Welcome to my review, recap, and power rankings of the third episode of Drag Race Sverige (AKA Drag Race Sweden) Season 1 – “Drag-a’-mera!” It’s a familiar unconventional material design challenge with the added pressure of being judged by one of Sweden’s most legendary drag performers, Christer Lindarw, and one of their most notorious fashion icons, Fredrik Robertsson.
The presence of Lindarw and Robertsson seemed to ratchet up the tension in this episode much more than on a typical RuPaul’s Drag Race design challenge. Even when RuPaul’s Drag Race lands massive stars as guest judges, often they represent something apart from drag – or, at least, just a single aspect of success in drag. RuPaul remains the person who it is most important to impress and whose career exists as the exemplar for contestants.
By contrast, on this episode of Sverige it felt as though its charming host Robert Fux was secondary to the pair of heavyweights on the judging panel. The only time RuPaul has ever come close to being eclipsed as the show’s paragon of drag was when Lady Gaga appeared for the Season 9 debut – an episode on which Ru never appeared in drag!
When it comes to design, RuPaul is typically looking for some form of indefinable “eleganza” that’s all about size and structure. However, Fredrik Robertsson’s walkthrough for “Drag-a’-mera” was much more intimidating than a typically breezy (but helpful) commentary from Carson Kressley or Brad Goreski. It felt as though Robertsson was treating the queens as though they were all legitimate fashion designers, demanding that each one of them deliver the careful detailing of haute couture while also using a mix of materials to suggest something more avant-garde.
Meanwhile, the presence of the soft-spoken Christer Lindarw seemed to unnerve some of the queens even more. His career as a drag performer and fashion designer spans nearly 50 years, including four decades of his “After Dark” revue that employed many Swedish performers (including Elecktra). There was a tangible feeling that he had the ability to make or break the career of any queen on the cast, which is usually only true of RuPaul herself on the main franchise.
The result was an unusually polished design challenge runway without any true failures, but with more than one surprising development in the judging. That meant a major shake-up for my power rankings compared to last week’s talent show! It feels like this season is already down to a set of heavyweight frontrunners who are all deserving of a spot in the Top Three with just three more episodes until the finale.
After tonight, two queens who seemed like obvious cuts are experiencing a sudden surge while another former lock feels like she’s in danger. No matter what happens next week, it will be a shocking elimination.
(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!
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