• Jessica Taylor Yates

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under: Review

Come on, Ru and Michelle. We know you've got Shannon Noll giving you the dirt on what's dinky-di to make you look 'Straya!'

May the best woman, win! Source: The Guardian.


Gentleman, start your engines, cos RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under has launched with a bang greater than the one Meg Ryan was mimicking in When Harry Met Sally. Good luck ladies, and DON'T fuck it up!


For this season, it doesn't matter if you're a seasoned RuPaul Armchair Veteran or a first timer, so hunty, get on board! This is the first season featuring Aussie and NZ Kweens, so naturally, all of us this side of the equator are firmly in. The ep starts and we are told winners receive a whopping....$30K. Seriously? Is that...it? Seems a bit of a shnora prize for mine (what's that, like five drag outfits worth?) but let's get to it!


If you're new, we are on Season 13 in the USA, but this is our first ‘Down Under’ show. Generally speaking, you'll get 10-12 seasoned drag queens who compete to be the year's 'Drag Superstar'. Cosmetics contracts and a drag tour ensues, along with (predictably) a large Insta following, perhaps a deal to come back for Drag Race All-Stars, or Dancing With The Stars. Basically, the reality tv world becomes your oyster.

Episodes typically follow a format of mini challenge, large challenge, and what we are all here for: a fashion runway where the bottom two battle it out in a lip-sync for their lives, until we are left with a crown for the true Drag Superstar.


Got it? Good.

gif

Moving on. Source: GiPHY


I decided to host a viewing party with a seasoned renegade, a few RuPaul virgins, and my dog Maple, who was fully suited up for the occasion:

Serving light-up collar realness, honey. Image: Supplied.


We were introduced to 10 contestants from varying locations around Australia and New Zealand. I have to admit, the intro isn't my fav part. It can just get a bit too catty and bitchy for my liking. Like, be witty and clever, but just fat-shaming or saying people aren't famous enough to be on feels fairly uncool and doesn't make me laugh at all. I know this is not RuPaul's best friend race, but just be clever about your snark, you dig?

gif

More of this, please Ru.


But I digress.


After meeting our Queens (go Melbourne, go!) Ru arrived with some sort of weird Thor commercial mini-challenge. To be honest, I didn't super get it, they all read out a line in front of a green screen and we never watched it again. I think it was a way to get NZ director Taika Waititi on board because he's currently rocking a salt and pepper daddy fox vibe, which was okay by me:

I'm picking up what he's putting down. Source: Stan


But let's be real, honey. We are all here for the fashion show, and it did not disappoint. After the classic RuPaul opening (side note - imagine being given your own show and you're like, 'Yeah cool, in my contract, I need it that in every episode, I get dolled up in amazing hair, make-up and couture, and get to walk a runway solo to my own single while people applaud. That's cool yeah?') we were introduced to our 'Down Undaa' judges.

gif

Would love to write this into my marriage contract that I get to do this every night down the hallway in my dressing gown. Source: GiPHY


Classic judges RuPaul and Michelle Visage were there, which I appreciate - we don't want no Home Brand Drag Race, k? I was happy to see local Aussie comedian Rhys Nicholson made the cut with his amazing outfits and sharp wit, and rumour is we are gonna get some guest appearances from Rita Ora and the Minogues, aka Drag Royalty.


We got our 'major challenge' for the evening, which was serving two looks: something to do with being 'Born Again', and a look about your home town, 'No Place Like Home'. May the best woman, win!


Ladies, the first look was an EYEFUL. I felt a bit for my Ru virgins, they were THROWN in the deep end with looks being thrown at us like this:

WELCOME! Source: Stan


And this:

We sure this should be launched at 4pm AEST, or? Source: Stan


For me personally, I find the most fun in drag queens that have a character. A great drag queen to me (a straight woman with no business judging, but here. We. ARE) isn't just about looks, it's entertainment - Dame Edna, Nathan Lane in The Birdcage, or some To Wong Foo and Priscilla vibes. We want charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, right Ru?


It appeared the judges liked this too, with my Melbourne gal ‘Karen From Finance’ declared the week's winner, with her looks focusing on a white moll at the Melbourne Cup (lol, been there hun) and a fun take on the Born Again challenge:

Karen From Finance, Shantay, you stay. Source: The Decider.


The other Melbourne look from our Queen ‘Art Simone‘ was simply stunning, with a black dress and cape with Paris end of Collins Street vibes that when turned inside out, gave us Degraves Street and funky Northside art. Frothed it.

Very art. Much lewk. Source: The Decider.


The only thing I rolled my eyes at was when the American judges were like, "Omg, Melb Cup haha yes love it.'


Pls hun. As if you've ever heard of it. We know you've got Shannon Noll giving you the dirt on what's dinky-di into an earpiece 24/7 to make you look 'Straya!'


Now, I know I am being super biased to Melbs, so of course, there were some other absolutely fabulous fashion moments being served from our Queens listed below.

Can you fashion me? Source: Stan

You're lol. Pls stay. Source: Stan.

Anyway else feel like some Black Swan dip, or just me? Source: Stan.


Unfortunately for our Queens JoJo and Elektra, they were the first to make the bottom two, and had to lip-sync for their lives to an Aussie Bee Gees track, Tragedy.

gif

Needed some of these high waisted white flares to take the battle home. Source: GiPHY


Silence. RuPaul has made the decision. It is time to Bring. Back. Her. Girls.


Unfortunately, ‘JoJo’ our Indigenous Queen was made to Sashay Away (Elektra, shantay, you stay), but we know she'll be right.

You go, Glen Coco. Source: Stan.


Cos if you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen right up in here?


Let the music play.



RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under is currently streaming on Stan, with new episodes released weekly Saturdays at 4pm, AEST.

----


This year's Queens if you're despo to follow:


Drag Race Down Under competitors:

  • Anita Wigl'it (Auckland)

  • Art Simone (Geelong)

  • Coco Jumbo (Sydney)

  • Elektra Shock (Auckland)

  • Etcetera Etcetera (Sydney)

  • Jojo Zaho (Newcastle)

  • Karen from Finance (Melbourne)

  • Kita Mean (Auckland)

  • Maxi Shield (Sydney)

  • Scarlet Adams (Perth)