Welcome to our weekly look at what has been going on in the Werk Room and Main Stage of Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under.
If you want to avoid spoilers for Rupaul’s Drag Race, stop reading now.
We have reached the Finale of the first series from Down Under which introduced us to seven Aussie and three Kiwi queens. At just eight episodes long it is one of the shortest seasons yet but not without its controversy. Firstly, early favourite Art Simone was the second queen to be evicted…only to be brought back a couple of weeks later with no explanation other than ‘everybody needs a second chance’. Art is now in the final four. Another finalist, Scarlet told the other queens in the Werk Room that she had done black face when she was younger and was confronted by Ru about it on the Main Stage. Ru accepted that Scarlet regretted what she had done and allowed her to carry on in the competition; sending twitter into uproar.
Alongside Art and Scarlet, another big name going in to the competition was Karen from Finance who has also made it to the Finale. She has been pretty under the radar but had a good week last week. Finishing the contenders is the only Kiwi left, Kita Mean, who has brought the joy to this season as well as the heart. Based on Ru’s tastes I would think he would pick Scarlet for the win….let’s see.
Ru entered the Werk Room to tell the final four that this week’s maxi challenge would be a collaboration with her on the song ‘I’m a Winner Baby’. Each queen would have to write and sing a verse which they’d then lip-sync to along with choreography. But before they could start all that, Ru announced a video message from Olivia Newton-John and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave some advice to the queens.
As the girls worked on their lyrics, Scarlet was confident she’d nailed them quickly, whereas Karen wanted to use her character as a motivational speaker to say every girl this season is a winner. It was no surprise that Art wasn’t into Karen’s nice message! Kita told the girls that she was going to write heartfelt lyrics and sing them rather than rap.
Each queen was invited to chat to Ru and Michelle, Scarlet was up first and talked about the emotional challenge behind-the-scenes of not being able to talk to everyone back home. Art was next and she told Ru that she was grateful for being able to come back and they talked about how Art is the breadwinner in her family with Michelle warning that she might burn out if not careful. Back in the Werk Room, her words had clearly got to Art as he looked ponderous and spoke to Karen about how she needs to let the right people support her and not to just be the person that looks after everyone else.
Karen was the next to be interviewed and we found out that she lost her mother when she was 14. She said she pours her mother’s kindness into her character of Karen from Finance, but the character isn’t based on her in any way. Last up was Kita, who talked about her self-doubt in the competition and how that surprised her. She revealed that she was desperate for love and didn’t know why, but then she said that her parents split and her and her brother went with her Dad, whereas her sisters went with her mum. Her dad didn’t understand her and so it was a struggle growing up.
As the girls learnt choreography, many were drooling over their dance teacher except Karen who was too busy struggling with the moves. Kita was going first, followed by Art, then Karen then Scarlet to finish.
Whilst getting ready, Karen and Kita bonded over growing up around lots of male energy and not feeling like they fit. Scarlet and Art both joined in sharing that they have estranged relationships with their dads, both of whom cut contact when they found out their were gay.
This week the judging panel was just Ru, Michelle and Rhys. The girls took to the stage for their performance of ‘I’m a Winner Baby’ and Kita sounded good as she mimed to her verse about believing in yourself.
Art delivered an Aussie themed rap finishing by doing something weird with her tongue and mouth and was probably the most polished; Karen talk-sung a short motivational speech which didn’t really have much impact and Scarlet pulled out all the moves in a barely there outfit for her rapped verse.
On the runway, category was Best Drag. Art came out first in a big blue ballgown; Karen had a floor length sequined dress, in her office worker style; Kita was an icy showgirl, complete with a wing extension (how Courtney Act!) and big breast plate, and Scarlet gave classic, old school, Hollywood glamour.
Ru then praised each queen in turn for tonight’s looks and performances, and then asked each in turn to give their childhood self advice. Art told little Jack that it’s not a sign of weakness to receive help; Karen told little Richard, life isn’t always going to be beautiful, but it doesn’t meant that love is gone from your life; Kita told little Nick that he’d have a weird relationship with himself and paint some pretty dark pictures, but won’t give up and will get through it; Scarlet told little Anthony that it’s important to own up to mistakes you’ll make and grow from them; that you deserve love.
There was one final question – why should you be crowned Down Under’s first Drag Superstar? Art talked about the work she’d done and her love for drag. Karen said that she does represent the future of drag… and would like the money. Kita talked about how drag has molded her to be the business woman, artist and person she has become. Scarlet compared herself to the other queens and said she has shown more versatility throughout the show.
After the judges deliberated, Ru called the girls back to the stage as we nervously waited for Ru to crown a winner. She announced that before she would make her decision, she would like to see all the girls lip-sync one at a time to Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical’.
Scarlet went for sexy complete with taking her skirt off; Karen played on her character; Art did, erm, lots of spinning, but it was Kita who stole the show with a comedy routine which included a rubber glove. She not only used it to mimic an examination, but blew it up to create udders for the line ‘I wanna get animal, animal’ – genius!
The time then came to announce the winner…..Kita Mean!
Many congratulations to Kita!
Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under Finale is on BBC Three now. Watch on iPlayer.