Coco Jumbalaya

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens were put through their paces in the inaugural Down Under Snatch Game. And while Anita slayed the game and stamped herself as a frontrunner, pretty much everyone else bombed. Hard. There was a Dolly without an accent, a Coolidge without the jokes, Lizzo without energy and Bindi Irwin without the Bindi, despite the fact the bogan take was still funny. Ultimately the latter two performances landed Coco and Art in the bottom two, and the remaining girls – and us at home – gagged, gooped and broken as Art was shockingly eliminated from the competition. Sobbing her way out the door.

Backstage the queens were in absolute shock, not only to have lost Art but I assume trying to grapple with the raw emotion they just experienced. Karen was speechless to have lost her bestie slash fellow front-runner, while on the flipside Coco was glad that winning the lip sync proved some drunk bogan lady married to her boss who said she would never compare to Art wrong. The one thing everyone could agree on is how the  departure of such a big name means the competition is well and truly wide open, with Etcetera desperate to leverage that opening – who wouldn’t – to put herself at the front of the pack.

The next day things were less shell shocked as the girls celebrated still being in the competition, with Kita pointing out she is now terrified to lip sync against either Coco or Elektra given they can both turn it the hell out. Bless, Etcetera suggested they could just both land in the bottom together and send each other home and save everyone else the worry!

They were interrupted by Ru who dropped by to put the queens to the test as full-bushed, sexy lifeguards. Etcetera was obviously demented and syched for the Gods before popping her balloon titties mid-rescue. Karen served clown realness with the fullest of full bushes, while Kita was giving the Pit Crew something to suck on. Elektra was hilarious, giving pube reveals as she saved all the lives. Coco meanwhile was giving me life as a slutty lifeguard. Anita then came out as lifeguard Yetta and I still stan her, while Maxi burnt her feet on the sand and Scarlet popped both tits and stole the show as the dumbest lifeguard of all time. 

Ultimately – and somewhat obviously – Scarlet and Elektra took out joint victory in the mini challenge. As such, the duo were team captains in a girl group battle for the premiere of the maybe-gonna-be-a-hit song Queens Down Under. You know, the iconic one from the one trailer the show got. Not that I’m bitter or anything. With the two pulled aside, Scarlet grabbed Etcetera Etcetera, Coco Jumbo and Anita for her team while Elektra went with Karen and Kita, with Maxi joining them by default. Which didn’t bother her in the slightest. Like a damn icon. Anyway the queens would write their own verses, record them with Michelle and then debut them on the mainstage with their own choreo. Because we are not ready for Jamal Simms to land Down Under, as much as I want him to.

The groups quickly split up with Elektra desperate to prove why she is here and show off her dance background, while over on team Scarlet she was focused on killing it with sharp choreography despite Etcetera and Anita wanting to take it easy so they could all shine. That being said the choreography is the least of their problems, given Coco was on struggle street with the first part of the process, her lyrics. Things were then interrupted by a massive blow up between Karen, Elektra and Kita but psych, it was fake to get into the other girls heads. But nobody really batted an eyelid after the initial excitement died down.

Another siren went off with Drag Race songwriter Leland and Troye Sivan Zooming in to encourage the girls. And just as I was about to write it off as a boring way of including celebrity guests in this COVID world, Troye Sivan dropped all the ways he wants it up the arse in such a filthy way, I blushed, flooded my basement, took notes on new positions and then silently pledged to stan that hero until the end of times. They then encouraged everyone to give all the personality in their performances, but nothing will ever show more personality than the mouth of my King.

Team Elektra – aka Three and a Half Men – was first to record their lyrics with Michelle. Karen kicked things off very flat, before Kita absolutely blew Michelle away with her energy and lyrics before Elektra knocked out some hilariously self-deprecating lyrics ripping on her basic drag. And then Maxi, girl, you in danger – she struggled to find a beat, let alone stay on the beat. Instantly making her teammates shit themselves. Though not in the Scaredy Kat way.

Team Scarlet introduced themselves as the Outback Fake-Hoes – is that a play on Queen Sandra’s favourite chain?! – with Anita continuing to knock everything out of the park, Etcetera feeling her oats while working her way further into my heart. Scarlet too was great but then again, anyway looks perfect next to Coco who really struggled to find any key, despite how much I love her charm and how hot she is as a boy.

Three and a Half Men were first to learn the choreography with everyone feeling great about Elektra’s work and grateful about how patient she was while teaching everyone. Backstage she shared that she hasn’t taught dancing in such a long time, opening up about how she lost her dance studio and then her home. The rest of the dolls rallied around her as she broke down about her pain and loss and ugh, now I am an Elektra stan as well as my lusting after her.

The Outback Fake-Hoes were less streamlined in their rehearsal process as Scarlet tried to be nice and let everyone have an opinion. Etcetera used the opportunity to help by leading from behind, which led to them spending most of the time fighting over what to do while poor Coco and Anita stood off to the side of stage, looking on in utter confusion.

But will it all be a massive fake out?!

Elimination Day rolled around with Etcetera stumbling upon a note in Coco’s workstation telling her to ‘watch out.’ While everyone was speculating about who could possibly have written it, Kita lamented sadly that she wished it was her to cause some drama. That being said, it was painfully obvious that it was Art. Which is the perfect kind of messy I love and now miss.

UPDATE: Art has confirmed it was she who left the note. Like a shady little producing icon!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys strapped themselves in – with Rhys fearlessly ripping on Ru and Michelle with hilarious results, swoon – as Outback Fake-Hoes took the stage. Anita’s filthy lyrics delighted the judges, Scarlet hit every beat of the choreography, Etcetera oozed charm and Coco really kicked it into gear from rehearsal, though still seemed out paced by her team. Three and A Half Men kept things more even as Karen served Australian Trixie, Kita was an absolute high-energy delight, Elektra was an absolute star and Maxi was the exact right kind of slutty-demented, working around any of her perceived weaknesses with ease thanks to her killer characterisation.

Am I now a Maxi stan as well? This is getting exhausting.

On the Bogan Prom Realness runway Etcetera was a total slapper in a pink juicy tracksuit fresh from gittin’ her nails done. Coco was full bush after pulling herself away from the man she was doing in the shrubs, Anita was demented and truly sold bogen chic. Scarlet slayed in a goon sack gown with ciggie necklace, offering gobbies to her teacher to further lock up this week’s victory in my eyes. Elektra was a total golden bogan babe with a tonne of accessories and then some. Kita meanwhile went a different route, serving neon rocker realness. Maxi was a damn star as the bogan chaperone, while Karen was a mess as her ruffly daughter, in the greatest way possible.

Ultimately Etcetera and Karen were sent to safety, leaving the judges to read Coco for messing up the performance despite looking like perfection. Ru liked her look on the runway but wished it was more elevated. Anita meanwhile was praised for not letting her stumbles in the performance hold her back and therefore slaying from start to finish. Particularly with her filthy lyrics. Scarlet received universal praise for everything she did, with Ru feeling more in touch with Australiana from witnessing her runway. Elektra was read for trying to be the Beyonce of the group, with them not loving the fact she is continuing to be basic on the runway. Kita was universally beloved, despite the fact she didn’t really serve the category. Maxi was read for struggling with the record, though praised for being so damn stunning and magnetic. With Michelle reminding her she is so much more than funny to boot, and encouraging her to lean into her beauty.

As the queens untucked Coco resigned herself to her fate in the bottom two, while Elektra gagged her team with the knowledge that she too is in the bottom. The only thing more annoying than being in the bottom for Elektra though, was how smug Scarlet was to receive universal praise.

Back on the Mainstage Anita and Kita were quickly sent to safety as Scarlet took out her first victory of the season, despite the fact Ru made it sound like she had already won multiple. Meanwhile Elektra was gagged to find herself in the bottom with Coco, thanks to her basic runways while a shocked Maxi was sent to safety. And as suggested at the start of the episode by Etcetera, both of the potential assassins were ready to fight tooth and nail to survive to Peaches & Herb’s Shake Your Groove Thing. Elektra once again let out her full Beyonce while Coco felt the song and damn they bounced off each other so damn well. Elektra gave the most fluid death drops to ever grace the mainstage, was high-kicking and an absolute ridiculous delight and damn, this is where she shines as the hilarious, scrappy fighter.

Despite Coco’s magnetism, Elektra bouncing in a split for an entire verse was too fierce to overcome as she once again saved herself, sending my love Coco out of the competition. While my arms were wide open ready to embrace my northern-ish NSW friend, she was less happy to see me on account of the fact I forced her to dress as a gorilla in week one.

As one of her dearest friends, Coco came to me for advice on how best to impress Ru, Michelle and my king Rhys, and I suggested celebrating the jewel of Coffs, the big banana. Other than the iconic Maccas you’d stop at on a drive to Sydney at Christmas when it was still in the ‘90s location, but I digress. You see, my young gay loins were well and truly girded in the coastal hub when I saw the Wallabies in the pool while staying at a resort in Coffs Harbour. The moment went on to inspire the scene in the second Sex and the City movie but also washed away any doubts of potential heterosexuality and ignite my passion for a big banana.

It was a truly touching coming of age story, in more ways than one, and Coco agreed to do me proud. And well, we all watched episode one so the less I say about it the better, though I do think the judges would have loved to hear my touching story. 

After apologising profusely for being out of touch – who knows how to do human interaction after COVID?! – Coco warmed to my tears and was just grateful to have a friend by her side. I reminded her that she gave good talking-head for the three episodes she was in and was a babe out of drag and as such, will always be beloved by the fandom. And will probs win an All Stars season if and when it happens, I can just feel it in me waters. With that, we sat down to dinner hand in hand and giddily ate up our friendship while smashing a fresh Coco Jumbalaya.

Ya ya yi, you thought I was going to cocoa our jumbo, didn’t you? While it was the more obvious option when creating a recipe for a friend as sweet as Coco, I instead wanted to highlight her spicier side. Like Coco, this baby as the rich velvety sweetness of the tomato and capsicum with some delightful depths from the chorizo and chilli kicking it into gear.

Enjoy!

Coco Jumbalaya
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red capsicum, sliced
2 chorizos, skin removed and filling pinched out into small meatballs
500g chicken breasts, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup basmati rice
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and saute the onions and capsicum for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the chorizo and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until they release some of their flavourful oils. Stir the chicken through the pan and cook for another five minutes, or until starting to brown on the outside.

Add the garlic, spice, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper – more so off the pepper, but that’s my preference – to the pan and stir for a minute or so before stirring in the rice. Pour in the tomatoes and stock, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is plump and rouged.

Serve immediately and devour, thinking of the biggest bananas you’ve been lucky enough to see.

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