Canada’s Drag Race: A House Divided

S1/Ep 4

Priyanka on the runway; photo from Bell Media

I truly didn’t expect Canada’s Drag Race to be this messy, but look where we are. While you’re at it, look at Rita Baga and her insanely sculpted eyebrows. They aren’t even eyebrows — they’re daggers made of hair.

Kicking things off with episode four and Miss Rita is already irritated with the back-and-forths between the Toronto girls, which is the most Montreal thing about her. Scarlett and BOA decide to move past their qualms with each other from last week, but who knows how long that’ll last.

“This is not Toronto’s Drag Race!” Oh, Rita, of course it is! Because if not Toronto, where else?!

(Kidding, of course)

The group is surprised about Anastarzia’s decision to not leave a lipstick note on the mirror post-elimination, but before you know it, Stacey McKenzie walks into the werkroom and it’s time for the Mini Challenge. The queens have to choose members of the pit crew (shoutout to plus-size model/Insta-king Mina Gerges for his appearance) with matching underwear. It’s cute and it’s horny — Jimbo wins.

The Maxi Challenge for this week is no laughing matter: the queens, in teams of three, have to design and create cohesive couture looks made of recyclable materials. Jimbo, with Ilona Verley and Tynomi Banks, name themselves Maison Paper, while House of Rust, featuring Priyanka, Lemon, and BOA, get the bin with scraps of metal. La Maison Boraga is all that’s left, piles of plastic for Scarlett BoBo, Rita Baga, and Kiara.

The last design challenge was in the premiere — the queens were fresh into the competition and visibly nervous; three episodes later, it’s clear who’s pulling ahead in the competition. Lemon, one of the bottom two in the first episode, has been taking serious steps to reposition herself; this design challenge could be another perfect bit of redemption.

Over at Maison Paper, Ilona’s original vision of doing a showgirls-esque collection fails to materialize, even as she cackles to her teammates at how the other girls are struggling with their materials. It’s good to see Tynomi laugh and crack jokes; the harsh critiques have been taking a toll on her.

Stacey hosts a coaching session to help the queens with their runway walks. Of the three judges, she’s having the most fun; Jeffery’s too busy sneak dissing and Brooke Lynn’s still a bit stiff, but Miss McKenzie’s here to have a blast.

There’s a touching moment in the werkroom when Scarlett gets vulnerable with Rita about the passing of her drag mother, and her determination to keep the House of BoBo going. Rita, who only half an hour ago read the Toronto girls to filth in the cold open, shows more of her soft side; after all, the producers can’t have one of their frontrunners coming across as too closed off.

Scarlett BoBo, Kiara, and Rita Baga; photo from Bell Media

The Maxi Challenge, as predicted, is executed a lot better than the first design challenge. Scarlett had been stressing over working with plastic, but La Maison Boraga slays the runway with cohesive outfits that simultaneously look suited to each team member. They’re the top team, with Rita Baga chosen as the winner of the challenge.

BOA, Priyanka, and Lemon; photo from Bell Media

House of Rust, although not as polished as La Maison Boraga, also gives us some showstopping moments. Lemon is practically glowing as she hits the runway, and guest judge Evan Biddell remarks that her dress doesn't even look like metal, it’s pure fashion. Important to note is the judges growing desire to see BOA be a bit more refined; up until now they’ve been happy with her campy, one-last-punchline runway looks, but Brooke and the crew want to see more attention to the “details”.

Ilona Verley, Tynomi Banks, and Jimo; photo from Bell Media

Then there’s Maison Paper, where the combined efforts of Ilona, Tynomi, and Jimbo couldn’t save what ultimately just looks sloppy. There’s some commotion on Twitter over Jeffrey’s harsh critique towards Jimbo, and while his delivery is a bit too “baby gay saying rude sh*t to try and fit in”, his point that Jimbo should have painted his arms the same shade of white as her face is valid.

Breaking down on stage, Tynomi faces the reality of being in the bottom for the third week in a row. Brooke Lynn, who’s definitely seen Tynomi perform outside Drag Race, is genuinely confused as to why she’s in her head; the judges know what we all know, that Tynomi’s a legend in Toronto, so why is she failing so miserably?

In the werkroom, while the girls try and comfort Tynomi, Ilona decides to create some bizarre narrative in which the judges came after her specifically, because everything is that much harder for her. It’s immature, random, and sort of out of place given that there’s a teammate next to her in tears. Jimbo is not here for it; we haven't seen Jimbo upset thus far in the show, but she wastes no time snapping back at Ilona, shutting her down real quick.

When Ilona is called on to lipsync against Tynomi, the judges have to push her to fight. She could be crying from fear, or because she really doesn’t want to lipsync against a friend, but Ilona looks as though she’s ready to walk away.

Seconds into Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” and it’s clear who’s staying. Tynomi Banks, exhausted from the negative feedback and lipsyncing to a song that is far from her usual repertoire, just can’t do it, even as she fights as hard as she can. Ilona kills her performance, kicking into high gear from the first verse.

Game, set, match.

Just between us squirrel friends…

Rita Baga is easily the front runner of the season, clocking in two Maxi Challenge wins within four episodes.

“That looks like some ARTPOP bullshit, Jimbo!” Every gay man has an opinion on Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP (2013); it’s clear where Ilona stands.

“Ya’ll are being way too Canadian here, this is a competition, it’s now how it works here.” Okay there, Miss Hytes.

Canada’s Drag Race airs Thursday nights at 9 PM EST on CraveTV

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