Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under ten queens from across Australia and the ditch – aka glorious New Zealand – entered a camp little Werk Room in Auckland to the sounds of kookaburras. Confusing? Yes. Quintessentially Down Under? You betcha. With that, the queens were immediately tasked with auditioning for the new Taika Waititi movie Thore. While she didn’t wow her fellow queens, Elektra dazzled and took out victory on the first mini challenge of the season. That success didn’t translate to the mainstage however, as she confused the judges with both looks of the Getting to Know You Ball. Jojo had a powerful message but her looks were read as unfinished, landing her in the bottom with Elektra. Meanwhile Trixie and Katya’s friend Karen from Finance was hilarious and polished, taking out the first victory. And then Elektra absolutely destroyed the lip sync and we tragically had to farewell the iconic Jojo, who thankfully will live on in the annals of history as the Down Under Pork Chop.
The queens returned to the Werk Room positively heartbroken to have lost Jojo, going through the all too familiar second episode realisation that this is a competition and all but one of them will go home without a crown. The queens admitted that they were all well and truly threatened by Elektra’s lip sync abilities and would stop underestimating her. On the flipside, Karen knew that she had made herself an instant frontrunner, but assured us she was ready to meet the high bar she set for herself. And as her biggest competition, hoped to get into Art’s head and bring her down.
The mood the next day was far more upbeat as the top nine joyously entered returned, thrilled to have lived to see another day. Except for Art, who already was getting in her head as she grew a little bit salty about being pipped at the post last episode. Talk turned to this week’s challenge with Etcetera suggesting that maybe they would be tasked with doing a shoey, leading to the poor Kiwi girls chugging back a beer from someone’s heels. And then Scarlet suggested the Kiwis could bring in a sheep for them to fuck next week and given her past mistakes, that just landed with an ‘ooof.’
They were interrupted by Kylie mother tucking Minogue in lieu of Ru – maybe she was still awaiting her make-up? – who served her best possible RuPaul to tease this week’s challenge. And damn, could it really be happening so soon? Well, yes. Yes it is, as real RuPaul arrived to confirm that this week the queens would be playing the Snatch Game. Or as I wish it was titled Down Under, Skankety Skanks. But alas, it was not meant to be.
The dolls quickly split up with Maxi giddily sharing that she would be playing Magda Szubanski. Art meanwhile was going to challenge herself by not doing Kath Day-Knight – wise move, because Tayce was iconic – and instead portray Bindi Irwin. This of course was made muy awkward when Scarlet announced that she would be doing Bindi too, though she did have Jennifer Coolidge prepped as a back-up. Kita pulled the Kiwi queens aside to help her pick between Carole Baskin and Dr Seuss himself. Karen checked in with Art, concerned about the choice of Bindi while shadily admitting she has prepared multiple great options but wouldn’t be sharing which one she would ultimately do.
Ru dropped by to check in with the girls with Anita announcing that she would be playing ma girl Queen Lizzie. And given how she dragged Prince Andrew in the walkthrough, she is going to slay. Particularly given how ridiculous and hilarious Ru thought she was while they kiki-ed. Coco was up next to be read for last week’s shit outfit before sharing she would be playing Lizzo, with Ru cautioning her not to let her love of Lizzo get in the way of making jokes about her. Etcetera Etcetera was next to face Mama Ru and shared that she would be playing Lindy Chamberlain and oh fuck, God, this is going to be awful or amazing and no where in the middle. Particularly since Art and Karen were gossiping in the corner about the choice being one step too far. Speaking of Art, she shared that she would be playing her own version of Bindi Irwin and while she had Ru in hysterics, it was all at Art’s charm rather than any teased Bindi-isms.
Just like that we opened up on Snatch Game with Michelle and Rhys as our contestants, with Karen unveiled as my queen, Dolly Parton, but with no accent or giggle at all. Art’s take on Bindi was all bogan trash which honestly is how I think she’d like to be if she were liberated off the Australia Zoo compound, Coco was high energy as Lizzo, Anita was ready to slay as Lizzie, Scarlet was solid as Jennifer Coolidge, Elektra was trying her luck with Catherina O’Hara, Maxi was Magda as the incomparable Lynne Postlethwaite, while Etcetera and Kita stuck with Lindy and Dr Seuss and well, the latter started slowly.
Etcetera on the other hand was hilarious in the way that made you so uncomfortable to be laughing so hard, thankfully sticking closer to lines from the famed Meryl movie rather than joking directly about the tragedy. Lucky for Kita, she really warmed up and went from strength to strength, while everyone else was just kind of there because this was well and truly Anita’s show. She was filthy, perfectly timed and just so funny. That being said, Karen and Art were the hardest to watch. Particularly since they came out of the gate so strongly and clearly were overwhelmed by the nerves. Oh and shout out to Elektra for not giving the most Moira Rose performance, but for at least committing to the absurdity of the character and Snatch Game in general.
At the end of the day, Ru declared Jojo the winner as she did not have to endure it. And while it was said in jest, are we in for another lip sync orgy?!
Elimination Day arrived with Scarlet confident it was one of the best Snatch Games of all time, which Art readily agreed with. On the flipside, Anita quietly pulled a face that said she definitely doesn’t agree with the assessment. Before we could dwell on these diametrically opposed views, Scarlet pointed out that she thinks Coco will be in the bottom with Kita sure that she would be the one to join her. Karen perked her up by (rightly) pointing out she only struggled at the start and quickly gained momentum. One thing they could all agree on was that Anita would definitely be taking out victory, while Karen quietly worried that Art didn’t do enough to avoid being in the bottom.
Talk turned to the queen’s families, with Kita happily sharing that her family is so lovely and supportive while Anita broke down sharing how difficult her relationship is with her father, despite having a gorgeously supportive mother and that she uses her upbeat persona to mask her insecurities and pain. And ugh, this has been a good episode if you love Anita like I do because now she must be protected at all costs.
On the Sea Sickening Runway, Art redeemed herself as a gorgeous green sea creature, Kita was slayed as the daughter of Ursula and Elsa. Etcetera Etcetera was once again a star dressed as a ye olde deep sea diver, while Coco gave us straight up sexy Ursula, though we are unsure if she mothered Kita’s look. Anita was a stunning siren on a diet of only seaman (same), Maxi served us glamorous old dame dripping in pearls while Elektra was gorgeous in a tight white gown, draped in a seafoam wig. Which was the only sea reference I could find. Karen rocked a camp shiny shark number, while Scarlet was all of the coral to draw attention to the dying natural wonder of the Great Barrier Reef.
Ultimately Anita was called forward and immediately handed victory in the challenge because, and this is paraphrasing, there was no way anyone could beat her ever and why bother pretending. Kita and Etcetera were next up and were swiftly sent to safety, with the other six shocked to find themselves all up for elimination.
With that, the judges shared that they didn’t think Art’s Bindi Irwin went anywhere – and missed playing off Etcetera’s Lindy asking for help – and she appeared to rely on her funny rather than the character. That being said, they rightfully loved her outfit. Like Coco, they knew that her Lizzo didn’t hit the mark and sadly confirmed that she ended up missing her opportunity. Maxi meanwhile was read for being so into character that she didn’t interact with anyone. Elektra had the opposite problem, with them feeling she gave no Catherine O’Hara but lived for her interaction with them. Karen’s looks were praised while rightly was read for not giving any Dolly (despite it admittedly being super hard). Scarlet was praised for her Coolidge voice, but read for giving nothing more than her Coolidge voice. That being said, they lived for her look.
Backstage Art announced that they couldn’t clock who was the best in the Werk Room because straight up Ru hated all of them other than the safe three. Before you could even bat an eyelash, the queens all got to work learning the lip sync. Well, until Dannii ‘Foster Grants’ Minogue called in for quick kiki with the queens. Art used the opportunity to ask for advice on getting over their stumbles, with Dannii sadly not once mentioning getting behind your Foster’s for a quick cry before pulling yourself together. Etcetera continued to be the most damn charming person to ever grace Drag Race chatting to Dannii and all around being a delight. That being said, she was shady enough to gossip with Karen about how sure they were that Art and Coco would be lip syncing, despite neither living for zaddy Elektra’s look.
Ultimately Scarlet’s look saved her, as did Karen’s, while Elektra was saved despite her basic look, leaving poor Maxi – who did serve us an on point character – gagged to narrowly avoid the lip sync. With the shocked survivors looking on, Art and Coco got prepared to lip sync to Ru’s I’m That Bitch, and girl, did they both serve. Coco gave us all the charm and sex of Lizzo that was missing for her Snatch Game, while Art left literally everything on the floor as she desperately tried to avoid going home. Sadly, Coco truly was that bitch though and felt every lyric, leaving us and the rest of the queens gagged as the iconic Art Simone found herself eliminated from the competition.
With only a soz bitch from Coco.
Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty backstage as poor Art immediately felt the pressure on the nation crashing down upon her. I pulled her into my arms as she quietly sobbed, feeling embarrassed when she should only be feeling disappointment that she got unlucky in the challenge.
“Art, you’re so damn talented and the world is going to love you. You’re a star and honestly, it is sometimes better to be robbed than go far.”
“That means nothing.”
“At least you made it here?”
“How much wood would a wood chuck chuck?”
“That means, NOTHING.” Note: this is the grab they used in the final edit. Did I not tell you I’m a producer like Alexis Michelle?
“Art, I love you. It doesn’t matter where you placed, what matters is you now get to fill your mouth with some Sartay Simone Sausage Rolls.”
“Ok, that means something.”
Nothing turns a mood around – at least not in my household – like a delightful sausage roll. And given I have to mix them up so Alyssa, Fenella and Ross feel special, these little satay numbers are the perfect addition to our flaky fold. Nutty, crisp and with a little zing, they’re the perfect way to cheer yourself up.
Sartay Simone Sausage Rolls
500g chicken mince
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chilli paste
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 eggs, whisked
salt and pepper, to taste
3 sheets puff pastry, halved
satay sauce, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Combine mince, onion, garlic, peanut butter, breadcrumbs, fish sauce, chilli paste, lime juice and zest and an egg in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and scrunch together with your hands until well combined. The mixture will run on the moist side, so don’t worry though if you like, add another ¼ cup of breadcrumbs.
Line up the pastry sheets on your bench and divide the mixture among them, form six even sausages down the centre of each rectangle. Brush a little bit of egg on one side of each and roll each one up towards their eggier side.
Cut each length into 2-4 pieces depending on how you’re planning to eat them – lunch, snack etc etc as Lindy Chamberlain – and place them seam side down on a lined baking sheet. Once complete brush with more egg and sprinkle with some sesame seeds.
Transfer to the oven to bake for half and hour or so, or until golden and puffed.
Serve immediately with some satay sauce in honour of our iconic ninth place finisher.
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