Need some more Drag Race in your life? This time, the franchise lands in the Philippines.
To kick-start the season, the first two episodes have dropped. Is it good? We're possibly a little biased, but this is perhaps the most entertaining version of Drag Race that we've seen yet.
There’s a lot to try and cover with two episodes, but let’s try and focus on some of the highlights.
This is a great cast – not only is the drag top-tier but the energy is infectious. They’re giving good TV, intentionally.
Nectar is one of the big clubs in Manila, and we’ve not only got the creative director on the show, Xilhouete, but it seems like most of the cast are resident performers at the club and all part of the House of Xilhouete.
That means that they all know each other pretty well, plus there’s some inbuilt drama with a simmering feud between Xilhouete and her drag-daughter Marina.
This cast feels as if it’s full of naturally funny queens. They genuinely seem to be there to have a good time and that’s a lot of fun to watch. They’re leaning into the stupid-funny ridiculousness of it all.
Two episodes in and we're loving Drag Race Philippines. This clearly has the potential to be excellent entertainment and a huge showcase of the talent that emerges from this vibrant country.
First two episodes, done!
Official bio: “Minty Fresh serves looks that kill all day, every day. She is a model, designer, pop singer, make-up artist, and performer. A staunch supporter of LGBTQIA+ rights, she slays the stage weekly at Nectar Nightclub. Ariana Grande reposted Minty’s lip-sync performance on her Instagram story as she led hundreds of thousands of people in an election sortie in Manila.”
Current Ranking: Minty has started this competition very strongly – picking up the win in Episode 1 and then Top 2 in Episode 2. What’s potentially going to trip her up is her reserved personality, so we’ll have to see how she navigates the acting and improv challenges.
Official bio: “Viñas DeLuxe is a triple threat and an all-in-one package. She started doing drag while at university with a background in theater that helped harness her sharp wit, performance skills, and knack for comedy. Viñas DeLuxe owns a wig business and has built a strong social media presence. She is also in a drag group called Te Divine Divas, who gained popularity during the pandemic, mounting digital performances and live streams worldwide.”
Current Ranking: Picking up the win in Episode 2 puts Vinas up near the front of the pack. It’s all to play for.
Official bio: “Brigiding is one of the most prominent names in the Philippine drag scene. She is known for her extravagant looks and show-stopping performances and has been featured in Pride parades and drag events both in the Philippines and abroad. She is also one of the founders of Drag Playhouse PH, a local drag content and entertainment provider.”
Current Ranking: Clearly a very strong contender. Brigiding looks like the total package.
Eva Le Queen
Official bio: “Eva Le Queen worked as an OFW in Singapore for eight years before giving up her corporate profession to follow her dream of becoming a drag artist. During the day she would work corporate, but at night she worked as a drag queen. Eva won first runner-up in Singapore’s Drag It Out All-Stars competition, only four months after she started doing drag. Eva’s drag is inspired by literary and cinematic villains. Her strengths are in being both a comedy queen and her looks. Eva is a resident queen at Nectar Nightclub and is also one of the founders of Drag Playhouse PH.”
Current Ranking: You would not want to go up against Eva – it looks like she can do everything. Accomplished.
Official bio: “Marina Summers is a fierce tropical queen known for her fish looks, hot body, exceptional dancing, and all-around performances. Her drag name stems from her love for the beach. Marina left her bucolic hometown of Nueva Vizcaya and moved to Manila to create content for one of the biggest film companies in the country. She began performing as a drag queen in 2019 and recently released her debut single “I Have Arrived” on Spotify and iTunes. She performs regularly at Nectar Nightclub and is another one of the founders of Drag Playhouse PH.”
Current Ranking: Marina is clearly one to watch. She’s very good at drag.
Precious Paula Nicole
Official bio: “Precious Paula Nicole is one of the most known Filipino drag queens, having been in the drag scene for more than 11 years. She is a professional dancer and is also known for her comedy shticks and impersonation of divas such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Asia’s songbird, Regine Velasquez. A star performer at O Bar, the premier drag club in the Philippines, she is a mother to a host of other popular drag queens.”
Current ranking: Precious is possibly a bit of a dark horse in this competition. Her talking heads are gold, but on the main stage she’s been under the radar. Not to be underestimated.
Official bio: “Xilhouete is respected in the drag scene in Manila. She is the creative director and one of the owners of Nectar Nightclub. Xilhouete is considered a drag mother of many queens, especially those who are regular performers at Nectar. An entrepreneur, director, and artist, Xilhouete advocates for the legacy of the drag queens who have paved the way.”
Current Ranking: She’s old school drag and she is used to being the mother of the house. However, Xilhouette is also smart enough to know that this competition puts everyone on an even footing. She seems determined to put in the work.
Official bio: “Gigi Era is the diva from Down Under. Hailing from Melbourne, she is popular in the Australian drag scene for her death-defying stunts and fabulous real-hair wigs. Gigi was a former dancer and airplane cabin crew member based out of Dubai. She is now back in the Philippines representing her hometown, Davao.”
Current Ranking: Gigi hasn’t really hit her stride yet. We’re going to need to see more.
Official bio: “A proud Davao queen who has been doing drag for more than 15 years, Lady Morgana is a true classic drag queen. With her spider lashes, high brows, creative wigs, and out-of-the-box costumes, Lady Morgana is known for her comedic and hosting skills, always making sure that her performances are sprinkled with love, laughter, and feelings. She works as a financial advisor during the day.”
Current Ranking: Morgana is a comedy queen, but it’s just going to be a question of whether she can adapt her skills to all the different types of challenges of this show. She’s survived one lip-sync but if she falls in the bottom again she may not survive a second time.
Official bio: “Turing has been a professional drag artist for more than seven years, performing in one of the most known drag bars in the Philippines, O-Bar. A Broadway fan and a theater kid who used to be a cheerleader in college, Turing is known in the drag scene as a fierce dancer and a lip-sync slayer. She has openly discussed how drag has made her feel more comfortable in her skin, and is a strong advocate for body positivity.”
Current Ranking: It hasn’t been the greatest of starts for Turing, but she has demonstrated that she’s a phenomenal performer. She’s going to be tough to beat in a lip-sync but so far she hasn’t really been able to shine in this competition.
Official bio: “A crowned pageant queen with a list of titles on her sash, Corazon has jumped from one beauty contest to another competing in both male bikini contests and provincial Miss Gay events and talent shows. In addition to drag, Corazon is a makeup artist and a designer; creating looks for fellow drag and beauty queens alike.”
Final Ranking: She’s clearly a very accomplished drag queen who also has a great sense of humour. She really made me laugh in the climbing the pole mini-challenge that she won. But, there’s no room for mistakes in this competition and was eliminated on a design challenge in Episode 2 – beaten in the lip-sync by Turing.
Official bio: “Prince is known on social media for her make-up transformations. Before joining Drag Race Philippines, Prince was a social media strategist and is relatively new to the Philippine drag scene. Prince’s drag is heavily influenced by sci-fi and anime, and believes that extraterrestrial looks have a space in Philippine drag. Prince is also one of the co-founders of Drag Playhouse PH. Aside from doing drag, she manages her own make-up and merchandise line.”
Final Ranking: We didn’t get to see a lot from Prince, the Pork Chop of this season. She seems likeable and fun.