens must think they’re all Alice Munro, because they’ve all been scribing entire short stories on that mirror. They’re wasting valuable lipstick! Don’t they know we’re in a supply-chain crisis? After wiping Stephanie’s words away, Synthia wonders if she’ll need a lawyer after throwing that mace across the stage and almost hitting poor Steph during their lip sync. She’s not apologetic, though. “I’m an Aries. I go ferociously after my goals,” says our beautiful blonde-mulleted queen.
Here’s a new maxi challenge idea for producers: It’s called the “prompt queens to come up with new segues that aren’t ‘It’s a new day in the werkroom’” challenge. It really is a new day in the werkroom, though, and the library is, in fact, open. While these queens have been exceeding maximum word counts with their elimination lipstick messages, I’m not confident that any of them are literate in the reading-challenge sense. The edit only shows one joke for most queens, presumably the best they had to offer. The best of the bunch is probably Adriana saying, “Gia, or should I say, Gigi Not As Goode.” The specificity! Suki tells Kimora that she mistook her for a toilet seat because of all her bullshit, and Synthia roasted Brooke’s filler and proceeded to skip to her lou all around the room like the absolute British Columbia Temperate Rainforest Woodland Sprite she is. Icesis Couture wins, even though I can’t recall what any of her jokes were, and Brooke informs the gals that they’ll be competing in Squid Game … sorry, Snatch Game. I got the air of death and despair in those two confused.
As the queens prepare, Kendall tells a producer that “this competition has been so flippy-floppy,” and ain’t that the truth. She wisely notes that one of the reasons why Snatch Game matters so much is that when a performance is iconic, it does tend to get tied to a queen’s drag persona for years. The Vivienne is still dining off that Trump. Brooke Lynn does her walkthrough, and most queens are confident about what they want to do. Iceisis is doing La Veneno to pay tribute to her trans drag mother; Synthia is going to play up judge Brad Goreski’s past career by playing Rachel Zoe. Eve 6000 doesn’t know if she wants to do her tried-and-true Jennifer Coolidge impression or try Bernie Sanders, but her Bernie makes Brooke laugh, and she settles on it. Brooke tells the girls that their extra-special guest judge will be Connor Jessup. They all do terrible impressions … of knowing who that is.
Snatch Game begins, and there’s a surprise special guest on the panel: Bomanizer! From TikTok! As a stunningly handsome queer Canadian who found his niche making fun of reality TV, he was a total natural on actual reality TV. At the rate this Drag Race iteration churns through regulars, we could be seeing him as a judge this time next year. In an earlier recap, I said that Pythia really reminds me of Crystal Methyd (this is a very, very good thing), and her choice to do a high-pitched, creepy-robotic Grimes felt like an improvement on Crystal doing a high-pitched, creepy-robotic Poppy. Pythia nailed Grimes’s lisp, came ready with jokes (”I gave birth to an external disc drive. I’m raising him as a nonbinary computer code,”) and does Montreal proud. Icesis does a really solid job as a horned-up Veneno, but it is Synthia who dominates the entire affair with her Rachel Zoe. The queen has the sort of confidence that comes with being gorgeous with just enough comedy chops to back it up. Playing Goreski’s former employer could go either way, but it turns into a game where Synthia has the judges wrapped around her finger. I see flashes of Lemon in this likable queen.
Gia Metric is deemed “safe” by the judges, so we don’t get to hear their opinions on the truly wackadoo work she put in as a very draggy Jim Carrey. Gia’s Carrey runs around the stage, pulls rubbery faces, and straight-up is eating paper for a lot of the Snatch Game. High-octane impressions like this can too quickly veer into “off the rails” territory on Snatch Game, but Gia finds a really fun and surprising balance, and I want to give it its due here.
On the other end of the Snatch: Kendall Gender’s Kris Jenner is stale, Kimora’s Leslie Jones gets eclipsed by quicker performers, Eve forgets to be funny, Adriana’s Sofia Vergara has some evil contouring (and repetitive boob jokes), and Suki Doll’s Yoko Ono is a bold choice with low payoff. Back in the werkroom, Eve is really disappointed in herself, while Suki takes more of a “buck up, soldier” attitude and stands by her decisions.
On the runway, the queens have to serve looks inspired by a Canadian icon of their choosing. There is a fun variety of looks here, with only two queens repeating one figure. Suki Doll goes arthouse, giving her artistic and dragged-up take on Sandra Oh in Double Happiness (that trenchcoat!), while Icesis stomps out in poodle hair and a mint-green World War II-era nurse costume. Imagine my shock when she says it’s “an homage to Sandra Oh, my hometown girl, with her iconic role as Grey’s Anatomy.” This is worse than RuPaul saying Ben Platt was phenomenal in Dear Evan Hansen in the role of “Dear.” Icesis then says she is a “nurse,” and corrects herself to “doctor,” and ends up just saying “fashion.” The disrespect to Cristina Yang. Rude. Other standouts include Kimora Amour as Deborah Cox as Josephine Baker, Pythia giving a bold bird look as Catherine O’Hara as Moira Rose in “The Crows Have Eyes,” and Gia Metric really committing to her theme and giving the comedy gays everything they want by going as a sexy femme Austin Powers. Also of note: the jewel work on Adriana’s outfit. She says, “Vanessa Morgan is the lesbian queen of the serpents.” This makes her sound far more interesting than she actually is (she’s on Riverdale).
The judges deem Icesis, Kendall, and Gia safe, and Gia gives a bit of a facecrack. Kimora is put in the top above her, even though the judges call her Leslie Jones “one-note” multiple times. Backstage, Eve is worried, Suki is resolute, and Icesis is annoyed: “Eve thinks she’s so amazing. It’s another week of delusion. And if she’s in the bottom, I’m sorry sister, like, I don’t care,” she says in a confessional cutaway. Synthia wins the week, Adriana is spared from the bottom three, and Suki Doll must face off with Eve 6000 to “Happiness” by someone called KAPRI.
No one can find this song anywhere. The Redditors have deemed it a mystery. No wonder poor Suki doesn’t seem to know the words. This LSFYL is, unfortunately, low tempo, with Suki appearing not even to put up a fight. Eve does the saddest, ugliest little tearaway of her otherwise gorgeous Matrix drag look, but Suki takes way too long to take off her own coat and get on the floor and give choreo. It’s a disappointing ending to a promising run, but Eve sends Suki home. Her closing words are a cryptic poem: “A wise Suki once said all drag is valid, and boys in skirt with a yes. So keep that in mind and never put your foot forward with prejudice.” What is she trying to tell us? It’s a mystery for another week.
• Pythia’s little dance when the queens were undressing before the theme song took me out. Goblin vibes.
• In Ru’s weekly contractual video message, she quotes “Canada’s unofficial poet laureate … Drake.” Hate crime.
• “Werk hunny the house down boots mama.” — Eve 6000 doing a Bernie voice in the werkroom. If only she gave it this much flavor in the actual Snatch Game.
• “Comedy … is … subjective?” — A cutaway to Suki Doll while she bombs.
• “In the Snatch Game, your Yoko Ono was a Yoko Oh No.” — Brooke Lynn Hytes beating Ru at her own game.