You may think you’ve already done had yourses, but you haven’t unless you’re tuned in to the latest iteration of the Emmy-winning hit show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” That’s right, like “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” in 2019, we now have “Canada’s Drag Race” in 2020! The new series kicked off Thursday, July 2nd featuring Canadian model Stacey McKenzie, Canadian television star Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and RPDR season 11 runner-up Brooke Lynn Hytes as judges.
This season “Canada’s Drag Race” is airing on WOW Presents Plus on Thursdays at 9 pm ET in the United States and select territories, which is day-and-date with its run on Crave in Canada. Below is our recap of the July 2 premiere episode, “Eh-laganza Eh-xtravaganza.”
In true RPDR fashion, the premiere kicked off with the parade of queens entering the work room for the first time. Priyanka was first to arrive, screaming with excitement. She was followed by self-described “f**king bitch” Ilona Verley, the sultry bilingual Kiara, an “angelic” Juice Boxx, worldwide pageant queen Anastarzia Anaquway, the expectedly all yellow Lemon, “circus freak” Scarlett BoBo, the young “queen of social media” Kyne, the “bitch on arrival” BOA who the other girls know to have a bad reputation, Rita Baga the “big deal” from Montreal, the “run of the mill” weirdo Jimbo, and the confident and fashionable Tynomi Banks.
After their brief introductions, RuPaul Charles himself popped up on screen to welcome them “to the family” and set the tone for the franchise’s search for the best queen in the “great white north.” Then the judges came in together to make it clear that in each week of the competition they together would decide who stays and who sashays away.
In their first mini challenge of the season, the queens got to present themselves close up to the judges in a professional photo shoot with a wintery theme and photographer Matthew Barnes. Each queen had to first socially climb the snowy mountain to stake their claim with the drag race flag, but at the peak a fierce gust of wind came to throw them off their game. Of all the queens, Jimbo and Ilona were the most compelling to watch. Ilona stripped so that she only had her white fur on and and Jimbo screamed like a dying banshee through the entire storm and no one in the room (or viewing at home!) could stop laughing. But while they were engaging, the judges preferred Kyne’s photo and declared her the winner.
For the maxi challenge, the judges asked the queens to each select a wrapped gift box with a “O Canada” theme where the contents would provide the materials for them to create a high fashion runway look that exudes their own personal style. As mini challenge winner, Kyne got to choose her own box and assign each queen with another. Kyne chose “Yukon Gold Digger” for herself and gave: “Jock Scraps” to Lemon, “Muskokurrrr” to Ilona, “Quebec-froid” to Rita, “Rainblow It Up” to Jimbo, “Gone Fishy” to Priyanka, “Man of Green Gay-bles” to BOA, “Like a Prairie” to Kiara, “Lumber Janes” to Tynomi, “Canada Gay” to Anastarzia, “Glampede” to Scarlett and “Much Ru-sic Video Prance” to Juice.
While unwrapping their gifts and preparing their ideas, Lemon was most frustrated with her selection because she is so wholly unfamiliar with sports and sports equipment. On the flip side, Ilona was right at home with the textiles and items indicative of her indigenous roots. Ilona spoke very proudly of being indigenous and her “two spirits” nature, as well as wanting to inspire the culture to be more open and accepting.
On elimination day, while the girls got ready for the main stage both BOA and Juice opened up about their sobriety, a common theme among some drag queens who seek to escape the cycles of alcohol and drugs that comes with being nightlife performers. Lemon also told us a little bit about her struggle making things work in her journey to dance school and living in New York City.
When we made it to the main stage, guest judge Elisha Cuthbert walked out in what we know to be RuPaul’s usual spot to greet the other judges. I love this shake-up! It seems the guest judge will be the main stage host rather than one of the three permanent judges. So fun.
On the runway, Anastarzia opened in a puffy and shiny all red number, Kiara followed in a Babadook-inspired scarecrow look, Lemon managed to work in her signature bright yellow with some pink sports equipment, Ilona went with a spooky look, Kyne went disco in all gold, Scarlett was a cowgirl with cow chaps, Jimbo had a rainbow clown dress, Tynomi looked comfy with flannel, BOA had a confusing potato green look, Juice mixed disco with The Flintstones (IDK I don’t get it either!), Priyanka was caught in a nautical net and Rita looked frozen from head to toe.
Based on the runway, the judges declared safe all of Anastarzia, Kiara, Ilona, Scarlett, Tynomi and Priyanka. That left the other six as the tops and bottoms of the week to hear critiques. Jeffrey liked where Lemon was going with her ideas, but the fit didn’t work and they all thought it was unfinished and messy. For Kyne, the golden disco outfit was falling apart and they thought that it was really safe. Jeffrey clocked Jimbo as one of the tops because of her creativity and hardwork as well as showing that she can be more than just quirky. BOA also impressed for keeping the judges attention with her playfulness. As for Rita, they considered her the most polished on the runway, but Juice failed to bring the fashion with her skimpy outfit that didn’t match her bubbly personality.
Based on the bad critiques, Juice fell to her knees in a panic attack, but Elisha saved the day by giving her some positive feedback for being super cute. Back in the work room while the judges deliberated, Kyne was also unhappy and threw all her shade at BOA whose look she did not like. The rest of the group stood up for BOA and couldn’t understand why Kyne was so confident about a poor look.
After deliberation, the judges revealed that the tops were Jimbo, BOA and Rita with Rita being declared the overall winner! That left Kyne, Lemon and Juice as the bottom three. Of that group, Kyne was safe with the note that she needs to watch her arrogance. But that left Lemon and Juice on stage as the bottom two to lip sync for their life to Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “I Really Like You.” Despite being a trained dancer, Lemon showed a surprising lack of energy on stage, especially when compared to Juice’s more aggressive dance moves and emotional expression of the song.
Brooke Lynn was really happy with the lip sync from both queens, but based on Lemon’s perfectly timed splits and tricks she was declared the winner and so Juice Boxx was the first queen to be eliminated.
NEXT TIME: It’s an over-acting challenge in large groups where each queen must show they can stand out in a crowd.