Drag Race Down Under, Episode 8: “I’m a Winner Baby!”


Some armchair therapy, an awesome performance, and a stunning runway four-way lip-sync! It’s the finale.

Time to leave behind the controversy of Episode 7, where the only two queens who showed legitimate talent ended up lip-syncing for their lives. Time to ignore all the unanswered questions that have plagued us over this short season, which was full of potential but only half realised. Time to sit back and wait to see what the formulaic last episode will reveal about our four finalists, Art Simone, Kita Mean, Scarlet Adams and Karen From Finance.

The queens returned to the Werk Room full of confidence. Kita had just assassinated the “lip-sync assassin” Elektra Shock and felt she was “so close to winning this”.

Art mused, “We can’t all be friends, though. Someone’s got to win a crown.”

 “Top three… plus Art,” said Scarlet.

The new week began with a flashback sequence of some memorable fails that had the final four feigning fright before RuPaul arrived and announced the final challenge. The girls each had to write and sing a solo verse for a Down Under version of I’m A Winner Baby (a RuPaul song no-one had heard of until now) to be performed in a routine choreographed by Lance Savali.

This week’s random video was a pep talk from Olivia Newton John and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, peppered with Xanadu, Grease and Physical references. Olivia’s advice was to spread love, joy and laughter while Chloe simply told them, “Good luck and don’t fuck it up,” complete with faux disapproval from Mommy Dearest.

The girls were each invited to a “dish and dine” sit-down with Ru and Michelle Visage. The usual Tic-Tacs were replaced with Jaffas (a candy covered ball of orange chocolate). Ru delivered her home-spun therapy to support the girls’ continuing journey, with advice including don’t get distracted by the inner-saboteur, ignore the noise of social media and look after yourself.

Scarlet opened up about her single mum and how much she looked up to her. She talked about how difficult it’s been away from the cameras, without the emotional support of home. Touchingly, her partner gave her a package of letters from the people who matter most and she read a couple of these after each episode.

Art again expressed her appreciation of her second chance. She learnt from her early elimination that, “It’s okay not to have control, like, relax and enjoy the ride.” We discovered that Art is the breadwinner for her family and many people depend on her.

“That’s a lot of pressure for a young person,” said Ru.

Art said it was how she flourished and thrived and that she, “liked to feel like I’m helping people”. Michelle said that while Art did so much for others she needed “to stop and say, who the hell is going to take care of me… and if you can’t answer that right now then that’s a problem”.

Back in the Werk Room, Art reflected on the interview and started to see her life through a different lens. She doesn’t usually let people in and was excited for a new outlook and new way to think.

Karen revealed that she lost her mother at 14. While her mother did work in finance, Karen is not based on her. Rather, Karen said she evoked the female energy of her mother.

With Kita, Ru said she saw both confidence and self-doubt. Michelle said that unresolved issues usually lead to self-doubt. Between Ru and Michelle, they gleaned that all Kita really wanted was to be loved and that this stemmed from her childhood relationship with her father.

As the girls learned their choreography they were all enamoured with Lance (“I wouldn’t mind pivoting on that ball change,” said Kita), Art thought Karen struggled the most and looked like a daggy dad. They all bitched about how good Scarlet was but got the easiest routine.

As they prepared for the finale, the girls reflected on their relationships with their fathers. Kita’s dad didn’t know how to tell him he wasn’t a weirdo.

Karen’s experience was similar. After her mum died, the house was full of male energy while she had a fem energy that led him to become a loner in their own home, which she took into her adult life.

Scarlet never met her father, however, they briefly connected when she was 16, but after her father discovered Scarlet was gay, they never spoke again.

As a teenager Art regained contact with her biological father, but after he saw Art on the front page of a newspaper, stopped all contact.

“This is the reason we create these hard fronts and personas. To be strong in the world because shit like this still happens, all the time,” said Karen.

Art thought that asking for help was a sign of weakness. Scarlet added, “That is what is drilled into us as men, but queer people like us are way more vulnerable and it’s a lot more dangerous out there for us.” Kita said that she wouldn’t change a thing and summed it all up with, “These people are survivors… they are funny, fierce, fabulous people… the shit we go through actually makes us so strong as human beings.”

Scarlet ended the therapy session with, “and we thought we were coming here for a drag competition”. The earlier sit-downs and these Werk Room reflections revealed some of the most intense and heartfelt moments of the series.

Showtime, and the girls all took different paths for their solo verses. Kita took the audience on a journey through her Drag Race experience. Art’s rap was filled with Australian euphemisms and facial expressions that had the judges laughing. Karen was the motivational speaker talking about her colleagues and that “no matter what happens we’ve all already won”. Scarlet didn’t surprise us in another revealing corset, but her red wig was flat and let her look down.

The runway category was Best Drag and the queens excelled.

Art entered with 75 metres of aquamarine tulle encrusted with crystals. Karen’s floor-length sequined dress complimented her hour glass figure. Kita was a Las Vegas showgirl in a white crystalised bodysuit until she spread her two-metre articulated angel wings that wowed the judges. While Scarlet was a refined princess in pink who glided across the runway.

With the usual tears, they gave advice to pictures of their young selves and then pleaded their case to be the Down Under winner. The judges seemed genuinely impressed and proud of the final four. However, there could only be one winner and Kita Mean was crowned Down Under’s first drag superstar.

Despite being a bit bumpy along the way, the season ended on a high and a surprise. Very few would’ve backed Kita for the win at the series start. Yet, Scarlet, Karen and Art can all walk away with heads held high. They did Down Under proud!

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