Canada’s Drag Race – Season 1, The Finale. Ready for a re-cap?
Are you up to speed with The Finale of Canada’s Drag Race? Let’s get into it.
We’ve made it the final episode of the series and someone is about to snatch a crown.
Sticking with the traditional format, our Top 3 have a final challenge to record an original verse for a RuPaul song, perform it in a big choreographed number, and then deliver a final runway with the category of Best Drag.
This episode was a joy to watch from start to finish – mainly because our Top 3 are so likeable and watchable – but also there was a good energy throughout the entire production.
Music producer Ralph was back to take charge of the recording of the lyrics, along with a hot side-kick. Ralph seemed a really constructive person to have on the show – really encouraging and supporting the cast to get the best performance possible and elevating their ideas to showcase them at their best.
We also got sit-down interviews with the Top 3. In the American version, we have RuPaul and Michelle Visage pretending that they’re recording a podcast, but I liked the Canadian format better. Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and guest host Traci Melchor were asking the questions in a talk-show kind of set-up. Traci Melchor is obviously an experienced interviewer, and it felt like we got useful insights out of the talks with each of the Top 3.
Then it was into the rehearsals led by choreographer Hollywood Jade. Again, this was interesting to watch. Hollywood Jade was an upbeat presence throwing out some fast moves, and Brooke Lynn was on hand to provide some constructive advice and encouragement.
The track was U Wear It Well. Given the train-wreck that we had earlier in the season with the choreographed number, it’s fair to say that our expectations were low. But the end results were great.
Our Top 3 were all in performance looks that made sense and felt cohesive – it made sense for them all to be on the same stage.
Everyone delivered on the choreo. Rita obviously has to work hard to get it right, but she did it. Scarlett looks like a dancer, she has a natural energy that she brings to her movement. Priyanka looks comfortable on a stage and looks like she’s enjoying what she’s doing.
In terms of the lyrics, this was all really strong. There was plenty of space within the production for us to really hear the lyrics – it almost felt like a double verse. Ralph really pulled this all together very well – even Scarlett sounded decent, when in the rehearsal it was pretty clear that she’s completely tone-deaf.
- Rita. This was a look from head to toe. Reptilian-alien queen. Rita executed this flawlessly, but I’m not sure it was the right choice for the final look.
- Scarlett. I liked this, but I didn’t love it. It was a great dress with great movement, but the nude panels – which would look flawless in club lighting – are too visible on TV and become distracting. The boots were cool, but they meant that we couldn’t see any leg – a different shoe might have helped elongate the look. I also wasn’t crazy about the hair – the red seemed to clash with the hot pink of the lining of the dress.
- Priyanka. This was a traditional look that was bejewelled and bedazzled from every angle. In the context of Priyanka’s story, it made a lot of sense and it worked. Without that context, it probably wasn’t drag enough? The obvious comparison is Jujubee’s final look from All Stars 5. Obviously, Jujubee is at a different point of her career, but she’s set a pretty high bar when it comes to putting a drag twist onto a traditional or culturally specific costume.
After the runway, the Top 3 head back into the workroom where the rest of the cast are waiting for them for an informal reunion. This was a nice moment, and everyone seemed excited to be there.
We also got a full runway from the entire cast, and it was great to see what everyone had come up with for this final look. I particularly liked how excited the judges were by this runway – really vocalising their approval as each look was presented.
- Juice Boxx: This was good work from Juice Boxx – she looked good. It was a bit of a pageant gown, nailing it with some eleganza extravaganza.
- Kyne: This was polished, but it didn’t seem particularly flattering. Somehow it made her seem older than she actually is.
- AnaSTARzia Anaquway: This was an elaborate gold gown with headpiece that was really stunning. Very goddess.
- Tynomi: Bringing some Wakanda royalty to the stage. Tynomi knows how to serve a look.
- Kiara: This was cute and fresh. It really showcased her legs, but the structure of the bodice made the presentation on the runway seem a bit awkward.
- Boa: Boa seemed a bit subdued this episode. Boa looked put together, but it didn’t seem particularly memorable.
- Ilona Verley: Leaning into her indigenous heritage, Ilona brought visibility to the stage and made it fashion. That pastel pink palette was stunning.
- Lemon: This was so on brand for Lemon and it all worked. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of Lemon.
- Jimbo. It’s always exciting what Jimbo is going to bring to the runway and she did not disappoint. This was peak drag-clown fashion delivered with personality and presence.
The lip-sync track was You’re A Superstar by Love Inc.
A three-way lip-sync is never easy, but everyone did a good job. This track doesn’t seem the easiest to work with – it has a couple of peaks but it’s a relatively flat energy throughout.
Most interest was in seeing Scarlett performing – this was her first time lip-syncing on the show. Scarlett didn’t disappoint – lots of energy and movement. She let the world know that a Scarlett Bobo show is worth going to see.
It was hard to predict which way this was going to go, but ultimately it was Priyanka that was named as Canada’s first drag superstar.
It’s impressive that Priyanka has only been doing drag for a couple of years but has already been able to take it to this level.
A very worthy winner and a great way to cap off a fantastic first season of Canada’s Drag Race.
A Toronto queen with a big presence on social media and plenty of confidence. She’s a winner, baby – Canada’s first drag superstar!
Ilona is part of the First Nations community and identifies as two-spirit. She’s currently based in LA. Episode 7 was where Ilona left us – eliminated by Priyanka.
Kiara is a young queen with plenty of talent but may not be ready yet for this competition. Snatch Game in Week 5 was her downfall, losing the lip-sync to Priyanka.
Juice Boxx is the Porkchop of the season – first to leave from Canada’s Drag Race. I really liked Juice Boxx but she looked a bit unsettled from the start. Even though she lost the lip-sync to Lemon, she showed the world that she’s a great performer. I’m sure it’s not the last that we’ve seen of Juice Boxx.
You want a pageant queen? Anastarzia is a pageant queen with the trophies to prove it. Clearly a powerhouse and started the series as one of the frontrunners. However, the choreography of Episode 3 was her undoing – sent home by Tynomi.
Lemon is a dancer, and she’s based in New York where she’s been honing her craft. It wasn’t a great start for Lemon – landing in the Bottom 2 of Episode 1. But she bounced back and emerged as one of the major players. She made it to Episode 8 when she was eliminated by Rita.
I really like Bobo’s energy and she’s delivered a strong performance every week. Surprising everyone, Bobo made it to the Top 3!
Kyne is big on YouTube where she specialises in drag tutorials. Episode 1 started off really well for her, winning the mini-challenge, but it was down-hill from there. Overall, Kyne came off as being particularly unlikable. That’s a first impression that’s hard to shake and she left us in Episode 2, eliminated by Tynomi.
There’s something so wrong about Boa that it’s totally right. Her entrance look was a cow. Boa seems to be able to hold our attention just by being herself – that’s a talent. She made it to Episode 6 when she was eliminated by Ilona.
Rita is from Montreal and – according to the judges – she typifies the cabaret style of drag from that region. She’s clearly a safe pair of hands in any challenge – she’s looked strong throughout the competition and made it to Top 3!
Jimbo is possible the most interesting queen in this cast. She’s created quite a specific and unique character – it’s fascinating. She made it to the Top 4 before being eliminated by Rita.
Tynomi is possibly one of those queens that isn’t really made for reality TV. The impression I get is that she’s a star on stage, but a bit of an introvert when she’s navigating anything else. Three was not a lucky number for Tynomi – she made it to Episode 4 but it was her third time in a row lip-syncing and she was sent home by Ilona.
First thing to note is there’s not a main host – there’s three main hosts. It’s a throuple. Brooke Lynn Hytes we all know from Season 11 of the US series of RPDR – she was runner-up. Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman has appeared numerous times on RPDR US as a guest judge, but he’s an actor best-known for UnREAL. The third leg of the troika is Stacey McKenzie – model and television presenter.
I like the balance that they’re all equals in the conversation.
There’s been a fair bit of chat online that the judges are being too harsh or not judging fairly. Jeffrey, in particular, has come in for some heat. I’m not seeing any problem. Sure, sometimes you’ll agree with their opinions and sometimes you won’t. They’re making a TV show – sometimes they’ll be over-dramatic or try things that don’t necessarily work. Let’s not take any of it too seriously.
Each week, there’s a guest judge who effectively acts as anchor for the main stage presentation. I quite like this approach. Sometimes it works better than others, it depends a lot on who the guest judge is, but I like the way that this plays with the format.
Just in case you were missing the presence of RuPaul – anyone? – there’s still plenty of video messages and voice-overs from the head of the company, keeping it all on brand.
The Pit Crew
In Episode 1, we got a glimpse of Ming and Seth. Episode 2 introduced us to Evan and Travis. Impressive.
Here’s what we know about them so far:
- Ming: 35
- Seth: 34
- Evan: 30
- Travis: 29
- Ming: Perth, Australia.
- Seth: Cambridge, Ontario
- Evan: Maple, Ontario
- Travis: Salmon Arm, British Columbia
- Ming: Prefers to go commando. Wears a jockstrap in the gym. Prefers guys in briefs.
- Seth: Prefers to wear briefs. Wears a jockstrap in the gym. Prefers guys to be wearing nothing.
- Evan: Prefers to wear silk boxer briefs. Wears cotton boxer briefs in the gym. Prefers guys to be wearing underwear that he can rip off with his teeth.
- Travis: Prefers to wear briefs. Wears a jockstrap in the gym. Prefers guys to be wearing a thong.
- Ming: He’s been getting make-up lessons from Juice Boxx
- Seth: He is an exotic animal trainer. He brought a skunk to his Pit Crew audition.
- Evan: He’s a Lego geek.
- Travis: Salmon Arm is an actual place – it’s about halfway between Calgary and Vancouver.