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Canada’s Drag Race S1:E6 (Star Sixty-Nine)

Episode 6 kicked off with amusing quips and shenanigans, as usual, thanks to Kiara‘s mirror message following her elimination. Upon witnessing the way size of her scribbled name and farewell, Priyanka yelled about the potential need for an extended episode just to account for how long it might take her to clean “a whole tube of lipstick” off the glass.

That job done, Scarlett Bobo admitted to feeling annoyed with everything (including Boa‘s feathered headpiece poking her in the eye) as a result of her frustration with bring perpetually being safe. Lemon welcomed Jimbo into the “winner’s circle” and the fresh top 7 cheered and complimented her. Ilona Verley matched Scarlett’s disappointment with being safe and Priyanka caused tension by deeming her side of the room (which included Jimbo, Lemon, and Rita Baga) the fiercer competitors.

The following morning, Priyanka felt good post-lip sync; her success was something she could be proud of. Jimbo asked Rita how it felt to be the only French queen left and Rita admitted feeling pressure to fight for two in Kiara’s absence. With context from an unseen runway clip, Scarlett inquired how Boa felt after Stacey’s warning to wake up and bring it. Boa said it lit a fire under her ass, but wasn’t thrilled when Scarlett compared it to the warning Tynomi got right before being eliminated. Priyanka and Lemon were quick to call Scarlett on shade, citing once again frustration with herself for being constantly marked safe. Scarlett screamed but, to her credit, agreed with them rather than getting defensive.

A Ru Mail video full of car crash puns lead judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman into the werkroom for the mini-challenge. This week, the queens would feel their “*69 fantasies” as psychic hotline operators. As Pri reflected on the theme feeling a bit like having salt poured on her Miss Cleo-shaped wound, the queens were dispatched to apply 20 minute quick-drag. Each would then sit at a table featuring a phone and a crystal ball in order to advise the “mystery caller” on the other side of a partition; Drag Race UK’s Crystal. The winner of this improv challenge would be whoever made Crystal and JBC laugh most.

Rita was up first dressed like a wise old hag with several blacked out teeth. She answered Crystal’s call in a gruff voice and, after a brief chat about gender fluidity, Rita suggestively dropped that she’s single. She was met with the dial tone. Next was Priyanka in a colourful head scarf, taking the call with the greeting “Hello, who ‘dis?” Following Crystal’s query about how to get a man out of her DMs and into her, Pri checked the cards. She pulled the devil, let Crystal know her man just died, and they hypothesized what sex with a ghost might be like.

Ilona took a different path with their look; they splashed themself in pastels and iridescent sparkles to gaze into their crystal ball. Before they could pick up the phone, Crystal was already thanking them for taking her call and they committed to their chosen “raging bitch” character with a quick and snippy response. They advised that she look into her crystal ball, brushed off her claim that that was their job, confirmed their by-minute rate, and hung up.

A smudged but worn-glam Scarlett predicted “large dick energy” coming Crystal’s way in a thick New York accent and Boa got into physical comedy, revealing herself to be a phone psychic and a stripper. Tearing off her sparkly kaftan, she got JBC and Crystal laughing with a dance that pulled her breast plate up, yelling “Four pairs of boobs for the price of one!” She rubbed the crystal ball until Jeffrey called for security and made her run for it.

Lemon took a glam route too, with rhinestones and leopard print. Stating “I knew that was going to happen” in a ditzy voice after every little thing, Lemon took Crystal’s question to her cards. She said positive things while cracking Jeffrey up by making horrified faces at each one. Crystal disconnected after a warning to watch for falling pianos but Lemon didn’t notice. Jeffrey tipped her off and she slipped in one more “I totally knew that” for good measure.

Jimbo rounded the challenge off looking like a Barbie dressed as a witch for Halloween. She predicted that Crystal’s married boyfriend would not leave his wife for her due to her “butter face” and the two argued about a suspicious testicular mole. Jimbo tied up the segment with a maniacal laugh, rhinestoned eyes on her palms, and a solid titty grab.

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Crystal and Jeffrey met the cas in the werkroom so the visiting queen could bid them farewell, imploring them to “Stay sparkly, transparent, and cheap”. Jeffrey awarded the mini-challenge to Lemon, who received $1000 in eyewear and the opportunity to build the maxi-challenge teams. The queens’ main task was to write, produce, and star in their own late night TV law firm commercials. Lemon paired herself with Priyanka, Scarlett with Ilona, and Rita with Boa and Jimbo. She was confused at Scarlett’s angry stare for this choice.

The teams began planning, each visited by JBC for a bit of riling up with a side of guidance. Lemon and Priyanka worked well together, meshed instantly on their ideas and goals, and felt excited despite knowing they were being a little ambitious. Jeffrey enjoyed their “Pussy Protectors” law firm concept and encouraged them to stay organized but trust their instincts.

Boa, Rita, and Jimbo didn’t gel quite as seamlessly. Though they loved Jimbo’s idea for a law firm that helps drag queens take action against unruly bachelorette parties, they had trouble navigating their differing styles to brainstorm finer details. In telling Jeffrey about their basic idea, Rita ended up recounting a terrible story in which she was assaulted by an overzealous bride-to-be and conversation about respecting performers was sparked. All agreed that this skit might be a good teachable moment regarding behaviour and conduct at drag shows.

Boa and Ilona experienced harmony over their basic ideas too, but hit some bumps when it came to approach. Ilona had trouble explaining their editing ideas to Scarlett, who got frustrated and handed them the reins. They described their idea for a law firm that helps “sissies” sue other “sissies” for being bad “sissies” to Jeffrey, tho supported their idea but sparked some insecurity in reminding them that neither has won a challenge yet.

Before taking his leave, Jeffrey revealed that the guest host of the week would be Canadian comedian and actor Tom Green. He also let the cast know their runway theme: “Canadian Tux-she-do”. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a Canadian tuxedo, it’s basically an outfit that involves denim on denim, accessorized with denim, and topped with a bit more denim.

On set for the ads, judge Stacey McKenzie greeted each team. Lemon and Priyanka started, feeling the pressure of the time limit right away. Even so, they stayed organized and hammered out their scenes with only a few stumbles. Stacey found them prepared, professional, and very funny, especially when they got into the physical comedy with Pri’s “pumpum dance” and Lemon’s “kitty splitty”, which she held high with impressive strength.

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Boa, Rita, and Jimbo’s level of organization was slightly less. Stacey admitted to having trouble following their storyline and concept even though she found Jimbo’s very aggressive bride character and Rita’s French-English blend hysterical. She provided Boa with some feedback about remembering lines and cues and tried to keep the team cognizant of their time limit between their prop-heavy scenes as well.

Scarlett and Ilona were the final team. They were chaotic in their out-of-order filming but determined to make it work. After brief panicked adjustment to account for the use of props that they’d forgotten about, they made Stacey laugh and admire their level of commitment. She balked at but also rallied them through a take in which Ilona actually spit on Scarlett’s face and Scarlett smacked Ilona upside the head with a book and an audible thump in return.

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Elimination day bore a group of queens who felt fed up with the “sissy” shtick. They mimicked Scarlett and Ilona’s catchphrase in a way that reminded me of the seagulls from Finding Nemo (“Mine! Mine! Mine!”). Before painting, they asked Lemon about her strategy in choosing the teams and she delivered a diplomatic speech about how each queen is so powerful that she felt they’d excel in any combination. This was doubted Scarlett, who claimed underlying shady intent, but the tension broke when Lemon flipped that logic, asking if she didn’t think her “sissy” Ilona was a talented partner. The queens dispersed.

As usual, the queens reminisced while they painted. Rita told the room how shows in Montreal get up to 10 bachelorette parties a night. She said that, while she views drag shows as safe spaces for everyone, she feels the parties’ rowdy behaviour often compromises her own comfort. Ilona balanced this, saying their comfort has been disrespected more often by gay men than cisgender women and brides. All agreed that the emphasis in drag spaces should be on respect and consent, regardless of who is present.

All that talk of safety lead Boa to a story about the time her own was violated. She bravely recounted taking someone home after the bar and being assaulted when she changed her mind about what she wanted to do. The man beat her up, threatened her, and stole her wallet and laptop, leaving her blacked out. When she posted a swollen hospital selfie with a warning about taking care of oneself, she received a wonderful show of community support that helped recoup her losses and get her through recovery.

Priyanka followed up with a thoughtful theory that drag performers are like the mascots of the queer community; we have a platform and a stage, and therefore the opportunity to educate the people around us. She expressed admiration for the way Boa used her platform to speak up about violence within the queer community, encouraging conversations about safety rather than being embarrassed about her horrible experience.

Opening the runway, the judges wowed as usual. Jeffrey donned another floral jacket while Stacey floated in a short pink and purple floral dress with a ruffle and a chin-length bob of thick, golden blonde braids. Brooke Lynn Hytes matched Stacey’s golden blonde with curls and bangs, twirling in a long orange dress that featured sequins, stoned shoulder bands, and floaty layers. Tom Green’s jeans and jacket combo and slightly heavy runway walk left something to be desired (as expected from someone who has definitely never done this before), but his guest hosting style was charming and amusingly out of place.

Scarlett graced the runway first looking a little like denim Cyndi Lauper, with side-swept mint hair, a jacket with puffed shoulders, and a patchwork mini dress. Neon accents added colour pops on hair nails and around her waist. Ilona’s denim was darker and more solid, forming a collared and belted catsuit with their stylish brown updo. When they turned, the widely flared legs were revealed to have a chaps-style cutout at the top, proudly showing off real cheek.

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Boa’s denim bodysuit boasted a gold studded collar, long sleeves, and huge wings adorned in shredded denim strips. Jimbo’s entrance caused thrill thanks to her completely denim patchwork catsuit and facekini. Only her hands (painted denim blue), lips, eyes, and high red ponytail were left exposed.

Next up was Rita in a denim mini skirt and cropped jacket with a denim bra and punk inspired hair. She ripped off her sleeves and unzipped her skirt to reveal high waisted denim panties. Priyanka broke the mould a little in a white denim bodysuit, but brought classic blue with thigh high denim boots that belted around her waist. Completing the look was a denim jacket with a large collar and long ruched sleeves.

Lemon tied up the runway in a long, straight yellow wig, light denim bra that harnessed to a dark denim collar, and disconnected sleeves with hugely flared cuffs. The bottom of the look featured high belted denim panties and disconnected pant legs. As she walked, she let go of the cuffs and the sleeves dropped below her hands, hanging long like the ends of a shawl.

With the runway complete, judges and contestants watched the teams’ law firm commercials. Scarlett and Ilona’s ad was chaotic and loud but very characteristic of their personalities, making everyone laugh. Boa, Rita, and Jimbo’s commercial was heavy on sexual innuendos, added some humour in both French and English, and had everyone falling out just like Stacey had over Jimbo’s aggressive bride. Lemon and Pr got peels of laughter for their con artist twist, but otherwise impressed with clean organization and good flow.

Critique time came and Scarlett was praised for delivering some of the funniest lines challenge-wide, as well as for showing up very prepared to film. Her outfit was a hit too, with Brooke Lynn adoring the pops of neon and dubbing it “very bizirque du soleil”. Ilona’s role in the ad was slightly less well received and they were critiqued for delivering only one note in acting challenges: screaming. Their rear end reveal, however, was more pleasing.

Boa’s runway critiques, which were overwhelmingly unenthusiastic, took an interesting turn when Tom told a story about wearing a similar outfit to play the wind in a childhood play. To corroborate the story, he whipped his phone out and called his mom, who basically described Boa’s look (we even got a photo comparison). Boa was cautioned against getting so far into her own head that she loses that spark of personality they’d all come to love.

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On Jimbo’s turn, shouts of “It’s my special day!” affirmed everyone’s love for her character. Her fashion choices were also lauded as exemplary, with judges looking forward to her each week. Rita was called the most beautiful she’s looked so far but advised that a butt pad might complete her silhouette better. Her acting, however was praised up and down, with Stacey recounting the commitment with which Rita delivered lines while eating raw hotdogs.

While Priyanka’s role in her commercial was well-liked, her look didn’t wow. Judges thought it lacked her usual fierce presentation and asked her to level-up polish at this stage in the game. Lemon’s critiques were a dichotomy too; her acting got rave reviews but her look was regarded as messy and rushed looking.

Before sending anyone to untuck, Brooke Lynn asked the cast to tell her who they believed should go home and why. Lemon, Priyanka, and Rita stated Ilona should leave, citing her one-note acting. Scarlett, Ilona, Jimbo, and Boa all voted Lemon, listing her unfinished looking runway as supporting evidence for their choice. Unlike previous weeks, all of the queens were dismissed to untuck at once, without anyone being marked safe before deliberation.

Back in the werkroom, tensions rose and hurt feelings came out. Boa felt that being forced to name each other was a lot of pressure, while Ilona implored the girls to avoid rehashing and justifying their choices to each other. Priyanka disagreed, saying they should all be able to take ownership of who they picked and why. Spearheading that sentiment, Scarlett apologized to Lemon and explained her choice in more detail.

Visibly upset, Lemon reminded the girls that the question had been “Who should go home?” and not “Whose outfit do you like least?” Ilona confessed that part of their decision was influenced by Lemon not letting them get close to her. Lemon countered that Ilona kept a wall up and failed to show mutual respect when Lemon tried to be friendly. Ilona showed impressive vulnerability, admitting they had trouble looking at and relating to Lemon because she is everything they wished they could be. They apologized for making her feel badly.

Boa took up the baton to call Lemon’s attitude disingenuous, making it hard to get to know her. This upset Lemon, who had been “100% Team Boa” throughout the competition. Lemon pointed out dissonance between thinking someone is “fake” but never saying so to them directly, calling that fake too. Boa changed tactics, saying she thinks Lemon just has a lot of love for herself and frequently vocalizes it, and adding that she’s heard other queens agree. Lemon countered that she does love herself and, finding no common ground on the issue, ended the exchange saying she’s no longer here to make friends.

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As the queens hashed things out, the judges tried to reach a consensus. Scarlett was dubbed funny, quirky, and polished but Ilona was pegged as having let their excitement get the best of them. Stacey missed “that Boa spice” she felt was waning, but Jimbo gave the judges a feeling of renewed star power. Rita was praised for showing off different sides of herself but Priyanka’s week didn’t cut it compared to what they know she’s capable of. Lemon, despite her generally disliked outfit, was called “one to watch”. All throughout, Tom Green added funny quips and seemed generally pleased to be there without really tangibly weighing in.

Recalling the queens, judges announced Rita as the week’s winner, awarding her $10,000 worth of custom wardrobe design fro North Bound Leather. Jimbo, Scarlett, Priyanka, and Lemon were marked safe, leaving Ilona and Boa to lay it all out in the lip sync. As Lemon walked to the back of the stage, Boa extended a hand of reconciliation, but she ignored it.
Undeterred, Boa switched focus to the task at hand as Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” began. Ilona zeroed in as well, with no show of tears like last time.

The song was relatively calmly paced and each queen added emotion by starting out slow to match the tempo. As the music began to build, so did their movements. Ilona kept a subtle but confident smile as they incorporated some of the beat, while Boa added a friendly touch by pointing in Ilona’s direction on positive and uplifting lyrics like “She don’t see she’s perfect”. Both queens held the room in rapt attention and, although Brooke Lynn lamented that the choice gets harder and harder each week, Ilona’s poignant display topped Boa’s calm power.

Brooke Lynn bid Boa farewell calling her not a “bitch on arrival” but rather a “star on departure”. After taking a moment to communicate her gratitude for this opportunity, Boa exited the stage reminding everyone that she didn’t come here to make friends… she came her to make lasagna. Judges and contestants alike laughed, as usual, as she took her leave.

Don’t forget that you can watch Canada’s Drag Race every Thursday at 9 pm! Check it out on Crave in Canada, WOW Presents Plus in the US, and BBC Three iPlayer in the UK (every Friday instead). You can also catch me and my co-host Ja’mie Queen West on the Drag Coven YouTube channel, chatting with each week’s eliminated queen for our Talk Aboot It series! We post a new interview the Monday after each episode.

Written By

Courtney Conquers is a drag artist and archivist, writer, consultant, public speaker, and live show videographer. She is best known for her work as part of the queer media collective Drag Coven (she's the short one who films the videos). Courtney has a Master of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from Carleton University in Canada and is an outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion in drag and queer spaces. She also regularly promotes, coordinates, talent handles, and casts drag events throughout North America. When she’s not traveling for her own gigs, assisting other drag performers, holding a video camera, or writing about drag and queer fem issues, Courtney can usually be found knitting in obnoxious colours. 

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