Drag Race Down Under, Season 2, Episode 3: A Burlesque Umbilical Cord

That awkward moment when you come dressed as the table centrepiece.

In this week’s Maxi Challenge the queens mainly tell jokes, but it’s definitely not a Stand Up Comedy Challenge.

ESPENIS!

This week’s mini challenge was the annual hot Guys Taking Their Trousers Off! mini challenge, but thankfully this time they didn’t plush animals pressed up against their willies, I have STILL not recovered from the penis shark jumpscare

it makes Jaws look like Finding Nemo.

Instead this time the queens were having to try their best to identify which drag queen essentials they were hiding down there, and I think my favourite part of these mini challenges is the very different levels of willingness to be there, like Number 10? Being a real cutie and having a great time

Number 1 was just happy he couldn’t smell sausages anymore

and Number 8 very much wanted to die which may or may not have been because he had a hairdryer in his pants

and Pomara was prolonging his misery by taking about 20 minutes to choose any one of 3 random dick shaped bulges in order to find a hairbrush which she did get wrong, thus meaning Molly Poppinz won the Mini Challenge prize of £5000, which is exactly how much money Spankie and Yuri won for winning the Maxi Challenge. Pomara was meanwhile frozen in anger

like a scared lizard.

Hostesses With The Mostesses

This week’s Maxi Challenge was for the queens to host their own Drag Brunches which DEFINITELY WASN’T A STAND UP COMEDY CHALLENGE (it was in fact a stand up comedy challenge). In order to fulfil their hosting duties they would be doing the gigs in pairs and it would be up to Molly Poppinz to decide who was partnered with who. Molly immediately grabbed Hannah for herself, imaginably entirely so they could do the Two Little Girls From Little Rock parody at the beginning of their show

and then she was causing total chaos for the rest of them by making truly cursed pairings beginning by sending Beverly down the river without a paddle by tethering her to Pomara who works with others about as well as oil does with water. Then Kween Kong was put with Minnie Cooper which meant Spankie Jackzon was left with Yuri Guaii, which everyone made abundantly clear they thought was sabotage, except this is Australia so it was “sabo” because what is Australian English but a speed run of the Oxford English Dictionary? But it wasn’t *not* sabotage BUT YURI WAS RIGHT THERE AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO SAY IT SO LOUDLY

they came for a crown and scepter and they’re going to leave with a social complex.

I do wish this challenge had been run a little bit more like the Clubs challenge from All Stars 4 with the queens getting to design a bit more of a show than just… well… standing up in front of a mic and telling jokes – but this wasn’t a stand up challenge, we promise! In order to streamline their jokes the queens did get a masterclass with Rhys and comedian Chris Parker – and while these masterclasses are usually not very helpful to most of the queens (Michelle telling everyone to go bigger and bolder is not good advice guys), this one was actually super helpful and I think genuinely helped everyone make a better show. It also meant we got 80% less extremely tired Hobbit jokes – the only ones not to take the memo were Beverly and Pomara who persisted with calling Hannah and Molly a pair of hobbits

and something about coopting to the #BlackLivesMatter slogan for their #HobbitLivesMatter joke felt a little out of place after Kween Kong and Hannah had had a genuinely very good discussion about racism in the Australian drag scene. But their only joke that really didn’t land with the room was the one about Spankie Jackzon being in a safe space because Yuri Guaii wasn’t there, I’m honestly still trying to parse it and I cannot work out for the life of me work out what the punchline was, and you knew it hadn’t landed because while Drag Race usually opts for a single Tuba Of Doom gently parping away, Bev and Pomara got a whole Orchestra of Doom signalling their inevitable bottom placement – I lost it the moment the violin and cello kicked in. Also, rude of Beverly to take shots at Spankie when she was quite literally wearing Spankie’s fly outfit from the last week’s runway

but the biggest contention between Beverly and Pomara was the inclusion of Beverly’s sign-off toast which is apparently one they do in her local bar and very much sounded like it was probably a very funny in joke between the regulars there because it wasn’t particularly funny here, loathe as I am to side with Pomara.

Molly and Hannah were next and I think do a very good job of recovering the dearth of energy that Beverly and Pomara left the room with – and I really loved their outfits, there was just something a little bit Clueless/Romy and Michele about them, or as much as there can be with Molly dressed as though Plumette had joined the circus

and they played well together – they definitely got the best advice from Rhys and Chris about leaning into more personal stories, Hannah’s anecdote about wanting to be a priest when she was little definitely worked better than Molly’s jokes about wanting to be a clown – I think it just felt more organic and original, Molly’s jokes were a little more predictable, but I did cackle at the joke about her blowing up her foreskin like a balloon, but I would have at least liked a joke about the fact Karen from Finance considered blowing one (1) balloon animal a talent show performance

AND SHE WASN’T EVEN IN THE BOTTOM TWO ALL BECAUSE ELEKTRA SHOCK DIDN’T WEAR HEELS TO DO CONTEMPORARY DANCE.

Kong and Minnie were next and their whole act was centred around skewering white privilege, which is what initiated the conversation between Hannah and Kween Kong about Hannah’s past involvement in shows that appropriated different cultures. And this Very Special Episode certainly worked better than last year’s, mostly because they had a Person of Colour in the room who worked within the scene and environment and understood how bad it is as opposed to last year when both the People of Colour had been sent home so it was up to RuPaul to forgive Scarlett of her blackface. And I particularly liked Kween’s talk about forgiveness and how you can’t just say sorry and expect a completely clean slate, an apology is something you show and demonstrate. It genuinely felt like a much more productive, nuanced discussion – my only complaint is that I would have liked to hear more of what Kween had to say rather than Hannah, but I understand why the show might have wanted to emphasise Hannah’s apology and journey to accountability.

And I think Kween and Minnie did a really good job of making a set about racism and white privilege that didn’t feel too heavy and I liked the set up of having Kween coming out and doing a bit of a set on her own, it certainly made their set feel the most like a hosting gig, and it allowed me to take in the rather baffling outfit Kween was wearing

this feels like a very specific reference that I’m missing, but who knows, maybe she was going for a CEO being taken hostage by a ballet troupe.
And I really loved the interaction between her and Minnie, the latter of which was still off stage, which made the punchline of “After all, Minnie did let me speak first” all the more funny. Kween really hit a stride with this challenge, she was definitely the stronger of the two – Minnie’s jokes just felt a little overcomplicated, particularly the one about Rhys looking like Annie, and I’m still scratching my head over this

You know, the Titanic, where they famously hung criminals.

And lastly we had Spankie and Yuri who were having a difficult time, both because Spankie spent a lot of the challenge telling Yuri that she didn’t like being paired with her but also Yuri had to go to A&E on the morning of the challenge because her eye had swollen shut – the two events are *apparently* unrelated

and for someone who had to paint her face in about 30 minutes, Yuri looked pretty damn phenomenal, if ever so slightly like a Whiskered Auklet

and God knows what happened to Yuri on that trip to A&E because she came back from it a changed person and was just utterly unhinged during this entire challenge, in the best way possible because every time she yelled “CUM!” I did laugh

it did remind me a lot of Alyssa and Alaska’s stand up comedy set in All Stars 2 where Alyssa told what could be loosely defined as jokes and Alaska would just say one word while Ru lost her damn mind. But it worked really well, especially because I don’t think anyone really expected it from Yuri, and I was a little worried when she momentarily broke character halfway through her first joke because she realised how utterly absurd saying she was ready to penetrate their mouths with food was

it was nothing but an utter delight, and Spankie was really good too as the relatively-straight guy of the duo, and I did very much enjoy the joke about her pants

Liar, liar your non-existent pants are on fire.

Seeing Red

Ah yes, the annual colour themed runway, which I do usually enjoy, I do think they could afford to go a little more conceptual with it, but given that the theme was Red, I was relieved that there at least 4 less jazzy devils than expected.

Beverly was kicking off the runway and was definitely going the hardest in terms of gore and horror with her sort of Crimson Peak meets Carrie look

it does feel a little crapped up and I think it genuinely worked better when she was holding the candelabra and her makeup just looked a bit like Yuri in a confessional

but I am a well documented lover of a bloodsoaked woman wondering the halls of a haunted mansion, as my scriptwriting tutors will testify to – if anyone is interested in commissioning what was rather unabashedly Scooby Doo set in the Guillermo del Toro Cinematic Universe, get in touch.

Pomara was next in a really pretty gown

I do wish they had let her explain it a little more, because there seemed to be a significance to the fabric she was using that didn’t really get fully explored – but the colours are divine and do look like the colours of the rocks of Uluru, which I think was partly what she was trying to achieve. And her makeup was really pretty

it’s the perfect glossy red lip.

Hannah was next and dressed like Carmen Sandiego after her 4th husband died in ~mysterious~ circumstances

I think she could have afforded to lose the peplum on the skirt, something about it takes it away from the most glamorous black widow in the Brisbane area to a Samba from Hell on Strictly Come Dancing, but as gloriously tacky as that sounded, nothing was going to out tacky Molly Poppinz’s runway look

I would have been perfectly happy for her to come out and simply work the runway looking like a slutty red M&M but then she fully dropped the tulle which it turns out sort of unflatteringly draped from her pelvis like a burlesque umbilical cord

and while we’re here, we might as well just acknowledge how absurd the wide shots of the runway are, it’s like the queens are performing on a shoebox diorama made by a 12 year old, it’s VERY endearing.
But if you thought the pelvic drape was a little odd, well from the back it turns out Molly just looked like an anal prolapse

it’s so gloriously tacky I honestly can’t be mad at it.

Also doing chaps, but in a much less obviously chaps kind of way, was Kween Kong who was doing her second homage to Moana, this time the volcano Te Fiti

I was as surprised as you are that they were allowed to mention a Disney property by name for the second time in 1 season – justice for Cheryl Hole having to say “Disney’s animated cat movie” instead of Aristocats because Michelle used the 1 allotted name usage.

After Kween was Minnie whose gown was an homage to the lives lost to HIV/AIDS and her runway was much shorter than everyone else’s because her nips were out the entire time which was a shame

it’s a BEAUTIFUL gown too and a really great interpretation of the AIDS awareness ribbon and because it didn’t get the showing it deserved on the show, here’s Minnie’s Instagram post which is worth having a full read of

you see the full post HERE.

Next was Spankie who was looking positively demure

I was surprised she didn’t once mention the Melbourne Cup despite the fact that’s very obviously what she was dressed for given the fascinator and the two very small flags she was waving. I think it’s a mostly successful look, I’m not sure I love the fact it was made out of pleather, I think it made what should have been a very light, floaty dress look a little heavy.

And lastly we have Yuri as the most explicit devil of the bunch

much like Beverly, I think it is a little crapped up, I’m not sure she needed the prosthetic horns AND the hair horns, and she could probably have ditched most of the streamers, but I did greatly enjoy the tail waggling along behind her

I’m enjoying Yuri’s sense of humour, I thought she would be very focused on always looking modelesque and high fashion on the runway, but this is a delightful shot of camp nonsense and I’m glad we saw that translated the challenge as well.

A Red Runway Ranking

  1. Minnie’s Instagram Post
  2. The Explicit Jazzy Devil
  3. Kween Kong’s Moana Cosplay 2: Te Fiti Boogaloo
  4. Carmen Sandiego Kills Her Husband While Doing a Samba
  5. Pomara’s Uluru Gown
  6. Spankie Jackzon’s Covered Thighs
  7. Beverly’s Crimson Peak Cosplay
  8. Molly Poppinz’s Peaks and Valleys of Tackiness

None of the teams did exceptionally badly, there were a few clunky jokes here and there, but no absolute bombs. As it was judged in teams, Spankie and Yuri won pretty evidently, they had a great energy throughout and played off each other very well. However, if it had been judged on solo efforts, I do think I would have given the win to Kween Kong, I thought her side of hers and Minnie’s set was really exceptional, well executed comedy. But I mostly loved Yuri and Spankie winning because of the cut to Molly looking utterly bereft and mortified

the outfit really does make it that much funnier.

It was a bit strange that EVERYONE else was told they were in the bottom – the clear bottom three though were Pomara and Beverly and then Minnie just for being kind of erratic and too eager – the critiques of Minnie are beginning to give me Jan vibes, so we’ll see if they continue to squeeze the life out of Minnie. But ultimately the two in the lipsync were Pomara and Beverly which I think was fair enough.

Striking Out

The lipsync song this week was Starstruck by Years and Years, which does mean we get another dose of Kylie as she features – and it was a really fun lipsync! I didn’t quite know what to expect from Beverly because she got very overwhelmed in Untucked and had quite a severe panic attack, and props to her for managing to work through it and give us this lipsync because she kind of ate, it started a little messy, she did nearly take out Pomara by brute force

and she was having to contend with the fact she was being garrotted by her own plaits every time she spun around, which she did A LOT

and then in a continuation of baffling acrobatics that Kween Kong started with her death defying barrel roll last week, Beverly became a windmilling flamingo

I don’t know, something about the wide shot makes it even funnier, it genuinely looks like someone playing with toys – it’s exactly the energy and cinematography I want the Barbie movie to have.

And Pomara wasn’t doing badly either, she ditched her full skirt immediately, both to help her move around the stage and because she wanted to show Ru and Michelle that she wasn’t wearing black knickers which RuPaul still didn’t seem to be impressed with

I do think the fact Beverly Beybladed herself into Pomara’s shins did make Pomara a little hesitant for a portion of the lipsync but she recovered and then really leaned into the comedy schtick of copying the dancing queen but ~funny~ which is a little played out but got laughs from the judges, I can’t however work out if the splits she very gradually dropped into was part of that or if she just got a little stuck and had to lower herself incrementally

it was by no means a complete wash for either side but I do think Beverly gave a cleaner and more exciting performance and so deserved the save, which did mean Pomara Fifth went home

I still don’t really know how I felt about Pomara on the show, she felt the most Season 1-y of the queens, which I think got to my perception of her a bit, so I’m a little relieved – it also means we don’t have a drawn out Pomara vs Minnie storyline, THANK GOD.

And so, we have 7 queens remaining

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One thought on “Drag Race Down Under, Season 2, Episode 3: A Burlesque Umbilical Cord

  1. Keley Ann

    I think Spankie’s look was an ANZAC thing, hence the poppies and the flags (the hat is also a big poppy, no?)

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