Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Ru and Michelle made the perilous trip to the southern hemisphere and after two weeks in quarantine, joined Rhys Nicholson on set to join ten of the best Aussie and Kiwi queens. One by one the departed, with Jojo tragically robbed first though winning the honour of being the Down Under Pork Chop.
She was followed by Art Simone, but that meant nothing, because after Coco was felled in Girl Groups, Art was returned to the competition in a pile of trash. Which honestly is how the fandom reacted to the lack of explanation about her return.
Which Anita’s business partner and Elektra’s boss, the lovely and supremely talented – not that Supremme – Kita Mean to take out the first title of Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar. And keep it firmly on New Zealand soil.
While she was overwhelmed by the experience at the start, Kita grew from strength to strength throughout the competition and by the time it came to the finale, there was no other person that should have been crowned.
Which is convenient, since she was.
After taking out victory, I pulled her into my arms and grabbed her by the face and through gritted teeth, told her that she is the most damn talented queen I’ve ever seen and I am so proud of everything she has achieved and I can’t wait for her to take over the world.
And did I mention I love you Kita?!
If that intense display didn’t sink in, I hope that my Turkita Mean Tostadas convinced her.
Inspired by those made by the iconically flavour-packed Half Baked Harvest number, these tostadas are the perfect way to honour a victory. Hot, spicy and layered with creamy, sweet and tangy flavours, they’re damn near perfect. Just like Kita’s run.
Turkita Mean Tostadas Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients extra virgin olive oil 500g turkey mince 1 onion, chopped 400g tinned diced tomatoes 2 chipotle chillis in adobo, finely diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp chilli powder 2 tsp ground cumin salt and pepper, to taste 12 corn tortillas 1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded 1-2 avocados, mashed 1 lime, juiced 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded and washed coriander leaves and sour cream, for serving
Method Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Heat a good lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the turkey and break up the mince with your wooden spoon until it is cooked through. Add the tinned tomatoes, chipotles, garlic, chilli powder and cumin with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for ten minutes or so, or until reduced. If it gets too dry, add water in ¼ cup increments throughout the process.
Meanwhile run the tortillas with a little bit of olive oil and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for five minutes, or until crisped and lightly browned.
To assemble, place a sprinkle of cheese on top of six tortillas and top with the remaining six. Bake for another couple of minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven and plate your cheesy shells before topping with the meat mixture, mashed avo, extra cheese, sour cream, lettuce and coriander.
Like Art before her, I’m not going to dwell too much on Scarlet. I mean, damn Ru, why you gotta have four people left in contention for the crown? It really makes my life that much more difficult.
In any event, Scarlet well and truly stormed through the competition, served killer looks and well, that pole dancing was damn impressive.
That being said, it would be remiss to not say that her well-known past performances were horrible and as a white man, it is not my place to forgive her or accept her apologies. But I do hope that she is genuine about making amends and learning from the this because the world needs growth and healing with those she hurt so stupid, racist shit just stops happening.
Which is what I told her as I sat down and slammed a plate of Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups in front of her.
Like at the end of a good night, there is nothing I love more than sweetly, sticky balls. Combining san choy bow and ramen influences, these babies are earthy, spiced and most importantly, easy. Which is what I like to hear when I’ve got sticky balls.
Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups Serves: 4.
Ingredients 500g beef mince 1 tbsp ginger, minced 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp chilli paste 225g water chestnuts, finely chopped ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs 4 shallots, thinly sliced salt and pepper, to taste olive oil ⅔ cup plum sauce 100g vermicelli noodles 1 red chilli, thinly sliced 2 baby cos lettuce, leaves broken off and rinsed.
Method Combine the mince, ginger, garlic, chilli, water chestnuts, breadcrumbs and shallots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch to combine with your hands and mix into golf-ball sized meatballs.
Heat a lug of oil in a wok over medium heat and cook the balls for five minutes or so, tossing infrequently. Add the plum sauce with a cup of water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and sticky. My two favourite descriptors.
Cook the noodles as per packet instructions and drain well to avoid any drippiness.
To assemble, divide a couple of lettuce leaves on a plate, top with noodles and meatballs and garlic with a few slices of chilli. And then, obviously, devour.
Given Art already had an episode of my love, I’m going to keep things brief.
Art truly is the future of drag.
On top of being funny, filthy and oh so fierce! She was an absolute joy to watch all season, providing hilarious commentary, giving us heartfelt moments and while she never took out a win, I’ve got a feeling that she will have a triumphant run on a future All Stars season.
You heard it here first!
And obviously I told her of this as I pulled her into my arms, cast aside the snag rolls and gave her a fresh bowl of more finalist friendly, Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta.
Salt, creamy and packing a kick, this very basic pasta tastes anything but! Plus, you can whip it up in sub-twenty minutes – genuinely, Jamie Oliver – which is very important to me as I age.
Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta Serves: 4.
Ingredients 500g rigatoni 700g marinated artichoke hearts, drained ⅓ cup olive oil 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 tbsp chilli flakes 1 cup parmesan, grated salt and pepper, to taste
Method Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat. Heavily salt and add the pasta before cooking per packet instructions.
While the pasta is gettin’ al dente, place the artichoke, oil, lemon, chilli and half the parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz to form a smooth, velvety paste.
Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Combine the cooked pasta with the puree and stir to combine, adding as much liquid as required to make it saucy. Fold through the remaining cheese and again, add more liquid as needed.
When at the desired consistency, serve immediately, top with more parmesan just because and then devour. Triumphantly.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the top five were tasked with showing off their impressive talents, by way of a talent show. Despite never having pole danced before, Scarlet put on an impressively dangerous show, thankfully avoiding falling from the top and cracking her skull. Elektra meanwhile performed a powerful contemporary dance, but due to her thirsty wig somehow landed in the bottom despite Art’s talent involving her eating things. Which is far more iconic than that sentence gives it credit for. She was joined in the bottom with her boss Kita Mean and despite being the undisputed lip sync assassin of the season, Elektra found herself exiting the competition just before the finale.
Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.
Backstage the girls were thrilled to make it to the top four, with them discovering Elektra was proclaiming Kita as the winner of the season on the way out of the door. Art and Scarlet admitted that they felt Elektra kind of gave up in the lip sync, which felt like it was kind of them trying to be nice about how much Elektra loves Kita rather than saying she couldn’t have won the lip sync otherwise. Hopefully. The girls celebrated making it to the top, though were shady to Art about being eliminated and coming back to the competition. That being said, Art wasn’t bothered and still thought she could take out victory. Particularly since Karen pointed out that Scarlet had half a beard when she snatched her third victory, so anything truly is possible.
The top four jigged back in the next day with Kita still jumping out of her skin with excitement, giddy about potentially bringing the crown home to New Zealand. We were then treated to the girls flashing back through moments of the season before Ru arrived and tasked them with their final challenge of the season, where they would be writing their own verse on the rumix of Ru’s You’re A Winner, Baby. And then, you know, performing it live on the mainstage with full choreography. After a light lunch with Ru and Michelle. The usual.
We were then gagged by Dame Olivia Newton John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave the girls a little bit of advice in a pre-recorded but made to not look pre-recorded message, but who cares given it is ONJ, dammit.
Just like that, the queens split up to work on their verses with Scarlet oozing confidence, while Karen had written two verses, one from her boy self and the other from Karen. Not to be confused with a Karen, since it is a loving verse telling all the eliminated queens that they’re all winners too rather than the poster child of middle aged, white privilege. In any event Art thought the loved-up Karen idea was a shit one and as such, encouraged her to run with it. Kita meanwhile shared that she was going with a heartfelt verse that she was going to sing. Full power ballad style, I assume.
Scarlet dropped by for lunch with Ru and Michelle, praising her mother as the person that has shaped her life the most. She said that being away from her loved ones was the most difficult part of the competition, but her partner organised a pack of letters from home, which she has been opening episode by episode to keep her focused. Ru advised that Scarlet not engage with the comment section and get distracted by the noise and given the backlash, it definitely is good advice for young Scarlet.
Meanwhile backstage Kita, Karen and Art were imitating each other and living their best lives and I love everything about it. And them.
Art excused herself to chat to Ru and Michelle, with her thanking them for giving her a second chance. She admitted that it taught her to let go given she supports everyone in her life, which made Michelle give her a pep talk and tell her that she needs other people to turn around and look after her too. Otherwise she is going to burn out. And ugh, this is why I love Michelle. Ru joined in and suggested that she remember she exists without people needing her and to focus on letting go.
Karen from Finance shared that her deceased mother did work in finance, but wasn’t the inspiration behind her. Talk turned to the pressure of living up to the name of Karen from Finance, given she is an internationally recognised thanks in no small part to how much Trixie and Katya love to talk about her.
We checked in with Art who was still processing the fact that she spends so much time looking after others, which has led to her burning out and not letting people in. She caught up with Karen and they had a really nice chat about freeing themselves and the way the show has made them reevaluate their lives and ugh, I love them both! And well, despite the criticism, proves that this show has still got it.
Kita then rounded out the interview portion, joking about not being shocked that she made it to the end. Though she did admit to getting into her own head throughout the season. Ru and Michelle reminded her that she needs to deal with whatever issues she had which led to her putting on the weight, now that she has lost it. Michelle then told Kita that her need for love comes from trauma, before they let her marinate on what her trauma was and helped her start to work through it. NO JOKE. Did Michelle get a psychiatry degree in lockdown, because she is amazing?! She then fit two jaffas – aka balls – in her mouth and had them in stitches, and please let this be the start of her coronation.
The top four then joined Lance Savali on the mainstage to learn the finale choreography, with Karen admitting that she is well and truly out of her depth. Kita was charming despite struggling to pick up her’s, Art was patting the puss and slaying her sexy choreography, while Karen got the Trixie in All Stars 3 choreography, complete with baseball bat dad dancing. And then Scarlet nailed the entire rehearsal, despite getting the easiest moves.
Coronation Day arrived with Kita sharing how her sisters and he and her brother were split up when her parents divorced. Karen agreed that growing up in a house full of boys was a struggle for her too and how they both needed to let their families in. Scarlet spoke about how she has never met her father as he reached out to her as a teenager but stopped talking to her when she found out that she was gay. Art shared that she had the same story, but loved how her father now has to see her on ads and hear her on the radio given she is famous. Which is an iconic and amazing way to look at things. Talk turned to the dangers of being queer, though all of them agreed that they wouldn’t change anything as that is what has made them strong.
Kita then summed things up, explaining about how much bigger the journey was than she was expecting and was so grateful to make it to the end. And again, please let this be part of her coronation edit!
Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places for the debut of the Down Under remix of I’m a Winner Baby with Kita coming out looking just like one. She was shimmering in white and sang beautifully, Art was hilarious and charming, dripping in technicolour neon. Karen owned her awkward dance moves though definitely had the weaker of the verses, despite the really sweet and kind message. Scarlet oddly looked a mess, though nailed the choreography and gave a classic finale verse.
On the Best Drag runway Art was beautiful in a teal ball gown fit for a princess, Karen was classic Karen in a shimmering boardroom eleganza. Kita was a gorgeous angel with blue hair, complete with moving wings. And Scarlet was inspired by Princess Grace in a rose gown, looking gorgeous.
The judges lived for everything Art did in the finale, looking stunning on the runway and nailing the performance. Ru praised her as the future of drag and ugh, I love her. Michelle lived for Karen’s Elvis style look in the performance, with them all loving her runway. Kita too was praised for everything she did, with Michelle loving her singing voice and living for how diverse she has been throughout the season. And how she has slayed the entire time (kinda proving her bottom placement was bogus). Scarlet too received universal praise, killing the dance moves and looking stunning in the finale. And then Ru gushed about everything she has done.
Art was first to give advice to her younger self, learning from her chat with Ru and Michelle, telling his younger self to look after himself as well as others. And to wear his fucking retainer. Karen told herself to remember that love will always be in her life and to power through the moments she doesn’t feel it. Cute young Kita was told to grow from her weird relationship with herself but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and know that you have strength to get through anything. Bringing everyone to tears. Scarlet meanwhile cautioned herself to own her mistakes and use them to grow. And that she is worthy of love and isn’t alone.
When it came to laying claim to the crown, Art pointed out that she has been a champion for Down Under Drag her entire career and wants to invest in its future. Oh and just fucking loves drag. Karen said that she is the future of drag and a little bit of coin would really help her grow. Kita spoke about how drag has shaped her entire life and wanted to make Ru proud, as the victorious music started to play. And Scarlet said that she has proven her versatility and won the most challenges and would love to continue to push drag into the mainstream.
We didn’t get to see what went down backstage, but the top four exited as the judges deliberated and then returned to learn that they were required to complete the final lip sync solo, one after the other, to ONJ’s Physical. Which is truly iconic. Scarlet channeled sexy, Karen cleaned her glasses, Kita was filthy and ridiculous while Art was truly polished. But let’s be honest Kita’s sexed up ridiculous performance, complete with rubber gloves to give the judges a literal physical was far and away the best performance.
And thankfully, she rightfully was crowned and we didn’t have to suffer through another Bimini situation!
That being said, the finale really cemented my love for Karen from Finance. She was vulnerable, polished and like Ru and Michelle, I feel the next two years are going to push her further than she could even imagine.
As we sobbed in each other’s arms after I gushed about her performance, I remembered that losing isn’t the new winning and as such, she needed something to sweeten the deal. Which thankfully, is where my Carrot From Finance Cake comes in to play.
Full disclosure, carrot cake is my favourite cake. Most likely because of its pairing with cream cheese icing. That being said, the sight of carrot in raw cake batter is kind of disturbing but work through it. Spiced, moist and fluffy, this truly is culinary perfection.
Carrot From Finance Cake Serves: 8-12, greed dependent.
Ingredients 250g plain flour 2 tsp baking soda ½ tsp sea salt 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground ginger 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil 200g raw caster sugar 200g muscovado sugar 3 tsp vanilla extract 4 eggs 300g carrots, grated and peeled 500g cream cheese, at room temperature 350g butter, at room temperature 800g icing sugar 100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
Method Preheat the oven to 160C and line the bottom of two 22cm cake tins with baking paper and greasing up the edges.
Working with two bowls, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in one and the oil, sugars, one teaspoon of the vanilla and eggs in the other, whisking well to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until a smooth batter forms. Followed by the carrots.
Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 45 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once the cakes are chill, place the cream cheese, butter and remaining vanilla in a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, or until fluffy. Fold through the icing sugar, and return to the mixer for a couple of minutes or until smooth and velvety.
To ice, dollop a bit of icing on the top of one of the cakes and smooth to form a ½-1 centimetre layer of icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to cover the surroundings. Decorate with the chopped nuts before placing in the fridge for an hour or so to set.
Then, confusingly, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and then devour.
Previously on Drag Race Down Under the final six were tasked with making over six sexy gay rugby players, who upon completion, were well and truly feeling their oats. The delightful wacky Kita finally scored her first victory of the season after slaying the makeover and nailing the family resemblance. On the other end of the spectrum, Scarlet well and truly had a fall from grace and bombed, focusing more on her own look rather than the makeover. Sadly for Elektra, she wasn’t down for the count, however, as Maxi landed in the bottom with her and was tragically felled. Likely only because of her track record.
Backstage the queens proudly toasted their iconic sister, delighted by the fact her signature is made up of giant tits. Thankfully Elektra got to gloriously rip on Scarlet for doing the splits in her lip sync and let’s just say, Scarlet was not happy about having to pretend she wasn’t bothered by the comment. Before she could fully unleash her rage, everyone rallied around to congratulate Kita on her victory, with Karen rightly pointing out that she is really the one to beat at the moment. Talk turned to the need to win a challenge to win the show, with Art looking very attacked by the fact she is the only one left without a victory. But where there is a Velour, there is a way and Art isn’t bothered. Which is why she is an icon.
The next day Scarlet was a little bit more relaxed about being in the bottom last week, though was still annoyed enough to be shady about Art’s second chance. Which we all got over weeks ago, right? Like she wants everyone to get over some of her past performances. Kita shared that she journaled who she thought she’d make it to the end with at the start of the competition, admitting it was the rest of the queens. Except Elektra. Which once again fired Elektra up to remind everyone that she is just as talented as them. Her basic outfits be damned.
The potential drama was interrupted by Ru who joined them to announce that for this week’s maxi challenge, the dolls would be putting on a little talent show for the judges. Which should be the perfect way to showcase all the queens before the finale. Right? As the victor of the last challenge, Kita was able to choose the order in which they will perform and damn, please, be shady as hell. PLEASE.
Scarlet nervously tried to influence where she was placed, before Art suggested Kita sit on it before locking in her decision. With that, they split up to rehearse with Kita prepping a magic act as Art appeared to be doing a work out routine in the background. In the most demented way possible. Elektra was obviously going to dance – despite Karen reminding her she needs to remember to look good while doing it – while Scarlet was preparing a pole dance. Oh and then Elektra quietly pulled Kita aside, begging to be the last performer. Which is also where ameteur Demi Moore in Striptease wanted to go.
Kita pulled the girls aside to lock in the order, going with Karen, Art, Kita, Scarlet and then Elektra. And hot damn, did young Scarlet throw an epic tantrum about it! I mean, it almost rivalled Alaska’s in All Stars 2. Before she quickly pretended to be very unbothered by it as Kita really didn’t seem to care, so instead, she vowed to destroy everyone.
Ru arrived with the iconic Raven to chat with the queens. Elektra was up first, sharing that she plans to do a slowed down dance as Raven began flirting with her and to follow from last week, they should start an Only Fans. Elektra pointed out that she has x factor and can always work on the rest – like her outfits and make-up and well, that is very true. Kita shared that she would be doing quick change magic, with Ru admitting that she hates magic passionately, leaving Raven to give her the pep talk instead. Kita spoke about feeling guilty for winning the week before, with Raven wisely reminding her to get out of her head and to stop second guessing herself. Lest she messes up.
Scarlet got the slutty boots out to talk about her pole dancing routine, explaining how dangerous her inverted split will be. Oh and did she mention, she’d never done it before. And ugh, we know where this is heading, don’t we? Boo. Art outlined that she would be doing a serious commentary on the media, using the second most talented hole on the body – her mouth. Art asked Raven for advice about surviving life post drag race, with she and Ru reminding her to never venture into the comment section. Which is wise. Even for a mild celebrity like me! Oh and Karen will be doing some clown work and making balloon animals. Which, lol. Oh and Ru then shadily pointed out that Karen has started to flatline in the competition which hopefully fired her up to step out of her comfort zone and slay the judges.
After they left, Karen started to panic about delivering a sexy balloon artist instead and spiralled. Driving everyone mental, particularly Elektra who wanted Karen to listen to Ru’s advice because that is exactly why she herself has started to succeed in the competition.
Elimination Day arrived with the queens well and truly stressed out about the make or break challenge. Karen meanwhile had decided to change her act, but didn’t want to talk to anyone and instead focused on getting ready. Which obviously meant that Art continued to talk to her, which I think was her trying to help get her out of her head rather than being shady. Elektra spoke about how confident she was before we took a very hard pivot with Art, who opened up about getting death threats after performing drag Christmas carols on Chapel Street. And how her own cousin made death threats against her because they were jealous that Art was living the life that they wanted before they died by suicide. She then told her sisters that she is always there for them all and fuck, I don’t care if she has no wins, give her the damn crown.
At the talent show Ru, Michelle and Rhys were delighted by Karen’s sexy showgirl turn as she violated all the balloons on their way to making poodles. Well and truly leaving the judges wanting more. Art was bizarre and demented while shoving entire foods into her large mouth without chewing. And I absolutely lived. Kita came out ready to win, serving energy and fire as she slowly did stripper-reveal magic. Which is honestly something you can’t describe. Scarlet meanwhile did her pole dance to the theme of House of Drag, absolutely slaying the house down and thankfully not cracking her skull and bleeding out mid-performance. And then Elektra served a moody, contemporary dance routine and was great. But the vibe didn’t feel like it would be Drag Race enough for the judges.
On the How’s Your Head … Piece runway Karen was stunning as a giant pink poodle, Art was a garden fairy with butterflies flying around her head. Thankfully fake and moving, unlike Asia’s. Kita was a glorious robotic, sexy club kid with a wig of lights. Scarlet was a stunning, shimmering showgirl and Elektra was a Fosse dream, complete with a swing.
The judges lived for Karen’s runway, but felt her talent was good but way too short. The judges lived for Art’s glorious runway and her talent, despite not knowing what she was doing. Kita was praised for her energy, though was read for the bland outfits in her talent. Though they loved her runway. Scarlet received universal praise for everything she did this week, while Elektra was read for not being drag enough in the talent show – see?! – despite being more than ready to appear in Sia’s next video.
Wanting to make things shady, Ru asked the dolls who they each thought should go home tonight, with Karen saying Elektra should go because she has gone as far as she can go and her storyline is already so epic. Which Art, Kita and Scarlet all quickly agreed with, while Elektra suggested it should instead be Art. Given that Art hasn’t grown in the competition. And you know, since she has already been eliminated once.
As the girls Untucked, Elektra was annoyed that they all piled on her but knew that it was the easiest choice. Art meanwhile was unbothered that she was identified as the one to go by Elektra because she just doesn’t really give a shit. Thankfully The Veronica’s arrived to kiki with the girls before Elektra and Kita could delve into the drama. They shared with the girls that Scarlet will definitely win, and Elektra will be joined in the bottom by either Karen or Kita. Talk turned to who they all thought would win the contest, with Art suggesting Scarlet, Scarlet went with Karen, Karen with Kita and Kita with Elektra. Because if she doesn’t win, the judges clearly aren’t looking for talent.
Obviously Scarlet won the challenge, while Elektra found herself in the bottom. Somehow Karen narrowly avoided the bottom with Art, leaving Kita to battle it out against her fellow kiwi. Which is totally rigor morris. But you know, whatever. As The Veronicas’ Untouched got started Elektra pretended to quit before the duo absolutely left everything on the floor and fought for their lives. Hard. Kita was demented and hilarious, Elektra felt every moment. Given their track records though, it was Kita who was ultimately saved as she sobbed while holding her sister in her arms.
Backstage Elektra was the same charming, thirsty star I first fell in love with on House of Drag before pursuing as a lover. While I was specifically looking to marry anyone from New Zealand so I could move there and have Jacinda as my PM, I genuinely well in love with zaddy Elektra. The passion was instant, but I was tragically deported for not being friendly enough to live in NZ and our relationship fizzled out. So it was so nice to once again hold her in my arms and share a loving Tortelektra Shock together.
Cheesy, pillowy parcels of pasta slathered in a spicy sauce of sundried tomato and mushrooms, this is such a simple – dare I say basic – dish, but it tastes so damn good. Just like Elektra … ‘s talent.
Tortelektra Shock Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 pack gow gee wrappers or portion of pasta dough 300g fresh ricotta 1 egg, whisked ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra to serve 4 garlic cloves, minced salt and pepper, to taste olive oil 1 cup mushrooms, sliced ⅓ cup sundried tomato pesto 2 tsp chilli flakes 1 cup cream small handful basil leaves, sliced
Method If you’re not being lazy like me, start by prepping your pasta dough.
If going with gow gee, ignore them for the moment and instead focus on the filling. Combine the ricotta, egg, parmesan and two garlic cloves in a bowl with a good whack of salt and a better whack of pepper. Stir until well combined.
To make the pasta, place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of a wrapper – or a 10cm square of pasta dough – and twist to form a tortellini. Repeat the process until it is all done.
While you get a large pot of water on to boil, heat a lug of olive oil in a medium frying pan and cook the mushrooms for five minutes or until browned and soft. Add the remaining garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes before stirring through the sundried tomato, chilli and cream. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and keep warm while you cook the pasta.
Once the pasta is floating in the top of the boiling water – because you put it in the water, which I’m only just reminding you to do now – scoop it out or drain and stir through the sauce with the basil.
Serve immediately with a good layer of parmesan and devour.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens found themselves creating and marketing their very own yeasty spreads. Which really exemplifies why people don’t understand the attraction of any and all of the -mites. I mean, who even says, mmm, yeast! That being said Elektra somehow managed to make hers seem appealing, as she slayed the game and proved her doubters – aka Scarlet – wrong. At the other end of the pack, Ru expected more from Maxi while Etcetera went too far but wasn’t funny enough. As such, Elektra earnt her first victory while Maxi and Etcetera battled to survive with the iconic Etcetera going home.
Backstage the queens honoured the delight that is Etcetera, with Maxi admitting that she knew she had to pull out every damn trick she had if she wanted to compete with the whippersnapper. Scarlet was shocked to land high, while Karen from Finance was frustrated that beyond week one, she has been flatlining through the competition. Art tried to perk her up and say that she has a name to live up to, while some of the others don’t have a reputation that the judges are holding them against. Oh and speaking of no name – allegedly – Elektra was feeling her oats and agreed that she far and away had the best commercial. Which led to Art pointing out that they all packed what the packed, so the rest of the competition is going to be what it is. Elektra kikied with Kita and willed a double elimination to get rid of some more Aussies. Oh and she’d love one of them to be Scarlet.
But wouldn’t we all.
The next day the queens were feeling far more friendly, talking about their general horniness and how they’d love a Mini Challenge featuring 100 pit crew members pulling down their pants. Which, same. After briefly trying to set up the revirginized Art and Kita as a lovely drag power couple, they were interrupted by Aunt or Auntie Donna and I don’t actually know who they are, but work. More importantly, Ru arrived and proved Karen is part psychic, wheeling out ten gorgeous men with the queens needing to guess what animal the men are packing in their pouches. In any event, I want all ten of them and my basement is no longer just flooded, there is a tsunami and I’m sorry to all the things that will suffer water damage for the rest of their lives.
I’m not sure if anyone could actually be bothered counting, but Maxi took out victory.
And she didn’t just win a gift card, she also got to pair the queens with their makeover partners from the New Zealand Falcons aka the gay rubgy team of abbsolute zaddies. Again, all six can do whatever they want to me. Maxi first paired Karen with someone that looked pretty similar to her, which she also did for Elektra, Art, Kita and herself, leaving Scarlet with the biggest uphill battle. Though they could pass as a mother and daughter, I guess?
Kita quickly got to work charming her partner, while Scarlet’s partner was adorably excited to try drag for the first time. Karen’s partner had dabbled with his mum’s shoes, Art’s had worn lippy and Maxi quickly realised she had actually picked the biggest battle for herself, despite their resemblance. And oh God, please don’t let it be that storyline where the one that chooses the pairs goes home. Oh and Elektra and her newest family member need to start dating and open an Only Fans – see, I’m cool – because I love them. We then had a montage and while only Elektra’s zaddy could rock a heel, I think this proves rugby players are near perfection. Which, at this point, is all we should care about. Oh and we then learnt that Kita and Scarlet’s partners are dating and damn, why don’t they do an Only Fans while I’m suggesting businesses.
I guess I should talk about the challenge rather than my erotic fan-fiction, so Scarlet and Art were shady about queens not making outfits for their new family members. Though Scarlet felt Art’s custom outfit wasn’t very custom, so was including her in the shade.
Elimination Day rolled around, with Elektra’s daughter worried about having to share the limelight before Maxi finally got confirmation that she would be shaving off her sister’s beard and damn, when it went they’ve got the family resemblance on lock. Elektra and her daughter were bonding over their lives, with him sharing how as a Pacific Islander man he has been taught to try and present as straight and as such, this is so liberating for him to participate and firmly embrace all the colours of the rainbow. Swoon. Meanwhile Art was not sure that Kita was doing enough to take out a win, despite the fact Kita knows that she needs to step out and prove herself. And thankfully, her daughter is ready to take out the win for her.
Karen had half done her sister’s make-up when she realised that Art is only focusing on herself, rather than getting her sister prepped. Scarlet meanwhile was trying to learn her partner’s bone structure, while Elektra was finishing up and teaching her sister as she went. While Art continued to wait for her sister’s eyebrows to dry. Apparently.
Ru, Michelle and Rhys were riding solo for the mainstage runway presentation, with Kita and Feta Mean looking like a Cruella black and white delight as Feta lived her best life. Elektra Shock and ReRe Action were space-age stunning, Maxi Shield and Cilla Wet were dressed as jellyfish and well, it wasn’t great. Art and Craft Simone rocked Priscilla chic and were totally gorgeous, Scarlet and Sapphire were slutty, sexy showgirls but tragically didn’t do the wagon wheel watusi. Karen was joined by Debbie from reception and it was damn glorious.
Kita and Feta received universal praise for their makeover and the fact they gave all of the personality. Elektra meanwhile was read for filth by Michelle, but loved by Rhys. Maxi was praised for bringing the fun, though read for literally everything else. Art was read for the lack of family resemblance, despite them both looking absolutely stunning. Scarlet was praised for being cute, despite her clearly focusing on herself, rather than her sister. Though she got lucky by how damn charming Sapphire is. And despite them all hating the thick glasses, Karen and her sister were praised for the look while Ru wasn’t sure about how much of a transformation Karen produced.
Backstage the queens and their daughter/sisters/I can’t keep it consistent untucked, with Karen leading a toast to all the iconic rugby players. Art and her sister continued to be funny and charming, before Scarlet spun things around to who would be in the top and bottom. Everyone agreed Kita would be in the top, while Karen assumed she would be there with her and the rest would be in the bottom. Since Elektra was read for make-up, Maxi was read for lacking detail, Scarlet was read for being basic – lol – and Art for not bringing family resemblance.
Back on the runway, as if it were in any doubt, Kita took out her first, very well-earned victory of the competition, while Art and Karen were sent to safety. The bottom three nervously awaited their fates, before Scarlet’s track-record couldn’t even save her as she was forced to battle it out against Maxi, as Elektra was sent to safety. The. Gag.
Anyway, from the moment Kylie’s Better the Devil You Know started, Scarlet kicked straight into dancing diva mode, as Maxi stuck with her hilarious and charming approach. While Maxi lived her best life, Scarlet proceeded to strip and sell sex, which sadly proved to be enough as Maxi was robbed on her way out the door. Much to my bitter rage and disappointment.
I pulled Maxi as close to me as her breast plate would allow and hissed into her ear how wrong her elimination was and that she deserved to stay. But being the absolute delight, she had a quick chuckle, told me to calm my farm and get to work chatting. After I bequeath her a Maxi Shiely Temple, that is.
Maxi and I grew up in the ‘80s pubs, living our best lives on a cheeky pink lemonade and climbing trees set over tables while no adults supervised. It was a wonderful time to be Australian. Now that we’re adults, we like to add a bit of vodka to the mix but that doesn’t change the fact that these spiked Shirley Temples aren’t nostalgic AF.
Maxi Shiely Temple Serves: 1.
Ingredients ice 1 tbsp grenadine 1-2 shots of vodka lemonade, to top maraschino cherries, to garnish
Method Fill the glass with ice. Top with grenadine, vodka and lemonade.
Stir. Add a maraschino cherry or two. And down. Like the damn icon herself.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Art made a semi-triumphant return to the competition by way of a literal heap of trash. Which coincided with the fact that this week’s Maxi Challenge, the queens were tasked with rummaging through the trash and assembling a glamorous look. More importantly, Elektra grew tired of Scarlet’s arrogance and general shadiness, though tragically the confidence wasn’t misplaced as she secured her second victory. At the other end of the pack, Karen was read for bringing a costume and sweet Anita for being sloppy. Then tragedy struck, as the iconic and delightful Anita exited the competition. Erroneously, in my not humble opinion.
Backstage the remaining queens joined me in sobbing over the loss of Anita, with Karen rightly pointing out that she is so damn nice that, no doubt, she is more proud of the rest of the girls for surviving rather than focusing on the disappointment. Karen shared how emotional it feels to send someone home before checking in with Anita’s bestie Kita to make sure she was ok. Kita assured her that she is fine and ready to send everyone home, particularly since all the Aussie queens think they only made the cast when filming pivoted to NZ last minute (I take this as proof that we shouldn’t be hating on the set, since the studio was thrown together at short notice due to COVID). And given how shady my love Etcetera was about Kita probably feeling guilty to have beaten her friend despite not doing as well, those Kiwi girls are right to want to bring us all down and prove them Au-ssies wrong.
And damn, this is a storyline that is peaking my interest.
The next day the group were far more cohesive and ready to slay, with Kita disappointed Anita didn’t take her up on the offer to ride her coattails when they arrived. Etcetera praised Art for surviving her second week, before Elektra checked in with Etcetera to see why she was pressed like a panini for getting negative critiques. As her defence, she continued to read Kita’s outfit, before Kita countered that while her outfit seemingly has so many flaws, it is still better than hers. Burn.
The dolls were interrupted by Ru who dropped by to open the library for the first Down Under reading challenge. And damn, please let it be as sweet as the Pit Crew’s cakes because they are fine. Etcetera was first and made no sense, but I love her anyway. Karen gloriously read Kita for filth and quoted House Of Drag in the process. Kita followed and was a delight from start to finish as she destroyed each and every girl. Maxi said Scarlet only has something between her head when sucking cock, which is all you need to know as it was glorious. Art meanwhile stole the damn show with hilarious jokes from start to finish, complete with topical COVID reads about Elektra’s lack of taste. Scarlet meanwhile bombed as did Elektra, until Scarlet read herself for being bald and loose.
Obviously Art took out victory, much to Kita’s disappointment. But before we could delve deeper into it, Ru tasked the girls with creating and marketing their very own yeast spread for this week’s Maxi Challenge. Complete with commercials filmed with Michelle and infomercial queen, Suzanne Paul. You know, Suzanne Paul of THE Thin Lizzy. Immediately Karen was ready to go, thrilled to finally get a challenge that is right up her alley. She and Maxi were going very on brand for them, which is bawdy, annoying Etcetera who wanted them to show something different.
Kita congratulated Art on her victory, with Art admitting that she felt Kita was better than her. Though she was obviously thrilled to win. Talk returned to their yeast spread with Elektra focusing on getting Topped – a worthy focus – which made Etcetera nervous for her, given she is the least polished queen. She then pointed out to Karen that she should have this one in the bag, given she is the corporate queen amongst them.
With that Karen went straight to set to film her commercial with Suzanne and Michelle, with Suzanne immediately hating everything about it because the spread was called Discharge. Scarlet meanwhile had the duo chuckling with her smutty, filthy jokes. Art went with a spread to keep Americans away, and went deep into her head. Kita was wacky and delightful, mimicking Divine. Etcetera put the Pit Crew to the ultimate use, writhing across set and flooding my basement. Though sadly, that was the thing that made the most sense. Elektra arrived and was in full producer mode, hitting every mark and making sure she got everything she needed and damn, she was so charming in her element. Maxi was next and tragically riddled with nerves, despite looking absolutely stunning and immediately she bombed. Hard.
Elimination Day rolled around with Scarlet admitting that she was disappointed to have dropped from the top. While Maxi too knew that she didn’t do very well. They split up to get ready with Art asking if anyone has any regrets about their past performances with Elektra offering the first three runways before Scarlet opened about her many racism scandals. She shared how disgusted she is to have done blackface and saying horribly racist things, though Etcetera stepped in to totally school her on casual racism and explain why she needs to do more than atone and actually learn, grow and support the communities that she has hurt. And then Elektra rightly praised Etcetera for being such a beautiful, bright spark and admitted she gave her hope in future generations.
Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined by Rena Owen on the panel for the Finest Sheila in the Bush runway, with Elektra serving sexy-glamour, in sheer black with a painted bald head. Kita was gorgeous in a bright butterfly number where NONE were even killed. Maxi was cute while surviving a picnic at Hanging Rock. Karen channeled Tina Burner before Art shut down the runway as Kath Day-Knight in a cork-covered Billy Porter reveal hat. Etcetera was a technicolour delight before revealing a gorgeous post-fire black-stump inspired bodysuit. And then Scarlet slayed again in a Priscilla inspired lamé number.
When it came to the ads, Elektra gave Trixie as Ru before completely slaying her commercial and receiving universal praise for her performance and looking beautiful on the runway. Kita was polished and ridiculous in her commercial, with the judges living for everything she did and the fact that she is always giving them something new. Maxi was ridiculous and charming, though was read for struggling throughout filming and not going full horn bag. Ru admitted that she thought she would do better, before they all ignored her outfit. Karen meanwhile was read for not being big enough and just there, before winning Ru over after explaining her outfit as an acknowledgement of the community fire fighters and how government inaction on climate change is resting on their shoulders.
Art was demented and smart, with the judges universally living for her Kath on the runway. And Etcetera had the Pit Crew presenting which was all I needed, despite the judges not loving her Piss offering. Scarlet meanwhile relied on American accents and the judges didn’t live for it, though loved everything about her Priscilla runway. What Ru didn’t love was Scarlet’s use of blackface, offering her the chance to address the photos going around on the line. She apologised and while most of us were likely wishing for Ru to cancel her – which she acknowledged – Ru shared that she would prefer for Scarlet to instead grow and better herself.
We then forwent Untucked as Scarlet and Kita were sent to safety, handing Elektra her first win of the season, much to her absolute delight. On the flipside, Maxi landed in the bottom before Art and Karen were sent to safety, leaving her to battle for safety against Etcetera. More importantly, said battle was to the icon herself, Vanessa Amorossi’s smash-hit Absolutely Everybody. Somehow Maxi manifested a sequin microphone and had everyone in stitches while Etcetera gave perfection in a more traditional lip sync. But let’s be honest, slaying the game and hitting every lyric can’t compete with turning Absolutely Everybody into a diva’s power ballad. Did I mention the sequined microphone? As killer as Etcertera was, Maxi well and truly turned it our and Etcetera was tragically felled from the competition.
As Maxi literally took her bow like a damn icon.
Given I lost my two faves back-to-back, it goes without saying that I was shaking with rage before Etcetera got to me. She held me in her arms, slowed my breathing and reminded me that everything will be alright. Through tears, I told her all the ways I planned to get the other girls disqualified, as she quietly listened and tried to cheer me up.
Sixteen hours after commencing my rant, she pointed out that the surviving queens needed the set back for the next episode and as such, she’d love to have a bowl of Etcetera Etceteraspberry Crumble Ice Cream and ready herself for her inevitable run on All Stars. Right. Riiiiiiight?
Like Etcetera, this ice cream is sweet, layered and oh so comforting. With that little bit of tartiness to add some drama. It is, dear I say it, near perfection.
And super easy, thanks to its churn free nature.
Etcetera Etceteraspberry Crumble Ice Cream Serves: 1 eliminated contestant and their comfort eating friend.
Ingredients 395g can sweetened condensed milk 600ml thickened cream 3 tbsp honey 250g raspberries, frozen 1 ½ cups Malt O Milk biscuits, roughly crushed 100g honeycomb, roughly chopped
Method Combine the condensed milk, cream and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until soft peaks form.
Fold through the raspberries, 1 cup of the biscuits and half the honeycomb, and transfer to a container and freeze until solid.
To serve, dollop out some of the ice cream and top with the remaining biscuit and honeycomb.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens served us their down unders, covered in red lycra and full bushes as they auditioned for Baywatch with the zaddy Pit Crew member. Scarlet and Elektra charmed Ru and took out victory, making them the team leaders for two girl groups. I assume to replace Australia’s two best girl groups, Girlfriend and Bardot. Anyway, both girls shone however the latter was a bit more Beyonce than Destiny’s Child and as such, Scarlet took out victory while Elektra was shockingly (see what I did there?) put in the bottom with Coco. With Coco tragically felled by her fellow lip sync assassin.
The top seven returned to the Werk Room, gutted to have lost such a bubbly delight like Coco. Meanwhile Scarlet was growing more and more confident, thrilled to have snatched her first victory of the season and giddily shading Elektra for not bringing it on the runway. Thankfully Anita kindly suggested that maybe Elektra could become a drag window cleaner now that she is so experienced with it. Elektra shared her shock – I’m loving this gag, aren’t I? – about how the judges just aren’t loving her which led to Etcetera calling out her general taste level. Though kindly (and/or shadily) offered to look over her looks. While Scarlet pointed out you can put glitter on shit, because at the end of the day it is still shit. And just like that, the potential winners’ edit took a hit.
The next day Scarlet was still feeling her oats, while Kita and Anita were delightfully proving why they are already stars. Elektra spoke about feeling better, given she was in the bottom for being too good which Etcetera and Scarlet quickly tried to shut down, with Elektra going for the jugular with Etcetera pointing out that she has just been sliding through as safe. Karen meanwhile was watching on in pure delight as the room got shady and Elektra was refusing to back down and being a straight up icon.
The excitement was shut down as Ru and the glorious Pit Crew wheeled in all of their junk and some trash that the queens would be using to make this week’s runway from. Though not before Art Simone jumped out of the rubbish, officially returned to the competition with no real explanation as to why. But let’s just say, I don’t really mind except I probably would have preferred it be Jojo.
Barely giving us time to breathe, Ru announced that they would need to fight for their junk and exited the Werk Room as the dolls battled for enough to put together an outfit. Etcetera asked who was feeling confident, with Maxi sharing she isn’t a sewer but was smart enough to take a lesson before leaving for the competition. Karen meanwhile wasn’t feeling confident, given she is not the best at sewing. Talk turned to Art’s return, with Art assuring us she has a new attitude and is ready to fight to get to the end. And conveniently she was feeling confident about the challenge ahead, while Etcetera shadily pointed out that Art was sent home by Coco, and since she is now gone, anyone is technically good enough to send her home again. Karen meanwhile was pressed to have Art back, wanting to have her turn to redeem her shitty Snatch Game. As such, she decided to focus less about the design and more about selling the characterisation of one of her back-up characters.
And oh girl, you may be in danger.
Scarlet continued to be a difficult presence this week, as she once again gloated about the challenge ahead, which thankfully gave Elektra a steely focus to prove herself this week. And Anita, poor dear, sweet Anita spoke about how much she loves sewing, but grew more and more anxious about all of the potential designs she could possibly work on and DAMN this needs to be a fake-out. Badly.
Ru came back to catch up with the queens, explaining to Art that the judges can see how great she is and how she can just bounce off jokes and as such, proved Snatch Game was not a true reflection of her skills. With that, Art shared she was confident to serve an outfit so disappeared to do just that. Karen was up next, sharing how she would be serving Schapelle Corby on the runway and well, just give her the win right now. I don’t even care if Ru thinks it is a bad idea. Kita meanwhile was inspired by a bunch of balls and ready for a win, Elektra was thrilled to sew though was nervous about her styling. Given Ru’s reaction to her kangaroo hunter concept, I hope she pivots to a glamorous gown as Ru kindly suggested.
Maxi was up next and ready to rock her non-stretch fabric, as much as Ru and Etcetera are concerned. Speaking of Etcetera, she was planning to grace the runway in a goddess of the harvest look, desperate to get a critique and let’s just say, I hope it is a high, rather than a low as the editors are feeling messy this week. Anita was inspired by Bob Mackie using books and video tapes, with a hot glue gun rather than sewing. Oh and then we learnt she is in the NZ Navy and not just that, plays the trumpet in the navy band. I need to reiterate this, Anita must be protected at all costs. Scarlet meanwhile doesn’t need protection, given she is super confident in her design ability. But then Ru asked what advice Scarlet would give to Elektra, leading to her pointing out that doing the splits isn’t a skill.
And just like that, Scarlet needs protection. Elektra immediately defended herself with her perfect nipples on display, with Scarlet acting bored as she tried to pretend it isn’t impressive to be a back-up dancer for J-Lo and Sia. Which lol, sorry, it is. Whether you want to fight with Elektra or not.
Over in another corner Kita was having an absolute blast with her glue gun, while Maxi was delightfully fucking up the sewing machine and making jokes about the girls fighting. Anita was madly gluing her gown, which impacted the zen nature as Etcetera grew very, very nervous. She then pointed out Karen looks like Buzz Lightyear and her anxiety started to grow. Well, until Anita shared her crush on Buzz growing up. Meanwhile Art was a pure delight as she worked away on her look while joking with Elektra. Before Scarlet arrived to poke Elektra and continue to lean right into their villain role, whether she realised it or not.
Elimination Day rolled around with Karen less nervous about her concept, while Anita was happy with hers and ready to slay. Kita on the other hand was not feeling it and was scared that her bestie was far and away the worst and was about to be blindsided. Art spoke about feeling liberated to have gotten losing out of her system, but was acutely aware that she can’t afford to do it again. She then asked about whether the other queens were hurt when people are disappointed to see them out of drag before Etcetera spoke about her gender journey and how in drag everyone gets it, but out of drag it is difficult to explain being non-binary. The dolls rallied around Etcetera, with them thanking the queens for understanding as Karen pointed out that that is not something they should have to do.
Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined on the panel by the gorgeous Elz Carrad who I had never heard of and now plan to marry in an intimate ceremony in Milford Sound. Distracting me from my burgeoning love, Art opened the show as a delightfully pink Marie Antoinette by way of that little whorehouse in Texas. Kita was a bouncing colourful delight, coated in balls. Etcetera was full glamour in a sheer lilac number, primed for a boudoir shoot. Maxi was a punk version of Divina’s bag look, Karen had Rhys delighted as she smoked up the runway as Schapelle despite kinda looking a mess and misunderstanding the assignment.
Elektra served full glamour-whore, in a gown of ties. Before Antia tragically was not great in a burnt book gown and Scarlet sadly proved her confidence was not misplaced, as she slayed in a gorgeous picnic table onesie, complete with wine and a grape headband. And as much as she hasn’t been fun this week, you can’t fault the look despite it erring on the side of simple.
Kita Mean and Elektra were sent to safety, with the latter praised for listening to the judges and growing. With them out of the way, the judges gushed about everything Art did, glad that her return was triumphant and looked forward to watching her grow. Etcetera was praised for her sewing skills, though they were unsure about her references. Maxi was praised for listening to the judges critiques and happy at how well she executed the entire look. Then Karen was read for focusing on the characterisation of Schapelle rather than constructing an outfit. Anita too was read, though for doing a look that had been done of the runway before by Naomi fucking Smalls. And well, they loved everything about Scarlet.
Backstage Elektra was on cloud nine just to be safe and thrilled with the added bonus that it gave a big fuck you to the other queens. Scarlet tried to make-up with Elektra by praising it as the second best look on the runway and girl, just stop. Karen was heartbroken to have bombed by focusing on character and for kind of just not getting the categories that she excels at yet. She was confident she and Anita would be lip syncing, with Anita agreeing but disappointed since the judges didn’t love or hate her look, were just kind of ambivalent. Oh and she was frustrated by the fact she thought Kita would be in the bottom rather than safe, which is actually what Etcetera thought given there is a split up the back of her skirt. This led to a cheeky vent about how the judges were harder on her as a fashion girl, with Elektra thrilled that Etcetera is melting down at the first sign of weakness.
Once again Scarlet took out victory, while Art and Maxi were sent to safety, leaving the bottoms to nervously await their fates. However there wasn’t much in doubt, given they had all predicted that Karen and Anita would be lip syncing, while Etcetera joined the remaining queens at the back of the stage. From the very first moment of Dannii Minogue’s I Begin to Wonder, both of the girls owned the stage. Anita rocked high camp, while Karen was charming her way through a two-step. She then added some finger drums and PCYC disco moves, while Anita rocked the robot across the stage and was totally demented. Ultimately Karen was saved while my heart broke as Anita was sent out of the competition.
And in the words of Alyssa Edwards, “buffoonery, riggery and straight up tomfoolery!”
I may be biased, given I passionately stan Anita but she well and truly won that lip sync and oy did I let her know as she walked into the Werk Room to pack-up and decompress. I screamed, I cried and tried to break into Ru’s compound on set to demand Art be re-removed from the competition and save Anita instead. But Anita being dear, sweet Anita, she held me tight and told me that it is ok, she will be ok, I will be ok – she was just glad to be there and to get the chance to compete.
Given I was still simmering with rage and fighting back tears, I didn’t have the strength to make Anita the 16-course degustation she deserved and instead sadly whipped up some Anitartare Wigl’it Sauce and called it a day. Which she brightly lied about, telling me it was all she could ever ask for.
While it generally goes better with a Carrie Fisher’n’Chips the world’s nicest person Anita says that it is the perfect snack all by itself. Tangy, salty and a little sweet, this creamy sauce does have all the flavours necessary to cheer you up. Though I probs wouldn’t guzzle it like we did. Just saying.
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 aMaxi 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.
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.
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 Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 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 sesame seeds satay sauce, to serve
Method 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.