REVIEW: #DragRacePH Is Yet to Be Worthy of Our Queens
Aug 7, 2023   •   Eli Magsaysay
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Aug 7, 2023   •   Eli Magsaysay
The trailer was a giveaway, alright. Drag Race Philippines Season 2’s trailer boasts a bigger budget right off the bat, but it’s too clear too early where they didn’t allocate some of it. Yes, the set is way better than the first season’s, for sure. But wow, what terrible editing paired with a voice-over that sounds like it was recorded in the bathroom with a phone’s voice recorder app.
But, fine. These queens are ours and Mama Pao looks great. It’s our moral obligation as Filipino queer folk to support the people who represent us on the global stage. So despite our misgivings, we renewed our subscription to HBO GO, sat down, and watched the season premiere of Drag Race PH.
To the production’s credit, this werk room is miles ahead its predecessor. It’s definitely spacious enough for all the queens to fit in and perform all the challenges without getting into an accident. (I’m sorry, Viñas Deluxe, my queen.) It also seems to be finally wide enough for all of them to fit in a frame queued in a single line, so it’s curious why the queens still look awkward when they are in line for their first RuMail.
— drag.c.u.n.t (@drag_c_u_n_t) August 2, 2023
The mini-challenge of the first episode may not be Filipino as the first season’s Darna photoshoot, but man was it a showcase of how fierce this group of queens is. Very reminiscent of the shenanigans of America’s Next Top Model, the queens were asked to pose for a photo shoot with a live tarantula. And if those final photographs by BJ Pascual are any indication, our queens devoured.
The first six queens record their lyrics to an original song with the help of Almira and Mylene Cercado of 4th Impact, and this is where the episode’s problem officially becomes impossible to shrug off. How do we appreciate these queens’ lyrics and the work that the producers had put into this song when it’s like we’re hearing this episode from a pair of sidewalk earphones? Also, making the mentors use handheld mic? Interesting choice.
But sure, maybe the sound mixing will get better later in the episode.
pak girls matilduh nicole pardaux arizona brandy captivating katkat m1ss jade tiny deluxe boogsh drph drag race philippines season 2 s2 ep1 episode 1 ep 1 #dragracephilippines #dragraceph #dragrace pic.twitter.com/l6WYUZP34j
— ً (@rylctr) August 2, 2023
The queens perform the original song – which so badly wants to be the next “Pop Off Ate”, by the way – on the better, grander main stage and they look incredible. They do not hold back! Everyone, especially social media’s early favorite, Miss Jade So, looks incredible! The only problem is we really couldn’t appreciate the performance, their lyrics, and the song itself because of how terribly this episode’s sound was mixed!
ICYMI: In a recent comment on our previous post, @m1ssjadeso confirmed that the Ibong Adarna Look🦩 was conceptualized and funded by @marinaxsummers 🌈#m1ssjadeso #marinasummers #dragraceph #sisterhood #teamm1ssjadeso #suso #dolldomination #dollification #dollshenanigans pic.twitter.com/lLZkJ6O5yd
— TEAM M1SS JADE SO ✪ (@m1ssjadesohub) July 29, 2023
We love the episode’s runway theme and the queens mostly delivered, but I think we can all agree that Miss Jade So’s Ibong Adarna runway was the best in terms of concept and execution. Half of her face has turned into stone because of the mythical bird, hello!
We mostly agree with the judges’ critiques of the queens in this episode. We do see how the queens placed the way they did, for sure. But damn, how bothersome was that background music? Last season it was too loud, this time it’s too low? Fix it, post prod team, please!
Arizona Brandy deservedly wins the first challenge of the season while the younger Tiny Deluxe bested the veteran Nicole Pardaux in their lipsync for your life. And while we’re sad to say goodbye to our first Cebuano queen this early, we’re glad we’ll still see more of what Tiny has to offer.
(By the way, where’s the iconic “Good luck at dapat pakak”? Did they accidentally cut it out?)
The production’s improvements, especially with their upgraded sets and stage, are worth commending. However, it’s so frustrating to watch an already-established franchise – the biggest drag stage in the world – fall short of its full potential because of poor directorial and editorial choices. Mama Pao herself said during the deliberation that queens are expected to step up their game because this is Season 2. We need the production team of this show to do the same! Invest in good post-production, we beg! Stop putting out episodes with such elementary editing and sound mixing. You’re producing a show where very talented people are being judged, and you think you can get away with putting out mediocre work? No.
Drag Race PH has prestige because the franchise is revered, but this production team has yet to live up to the brand’s reputation, let alone be at par with the immense talent of its contestants. We’ll still be seated for the queens, though. They so deserve it. Sighs.
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