Sickening Start for ‘Drag Race Philippines’
The first episodes of ‘Drag Race Philippines’ delighted fans with a Darna photo shoot, talent showcase, and terno and Flores de Mayo looks
Producer World of Wonder treated Filipino fans of drag competition megahit RuPaul’s Drag Race with the much-awaited, two-episode premiere of Drag Race Philippines, the local iteration of the American reality TV show, on 17 August and the two episodes contain all the elements that made RPDR so entertaining and beloved.
With Fullhouse Asia Production Studios as local producer, Drag Race Philippines is directed by actor Fifth Solomon while the challenges are directed by Ice Seguerra and Arnel Natividad.
The first episode, “Mabu-heeey,” had the usual entrance in which the 12 competitors — queens Brigiding, Corazon, Eva Le Queen, Gigi Era, Lady Morgana, Marina Summers, Minty Fresh, Precious Paula Nicole, Prince, Turing, Viñas DeLuxe and Xilhouete — entered the Werk Room one by one in their own looks and mouthing their own lines.
While the portion had a light mood, some of the queens gave a taste of the sharpness of their claws. The tension was palpable between Marina and Minty because of past “random guy issue,” according to Marina, and between Xilhouete and former drag daughter Marina.
The queens got a surprise message from RuPaul herself through a recorded video.
“Mabuhay, or should I say, mabu-hey! Welcome to Drag Race Philippines. This is the beginning of the rest of your life. So, don’t be scared, be prepared,” said the drag superstar and show creator. “It’s time to spread your charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent for the whole world to see.”
“If you want to be the Philippines’ first drag superstar, I’ve got one thing to say: Good luck and don’t fuck it up!” she further said, uttering her now iconic line.
Host Paolo Ballesteros entered the Werk Room to greet the queens, encouraging them to call him Mama Pao, as RuPaul is called Mama Ru. He also revealed the prizes that the winner will receive: one year’s worth of products from One Size Beauty Cosmetics by Patrick Starr, and P1 million in cash.
The queens underwent the first mini-challenge — a photo shoot in Darna costumes with photographer BJ Pascual. Darna is a popular Filipino komiks character, which became a gay icon. The challenge involved posing while being suspended mid-air with cables.
Marina won the challenge, earning a cash tip of P20,000.
The first maxi-challenge was the Totally Impressive Talent Extravaganza (TITE), in which the queens showcased their own skills and performances
— dancing, singing, lip-synching, spoken word, comedy skit, live sketching and magic tricks.
The category for the runway competition was “Ter-no She Betta Don’t!” and the queens sashayed in different interpretations of the terno, the unofficial national Filipino attire, or a Filipiniana attire.
They received praises and critiques for their performances and fashion from Ballesteros, regular judges KaladKaren and Jiggly Caliente, guest judge Pascual and special judge Pops Fernandez.
Marina, Eva, Minty, Viñas and Turing were adjudged the tops with Minty emerging as the winner, taking home P80,000 in cash and a Ru badge, while Lady Morgana, Xilhouete and Prince were declared bottoms.
Prince and Lady Morgana ended up lip-syncing for their life to “Tala,” a song written by Nica del Rosario and sung by Sarah Geronimo. Prince went down in history as the Philippines’ own Victoria “Porkchop” Parker.
In the second episode, the four members of the Pit Crew, hunky assistants and eye-candies who are always in their bikinis, appeared and assisted the queens in the mini-challenge, palo sebo, a common game in Philippine fiestas.
Competitors had to climb up a bamboo pole to get the flag. The fastest was Corazon, winning P20,000 and 15 seconds more time to pick materials for the maxi-challenge, which was a design challenge.
With the materials provided, the queens must create costumes as well as sagala arches incorporating real flowers for the Flores de Mayo-themed challenge. In the Werk Room, they were visited by designer Rajo Laurel, who gave them pieces of advice.
Before the runway segment with the category “Sagalamazon” to present their creations, the queens opened up about the discrimination and abuses they experienced as LGBTQ+, which were heartbreaking.
Laurel joined the judges panel together with special guest, comedian Pokwang. Mama Pao was stunning in her monarch butterfly-inspired gown.
Minty, Precious Paula Nicole and Viñas received positive comments, with Viñas emerging as winner. The others were marked safe but Turing and Corazon landed at the bottom and had to lip-synch to “I’m Feeling Sexy Tonight” by Chona Cruz. Corazon became the second queen to go home.
New episodes of Drag Race Philippines drop every Wednesday through streaming platforms Wow Presents Plus, Crave in Canada, Discovery Plus and HBO Go, while Untucked episodes air every Friday, starting 19 August.
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