No WOW in World of Wonder RPDR Down Under


RPDR Down Under wow world of wonder

And so the time has come when we all wait with bated yawns to discover who will be crowned Down Under’s next drag superstar. Are you Team Too Over It to GAF? Or Team Still Hoping Against Hope? WTF is going on? For the second season running, there sure ain’t no WOW in World of Wonder’s RPDR Down Under.

Last year, drag tragics STFU about a much anticipated and then overwhelmingly disappointing show. By quiet agreement, everyone resisted criticising the show in case World of Wonder sashayed away on a second season.

And the show deserved some latitude, filmed amid unprecedented pandemic restrictions.

Still, unforced errors abounded. Terrible production values! And that by choice. Look at some of the magnificent movies produced in New Zealand. The country possesses people and facilities second to none.

Also in Season One:

  • We saw petulance — and probably the least gracious sashay away in Drag Race herstory — rewarded.
  • Poor vetting of contestants and a production with not a queen to spare saw past behaviour likely to prompt disqualification in other franchises described as a ‘learning experience’.

World of Wonder RPDR Season Two

Surely, most fans expected an improvement in season two.

But instead of learning from the initial season’s mistakes, the second season doubled down. It’s like a Baga Chipz. Hey, the customers keep buying – why not put less in the packet?

Thank Christ Aussie queens became used to performing in rundown suburban bowls clubs in recent years. That should help prepare them for this show.

FFS! The lighting throws more shade than the queens.

And a self-deprecating script is funny when also self-aware and intentionally bad. Gee, I thought some of the US scripts were cringy.

We all know reality TV is all about manufactured drama. But season two is manufactured petty drama. Expect an episode devoted to who didn’t do the washing up.

And the costumes!

When did a drag competition cease to have anything to do with drag?

We’ve seen a handful of nice costumes this season, but nothing mind-blowing. Where’s the WOW?

There are runways on Drag Race Thailand, Philippines and France where every costume is better than anything yet seen on season two of Down Under.

Where’s the OMFG moment when a costume simply blows us away?

Sadly, RPDR Down Under has proved the poor cousin of the entire franchise. Certainly, the different iterations around the world all possess their own strengths and weaknesses. With the notable exceptions of Brooke Lynn Hytes and Pangina Heals, none of the other hosts come close to RuPaul’s presentation skills.

But also few are in such need of RuPaul and Michelle Visage’s remarkable ability to polish turds with straight faces.

The production values, the costumes, the lip syncs, the humour and the innovative challenges in France, Thailand and the Philippines should give the other versions pause for thought.

Snatch Game should be funny every season. Drag Queens are brilliant at that sort of shit. Do the producers think there’s some entertainment value in simply watching contestants fall on their padded arses?

Watch Snatch Game on Thailand season two — a masterclass! And that’s a subtitled mainly Thai language segment — with celebrities few outside Thailand ever heard of.

In the meantime, I’ll despair while waiting for the finale of a drag competition in which I saw a queen win an episode in a sparkly black leotard with what looked like miniature patio swing chair frames on her shoulders.

Come on World of Wonder. Put some WOW into RPDR Down Under. Australia and New Zealand have fabulous drag. Let them shine. We all want this show to work.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Jackman
    14 September 2022
    Reply

    THANKYOU! The question is why we suck so hard. And the answer is – hate to labour this phrase, but – toxic masculinity. The Kiwi queens don’t give off the terror that floats in palpable waves through the TV screen from the Australian queens. We still have a looooong way to go addressing this vile shit. I want to root for our queens, but their fear, which is just beaten into them from birth, of being sneered at or put down for aspiring to be anything other than a freakin bogan yammering cliches and ‘farkin farkin farkin’ at every opportunity is why we can’t have nice things. I mean, doesn’t the black granny panties say it all?
    The positives from two seasons for me were some of Ru’s spectacular outfits – the Ugg themed one from Season 1 still stands out – which just put our queens to shame, and Ru’s taking the time to master an Australian accent. Which has resulted in legacy queens like Willam and Alaska doing same. And as Australians, we know this is rarely done well, usually sounding like some kind of cockney/ South African mash up.
    And Thankyou for pointing out the black ban on any negative criticism. Season 1 was borderline disgraceful and best forgotten. The Snatch Games were diabolically bad.
    I don’t know the answer, but I know where the problem is coming from, reflected in our queens struggling with lifetimes of negativity in this foul soup of toxic masculinity that oppresses all who aren’t white cis males. As a nation we are no further forward in challenging our ‘cultural cringe’ and ‘tall poppy syndrome’ than we were last century when these things were first identified. I feel so sad for our queens, especially when compared to the joy and lack of fcks displayed by DR Espana, for example. Fix it, jesus!

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