Welcome to my review and power rankings of the fourth episode of Canada’s Drag Race Season 3 – “Bitch Stole My Look,” an identical materials design challenge.
Canada’s Drag Race continues its streak of subtly re-imagining past Drag Race challenges to give us something that feels both classic and unique. This week, that meant a classic “what’s in the box?” design challenge where every queen received an identical box! Despite an early misdirect that they’d all have to design to different themes, they had free reign to do whatever they wanted with their same sets of materials.
The only other time on Drag Race I can recall an entire cast of queens being challenged with designing from an identical set of materials with relatively equal availability was Season 3‘s epic “Money Ball.” The magic of that challenge was the unusual material of paper money, which was plentifully available.
In this challenge, everyone received the same silver and purple fabrics and accessories, but not too much else. I understand why: the less production gave the queens, the more risk that that would produce similar outfits – which was what they were all trying to avoid.
While giving the queens a limited supply of a neutral color like silver might have prevented anyone from gaining an advantage purely due to color choice it wasn’t easy to make the shiny, flimsy, silver lamé look expansive. Also, it was either hard to line or the queens didn’t receive anything suitable to line it with, because not even the best seamstresses added lining.
I think there’s a sweet spot between giving the queens complete free reign with their resources, like on All Stars 7 – All Winners and keep them so restricted it ensures failures, as we saw last week on Drag Race Down Under. While this wasn’t quite as bad as giving everyone a box full of fern leaves and wheat grass, it does feel like we were robbed of seeing some queens turn out stronger outfits if they had just slightly more in their boxes – even if that was a plain-as-heck neutral gray fleece that they could’ve used for structure and lining.
That also robbed special guest judge Jimbo of being able to go over-the-top with his comments, which in turn robbed us as viewers of delightfully memeable moments. I love this experiment with bringing past competitors to the judging panel, but the past two challenges haven’t given them much remarkable work to judge.
After a surprising win and a narratively-driven boot this episode, we’re left with eight queens and some seriously shaken-up rankings compared to my Episode Three power rankings! Do you agree with my #1 queen and the rest of my ranks? Sound off below in the comments!
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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 4 – Bitch Stole My Look: Power Rankings
We’re in an interesting place in the Power Rankings where this week shook things up but next week will really determine the direction of the rest of the season.
That’s partly because we may be on the brink of someone scoring a second win, but also because next week is Snatch Game! Snatch Game is often the challenge to produce a solidifying win or to give us a stunning lip sync from an unfunny front-runner.
Before we get to the Power Rankings, let’s take a moment to contemplate Brooke Lynn Hytes’s interesting monochrome blue catsuit. (I couldn’t get past the slapdash nature of the brooches and the way they puckered the velvet beneath them.)
1. Gisèle Lullaby, 1 win (avg. rank 4.75 – was #4, 7, 7, pre-season #7)
Gisèle’s design challenge look wasn’t the most-polished we’ve ever seen, but it was well-considered and didn’t simply echo a silhouette we’ve seen many times over. The devil was in the details, and Gisèle found the time to include many details. Whether you love or hate her boning, pleating, and stoning, there’s no denying she turned out the most fully-realized look in the entire cast.
With Jada pogo-ing up and down the rankings every week and Kimmy Couture being called on this runway out for her repetitive couture, suddenly Giséle seems poised as Lady Boom Boom’s biggest competition.
I have a feeling the naturally comedic Gisèle is going to fare better at Snatch Game next week than her Quebecois sister Lady Boom Boom, which is why I have her at the top of the Power Rankings after just one win. With a strong performance next week she could lock herself in as the front-runner as we reach the halfway point.
2. Lady Boom Boom, 1 win (avg. rank 1.5 – was #1, 1, 2, pre-season #3)
Yes, this giant baby doll poof of a dress isn’t something we’ve seen exactly from Lady Boom Boom. But, we’ve definitely seen her play with this length before, as well as the idea of a silhouette that swallows her figure.
I’m not trying to discredit a fine construction here – in fact, after seeing her dress in motion, it really might have been the best construction of the bunch. Plus, she made her own lace tights! But, if she had been the single queen to walk out in a fully-realized ball gown it would’ve been more of a stunner than this look.
Being safe in this design challenge does nothing to cool Lady Boom Boom’s hot streak even if it’s a slight slowdown in her momentum. This early in the season it was unlikely she’d get a second win for the same type of challenge, so merely by surviving and staying out of the bottom she remains the strongest queen in the cast.
Lady Boom Boom has been nothing but drag excellence so far this season, but I’m worried for her in Snatch Game. We’ve seen her be funny while being herself multiple times over, but the one time she had to put on a character in the “Date with Brooke” mini-challenge last episode was her only stumble so far this season. Against this crowd, that could be the portent of her falling into the Bottom Two for Snatch Game… but, who in this group is going to defeat her in a lip sync?!
3. Vivian Vanderpuss (avg. rank 5.5 – was #5, 9, 5, pre-season 6)
Vivian Vanderpuss (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) continues her silent ascent through the ranks as she navigates challenge after challenge with nary a stumble. She’s winning a war of attrition against these other queens by being charming as heck while avoiding making any unforced errors.
Vivian’s outfit looked better from a distance than it did up close. She executed her concept for a busty bodice and a garter-and-panties bottom well, and it was unexpectedly high-glam for her. However, when the camera zoomed in it was clear that the hem of her skirt was rough and one side of the waistline was drooping.
If Vivian was safe with an uneven outfit, why do I have her vaulting upward in the power ranking? For me, power rankings aren’t about track record – they’re about momentum in both the narrative and the performance. Vivian served pure glam at the perfect point this week. She could’ve easily replaced Bombae or Irma Gerd in the critiques if the judges wanted to give her a message, but they passed up the opportunity.
With no low placements and only positive notes so far (plus her hilarious mini-challenge win), Vivian doesn’t feel like easily dismissible fodder or a shocking boot. That’s probably enough to insulate her in Snatch Game unless she has a Trixie-level brain freeze.
I expect big things from Vivian Vanderpuss next week in Snatch Game – and, I’d say it’s a “must win” for her if she wants to be Canada’s next drag superstar. If Vivian picks an impersonation she can nail that’s a few steps away from her typical cat lady character I’m not sure she has any true competition in this cast.
If Vivian can lock up a Snatch Game win she will make a great case for herself as a contender in the home stretch. However, if she can’t snatch the glory, I feel like she’s going to be trapped as winless canon fodder down the home stretch.
4. Kimmy Couture, 1 win (avg. rank 3.75 – was #3, 2, 6, pre-season #5)
Kimmy Couture (Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) designed a garment that looked surprisingly great on her body compared to how it hung on the mannequin, but it’s starting to feel like she is always wearing the same thing on the runway.
Kimmy Couture brought the design challenge look with the most visual impact. Her silver-on-silver-on-silver look was like a more-powerful take on Princess Leia’s The Return of the Jedi slave outfit. Everything about it is smart, from the structure of the chest piece on her body to the cut of the skirt to the way the cape sleeves unfurl from her epaulettes.
Unfortunately, it evokes… pretty much every one of her prior runways. Even if this was a rousing success, it may have been wiser to break up the monotony of her packed looks by serving something more glam and more couture instead of more of her structured sci-fi bodysuits.
There’s little you can do about what’s in your suitcase once you arrive at Drag Race, so design challenges are the chance to show your range when you know you’ve got more of the same sorts of look to serve in future challenges. That Kimmy defaulted to another bodysuit that makes her look like a Power Rangers villain makes it feel like we’ve hit a wall with her looks at a conceptual level.
Between that and the impending Snatch Game, it feels like Kimmy Couture has hit much more of a wall than Lady Boom Boom (even if it’s not as big of a wall as Jada). If she can’t summon the funny next week and hits the runway in another Power Rangers bodysuit the judges might decide that they’ve seen all that they can see from Kimmy.
5. Bombae (avg. rank 4.25 – was #6, 3, 3, pre-season #9)
Bombae (Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) got a positive critique this week for a conceptually-fun garment with some wobbly execution. It felt less like a genuine top placement and more like an apology for overlooking her outstanding effort in the first design challenge.
It is interesting to hear different queens comment on the relative difficulty of constructing a catsuit. Brooke claimed it was hard in the judging, and she should know – she made one to win her first week on Season 11! However, other queens have called it the easiest thing to quickly throw together.
I’m not sure who to believe. Maybe I should try making one myself?! In any event, I think Bombae elevated her effort by wrapping it with alternating vertical stripes, even if that exposed some unevenness in her construction. This was a runway where it paid to stand out, and she fulfilled the brief.
Bombae has been nothing but enjoyable so far this season, but I’m not feeling a major storyline for her other than her having as much conflict with Miss F as anyone else in the cast. If she has a breakout week in Snatch Game next episode it could make a huge difference for her. You don’t want to get to the halfway point of season being strong but without a true standout moment.
6. Jada Shada Hudson, 1 win, 2 lip syncs (avg. rank 3.5 – was #2, 5, 1, pre-season #1)
I think there was a redeemable concept to be had in Jada’s outfit. The long, slinky skirt with slits on both sides could’ve worked – even with the giant silver plates affixed to it! And, the idea to extend her silhouette with a giant headpiece wasn’t a bad one! I think with more time or different material Jada could’ve escaped the bottom of the challenge with a similar design concept.
However, she seemed flustered by the materials and lost in the details. In the end, she didn’t bring enough texture to her all-silver look or enough styling to pull it all together.
Jada began the season as a seemingly-obvious front-runner, but after stumbling through the awards show and this design challenge the shine is off of her run. While Canada’s Drag Race has awarded a twice-lip-syncing queen with the crown before, I’m seriously worried that Jada will either choke in her next big moment or simply may not have the fashion packed to win on a week where she does well.
Snatch Game would be an excellent opportunity to head off both of those narratives. A confident performance and a runway that is carefully styled would do wonders for pulling Jada out of this early-season tailspin. If she’s not careful, Lady Boom Boom and Gisèle are going to lock up two of the finalist spots and someone like Kimmy or Vivian could sneak past her for the third one. And, she certainly cannot afford another lip sync after this week.
7. Miss Fiercalicious (avg. rank 6 – was #9, 4, 4, pre-season #2)
Miss Fiercalicious (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) served us an adequate look made of material that was on her body. Kudos to her for not bottoming in another design challenge, but that feels like the bare minimum she could’ve achieved in this episode.
Miss F used her body to her advantage and stuck with an embellished corset with the plainest possible silver panty.
That’s always a gamble in a design challenge, where you can look like a plain jain if no one stumbles, but Miss F’s bet paid off – several queens took bigger swings and looked notably worse.
Snatch Game next week is going to be another major hurdle for Miss F. She hasn’t been one to struggle with comedy so far, and this is the chance to be a total control-freak all on her own without a partner like she had for the awards challenge. Can she break through this crowd of more-comedic queens through sheer force of will to score an unexpected first win?
Regardless of if she wins Snatch Game, I think at this point the judges and producers have realized that Miss F is reality TV gold, so they’re in no hurry to kick her off until they run out of cannon fodder. Personally, that holds no allure for me. I watch Drag Race to see the best of the best of each country’s drag artists, not to see someone carried along because they cause boring conflicts. I can only hope that Miss F has something more to show to us than she has brought to the season so far.
8. Irma Gerd (avg. rank 8.25 – was #7, 10, 8, pre-season #10)
Irma Gerd (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitch / Twitter) could’ve easily been at the end of her story arc in this episode, but the show decided to spare her from certain doom against either of the lip syncers in the final two.
I didn’t find her garment quite as objectionable as the judges did. I agree that her massive circus-tent skirt was a misfire at that length, but the blue bodice she constructed was more interesting than the flimsy silver monstrosities presented by many of the other queens – and she was the only queen to put the blue fabric to good use!
Even if I didn’t think Irma failed this challenge, it did feel like it was her time to depart. We had a week one fashion success, a week two comedy fail, a week three performance redemption. It doesn’t feel like she’s Canada’s next drag superstar, and capping that off with a fashion fail would seem to signal that she’d run through all the variations of her plot.
Except… Snatch Game is next week. And, some of the queens in this group who have more plot are not necessarily going to be the best Snatchers… but, they are good lip syncers.
Is Irma Gerd being kept around as a potential sacrificial lamb for next week to keep a queen like Kimmy or Miss F in the competition? That plan might backfire if Irma manages to deliver on comedy in a pure improv format – and, I strongly suspect she might. That could not only keep her out of the bottom but also fling her into the top half of the power rankings.
Yet, if she doesn’t come through, she feels like the next queen to be conveniently sacrificed to keep Miss F in the competition.
Eliminated: Kaos (avg. rank 7.67 – was #8, 6, 9, pre-season #8)
Even if Kaos already served us something spiky like this several times over, this look has more visual impact than what half the cast served on the runway. The critiques that she couldn’t move in it seemed to be contradicted by her doing gymnastics in the lip sync! Plus, this was one of her cleanest and easiest-to-appreciate make-up looks all season.
Alas, this is one of the realities of televised reality competition. Kaos’s garment, while repetitive and crafty, had more visual punch than several others on the runway in this episode. However, it felt as though she was lacking in both confidence and storyline while everyone else feels like they are fighting for the crown as part of an ongoing plot.
Even if I agree that Kaos’s time on the show was rightfully up, this didn’t feel like the challenge that should have put an end to her run. Jada and Irma were clearly worse, and you could convince me that Miss F and even Viv were, too. Even if it was time to see Kaos lip sync, we could’ve just as easily gotten Kaos to test her confidence in a lip sync against Irma Gerd rather than in a certain elimination versus Jada.
(The problem is that Kaos would’ve handily defeated Irma, and I suspect the show wants to keep Irma around for Snatch Game.)
Kaos proved herself to be a kind and resourceful queen who can turn out a memorable performance. She reminded us that you can be a memorable drag artist without filling the room with a massive personality or petulant behavior. Even with the chaos of her maximalist drag I’d say that Kaos was successful this season for presenting her authentic self and some excellent drag.