‘Canada’s Drag Race’ Recap: ‘Inner Saboteur’ Is Out, ‘Inner Sabotage Dick’ Is In
Another week, another completely confusing set of judges critiques.
Lena Dunham was right: one man’s trash really is another’s excellent TV. This week, Canada’s Drag Race put a spin on the ‘unconventional materials’ design challenge by putting the queens into couture houses to create three cohesive looks.
But, from the beginning, the queens knew they’d be judged individually, creating tension as some queens (Jimbo) opted to do their own thing, leaving their teammates (Ilona and Tynomi, this week’s bottom two) to adapt and make their vision cohesive.
It’s a rare example of producing that still feels natural: the conditions were there to create drama, but no one was pushed into it.
But where, say, Bianca Del Rio or Shea Coulée help other lesser sew-ers out, Jimbo let her need to showboat take over. It’s somewhat understandable: she probably should’ve won that first design challenge over Rita, and has been just missing out on wins ever since.
Being slept on would be frustrating. Still, seeing Jimbo throw her team under the bus by deciding to do a queen look rather than the ‘showgirl’ theme they agreed on wasn’t cute.
A narrative’s brewing about Jimbo’s arrogance, already teased last week. Usually, it either sends a queen home early or they never really apologise and win (Violet). We wouldn’t be mad with the latter: so far, at least, Jimbo kind of deserves the chip on her shoulder.
This week, we said bye to Tynomi after three weeks in the bottom, Ilona had a little melt-down and Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman continued being incredibly mean. Let’s go.
Canada’s Drag Race continues to be exceedingly horny this week, as the camera again lingers long and hard on the pit-crews’ bulges and bodies this week during the mini-challenge.
Stacey McKenzie is in the room this week, and she’s fast become my favourite of the three judges: really funny, impeccable style and ready to be a little bit dumb.
She even has a Tyra Banks on ATNM ‘acting moment’ while introducing this week’s ‘underwear match’ mini-challenge, momentarily “forgetting” her script. Give her the C-oscar (Canadian Oscar)!
It’s a shame these mini-challenges have been missing from All Stars 5, because they really let the queens’ personalities shine: there’s absolutely no skill to most of them, so instead it’s all wit.
And when it comes to wit, Priyanka really stands out — her line about the pit-crew resembling all the boys who have blocked her on Grindr was extremely good, as was her invention of ‘sabotage dick’.
Speaking of sabotage dick, the way #9 looked at the queens as he dropped his shorts…the ‘mattress-on-the-floor my parents pay my rent and I’m a photographer exploring the queer male nude’ energy…
It’s a small thing, but it was nice to see a pit-crew which wasn’t all incredibly toned people. The pit-crew’s hyper-sexualisation is very purposefully a joke, but it’s still a welcome addition that the show has acknowledged that you don’t need an 8-pack to be objectified.
A tiny step, for sure, but a nice one all the same.
Jimbo wins, and determines which teams of three get which materials for the main-challenge. Priyanka, Lemon and Boa get the scrap metal; Scarlett, Rita and Kiara have plastic, and Jimbo, Ilona and Tynomi play with paper. Crystal Methyd’s there too.
The queens also get a runway lesson from Stacey, which is a nice throwback to this show’s roots as a Top Model/Project Runway parody.
It’s also a perfect excuse to link this video of Naomi Campbell crying from laughter at a contestant’s runway walk on The Face UK. Thankfully none of the queens are quite that bad, though Jimbo comes close.
Metal, Paper And Plastic For Spring? Groundbreaking.
Another week, another completely confusing set of critiques: I disagreed completely with the bottoms for this week. Why put Tynomi and Ilona up for elimination while the whole house of rust were right there?
I love all three of those queens, but I was shocked to hear them heap praise on Priyanka and Lemon’s looks. There’s a lot to be said about Jeffrey’s critiques, but he made a salient point about the lack of cohesion, too: some copper on Priyanka and BOA’s looks and silver on Lemon’s could’ve gone a long way.
Still, they definitely had the hardest material to work with, and even if Lemon’s look didn’t scrub up for me, the uncoiling of metal scourers into a dress is a really smart idea — especially considering her look in the first design challenge.
BOA is getting the classic ‘comedy queen’ challenge, where the judges ask her to deliver a ‘proper glamour’ look next week. It’s hard when the queens have pre-planned their looks from home, so it’ll probably be a sticking point for a few more weeks.
The plastic team — Bobo, Kiara, Rita — are this week’s winning team, but it’s Rita who takes out top honours. They absolutely deserve it: it’s incredibly cohesive but each queen has a unique look.
With Rita now at two challenge wins, I’m a little surprised Scarlett wasn’t this week’s winner, but Rita’s homage to her club kid roots showed another side to her drag. She’s become one of the queens to beat.
Maison papier, meanwhile, gave off more of a cotton-candy JRPG vibe than couture, but their looks were really well executed. The judges’ logic — that it doesn’t really address the challenge — makes sense, but when they look like this, who cares?
The judges determine they’re the bottoms of the week, and really rip into Jimbo despite her ornate look.
Jeffrey’s comments, in particular, are mean-spirited: sure, she could’ve painted her arms white to make her face but the way he said, “Everyone gets the same amount of time. Use it better, maybe” definitely went a notch above even Michelle’s most severe critiques.
The show’s still working out its rhythm, and Jeffrey is playing with being the mean judge. It’s a hard role to play, especially without the in-depth, decades-long connection to drag that Michelle, despite being a straight cis-woman, has.
Still, it’s unpleasant to watch, and while I’m in the seeming minority of people who enjoy Jeffrey on the show, I hope he reins it in next season.
Back-stage, Tynomi and Ilona are pretty upset about their critiques, though it’s Ilona who has a mini-meltdown. Her frustration makes sense, but the way she goes about it by telling other queens to shut the fuck up is pretty jarring.
I thought it might be the edit that made Ilona look insensitive, but the queens’ reactions show they were pretty fed up with her interrupting them. Jimbo shuts her down, and the age difference is very clear — she simply has no time for the whining.
For some reason, the set is incredibly cold, and the queens all rug up in coats and blankets. It means that the queens look like the survivors of a sinking drag cruise.
Ilona and Tynomi lip-sync to Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’, and despite Ilona having a little cry on-stage, they both bring it. The matching pom-pom knight looks are perfect: it’s a potential double-shantée, but it’s Tynomi’s time to go.
She didn’t quite get out of her head all competition, which is a shame, as the fact that the other queens all called her “THE Tynomi Banks” is indication enough that she’s an excellent queen. We’ll always have her stunning confessional look (and if anyone knows where I can cop that jumper, please let me know).
Next week is the Snatch Game: I expect nothing less than eight Céline Dions.
Canada’s Drag Race streams on Stan, with new episodes arriving each Friday 1pm AEST.
Jared Richards is a staff writer at Junkee, Drag Race recapper and Vox Lux enthusiast. He’s on Twitter.