If the fans weren’t already happy with the order of elimination of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under Going into last week’s episode, at the end of it, they were pushed to the breaking point. [Trixie Mattel voice:] Honey! The real-world reaction to Art Simone’s re-entry into the competition was wild, unlike almost everything I’ve seen on social media regarding the series in the last few years (except maybe be part of the wave of support for Bimini after its loss. Drag Race UK crown to Lawrence Chaney.) in a genuinely ironic twist on the usual type of fan reaction that Drag race arouses (aka racist bile thrown at any queen in the POC who wins lip sync on a white queen), Art said she was inundated with abuse upon her return. I mostly saw one meme in particular being shared. I don’t remember the picture very well – it was basically like “When the very first all-white top seven becomes the very first all-white top eight”, which is funny enough – but given the toxicity of Drag race The fandom’s parasocial relationships with competitors are, it’s not hard to imagine the vitriol being directed against art. Sometimes I wish I had a direct line with people who feel the need to bully real people online, just to tell them to take a deep breath and reconsider the need to call a complete stranger a disgusting moll and dirty. (Soft is a Down Under to substitute for slut, whore, etc.) Even if it’s in the interest of the “global good” or whatever – like, you think more POC queens deserved to be in the top seven – it’s still a pretty “advocacy” mode. cheap. There are thousands of more tangible and useful things you can do to support POC communities than telling a random drag queen to go kill themselves!
That being said: what do I know? I’m just a slut with a dream and a laptop. I know you didn’t come here to receive a talk about online bullying by a guy who, less than 24 hours ago, had an argument in a bar after standing in line, and so on with the summary. After last week’s big elimination – another cause for dismay among fans, it seems – Karen, who sent Anita to pack, is a mess. It’s either real sadness or false sadness, and I really can’t say it. She continues to make jokes but also bawls openly. (Reliable.)
Kita is also upset by her nemesis’ exit, not least because she feels the Australian queens are acting as if the New Zealand queens are only filling – a perception that she and Elektra do little to thwart the mini-challenge of reading. Unlike their Snatch Game, the Down Under the queens do justice to this beloved challenge, delivering a handful of transcendent, but perhaps not as good readings as the general savagery of these queens may suggest. Art Simone clearly stands out, in large part thanks to an instantly iconic read by Etcetera that relies on the fact that she is not binary and uses they pronouns in drag without resorting to transphobia.
As the queens begin to prepare for their brand challenge – they must design their own yeast spread, a reference to the iconic Australian Vegemite, which is a delicious, thick and salty black dough made from sub- yeast concentrate product – Etcetera starts making it. very clear, as usual, that she feels that she is miles ahead of these girls. This particular tension of talking shit (the delusional) grinds endless gears to me. If Etcetera were as high and iconic as she claims to be, she would have won any challenge; instead, she was largely safe, except for a week downstairs. The icing on the cake of this wacky sundae comes when Etcetera says she’s no sleazy queen. The gall of her! After four episodes of sly reading in the confessional and in the werkroom, it’s a weird and breathtaking side.
When it comes time to film their commercials, the queens are coached by Suzanne Paul, a New Zealand legend of British origin due to her ubiquity in infomercials. I didn’t know anything about her before the show, but her Wikipedia entry is magnificent reading. Some fun facts about Suzanne Paul: In 2006, she won the Subway title of the magazine “Woman with the most integrity”; she became a millionaire by selling a product called the “Suzanne clip”; she had three TV shows, titled Second honeymoon, Garage sale, and Guess who’s coming to dinner; she operates a clothing line for women five feet four inches and under; and in the 1980s, she briefly changed her name to Kathleen. In other words: the real shit of a queen and basically the only person able to judge the quality of yeast-based brand ads.
Most queens do well enough during recording, with notable exceptions being Etcetera – whose idea of “elevating beyond fart and boob jokes” is… pee jokes? – and Scarlet, who takes her Jennifer Coolidge character just a little bit and tries to suck off Michelle using her new “glam-diculous” slogan. (Unless I missed a memo and it’s, in fact, catchy.) Elektra is the real stunner of the group: not only does she look magnificent in stockings and in a white blouse but she knows how to manage herself and the Pit Crew. Michelle questions her RuPaul impersonation – which, to be honest, is probably a pretty dire idea – but for the most part Elektra seems to be the one to beat in this race. And so much the better for her! After putting his ego aside and improving last week, things are finally looking up for Elektra.
As the queens get ready for the track, Art is forced (by the producers) to ask if anyone’s ever done anything in drag that they regret. Scarlet shyly admits that, yes, she possesses has done blackface in the past, as everyone knows. While I believe people recognize the wrong they have done, the atonement, and move past it, there is something a little dishonest about the way Scarlet proceeds to admit it – noting that “a lot of other queens have done it too and so on. Etcetera and Art are right to push Scarlet on this admission; black face is it’s hard to feign ignorance, especially since it was only a few years ago. Etcetera eloquently and kindly explains the violence that lies beneath the “everything is gags” plating that often excuses things like blackface in a way that seems approachable and enlightening to viewers as well as to Scarlet.
Normally that would be the end of that kind of engineering moment. Up – gag! – RuPaul Scarlet asks about it on the runway. Having just been tutored by Etcetera, Scarlet delivers, for the second time, a black-faced apology, this time with less cagacity and more (potentially false) deep pathos. It’s a little wild moment made even wilder by Ru taking the opportunity to meditate on the undo culture. Overall, I think it’s a good way for the show to tackle blunders like this; It would also have been a good ending to the Scarlet cancellation saga if she hadn’t returned to making a mildly reserved apology after the show was filmed. Alas!
On the track, Maxi Shield stuns, as usual, this time in a magnificent Picnic at Hanging Rock tribute. I can’t get enough of Maxi’s fashion. As Michelle reminded her two weeks ago, she’s the funniest and the beautiful and glamor, and you can see it every week. Maxi, if you are reading this: never change! I love you! Elektra pays a gentle, albeit confusing, tribute to New Zealand’s native wildlife, while Art delivers a gentle, albeit confusing, tribute to Kath Day-Knight. Etcetera’s track finally lives up to the hype it’s been making all season, with a unique reveal that feels genuinely interesting and representative of the Australian bush.
In the commercials New Zealand girls fuck turn it. Elektra’s ad is funny and self-referential, while Kita’s is wild and irreverent. Most Australian girls definitely do fine. Art and Karen are doing pretty well, Maxi is not doing as well as expected, and Etcetera and Scarlet ask me to file a complaint with the grinding department. Here’s the thing about gorgeous, fashionable people: Because they never had to be funny to be liked by others, they never developed a real sense of humor. (I’d kill to have this problem!) Elektra wins the challenge (!!), and it’s well deserved – perhaps for the first time in this show’s history a contestant is taking reviews and actively improving for it. Talk about a shock!
In lip-syncing, my beloved Maxi Shield is paired with Etcetera Etcetera, a couple who have felt a bit inevitable since the first episode when Maxi noted that she was literally twice Etcetera’s age. Yet if this lip-syncing proves one thing, it’s that this age is nothing more than a number: despite Etcetera’s incredible confidence (“Picnic at Hanging Rock? More like getting off the stage ”is a phrase I’ll borrow), Maxi is an absolutely magnetic performer, and she beams with joy as she performs a classic like“ Absolutely Everyone ”. She even has a microphone of sorts! It is Vanessa Amorosi, and this is not a match for Etcetera. It’s an incredible lip sync overall and also a nice proof that sometimes presence is much more important than, say, doing a split. And just like that, another girl is sent to pack her bags, and our very first all-white top eight becomes an all-white top seven again. And after? An all-white top six !?