Canada’s Drag Race

This article, like Canada's Drag Race, only includes RuPaul in the beginning.

Image credit: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons

On July 2nd, Canada’s Drag Race premiered on Crave. University of Waterloo students may have heard about the show from the University’s article about Kyne Santos, a fourth-year math student vying for the title of Canada’s first Drag Superstar.

In case you missed it, here’s all the details so that you can catch up for next week.

Unlike all the other English-language shows of the franchise, Canada’s Drag Race is the only English-language edition of the Drag Race series not hosted by RuPaul. Do not be deceived by the promotional materials. RuPaul is only present for one short video at the beginning. The judges are Brooke-Lynn Hytes, RuPaul’s drag Race season 11 runner up from Toronto, Canada, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, actor known for shows such as American Horror Story: Apocalypse and Stacey McKenzie, Canadian fashion model. Unlike it’s America counterpart, all three judges have input into the elimination decisions of the show. It is refreshing for the other people at the table to have a clear impact on the results. Since there are three judges, RuPaul’s iconic lines including “Gentlemen prepare your engine and may the best woman win” and “Don’t fuck it up” are said by the guest judge. In the first episode, the guest judge was Elisha Cuthbert.

The Contestants

First to enter the work room was Priyanka, former host of YTV’s The Zone. This Toronto drag queen has only been doing drag for two years. She entered the work room in a sparkling body suit plastered with her name.

Next was Ilona Vurley, a self-declared “fucking-bitch” and fan of monochromatic outfits. Her entrance was marked by a dramatic toss of a cellphone. Ilona is from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kiara calls herself a versatile queen. This young Montreal queen is known for hair flips, somersaults and a great show. She is called “Montreal’s rising star”.

Juice Boxx, 31-year-old drag queen from Essex Ontario, wore an angel inspired look upon entry to highlight sexuality. In an iconic moment, Juice Boxx’s bracelet got stuck on fishnet leggings.

Anastarzia Anaquway, pageant drag queen, dresses only using custom designs. This East York queen entered with a matching patterned cowboy hat and dress perfectly fit. Unlike most of the other queens, Anastarzia has been in the drag circuit for seventeen years and is the reigning Miss Black Continental.

Lemon, as the name suggests, dressed in head to toe yellow with a magnificent draping coat. Introductions were speckled with many citrus puns. Lemon is the only queen hailing from the U.S., specifically New York, but does originate from Toronto, Canada.

Scarlett Bobo, a Toronto drag queen legend, described herself as “hippie wild-child punk-rock star wrapped into one”. Other queens described the headliner as “weird”.

Kyne, social media queen, an UW student, dressed in a stunning pant suit with an adorable royal-inspired hat.

BOA arrived on the scene with an utterly terrible cow pun and a jaw-dropping cow ensemble to match. BOA is using the fact that other queens will underestimate them to steal the superstar title.

Rita Baga, “queen-supreme of Montreal” is a huge queen in Montreal area, a legendary house queen.

The next queen, Jimbo from Vancouver, entered in a shocking clown ensemble paired with an extremely large breast plate and a tight corset.

The hypothetical love child of Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks can only be Toronto drag queen Tynomi Banks. Interestingly, Lemon was previously a back-up dancer for Tynomi.

The Challenges

The first challenge was a photoshoot on a “snowy hill”. The queens had some fabulous photos. But not all the queens can be winners. The judges declared as Kyne as the first winner of a mini challenge.

The maxi challenge was a runway design challenge. There was one twist: the fashions had to be based on the Canadian-themed boxes. As the winner of the first challenge, Kyne had the honour of deciding who got what box. Puns for the boxes were fabulous. There were gems like “Yukon Gold Digger”, “Like a Prairie”, “Quebec-froid” and “Much Rusic Video Prance”.In true Drag Race fashion, Kyne strategically sorted out the boxes to each queen’s weaknesses. The winner was criticized by the other queens for thinking too strategically.

Anarstarzia Anaquay, from East York wore a red puffy jacket-cape look. It was an excellent reflection of “Canada Gay” but kind of reminded me of swimwear model at a photoshoot in January.

Kiara, owner of the “Like a Prairie,” almost gave us a Valentina moment when we saw that mask over face. Thank goodness that she threw away that mask—unlike the season nine queen—leaving us with a prairie look that slayed.

Lemon, recipient of the “Jock Scrap” box, truly struggled to understand the sports equipment and connect with it to produce an outstanding outfit. The struggle was evident in the shapeless, basic, mismatched outfit that looked like it had popped out of an animé. I do have to admit, those shuttlecock earrings give us life.

Ilona used her two-spirit nature to connect with her “Muskokurrrrr” box. Coupled with her sewing skills, she put together a magical outfit. The large gaping chest may be a bold choice, but her look was a simple fashion that made her stand out from the crowd.

Kyne, who should have won with a landslide given the advantage of assigning the boxes, put together a sloppy look that made us cry at the wasted potential of a “Yukon Gold” theme. The disco outfit was an fun blast-from-the-past idea, but it was so poorly executed that a fashion hobbyist could have done better. The Christmas golden ornaments hot-glued to the chunky bell-bottoms fell off and scattered the stage. The judges criticized the looks as something a “GrindR hook-up” would wear. Judges also criticized the look for being too safe. Kyne did not take these comments nicely and snapped back. Brooklyn-Hytes warned her to find the line between arrogance and confidence quickly if she hoped to succeed in the competition.

Scarlett Bobo, wearer of chapless cowboy look embodying “Glampede,” put together a risqué look that used bandanas and colour in a smart way. Her performance and energy was a whole other thing entirely. Excellent strut!

Jimbo, signature wacky queen of the season got “Rainbow it Up”. The judges praised the look for being colourful, vibrant and a true reflection of the queen. In my opinion, the look was crafty and reminded me of something out of stuck at prom contest. I will agree with the judges comments and say that she definitely did not cut corners.

Tynomi Bank’s “Lumber Janes” look was stellar. It was campy and fun. The stuffed sock decorations are not practical to wear, but a fashion-forward look that paired with Canada’s signature plaid truly captured the Canadian aura.

BOA somehow took “Man of Green Gaybles” and made a fashion-forward potato-inspired look. The green shimmering corset caught everyone’s eyes. The judges praised the creativity and the potato boobies. What truly locked in the performance was her outstanding energy and personality.

Juice Boxx disappointed with “Much Ru-sic Video Prance”. Brooklyn-Hytes summed it up, saying the look was reminiscent of a “Party City Wilma Flintstone.” The extremely short skirt was too simple and lazily put together, a consequence of Juice Boxx’s inability to sew. When receiving the negative comments, Juice Boxx had a panic attack on the main stage. The judges reminded the queens that no matter how they do, they beat out tough competition to even be on the show.

Priyanka’s “Gone Fishy” look was a cute, fishy but ultimately unremarkable bikini.

Rita, Montreal queen had a stellar “Quebec-froid” campy look, a product of Montreal’s Cabaret style drag. The cloak was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The gag of eating cheese curds on stage was genius. The only critique is that the wrap dress underneath the clock had me begging for her to put it back on. However, her performance was by far the most polished. The roots mittens were a good addition that elevated the fashion. Most importantly, the look was a clear representation of what Rita had to offer in Canada’s Drag Race. The look ultimately won Rita the win and a $5 000 shopping spree at Roots.

As per drag race tradition, the bottom two had to lip-sync for their lives. This week the bottom two were Juice Boxx and Lemon. The song was the iconic “I Really Like You” by none other than Carly Rae Jepsen. The lip sync was standard. There was a lot of movement emphasized by the hands. Lemon truly made a moment when she jumped into the splits.

The judges ruled that Juice Boxx would be going home.

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