Welcome to my review, recap, and power rankings of the seventh episode of Drag Race Sverige (AKA Drag Race Sweden) Season 1 – “Diva Assoluta.” It’s a farcical whodunit acting challenge paired with a “Drama Queen” runway that invited the queens to present their most memorable outfits yet.
It’s always hard to appreciate a Drag Race scripted challenge in a foreign language, partly because you can’t catch all of the inflections and hesitations, but partly because the comedic moments are packed with rhythms and references that just don’t translate. However, even with the language barrier, the ranking of these four queens and their performances seemed obvious to me – I completely agreed with the judges.
I can’t say I was extremely entertained by this challenge, but the script seemed more coherent than the typical Drag Race standard. Maybe that’s down to Robert Fux being an actor and playwright. I’d bet anything he took a polish pass on the script before it was printed out for the queens!
I’ve been skeptical of some of the judging this season, but I was satisfied by how fairly things unfurled in this episode. I think RuPaul would’ve found a way to cut Fontana in favor of keeping the steady Elecktra, who seems like a more legitimate challenger to Admira Thunderpussy.
Yet, Fontana is on a late-season surge and showed nerves of steel throughout every element of this episode. She deserved to stay, and I’m happy that the show didn’t make up and excuse to eliminate her.
This episode’s results completely flipped my power rankings from last week’s makeover episode! I’m not sure that means much with such an obvious front-runner, but this season has surprised me many times over already. Who knows what next week holds in store!?
(Want to watch Drag Race Sverige outside of Sweden? For most of the world, it’s available as part with a Wow Presents Plus subscription as soon as the episode is done airing.)
Läsare, start your engines. Och må den bästa Drag Queen vinna!
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. Every drag artist in the world deserves endless essays dedicated to their talents and life stories. I’m commenting on drag artistry in how it fits the established expectations of this specific television program, but the reason I’m commenting at all is because I celebrate all drag.
Drag Race Sverige Season 1, Episode 7 – “Diva Assoluta” acting challenge Power Rankings
Before we get to these Drama Queen runway looks and the accompanying less-than-dramatic “Diva Assoluta” performances, let’s take a moment to enjoy this totally camp look from Robert Fux. I think the top half is more exciting than the bottom, but I still would give this all-denim version of his RuMail messages a SHOOT for how hard I laughed every time we saw it in a tight shot on the judging panel.
#1. Admira Thunderpussy – 3 wins (was #2, 1, 2, 6, 4, 3, Pre-Season #1)
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Admira Thunderpussy seems to be unstoppable in the back half of this season!
She played another ugly, silly character not entirely far off from her Snatch Game in “Diva Assoluta.” As the wig-maker, Admira didn’t miss a beat despite the chaos surrounding her as the other three queens dropped lines left and right. It’s hard to maintain your rhythm and any kind of through-line as a character with so many stops and starts, but Admira gave a seamless performance.
On the runway, Admira’s straight-jacketed look told an important story of Swedish LGBTQA+ history – when members of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) protested that homosexuality was still classified as a mental illness in Sweden by The National Board of Health and Welfare.
(Read more about their protest and how they “called in gay” to their jobs.)
I’ve said before that I expect a lot more from a strait-jacket runway other than “this represents struggles with mental health.” It’s been done so many times and I think it verges on being offensive. Yet, Admira made it work by telling a literal story about society labeling being gay as a mental illness, and people uniting to free all queer people in Sweden from that constraint.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Admira will win the first Drag Race Sverige crown next week. We’ve already seen her easily handle a songwriting challenge, even if she is the weakest singer of this final three. Given her impressive track record and her impeccable glamour, I think she will walk away as Sweden’s Next Drag Superstar.
#2. Fontana – 1 win, 1 lip sync (was #3, 4, 5, 3, 5, 5, Pre-Season #4)
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This week Fontana showed that she truly does have the nerve to make her mark when it counts the most. Even if Admira won this week, this was Fontana’s episode from front to back.
First, in the mini-challenge, she showed the nerve she didn’t have when setting the Talent Show line-up back in Episode One by ranking Admira Thunderpussy as her weakest competition. Of course, it was all for show – Fontana’s point was that Admira’s drag is the least similar to her own, so they’re not in direct competition with each other. However, it took guts to put the charismatic Admira in the bottom.
That almost turned into a liability for Fontana when it turned out that Admira would get to assign parts in the “Diva Assoluta” acting challenge! Yet, what Fontana wanted was what served Admira the best – putting Fontana in a shrill diva role with tons of lines. The part would have been difficult for any of these queens, but it was double-hard for Fontana because Swedish is her second (or third? fourth?) language!
It seems that though she speaks fluent Swedish, she doesn’t fluently read in Swedish, but translates the words (to English) first to get their meaning. That meant that a lot of the ironic wordplay in the script was complete nonsense to her – she had to learn it phonetically and be coached on the pronunciation live on stage.
That would terrify most performers and take them out of their character. Not Fontana. No matter how many times the Fux and his co-director stopped to correct her, she snapped right back to her shrill, silly character.
Then, on the runway, Fontana continued her horrific trend from last week and brought high drama! While judge Kayo Shekoni was rough on her for her simple, see-through dress, I don’t think her runway concept required her to go full eleganza. The focus was meant to be on her face and her headdress, which it absolutely was.
I feel like Fontana almost walked away with a win this week if not for Admira’s runway being so spectacular and hers being slightly plain. That puts her in an unexpected position of strength for next week, especially with Vanity lip syncing tonight. Somehow, Fontana has fought all the way to be in contention for the crown. If Admira has an inexplicably bad week next week, I really think Fontana would be the obvious next choice.
#3. Vanity Vain – 1 win, 2 lip syncs (was #1, 2, 4, 2, 7, 6 Pre-Season #2)
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Vanity Vain faltered in this penultimate challenge despite a spectacular runway. As the judges reacted coolly to her acting performance I could almost feel her momentum from the past two weeks grinding to a halt.
To be fair, it was obvious that Vanity simply never clicked with her “Diva Assoluta” character as a fake plastic understudy to the main diva. In a way, she was even worse off than Elecktra, who at least walked in with a specific concept. Vanity was playing her character as a bit of an airhead, but there was nothing more to it than that. She had the plainest script out of all four queens, which meant she needed to add an over-the-top caricature to it to make it funny. Instead, she simply took up space.
Even Vanity’s immaculate white three-headed runway couldn’t push that flat performance into the top two against Admira and Fontana. That meant she was in her second lip sync of the season, where she fought just a little more fiercely than Elecktra to reach the finale.
I’m torn about Vanity’s chances in the finale next week. It’s a song challenge, and Vanity blew us all away with her singing in the girl groups challenge (even though Admira walked away with the win thanks to her runway). There’s a solid chance that Vanity will do the same next week. However, I don’t know if I believe her final look will be eleganza enough after a second of somewhat plain runways.
Can Vanity stay even with Admira and soundly defeat Fontana next week, and then defeat Admira in a final lip sync? I sincerely doubt is. Vanity is fine in a lip sync, but we haven’t even seen Admira yet. All of her tricks will be new ones.
Also, I can’t help but believe that Robert Fux is still fuming a bit over Vanity’s episode two temperature tantrum about “drag is a talent.” I strongly suspect that her petulant behavior there disqualified her from laying hands on the crown despite reaching the finale. We’ll see if that’s the case next week.
Eliminated in 4th Place: Elecktra – 1 win, 3 lip syncs (was #4, 3, 1, 4, 1, 4, Pre-Season #6)
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Elecktra came into this competition as the most-experienced showgirl in the cast, but it was that same experience that held her back in her lowest moments. Sometimes it felt like she couldn’t shift out of her pretty, feminine showgirl mode to deliver at a higher level of glamour and drama.
Where Elecktra delivered repeatedly this season is in comedy, which is why it was so sad to see her defeated by this acting challenge. She walked into “Diva Assoluta” with a firm idea of her character, which was systematically dismantled by guest judge and co-director Shima Niavarani. I don’t think that Niavarani was wrong in her direction, but I also question if it’s a Drag Race director’s job to have a queen change their entire concept of a character.
Elecktra was rattled enough by all of the direction that she dropped lines, but everyone dropped lines. Her bigger problem is that she couldn’t quickly reassemble a character in place of what had been yanked out from under her.
Would this episode had a different result of Elecktra had hung on to her original role as the wig-maker? I do think she would’ve been funnier than Admira was in the role, but I also think Admira would have devoured this frumpy, devious police detective. And, either way, Elecktra had the plainest runway of the night – Robert Fux seemed to have zero patience for it in the critiques.
Elecktra gave a memorable performance throughout this season, taking charge from her first mini-challenge and showing off every time she was given the opportunity to perform. I can still picture her “pamper yourself” Talent Show, hear the nasal voice of her Snatch Game character, and picture her hilariously bored face in her second lip sync last week. I think Elecktra proved that she is one of the foremost drag veterans in all of Sweden, and that her performance chops make her a lot more than just another showgirl.
5th Place: Antonina Nutshell – 3 lip syncs (was #5, 6, N/A, Elim, 8, Pre-Season #7)
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6th Place Santana Sexmachine – 1 lip sync (was #3, 5, 3, 2, Pre-Season #3)
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7th Place: Imaa Queen – 1 win (was #1, 2, 1, Pre-Season #5)
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8th Place: Endigo – 2 lip syncs (was #6, 7, Pre-Season #8)
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Previously 8th Place: Antonina Nutshell (was #8, Pre-Season #7)
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[…] I started this season of Power Rankings at a significant deficit – there were no Meet The Queens interviews with this cast! Not even a promo video! All we had to go by were single photos and the queens’ social media presence. Yet, I still managed to predict 3 out of the top 4 queens correctly as well as the first two outs in my Pre-Season ranking, including our winner! (I also got all of the final three Sweden Grand Finale placements right in my final Power Ranking, la…) […]