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Stream It or Skip It: ‘Canada’s Drag Race’ on WOW Presents Plus Brings Hot Drama to the Great White North

Canada’s Drag Race brings all the glitz and glamour of America’s reality TV phenomenon to the Great White North. The spinoff follows the successful launch of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK last year, with one major difference: RuPaul is M.I.A. Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, and Stacey McKenzie team-up for hosting/judging duties—but is Drag Race still Drag Race without Ru? 

CANADA’S DRAG RACE: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: We open in—where else?—Canada’s Werk Room, complete with portraits of RuPaul and the judges and the biggest, reddest maple leaf you ever did see.

The Gist: After the successful launch of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK last year, we have a solid idea of what to expect from the international Drag Race spinoffs: it’s Drag Race, but with country-specific puns! No shade, because why tinker with a formula that’s so taut? Just like the Drag Race you know and love, Canada’s Drag Race pits a dozen of the fiercest queens from north of the border against each other in a mini-challenge, a maxi-challenge, a runway show, and a lip sync battle in every episode. You know it, you love it.

The biggest difference this time around is the lack of, well, RuPaul. Like Drag Race Thailand, the original international spinoff, Mama Ru isn’t sashaying into the Werk Room. Her presence, however, is invoked; this is still RuPaul’s house, or maybe it’s more like her sickening AirBnB. It takes three hosts to fill the Emmy-winning RuPaul’s high heels: model Stacey McKenzie, actor and frequent Drag Race judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, and Drag Race Season 11 runner-up Brooke Lynn Hytes.

Canada's Drag Race hosts with Elisha Cuthbert
Photo: World of Wonder

There’s one major thing that Canada’s Drag Race has in common with RuPaul’s Drag Race: prize money. While the UK queens weren’t allowed to win cash because of the BBC’s rules, the Canadian queens are competing for dollar bills—$100,000, to be exact (that’s roughly $73,629 USD).

Our Take: There’s so much drag content on TV right now, you’d think the reality subgenre would be as worn out as a queen’s first shake-and-go. Like seriously, with RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars halfway through Season 5, this ain’t even the only Drag Race airing on TV right now! But I will tell you what: I’m still here for it. That’s because Canada’s Drag Race starts out strong with a first episode that will take diehard fans back, back, back, back, back in time to the show’s earlier seasons.

While Drag Race UK Season 1 had a similar, endearing roughness to it that made it feel similar to the US show’s first season, Canada’s Drag Race comes out swinging with the feisty energy of Seasons 4 and 5. These queens all have something to prove and are not joking, bitch! This back-to-basics vibe isn’t just because some of the queens cast more shade than a maple tree, either; the production crafted challenges for the first episode that, while not super referential to the show’s history, are totally reverential. No spoilers about what those challenges are, but they will bring a grin to every Drag Race fan’s mug.

Canada's Drag Race hosts in Werk Room
Photo: World of Wonder

As for the queens themselves, they are a hoot and a half. Priyanka is plucked to be there, Juice Boxx’s entrance is iconic for ridiculous reasons, Anastarzia Anaquway serves pageant elegance, Lemon looks so much like Andrew Rannells to me that it’s mildly distracting, and Jimbo is so kooky she makes Tammie Brown seem almost lucid. They’re a solid group of gals, and you can tell already that the proceedings are gonna get contentious.

The biggest hurdle Canada’s Drag Race has to clear, though, is the RuPaul-shaped hole on the judges’ panel. There’s a very specific energy that RuPaul and Michelle Visage bring to the back half of every US and UK episode, a chemistry perfected after decades in the lab. Hytes, Bowyer-Chapman, and McKenzie don’t have it yet (and how could they, really?), but you can tell they’re beyond gagged to be there and every bit as committed to the cause as these queens. The only knock against the format is the amount of heavy lift hosting they put on the week’s guest judge (Elisha Cuthbert in this episode). No spoilers but… I truly do not know what Tom Green’s episode is going to look like if every guest judge does everything that the Happy Endings star does in this one. But y’know what? I’m excited to find out.

Canada's Drag Race - Kyne and Boa promo looks
Photo: World of Wonder

Sleeper Star: These queens wasted no time bringing the drama, as the first episode sets up a rivalry between YouTube sensation Kyne and the, uh, not exactly well-regarded BOA that could flip both of their reputations and be one for the Drag Race herstory books. Grab the popcorn, gals!

Our Call: STREAM IT. The more Drag Race in our lives right now, the better.

Stream Canada's Drag Race on WOW Presents Plus

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