My brain has nothing left in it but one thing. After watching this week’s Canada’s Drag Race, the main chorus of this week’s girl groups challenge song keeps bouncing through my head. “I thought you were a hit / But I was going through an experimental phase / But it had to stop / So bye flop!”
This line is my religion now. It’s all I know in this world. I can’t stop singing it. It lacks rhythm, sense and the basic merits of what a pop song chorus—even a “country pop” song—should sound like. And yet? It’s perfect. I went from violently rejecting “Bye Flop” upon first listen to stanning it by the third. I can only apologize for my taste, and for being hypnotized by what has to be one of the most transfixing sets of lyrics we’ve ever heard on a Drag Race episode.
Look, I don’t think this week’s performances, either from the Dosey-Hoes (Synthia Kiss, Kendall Gender, Kimora Amour and Eve 6000) or the Giddy Girls (Gia Metric, Pythia, Icesis Couture and Adriana), are particularly good. And I actually disagree with the judging this week that handed the Giddy Girls the win, with Gia taking home her first maxi-challenge victory for successfully leading her team. But I can’t deny that, for all its foibles, this episode is just fun.
It reminds me of this season’s Rusical, which similarly featured far more mediocre-to-bad performances than good ones. But as I argued at the time, there’s entertainment value to be found in failure just as often as success. And listening to the utterly bizarre “Bye Flop” (which often sounds like four songs at once) as a delightful cast performs it as best as they’re able, I can’t help but be charmed by it all.
I’m stanning not just a couple of queens on Canada’s Drag Race, but the entire season. I’m excited for every episode as it comes out, and I leave each one smiling regardless of performance quality. What more can I ask for from a Drag Race season?
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media
After they win the mini-challenge—more on that in the final thoughts—Synthia and Gia are named team captains. Synthia snatches up their fellow Brat Pack queen Kendall before Gia can, who instead picks up Pythia. Kimora, Icesis and Eve get drafted in that order, leaving Adriana as the final queen to be picked. I’m somewhat surprised by this, since a lot of the other queens performed worse in the last dancing challenge; Icesis even had to lip sync for her Rusical work.
But there’s a general underdog narrative to this episode: Synthia’s Dosey-Hoes are seen as much bigger personalities, and Pythia expresses fear several times that she and the other Giddy Girls (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sang “Hey giddy girl!” to myself) won’t be able to stand out next to them. This edit is pretty transparent: How often have we seen the perceived underdog team actually lose on Drag Race? It’s obvious how this one will go, even as choreography and recording sessions seem to paint two groups each with their fair share of problems.
Then the performances happen, and at first, I think that the underdogs will actually lose. Part of it is that listening to “Bye Flop” for the first time fully short-circuits my brain and I can’t understand what I’m hearing. But even after watching both groups a second time, I remain confused as to why the Giddy Girls win based on performances alone.
True, they’re a bit more cohesive in terms of aesthetic and in their execution of the choreography. But there are some really messy bits; Pythia half-does a split, for instance, and rhymes “horns” with “hoes.” And Gia and Icesis’ verses aren’t that memorable, though they look plenty country. Only Adriana really aces the task for me, mixing English, Spanish and French in a verse that stuns for its level of difficulty.
Meanwhile, Eve’s the only real flop of her group. She delivers her verse without conviction, and she’s visibly off the choreography at multiple points of the song. But Synthia and Kimora’s verses are both great, with some great choreography to match in Synthia’s section in particular. And Kendall, decked out in some Woody from Toy Story drag, delivers a, shall we say, rhythmically strange verse with panache. I imagine we’ll get Synthia’s second win, with maybe Eve getting singled out for critique.
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media
One should never doubt the underdog narrative, though. Because despite their hiccups, the Giddy Girls are rewarded for their stylistic similarity and consistency, with Gia taking her first solo victory. (I really appreciate that the judges still offer the winning team positive feedback before sending them to mini-Untucked. I’d love to see this across the franchise.) The Giddy Girls are over the moon, while the Dosey-Hoes are left on the stage for critiques.
You get an immediate sense that, despite her great performance, Synthia is in trouble. Brooke Lynn Hytes asks her how much responsibility she bears as team leader, and Synthia skirts it by saying everyone had their say. Brooke Lynn immediately turns that on her by saying that, in fact, their performance did look like everyone had their say.
Fair point: they’re not very in sync, and their outfits look different. But I still think the individual performances, save for Eve’s, should have saved them. At the very least, I’d have had the judging for this episode not be in teams.
But then the judges get to Eve, and it’s clear that there’s no way this episode ends in anything but her going home. She gets similar critiques to what she’s received for weeks, and Brooke Lynn even tells her that they’ve spent more time working with her than any queen. Eve’s response to that is to bristle at getting negative critiques week after week. There’s just nothing left for Eve’s storyline here, and the judges are too annoyed to keep her around.
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media
So Synthia is pitted against Eve in the lip sync, and it does seem like a purposeful choice to make sure Eve goes home. Synthia’s performance is too good for her to be a reasonable member of the bottom two—I think it should be Kendall instead. But judging by Synthia’s performance in the lip sync, she’s the right choice to seal Eve’s fate. Her performance is absolutely dynamite, as she both dances well and interprets the song with aplomb. Eve is not in her best form, so she likely would lose to anyone. Synthia, however, manages to make a moment in the bottom two a chance to truly impress.
With a heavy heart, we say goodbye to Eve 6000. I can’t disagree with the decision, but I’m still bummed to lose her. She’s been a major part of the narrative and has entertained every episode. I will keep her utterly camp reveal performance from the Rusical in my heart forever. Canada’s Drag Race Season 2 wouldn’t be nearly as delightful without her.
Next up, our top seven takes on the ball challenge, which based on her previous design challenge win, bodes well for Icesis. But who knows? Maybe someone like Kendall will surprise—she says in the preview that she’ll be taking on something ambitious. I genuinely can never say for sure what might happen next—this season is keeping me on my toes. Just another reason why, for any minor faults, I can’t help falling in love with CDR Season 2.
Untucking our final thoughts
✨I cannot get over the Trojan-sponsored sex education mini-challenge, which likely won’t teach anyone important things about sex, but is nonetheless a riot. Synthia and Gia win, and rightfully so after Gia, dressed as a banana, simulates penetrating Synthia. “My first win as a banana!” Gia gleefully says in a confessional after. (Hopefully not the last!)
✨Gia’s suggestion to her group about how they can ace this country pop girl group challenge: “Keep it country, but we can’t forget we’re pop.” Thank you, Gia.
✨Bif Naked is pretty great as both recording coach and guest judge! She’s the right mix of enthusiastic and helpful, getting a few of the queens’ line readings in much better shape on the track. The reason the verses in “Bye Flop” are so enjoyable is likely largely thanks to her suggestions. And “I Love Myself Today” makes for an absolutely killer lip sync song.
✨Speaking of that lip sync, the moment I’ll be thinking about for days is Synthia lip-screaming “I’m CALM!” So good!
✨I once again have to praise Canada’s Drag Race production and cast for making the mirror moments not only organic, but revealing genuine, specific things about the queens. Hearing Synthia open up about her dad coming out as gay and the different challenges they faced is honest and lovely.
✨Traci Melchor’s response to Adriana saying “I was the crazy bitch when I was younger” is to just say “same,” then wildly cackle. It’s quite a moment, and that’s all I’ll say about that!
✨There’s a small but delightful moment during the judges’ verdicts section in which Kendall, upon having her name called, just throws up a peace sign. I think what’s so compelling about Kendall is how cool she is without coming across as apathetic. I find myself rooting for her more and more even as she hasn’t quite delivered on her earliest promise.
✨“Is the Oscar speech over?” You can bet that these long-winded responses to the judges will inevitably come back to bite Gia in the butt. It’s just a matter of how long Brooke Lynn thinks it’s funny.
✨“As soon as I get out of here, I am going to block Brooke Lynn Hytes on all social media immediately.” God, I will miss having Eve on my TV screen so much.
This content was originally published here.