Welcome to my review and power rankings of the third episode of Canada’s Drag Race Season 3 – Ruets, a two-queen team-up lip sync challenge.
This Canadian cast continued to shine as a memorable group of queens. This episode put the spotlight on some of the funniest ones in the bunch.
The mini-challenge to dress as drag kings so they could flirt with Brooke Lynn Hytes was hilarious enough that it could’ve merited an entire maxi-challenge. It also allowed a few of the quit-witted comedy queens to finally make their mark, including Vivian Vanderpuss playing an absolutely absurd character as an Australian tradie.
That gave Vivian the power to pair up queens for the “Ruets” challenge, where each pair had a day to choreograph a lip sync to one of RuPaul’s duets.
Once again, this subtle twist on a regular Drag Race challenge shows off the smarts of the Canada’s Drag Race production team. Fans love a head-to-head lip sync smackdown enough that they’re now being inserted as regular-season episodes to produce meme-able moments. Yet, lip syncing on the spot to a song for the first time isn’t actually a “real world” situation for a drag queen. Giving a pair of queens time to plan and present an act together is a surprisingly organic way to show off what the queens bring to a live show in real life.
That means we should have seen drag excellence from any of these queens who can turn it out live in a club! But, that came with the extra challenge of teamwork. Everyone did their best to join forces, but some of their efforts were much more successful than others.
Oh, and Vanessa “Miss Vanjie” Mateo was a guest judge, for some reason.
(The reason mostly being that the “duets” theme played on her showmance with Brooke, as well as her appearance being an unspoken promo for her 24 Hours of Love reality show and her upcoming run on All Star Shore without mentioning either by name.)
It felt like several of the less-visible queens got plot development, including Vivian and Giséle. The runway was universally strong, with some stunning looks. And, the lip sync was a solid, emotional performance. I really love this cast of artists and the eliminations are already getting difficult.
That leaves us with nine deserving queens with a few break-out stars and a tight middle of the pack, which includes a few big shifts from my Episode Two power rankings!
If you want to watch Canada’s Drag Race Season 3 outside of Canada and the UK you can sign up for WowPresentsPlus to watch the many worldwide Drag Race franchises for $4.99 a month or $50 a year. (Note that if you’re in the US you will need to use a VPN to “visit” another country to see the US Franchise.)
Readers, start your engines! And, may the best Queen (of the North) win!
Reminders: I consistently refer to Drag Race artists with their drag names and with she/her pronouns even when they are not in drag, which is the convention of the show. Some performers may have different personal pronouns. Drag is inherently brave, political, and artistic, and all drag is valid. It’s also hard to do. I’m commenting on drag artistry in how it comes across on this specific television program, but the reason I’m commenting at all is because I celebrate all drag!
Canada’s Drag Race Season 3 Episode 3 – Ruets: Power Rankings
Before we get to the Power Rankings and the queens’ looks for the “Sleeves” runway theme, let’s enjoy Brooke Lynn Hytes all strapped up in Starkers Corsetry. I love when Brooke rocks these punkier looks with short wigs!
1. Lady Boom Boom, 1 win (was #1, 2, pre-season #3)
Lady Boom Boom (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) ran away with yet another week. She was by far the standout in the challenge and she presented one of the most effortlessly fashion-forward runways. The only reason she didn’t notch a win was so that they could be spread around. Although, her freeze in the comedic mini-challenge may be a portent of rough weeks yet to come.
It can be a challenge to elevate plain, cotton-y fabric on the runway of Drag Race. Many queens make the mistake of thinking you have to stone and sparkle the heck out of them to make them work. Lady Boom Boom proves that it comes down to the cut of the garment and the styling.
There’s no doubt in my mind this is high fashion.
Lady Boom Boom was absolutely phenomenal in the lip sync challenge. She matched Kimmy Couture beat for beat, had several tricks up her sleeve, and looked like she was having a lot of fun while doing it.
I think that last part is important. It’s clear Lady Boom Boom has the design skills and the dancing chops to win this competition, but she needs to show that she also has the force of personality. Bringing not only good dancing to the challenge but high energy and a beaming smile really made a difference.
(Also, did she construct at least some their dance costumes herself? The details were suspiciously similar for a pair of random looks they brought in their suitcases)
The big question mark over Lady Boom Boom is whether she can survive a straight-up acting or comedy challenge. This episode’s mini-challenge cast some extra doubt on that, but it will be at least two weeks before we find out the answer since next week is another design challenge.
2. Jada Shada Hudson, 1 win, 1 lip sync (was #5, 1, pre-season #1)
Jada’s runway was fine. Gold watch sleeves are cute, but ultimately this was a jacket over a bodysuit – and, I don’t know that the sleeves were giving enough for me for a “Sleeves” runway. However, I think the styling on this one carried it over the top – from the ring of hair to the watches on the boots to the touches of gold in her make-up.
One of my concerns about Jada in the preseason is that we’d need to see the best of the best of her Instagram looks for her to make a deep run on the season. After last week and this week, I’m a little more concerned about that than I was on week one.
But, between this and week one I’m more confident in her eye for styling … as long as she isn’t being completely swallowed by a look like she was last week by her snake dress.
Jada’s performance with Irma Gerd was delightful, but much of that delight came from her confident direction of Irma Gerd compared to last week’s messy speaking engagement with Miss Moçu. This performance wouldn’t have worked without Jada as the idea-person behind the presentation. That meant handing away some of the best bits to Irma (especially the Big Freedia verse).
I actually find it comforting to see the show reward Jada for making her partner shine. It feels like the US franchise might’ve handed the win to Irma Gerd instead. Still, this win felt partly like a consolation prize for not giving Jada a win in week one – perhaps not realizing how hard Lady Boom Boom would be dominating the early challenges.
Next week is another design challenge, and Jada turned it out in the first one. Even if the win is likely to be spread around to another cast member, I don’t think Jada’s position as a top contender is at any risk anytime soon.
3. Kimmy Couture, 1 win (was #2, 6, pre-season #5)
Kimmy Couture (Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) had major synergy with Lady Boom Boom in the challenge, but after three weeks her “bathing suits, but spiky” runways are already getting repetitive. Can she bring us some couture that’s not so pointy?
I want to be clear that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this runway look. But, many elements of it are similar to last week’s Goddess look, as well as to her Week One design challenge look.
I’m not going to begrudge anyone for being a showgirl who headpieces, gold accents, and showing off their legs. It’s good to have a brand! I’m just hoping that hitting this pair of runways in a row was a fluke and Kimmy has some more range to show us in future weeks.
Kimmy Couture was a perfect match for Lady Boom Boom in the challenge, going beat-for-beat with her throughout the choreography. Kimmy delivered impressively sharp moves that really hit the beat. I noticed that her lip sync style is to go for BIG over-enunciated words rather than serving a lot of emotion. She’d likely body any high-tempo lip sync for her life, but I’ll be curious to see not only her lip syncing but also her acting in the coming weeks.
This marks another strong week for Kimmy. Her week one design challenge look was fine, if not the most memorable, which likely means she’ll be safe from disaster next week.
4. Gisèle Lullaby (was #7, 7, pre-season #7)
Gisèle Lullaby (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) finally was granted some space in the edit and she used every second to shine. Not only was she one of the most-entertaining queens in the challenge and on the runway, but her fierce stance against Fiercalicious’s mean girl bullying won my heart.
I would call this runway “stupid, but make it fashion.” It’s a catsuit with harness elements and some frilly stoned sleeves, but she presented it with a comedic smirk that ties it all together. Between this and last week’s Goddess runway, it shows that Vivian can go over-the-top while still editing.
I love, love, loved Giséle Lullabye in the duets challenge. She found a way to show off her own dancing skills while making sure Vivian could keep up with her. I also loved the faces she served throughout the dance – she’s a very good lip syncer.
Finally, it felt as though Giséle’s charm in confessionals finally broke through into the workroom and the wider edit. She was delightfully silly as a butched up drag king in the mini-challenge, and her pushback against Miss Fiercalicious in the workroom was a good indication that her voice is going to be noticeable now that the field is thinning.
The only way Giséle Lullabye could’ve had a better episode was if she won. I don’t think she’ll be a design winner next week, but this is a queen who has the right kind of instincts for the performance-oriented challenges still to come.
5. Vivian Vanderpuss (was #9, 5, pre-season 6)
Vivian Vanderpuss (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) was the main character of this episode with a side-splitting mini-challenge performance and an equally unhinged runway. Finally, we’re all in the same joke.
This runway is so very wrong it’s right. The problem pattern plus the tiny hands would be a decent joke on its own, but adding a skirt of extra tiny hands (which effectively makes the skirt into sleeves) is the kind of wrongness that you need to bring to a silly runway on Drag Race.
Vivian was surprisingly adept in the Ruets challenge, especially when paired with a serious dancer like Giséle. She absolutely can dance and move her body, enough so that it’s hard to even catch the few points where she lost the rhythm for a moment. Drag Race winners aren’t always the best dancers of their season, but the queens who can learn just enough choreo when it matters. It feels like Vivian can clear that bar.
Also, once again, it didn’t feel like Vivian let her crazy cat lady character restrict her movement – just inform it. That’s the right way to play a character on Drag Race.
This episode belonged to Vivian from top to bottom, but she didn’t come away with a win. The question is: was this all of the plot she’s going to get? Or, can she hang on long enough to slay these other queens in an acting challenge?
6. Bombae (was #3, 3, pre-season #9)
Bombae (Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) once again proved her level of focus could steer a group performance away from potential disaster, but the judges zeroed in on her trend of too-heavy eye make-up. While she isn’t in trouble, I think next week must be a high placement for her to reverse her narrative trajectory.
Bombae’s hair-show sleeves were the highlight of any otherwise basic runway look. I don’t think her look needed to be complicated. It was the right call to keep the attention on her hair gimmick.
However, this is the first time we’ve seen Bombae in a bodysuit, and it makes evident that her stunning body proportions can sometimes work against her. She’s so tall, has such long legs, and typically doesn’t wear breasts. That can result in an outfit like this one looking crowded onto her upper body, which almost squashes her. There’s the risk of bodysuits coming off as underwhelming when they don’t use her proportions to her advantage.
There’s also the matter of her make-up. I noticed that Bombae’s eyes and lips weren’t so crisp in her Instagram looks in the pre-season as well as last week in her Goddess look. Tonight was her first critique of the season, and she was immediately tagged for it.
Bombae’s side of her duet with Miss Fiercalicious was comfortably forgettable. On rewatch, she combines a few crisp choreography moments with some cute mugging, but she didn’t create a standout moment for herself. While some of that is certainly the fault of a mid-tempo song ands recalcitrant partner, I think it also shows off that Bombae tends to fall back on silliness as her default gimmick. I’ll be curious to see how she fares in a runway or performance that requires a little more depth.
I’m really hoping that occasional proportion issues or minor make-up flaws aren’t going to be the things that get in the way of Bombae’s success on this season. However, this is the first time I didn’t feel a specific spark from her.
7. Irma Gerd (was #10, 8, pre-season #10)
Irma Gerd (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitch / Twitter) was in the danger zone after last week, and her partnership with the confident Jada was the best possible remedy. It was a relief to see her come through in her performance with such an obvious joy.
There were positives and negatives about Irma Gerd’s runway. Her sleeves were certainly over-the-top, and I enjoyed that she mirrored their jellyfish swirl in the detail on her dress, which helped to unify the entire look. I also think some of the styling was simple and smart, like the plain mauve pumps and the oversize pearl necklace.
However, she loses me with the colorful swirls in her make-up. I tend to be of the mind that it’s very rarely a good idea to draw illustrative patterns on your face for the Drag Race runway. It comes off less “couture high fashion” and more “carnival face paint.” Also, I continue to despise her lower half-lashes. They’re lined up better here (and in the dance challenge) than they were last week, but they make her eyes look droopy every time.
Irma Gerd fully slaughtered the Ruets challenge. In fact, I feel like if she had a stronger runway this could’ve been her win – or a dual-win. Many queens could be given the “white girl tries to do hip hop” choreography that Jada invented for her, but Irma is one of few queens who is self-aware enough to understand exactly how to sell it (which involves not looking self-aware at all).
Irma was one of my favorites in the first week design challenge, so I don’t think next week will be the one to interrupt her flow. However, much like Vivian, we’re going to quickly get to do-or-die time when it comes to challenge wins and she already handed away a gimme last week with “The Who-Knows.” She will be gunning hard for a Snatch Game win.
8. Kaos (was #6, 9, pre-season #8)
Kaos (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) once again let her lack of confidence be a bigger presence in the episode than she was. Even if she survives a second design challenge next week, her days are numbered unless she has a major epiphany.
I think the judges nailed it: Kaos’s I Dream of Jeannie sleeves runway was strong enough on its own that it didn’t need a princess dress pre-reveal. It didn’t tell a particular story, nor was the first garment strong enough to work on its own without being a reveal.
Kaos’s lip sync presentation was fine, but it didn’t feel sharp. She had plenty of choreography and never got lost in it, but she wasn’t hitting it as hard as a song like “Adrenaline” demands. That would have also better leveraged her fringe-covered suit, which often made her body a complete blur.
After just three weeks my eyes are getting tired of Chaos’s ultra-busy looks. Even when she’s presenting something in monochrome, I feel like there’s nowhere for my eyes to rest. And, her heavily-lined lips and wings-on-wings eyes are making it hard to focus on the rest of her face that lies between them.
After a strong showing in the first week, it seems clear to me that Kaos probably isn’t the next Queen of the North. While she might impress again in the design challenge next week, I fear that the first time she is faced with a solo performance challenge it will be the end of her.
9. Miss Fiercalicious (was #4, 4, pre-season #2)
Before we get to Miss F.’s attitude, we should start with her runway. It’s hideous. I think the gag of having a trick up her sleeve meets the brief for the runway, but there was a way to do that and to serve “clown” with also serving “ugliest runway.”
I don’t know why I have such a vicious reaction to this look, but it might be the black cuffs on the wrist and the ankles. Especially on the pants, it doesn’t feel like they want to come to that severe of a stop – either in their cut or in the color. Or, maybe they did want to come to a severe cuff, but they needed to be much bigger and baggier first in order to sell that.
To add all that black to an already clashy outfit PLUS a clown-white face PLUS orange hair topped with primary color balls was just too much for me. Maybe if the black in the outfit was blue, instead? You’re not going to catch me doing this “Bootleg Opinions” retouching too often, but I couldn’t help but satisfy my curiosity…
Eh, maybe I made it worse.
Miss Fiercalicious is a queen who is used to getting recognition off the show due to her beauty and her attitude. For each of the three episodes so far this has inspired her to place herself at the center of conflict on the episode to demand the kind of attention she’s used to getting.
Look, I get it. I knew exactly who I was in every room in Philadelphia and now that I’m in Wellington none of those things are true anymore. It has been painful trying to figure out what that means for me being myself and how that reflects on my identity. It certainly lead to some tense moments. I don’t envy anyone having to go through that on television.
Ultimately, there’s a difference between fighting to make yourself be seen and fighting so everyone will look at you, and I think Fierca is more the latter. I want her to do well in this competition due to her talents, but so far she has mostly been visible purely for her attitude.
Ironically, this week Miss F was the group member who could’ve used a rude wake-up call from her partner. Her sourpuss at Vivian for assigning them a slow song wound up distracting her throughout the rehearsal process, and I think that may have been a factor in a somewhat dead-eyed and disconnected performance. She hit some of the choregraphy better than Bombae, but it all looked distracted to me.
Next week is another design challenge, which Miss F. flopped in week one. I’m not feeling an early boot for her, so I think she might surprise the judges and wind up safe or on top. However, in terms of positive narrative qualities showing through the edit, right now she has none. It feels like her only story is to be an antagonist.
Eliminated: Chelazon Leroux (was #8, 11, pre-season #12)
Despite a funny mini-challenge and some moments of real joy in her Ruets performance, this week showed that Chelazon Leroux likely didn’t have the runway looks packed to please this panel of judges.
I think most viewers don’t know (or, easily forget) that Drag Race producers know all of the outfits queens have planned and how they line up with the schedule of projected runways. Even if Chelazon crushed Fierca in the lip sync (and she might’ve), it might have simply been the right time for her to go based on her suitcase.
I’m so happy to have been introduced to more of Chelazon Leroux on the show after finding her TikToks on my own. I don’t think it’s a failure to get onto Drag Race with all of the skills you need for success only to discover that your runway aesthetic simply doesn’t appeal to the judges.
I look forward to following Chelazon’s journey after the show to see how she uses her larger platform. She is certainly true, north, strong, and fierce – and, I have no doubt she’ll stay deadly.