Drag Race Down Under, Series 2, Episode 5: Tortoise Mode

Laser vision ACTIVATE.

I have not been able to stop singing “Bosom buddies, partners in crime!” for three days now.

A Minnie Fiasco

Not happy with the chaos she had caused in her final episode, Minnie decided to leave the queens with a mirror message that really reminded me of Madame LaQueer’s mirror message in it’s pettiness

made all the funnier by a stunned Hannah in full clown makeup reflected in the mirror like Pennywise the Clown waiting to jumpscare someone and instead accidentally finding themself trapped in the mirror of a Lifetime movie housewife having a mental breakdown and I just really loved the prolonged silence as Molly, Hannah and Beverly took to truly process Minnie’s unhinged leavings



Given that there aren’t many episodes left, the Reading Challenge was going to have to rear its head sometime soon. Given that there’s a number of queens who have excelled in comedy challenges so far, Molly, Hannah and Spankie namely but even Yuri is a delightfully sly shady bitch a lot of the time, I had fairly high hopes for this challenge. And then they all promptly came crashing down because this just wasn’t great? I fully expected Beverly to bomb but what I hadn’t expected was most of the queens to just recycle reads they had already used this season – most egregiously Kween Kong who had LITERALLY just used her read about Beverly Kills 4 minutes earlier in this episode

it didn’t help that they had really bigged up Kween as this master reader and then they were just kind of fine, I’ll give her the one about Hannah being an asshole that’s moved forward though, although I think the edit bleeping it kind ruined the impact of it. Kween also certainly had the best attitude and delivery, Spankie tried to do the Raja thing of just pointing at people and using one word to describe them but the thing was Raja took on the air of Crystal LaBeija when she did it, this was just your drunk uncle doing finger guns and saying inappropriate things at the family barbecue

I think I was mostly shocked by how bad Molly was at reading but you know, at least she had the self-awareness to admit it

shout out to her joke referencing The Help in the year of our lord 2022.

It was a two horse race between Hannah and Kween for the win and given her delivery and the fact this was very much Kween’s episode from the jump, she won and got no special privileges for it but she did get a $2,500 gift card to an unspecified location – it could be Fierce Drag Jewels or it could be Gowrie Farm’s Bespoke Cheeses, who knows.

Girl Gripes

For their Maxi Challenge this week the queens were having to form a pair of girl groups with the teams instantaneously being decided by the fact Kween just latched onto the nearest Not-Beverly people she could find

and oh the drama that this spiralled into as Beverly and Yuri seemed to take it incredibly personally, Molly seemed fine with the whole thing, I imagine she was a little relieved that she wouldn’t end up being compared to Hannah for an entire episode again. Beverly also just clearly wanted to work with Kween for this challenge, I think that was pretty obvious from her whole thing about her seeing Kween as a maternal figure who committed some sort Medean betrayal by being slightly mean to her on a reality TV show on which your shady bluntness is a commodity. But it’s hard to say who threw the first brick in this fight (but nobody died) because Kween said she was perhaps being abrasive because Beverly had said something “behind the scenes”

and I did love that the moment this was brought up, Spankie clearly just wanted to stop existing – as someone who also goes full tortoise mode when someone so much as tells the waiter their steak is too rare, it was very relatable content

but also, for someone who spent a lot of time talking about how she doesn’t like people projecting onto her, she was doing an awful lot of projection because I would say she was maybe a little more highly strung over this challenge considering she had inadvertently made herself team captain and clearly thought that this was her challenge to lose because, as her lipsync against Aubrey showed, she’s a killer performer with no regards for the laws of physics

and it was probably for the best that Beverly and Kween were on different teams just to spread the choreography talent a little more fairly, after all Beverly is Brisbane’s Premier Dancing Diva

ok, calm down Martha Graham.

Beverly did have the biggest uphill struggle because Kween could get away with just making Spankie and Hannah be a little goofy but also they have an awareness of their bodies whereas Yuri dancing looks like an inebriated stork which was sending Beverly into a doom spiral

I actually don’t think Yuri was that bad in the end, her verse was a little overly verbose and she was trying to cram more words into those bars than anyone legally should have been allowed to but she got a big laugh out of Rhys for her line about bouncing on your man like a trampoline

I enjoyed her performance, once she’s in drag she’s just this delightfully goofy goblin and I thought Beverly’s choreography suited her and the rest of the group really well – I particularly enjoyed the bit where they were miming out a car because it looked like the opening titles for a Hanna Barbera cartoon

neither team had a particularly bad performance, I think Molly was the weakest overall, her verse was just kind of monotone and sucked the fun out of this ridiculously catchy pop-punk-esque song that I have been singing for 3 days now PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP.
Beverly was as good as I expected and sure enough her custom-made laser-cut necklace was back in action

I think it’s actually a different one so someone on Etsy made a fair amount of money off of Miss Kills.
I did think this group had a more cohesive aesthetic too, or as cohesive as three disparate drag queens who brought in a series of predetermined outfits with absolutely no collaboration could look

whereas the other team was a little all over the place unified only by pantlessness with Hannah looking very Baby Spice, Kween Kong looking like a side character from One Piece and Spankie serving character actress in Cabaret realness


I do think it definitely helped this group going first given that the song sounded fresher because both teams were using the same song with zero edits, which does make it fair but did also mean we listened to the earworm of a chorus 6 times, but God it was worth it to hear Spankie Jackzon belting her way through her off-brand Eye of the Tiger verse like she was in a hair-metal band

I always appreciate it when someone actually sings and doesn’t just speak sing like a community theatre version of Lin Manuel Miranda, even if she did rhyme “here” with “here”. I didn’t really think much of either Hannah’s or Kween’s verses – with Hannah it just felt a little generic and with Kween I zoned out the moment she started rapping about someone’s ass smelling, it just wasn’t giving me what the judges clearly got from it, and I was VERY sad that this didn’t make it into her routine

but we did get a seismic tandem splits from her and Spankie at the end

I also love Hannah checking her hands to make sure she’s doing the devil horns properly <3

Spare Chains

First down the runway for this week’s Belts, Buckles and Chains theme was Kween Kong doing an homage to Lindsay Lohan’s pink and black dress from Mean Girls

it honestly astounds me that we don’t get more Mean Girls fashion references on the show but I enjoyed this pull from Kween Kong. It certainly beats a pink mini skirt and hastily made Burn Book prop, and I like that it’s not too literal, it’s a style of reference I personally prefer over a direct replica. I was a little confused about the jewels hanging from her eyes though

she didn’t have to match her eyes to the bedazzled belt buckles which while necessary to the theme did kind of highlight that it wasn’t the best made dress in the world but whatever fit and construction issues she had wasn’t any weirder than Spankie’s latex offering

this is just an unmitigated disaster and I think we can chalk up the Teletubby intestinal tract from the first episode as Not An Accident but God if it’s not just really quite endearing

what I will say though is I don’t think it’s a lack of polish as the judges keep saying, I think it’s just a lack of taste which is much easier to forgive when it becomes this divinely tacky. I don’t think Spankie is an unpolished queen, as her track record illustrates, I think she’s just a very local bar queen and you’d rush to see her if you saw her face on a poster because she puts on a good show.

Hannah was next in a very simple but polished little number that somehow also felt quite Slutty Knight of the Round Table

She’s putting the Drag in Arthur Pendragon.
As ever, it’s incredibly well made and styled impeccably and to quote Kennedy Davenport, “She’s…. BEAUTIFUL” *lip quiver*

but what I want to talk about more is the voiceover editing during her runway walk because there was not a single comment from the judges until the very end of her walk which meant that it was up to Hannah’s voiceover to cover the dead air and it sounded like they had phoned her at 6 in the morning to explain that the judges’ jokes weren’t funny and they needed more of an explanation from her so she just mumbled something about Jean Paul Gaultier and tension headaches – it was VERY odd.

The first of the Hung Divas to walk the runway was Beverly Kills in her denim look inspired by the Britney and Justin wedding and I’m so glad she included the stupid denim hat

I really like this, the different denim patches which were donated to her by her bar patrons added depth to the outfit and it was just sparkly and pretty and I imagine weighed a metric tonne and couldn’t have been fun to sit in for the whole day.

Yuri was next and dressed as a thlithery little thnake

A rich reference coming from someone who disparaged Molly for quoting The Help not even 3 minutes ago.
And as much as I loved this outfit, my favourite part of the whole thing was Yuri standing there with the silly grin on her face because of the joke shop fangs she was wearing

I also just really love the way she paints her face.

And lastly we have Molly Poppins in a chapped gown

it’s a really good outfit and yet there’s also something about it that’s just not interesting, I think it’s just falling a little short in terms of a concept because it’s immaculately made and her styling is really good, it’s just not quite resonating with me for whatever reason.

A Buckles, Belts and Chains Runway Ranking

  1. The Cinematic Masterpiece, Anaconda (1997)
  2. The Cinematic Masterpiece, Hannah Conda (2022)
  3. Beverly’s Denim and Diamonds
  4. Molly’s Rockstar Bumblebee
  5. Kween’s Mean Girl Era
  6. Spankie’s Sheer Audacity

Given that they were judging it in teams it wasn’t a surprise that Kween, Spankie and Hannah all won, although I think Beverly was easily in the top two and really that did mean that Yuri and Molly were the only possible choices for the bottom 2 unless they wanted to Elektra Shock poor Beverly and put her in the bottom 2 for being too good – could you imagine if they had done it following Beverly’s entire time in Untucked spent insisting that there wasn’t going to be a bottom 2? The face crack would have put us on a new timeline. So maybe they should have done it.

Whips and Chains

Yuri and Molly were lipsyncing to a remix of Chains by Tina Arena and it certainly wasn’t a lipsync for stunts or wild choreography, we had all just seen their group performances afterall. It wasn’t a bad lipsync though, both of them were clearly feeling the song and given the general vibe of the episode I really did think that we were heading for a double shantay because it felt like a very even performance. If anything, I thought Yuri kind of edged out Molly and I really thought she was going to stay because of the lingering shot of her at the end where she looked a little bit like she was sulking

but it wasn’t to be and instead Molly was saved and Yuri was sent home to add to the unhinged sign off quote pile that this particular iteration of the franchise is so good at

I’ll miss her, I thought she was a lot of fun and I always looked forward to what she was going to wear on the runway so I’m glad we’re only a few episodes from the end.

And so, we have our Top 5

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