Canada’s Drag Race
Let’s talk trash. Really. Because fresh off a runway challenge that was garbage in so many more ways than one, the girls are reeling from the departure of major Toronto queen Tynomi Banks, who they all presumed would be a frontrunner. The chips aren’t falling where these queens had expected. Also, BOA casually drops, “I have this theory that Pryanka’s possessed by the devil,” which we’d like to spend approximately ten more minutes on, please. But that thought’s cut short, because of course Ilona gets a paper cut disrobing from her paper knight costume and whines about it.
The next day in the werkroom, Priyanka confronts Ilona about constantly sucking the oxygen out of the room and playing “the victim card,” which prompts lil’ bystander Lemon to make this face:
Ilona snaps back, “how DARE you tell me how to feel,” prompting Lemon to make this face, thus establishing a theme of the episode: this is The Lemon Show:
Brooke Lynn walks in in his best David Rose cosplay, and officially opens the first-ever Canada’s Drag Race library for the Reading Is (Quoi?) Fundamental mini-challenge. Someone needs to sit these sweethearts down and explain to them the basic concept of “reads,” and maybe even the basic concept of “jokes,” because these girls mostly just sling middling digs and factual observations with no punchlines attached! Nothing sums up the adorable, jocular, too-nice vibe of the Canada’s Drag Race cast than when Lemon shimmies up to the front to put on her reading shades and all the girls murmur, “oh, those are cute!” and “those are really cute on you!” Y’all are too cute and supportive! And the joke’s on them, because Lemon gets the best read of the challenge, with: “Priyanka. You talk about having sex a lot. But the only thing you’re fucking…. Is fucking stupid.” ZING! She follows it up with: “Rita Baga. Last week I saw you playing with the plastics and I saw there was a Slinky there. And you remind me of a Slinky, because I don’t know what you’re good at, but I’d love to push you down the stairs.” I MEAN! Lemon wins the challenge, but props also must be given to Rita Baga, who deigns to read Brooke herself.
The maxi challenge is Snatch Game, which Lemon helpfully defines: “Snatch Game is important in this competition, because it separates the dumb bitches from the really clever girls.”
Priyanka is excited, armed with a lifetime of improv experience and eight years of working in children’s television. And what is Drag Race if not an episode of All That on poppers? Pri says she’s going to be Miss Cleo, which will be a Drag Race first, considering Shangela ditched it after her Jamaican accent in the werkroom walkthrough was a full-blown Irish brogue. We’ve also all just seen how Alexis Mateo used Walter Mercado’s psychic abilities as a clever improv game in Snatch Game of Love on All-Stars 5, so Priyanka as Miss Cleo seems like a shoe-in for the top.
Jeffrey enters the werkroom for a pre-Snatch Game walkthrough/stress builder, and gets a taste of what some of the other girls are prepping. BoBo can’t decide between Liza Minelli or Fran Drescher, and Jeffrey’s less-than-enthusiastic reaction to BoBo’s actually quite solid Fran steers her to do Liza instead. Despite the fact that Liza’s been done and Fran hasn’t. Despite the fact that BoBo’s Liza begins and ends with just repeating, “it’s fuckin’ Liza!” like she’s the Pickle Rick of Lizas. But maybe-that’s-just-me.jpg.biz.edu. BOA is torn between Cyndi Lauper, Rebel Wilson, and Gypsy Rose Blanchard, and thank gawd she went with Door Number Three, because that’s the kind of out-there Snatch Game pick we j’adore to see. That girl is camp. Lemon, a classic young, is doing Jojo Siwa, and her challenge will be making the olds laugh, even if they don’t know who Jojo is. And hoooo boy, what an introduction Lemon gives them.
Then it’s nearly time for Snatch Game, but not before a SheTalk red carpet hosted by Canada’s Previously Established Squirrelfriend, Traci Melchor. The red carpet is a nice touch, and lets the gals give us an early taste of their impressions on their own terms, without the pressure of the Snatch Game format. BOA sticking Apple earbuds in her nose like Gypsy Rose’s breathing tubes made me laugh a mighty, terrible laugh. It’s a rock solid Snatch Game choice: topical, fresh, an easy-to-impersonate look and voice, and just the right amount of offensive. Unfortunately, at the main event, she has a tough time getting a word in edgewise. Rita Baga does the exact Edith Piaf you’d expect her to do at this point: a bawdy, druggy grotesque, looking like a living Sardi’s drawing. You can physically map the comedic juices ebbing as you scan your eyes to the right of the set: Kiara as Mariah Carey has a classic case of “pretty queen who doesn’t get that you have to make jokes, not just references” Snatch Game syndrome, and Ilona looks every bit the part of a Cock Destroyer, but her comebacks are mostly just “safe” material. Seated above her is poor Priyanka. It hurts to watch such a strong queen flounder, getting lost in the shuffle of everyone else’s mania and having a hard time coming up with responses to Brooke’s very easy set-ups. On the other end of the spectrum, Jimbo kills as a very formidable Joan Rivers, adding some Jimbo touches like snorting a line of her late husband’s ashes and ad-libs at a scary-smart speed: when something drops, she says “that was my vagina.” When Scarlett as Liza butts in at one point, Jimbo shoots back: “Your mother invented the Snatch Game. You miss your mother? Smell my goddamn fingers.”
The judges for Snatch Game are “Scottish-born interior design duo, Colin and Justin,” and what they lack in recognizability they make up for in infectious fanboy enthusiasm. It’s kind of a running theme with a lot of the guests on this season: I may not know who they are, but they seem so happy to be there, like people who won a contest.
And now, we need to talk about Lemon, because she ATE that Snatch Game. She captures JoJo Siwa’s YouTube Kids algorithm-baiting energy, her incomprehensible mile-a-minute rasp, her dance moves (the dabbing!) and of course, her astronomically high hairline. If you squinted real hard or got something in your eye, for a minute you’d think they let this six-foot-tall child onto the set; that’s the power of Lemon’s Siwa illusion. Every time she pulled her own hair out or did a little pose, I absolutely lost it. It was impossible to take your eyes off her, because in the corner of every single shot, Lemon was constantly moving: dabbing, dancing, crossing her arms. This is a hall-of-fame Snatch.
For the runway, category is Night of a Thousand Celines, and Dion is such a fashion plate with so many lewrks to choose from, it’s clear the queens will avoid a season eight Madonna kimonos situation. The special guest host is comedian Mary Walsh, who I had never heard of, but boy is she fun! She’s got real butch aunt energy and snappy comebacks to spare. The queens all look gorgeous in their Celine looks, even though a number of them are a little too basic to properly honor the chanteuse. But you know who does put respect on Celine’s name? Jimbo, who turns the corner in a military jumpsuit Paris Fashion Week outfit, looking like the hottest, most high fashion bitch on that stage. This is a great week for Jimbo, showcasing how she makes her quirks, her costume design chops, and her arty-indie bona fides work for her. More than just “the funny one,” she’s a well-rounded competitor, and she’s got the shoulder pads and cheekbones to prove it. It is ultimately this runway look, over Lemon’s more basic, conservative Titanic Oscars gown, that gives Jimbo the edge for the win. Last on the runway, Priyanka saves her skin (in my opinion, anyway) with a stunning reveal, going from white winter wedding to golden goddess. As usual, half the fun of Priyanka’s runways is her stage presence, which is so self-assured, glamorous, and fun. Ilona and Scarlett are safe, BOA straddles the bottom but ends up safe, leaving Kiara and Priyanka to face off against each other.
“I Drove All Night” is such a slay of a Lip Sync for Your Life. Kiara is all sharp, precise poses and intense energy, whipping all that hair that the good sis gave her. Priyanka brings drama, emotion, and cartwheels. I can’t take my eyes off Kiara’s body or off of Priyanka’s face. Towards the end of the song, while Kiara keeps whipping and jerking around, Priyanka stares into the judges’ souls, and the contest is over, the race is won. Priyanka lives to sashay another day, because there’s no way this show was going to send home its protagonist. I’m not worried about Kiara, though. She’s young, stunning, and scrawls her name on the mirror in 500-pt font. Hero.
Reading mini challenge? Cheque.
Celine-themed runway? Cheque.
Best Snatch Game in ages? Cheque.
Gaggy LSFYL? Cheque.
That’s a four-star ep, luv.
• “Lemon, can you hold my drink? I always love putting it on a coaster.” —BOA brought wordplay!
• Rita Baga snapping her fingers and saying “Questionable taste level” in her French Canadian accent is not only what I want Canada’s Drag Race to be, but what I want all televised entertainment to be.
• “I think that being Rebecca is just that over-the-top personality.” —Ilona giving me a new author bio.
• “People know her as a drug addict. She was really miserable, so it’s easy to play with that.” —Rita Baga walking us through Marion Cotillard’s method for La Vie en Rose.
• ”Where’s Anne Murray?” —Colin came to Canada’s Snatch Game, dammit.
• “Can you please bring my coffin back? I am tired of this shit show.” —This 2020 mood from Edith Piaf.
• The town of Dildo, Newfoundland is, apparently, a real place.