Drag Race Down Under, Series 1, Episode 5: Secret Bonus Answer

So, what was your emotional reaction to this week’s episode?

Welcome to Mess Town, population Everyone Involved In This Show.

Anita Say Goodbye

Out of all the eliminations Anita’s seems to hit the queens the hardest, or at least Karen sobbing her way through the phrase “Never forget my Dry Ass Pussy!” suggests it was. She was also the first of the New Zealand queens to be eliminated which gives the Aussies cause to celebrate while Kita and Elektra sit in the corner plotting and looking insane

and Elektra is absolutely living for the fact she was declared safe last week while Etcetera narrowly avoided the bottom two in a challenge based entirely around delivering a fashionable runway. Etcetera’s only real beef is that Kita’s ball outfit was deemed safe too – and they have A LOT of feelings about it and I’m not sure how much of the anger towards it was a joke and how much of it was just the way they had done their brows that morning

because the outfit really wasn’t *that* bad, but I also understand Etcetera’s saltiness because her critiques were nonsense. HOW DID MICHELLE SEE IT AS AN ATTEMPT TO LOOK LIKE THE POPE?

Read All Over

Well, it’s that time honoured tradition of the Reading Challenge and I was bracing myself for the worst because we’d just eliminated the one queen that seemed capable of handling herself in an improvised comedy challenge but I think for the most part, everyone was quite good and not nearly as problematic as I had feared given the chequered past of one Scarlet Adams and her attempts at comedy, so perhaps it was for the bet that Coco and JoJo weren’t here for this…

Karen and Art probably had the most to prove considering largely self-proclaimed comedy queen Karen From Finance bombed the Snatch Game as Dolly Parton and Art was eliminated off the back of it. Karen was perfectly fine and at least gave us a reaction Jpeg

and I was worried for Art because she began with another of her trademark winding stories that lead to a joke about Elektra needing a covid test because she’s lost her sense of taste and I think she genuinely had the funniest read of the night with the example sentence of how to use Etcetera’s out of drag They/Them pronouns, which was only made funnier by Etcetera reacting to it like a chicken on acid

so it’s no real surprise that Art wins the challenge and got off largely unscathed as the queens all made the same jokes about how she can’t win despite the obviousness of WOW doing everything in their power to let her win. Read the room guys.

Spread ‘Em

For the Main Challenge this week the queens have to create an advert for their own brand of yeast spread and as you can imagine with the word “Yeast” involved, pretty much everyone immediately went to the vagina jokes. But not Etcetera, oh no, they’re above the one note drag queens who only have a couple of boob and fart jokes up their sleeves! She was going to go highbrow with…

I think Etcetera would have been much better off had she made PISS into an acronym and not gone for literal, actual piss – the decision being made almost exclusively because she had a yellow gown on hand that she needed to use for something. Her commercial did have a slight subversiveness to it, parts of it really reminded me of KimChi’s smear campaign against Naomi Smalls in season 8. It just wasn’t particularly funny. I am slightly confused as to which part Michelle thought “crossed a line” when in amongst a slew of pretend blowjobs, symbolic shit and the phrase “meat curtains” – the queen pretending to urinate on camera was kind of very tame. Or at least by this point I had completely disassociated from the whole experience.

I’m curious to know what was in the bottle, because I refuse to believe that so many of them were A) willing to just chow down on mouthfuls of Vegemite, B) rub it into their skin like they were Scarlet Adams preparing for her next show or secret bonus answer C) SHOVE IT UP THEIR NOSES

Can she smell anything other than malt extract anymore?
In an episode of revolting things, I think Kita dressed as Divine recreating the dog shit scene from Pink Flamingos was the one that made me gag the most. I can’t say I even remotely understood her advert as being about a bespoke donut filling other than that she just really wanted to say “fill your ring”, which honestly was as good a reason for anything in this episode.

Going for the real bottom of the barrel yeast jokes was, at this point entirely self-proclaimed comedy queen, Karen From Finance and her spread named “Discharge” that honestly made no sense and she got really, really bogged down in trying to make Discharge funny, which is an entirely insurmountable task and she should have just reconvened the moment everyone blankly stared at her, but I did laugh at the phrase “Available at all Hot Female Centres” – which honestly should have been the basis for her entire advert.
She did at least look great though

it’s absolutely the best she’d looked the entire season.

Scarlet also went the vaginal route and was, kind of unsurprisingly, more malicious about it and fell very quickly into the tired and played out “Vaginas are gross” schtick that’s really just unbridled misogyny. Which isn’t much of a surprise given her history of blackface that does get called out and discussed in this episode. She did largely try to play it off as a product of the time she was brought up and immediately tries to rope in Maxi to try and prove her point, Maxi being 46 and Scarlet being 28… Etcetera was at least on hand to call it out for the bullshit that it is and the difference between the outright casual racism that’s incredibly prevalent in Australia and the decision to dress up in blackface as a form of comedy. And this is the thing, Scarlet hasn’t only done blackface, she’s done yellowface too and whole numbers mocking Asian people and it’s also not solely confined to her teenage years, there’s clips from as recently as three years ago. And even more frustratingly, she gets a moment on the runway to address it and RuPaul uses the apology as more of a target against “Cancel Culture” than Scarlet herself, which isn’t surprising given that Ru has spent a large part of her career defending drag performer Chuck Knipp and his blackface. And the other thing is, Scarlet’s blackface is more than *just* blackface, she specifically targeted aboriginal people and the whole thing makes the absence of non-white queens incredibly glaring because this whole conversation had to happen in a room of white people while Karen From Finance remained suspiciously silent on the matter.

But back to the advert, it was bad and her recycling the terrible Jennifer Coolidge made absolutely no sense.

The only person to create an even vaguely coherent advert was Elektra Shock who perfectly captured the terrible info-mercial aesthetic

and the most I laughed at any part of any of these adverts was her “And Talent” gag

that and the fact she made the boss bitch move of cosplaying as RuPaul but not any RuPaul, she was Project Runway RuPaul

And then she won the episode. Power to her.

I really liked Art’s idea of creating a fake spread to keep Americans out of Australia, which came across as a delightful read against Ru and Michelle if anything. Her advert however just wasn’t particularly funny, her jokes felt a lot like she had written them for a series that aired 2 years ago and she was completely and utterly upstaged by the Pit Crew member in his 90s Nicole Kidman wig

he’s pulling it off.

And then lastly we have Maxi who seemed to forget this was a comedy challenge and made a very sad advert about a yeast spread called Hornbag, the best part of which was that her massive breastplate and opera necklace combo was back

No, I cannot explain why she is dressed like that while in what appears to be a public library but I love it.

A Bird In The Hand…

This week’s runway theme was “Finest Sheila In The Bush” – the parameters of which are a mystery unto us and RuPaul herself apparently as she needed to be coached on the exact meaning of the word “Sheila” and so the runway veered wildly from queens dressing up as wildlife and kind of generic iconic Australian pop culture figures.

First down the runway was Elektra Shock in her outfit inspired by the Huia, an extinct species of New Zealand bird that had a significant cultural meaning to the Maori people, with it’s rapid decline being primarily the fault of European settlers (what else is new?)

it’s a very striking look and not something I really expected from Elektra, which is fun. I’m mostly just in awe of how well she managed to paint her scalp, which looks significantly better when she didn’t have the limp hood up.

Her fellow Kiwi was next in a very large, butterfly embellished gown

Praise to the judges and their restraint in not making an Asia O’Hara joke.
I like most of the dress, I think with the volume coming from all the butterflies, having the gown made out of dark purple velvet made it look heavy, and didn’t have the lightness that the butterfly embellishments should have given it. I also have to just admire Kita’s dedication to an obscenely coloured glitter lip.

Maxi Shield was next in the first of the non-wildlife themed outfits and instead was serving up a look inspired by Picnic At Hanging Rock

it’s cute and good, it lacks a little something to just give it that little push over the edge and she was definitely relying heavily on her ability to gurn her way through a runway look to distract what is essentially a theatre rental costume for a Hello, Dolly extra.

Karen was next in a very worthy outfit inspired by the Fire and Rescue teams who risk their own lives during the Australian bushfire seasons that are becoming increasingly dangerous as climate change risks ever accelerate

I really like the top half of this, the coat is very much in the style of the Chanel Spring 2014 collection (which A LOT of people hated, but I quite liked), where the outfit falls short for me is with the trousers, the fabric just seemed a little flimsy and whispy – something slightly more tailored would have looked better – or a pair of cute shorts and some fuck-off amazing boots. And the less said about the God-ugly koala the better

I hate it with a burning intensity that I have only ever reserved for the more terrifying of the Masked Singer creations.

Art was next and was dressed as Elektra Shock’s sketch of The Kangaroo Hunter

and you’ll never guess that the massive coat and the hat that poorly disguised the tight permed wig were in fact a reveal

I am a big fan of the ugly jumper and the way her padding looks in the trousers is phenomenal – I would have liked to see more of a facial transformation from someone as skilled in makeup as Art is but it was still a cute look.

Etcetera and her 3 act play were next as she started out wearing absolutely everything she possibly could

I get what she was going for, with the very lush looking rainforest, I think it is a slight case of gilding the lily and while the excess is very fun and campy, it does slightly muddy it up and there’s nothing to really focus on other than the joyfully stupid wig

and then she removed the coat to reveal a black dress, again as a nod to the Australian bushfires and the damage they do to large swathes of the Australian bush

No, I cannot explain the needless opera necklace, but I do think it’s a stunning look, the ruffles give it an interesting shape and texture – it could have used a few more of the red and orange stones to give it a more heated, emberish look but it was successful enough.
And then to end on a positive she pulls out a piece of greenery from within the depths of her black outfit

it’s a cute piece of theatre, I enjoyed it.

And lastly we have Scarlet Adams dressed as a dinosaur at pride

it’s once again, very annoying how good it is and how well she navigated the billowing lamé sheets behind her without ending up looking like me trying to change a double bed duvet – IT’S AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK.

A Runway Ranking

  1. Elektra On An All Time Huia
  2. Kita Mean Emerges from Her Cocoon, Like a cocoon, this is the cocoon.
  3. Etcetera’s Brush With Fire
  4. Karen’s Public Service Announcement
  5. Scarlet’s Priscilla Cosplay
  6. Maxi’s Dolly Audition
  7. Art’s Snatch Game 2: Electric Boogaloo

Elektra manages to grab herself the win, which was the only possible correct answer, if this season is excelling at anything it’s certainly only having 1 possible winner per episode. As for the bottom 2, Maxi was an inevitability – her runway just wasn’t great and her advert was just depressing. I think I would have put Art or Karen in the bottom 2 with her but the judges *really* hated Etcetera’s advert and so it’s a lipsync between Maxi and Etcetera.


For their lipsync, Maxi and Etcetera had to perform to Absolutely Everybody by Vanessa Amorosi and I think this might be the quickest anybody has ever won a lipsync because it was OVER as soon as Maxi pulled a microphone out of her sleeves

I guess the costume was good for something!
They both really captured the vibe of the song and it was overall a pretty good lipsync, Etcetera was a little frenetic but she had some fun moments like the backbend during the high note

but it was no match for the raw campery of Maxi Shield and that damned microphone and Etcetera finds herself as the 5th 4th Queen eliminated

I really liked Etcetera, I found her to be a delightful goofball, but a delightful goofball with a wildly misplaced sense of self-confidence and I thoroughly recommend checking out the photoshoots of her runway looks over on Instagram at EtceteraEtcetera. I look forward to seeing her on the inevitable All Stars International season.

And so 6 Queens remain

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