Canada’s Drag Race: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

S1/Ep 6

Crystal (Drag Race UK) and Ilona Verley; photo from Bell Media

It’s official. Twitter has turned on Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. If you’ve been following the recaps along, you’ll know that we started off as JBC stans over here, but six episodes in and the tables have turned.

Coming in after an epic Celine Dion lipsync, the girlies watch as Priyanka wipes Kiara’s name off the mirror. We get some standard cold open dramatic music to let us know that, yes, this really is a competition.

It’s less than ten minutes into the next day in the werkroom before Scarlett BoBo decides to check in with her Toronto sister BOA. In unaired footage from last week, it appears that as the queens were walking off the mainstage, Stacey decided to throw a hail mary to BOA, imploring her to give it all she’s got going forward; Scarlett took this to be “like Tynomi’s final warning.”

Evoking the late Tynomi Banks sends a shudder down the spines of the other queens.

This week’s Mini Challenge features none other than RuPaul’s Drag Race UK alum Crystal, who looks like she’d rather be literally anywhere else than in the same room as Jeffrey and the queens. After some awkward “queens play a fake psychic giving supposedly funny advice to Crystal over the phone separated by a partition” tomfoolery, which Lemon wins, Jeffrey gets down to business with the Maxi Challenge.

This week, the queens need to create funny late-night legal ads, the kind that airs during 1 AM reruns of Seinfeld. Lemon wisely pairs herself with Priyanka. Scarlet chooses Ilona, leaving Jimbo, BOA and Rita as a trio.

Recaps usually reveal the winners and losers of the challenge at the end, but I’m going to break tradition here — this week, BOA gets sent home. The writing is on the wall from the very beginning of the episode. There’s a very specific style in which reality shows are edited to build narratives for their “characters.” From the second Scarlett makes that comment about Tynomi’s final warning, BOA’s narrative becomes the classic “will she or won’t she be able to get out of her head.” It’s a Drag Race staple (just ask Season 10 and All-Stars 5 contestant Miz Cracker), and based on how her team does in the shooting of their commercial, it’s clear the show is writing a not-so-happy ending to her storyline.

As the queens get ready for the runway and to present their filmed ads, the conversation of performing at gay bars comes up. Rita, Jimbo and BOA’s ad is about uncomfortable bachelorette parties that are sadly commonplace at drag shows, with Rita sharing a shocking story of her getting fingered nonconsensually by a bride-to-be. BOA also opens up about a brutal assault and robbery she survived one night after a performance, sparking a heartfelt embrace from the other queens.

BOA on the runway; photo from Bell Media

With guest judge Tom Green, the category on the runway is Canadian Tux-She-Do. Scarlett BoBo is praised for her elevated punk look and her acting but is then glossed over for Rita Baga, who shines in her team’s weak performance but gives us a mediocre Pink (circa 2008) concert look on the runway.

A lesson JBC may not have learned just yet; photo from Netflix

Rita nets her third Maxi Challenge win. Somehow.

This is after critiquing Ilona, who loses a bit of her soul when Jeffrey tells her she should have put foundation on her ass in the snidest way possible. There’s a way to give constructive, helpful criticism while being just snarky enough — look to Michelle Visage for that.

Jimbo shows up in a hideous patchwork club-kid outfit that the judges fall head over heels for. She gets a “welcome to the competition!” from Jeffrey, which makes absolutely no sense since she won the Snatch Game last week.

BOA steps up in a biker-girl get-up with massive denim… angel wings? A bold choice, except Brooke Lynn is absolutely not here for both the outfit and performance that felt a lot more reserved compared to her teammates.

Lemon on the runway; photo from Bell Media

Things go from bad to worst when the judges turn to Lemon and Priyanka; they easily have the best advertisement, but get torn apart over their runway outfits. It’s unclear what the judges place more importance on, the challenge or the outfit (on RuPaul's Drag Race, it’s the challenge), but when Brooke Lynn asks the queens to name who should go home, most of them turn on Lemon “based on her runway.” Lemon, Rita, and Priyanka call out Ilona’s name when asked.

The werkroom gets messy as the queens are forced to defend their choices. I choked on my wine when Ilona admitted to not being able to “look” at Lemon, saying that Lemon was the girl she always wanted to be. Clearly, there’s been tension for a while that the producers edited out.

Lemon lives to flip her hair another day as BOA and Ilona are chosen as the bottom two. After a lackluster lipsync to Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful,” BOA gets sent home.

I’ll give her the credit she deserves; the Bitch On Arrival made it farther than her competitors expected her to.

Just between us squirrel friends…

Scarlett seemed pissed off the whole episode.

“I am serving you Angela from Oshawa!” Priyanka made enemies with that.

Lemon earned her spot for another week when she said, “I am a twink to you” while arguing with Ilona in the werkroom.

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



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