Drag Race Thailand is half-way through its’ debut season and the challenges are getting tougher. With Petchra’s elimination last week, only six of the ten contestants remain: Amadiva, Année Maywong, B Ella, Dearis Doll, JAJA and Natalia Pliacam. Who will be eliminated this week?
Self-Serving Promo, Why Not?
This week’s episode is pretty much an hour-long promotion for LINE MOBILE, the telecommunication business of the show’s network’s parent company, LINE Corporation. This may come across as self-serving, but it’s not unfamiliar nor a bad thing. For one thing, RuPaul’s Drag Race is like RuPaul’s personal Home Shopping Network, cleverly embedding promos of his works and merchandise throughout the show of his namesake. To avoid writing an unpaid promotional article for the show’s sponsor, I’m going to limit details of the challenges to a minimum.
Of the six remaining contestants, B Ella is the one most in danger of getting the chop. She’s been trailing behind the other queens based on performance three consecutive weeks. She hasn’t win anything either. On the other end of the winning spectrum, Natalia Pliacam has won three main challenges out of five. This frustrates some of the queens, “love your friends too and let us win once in a while,” Dearis pleaded. Natalia’s response was simply, “it can’t be helped” lol. I’m quite surprised at B Ella’s performance since she’s one of the queens who’s got the most drag experience, she’s even have experience in television too. If she’s not going to step up her game, she’s likely going to sashay away next. Dearis Doll wouldn’t mind. The day after Petchra’s elimination, she said, “Oh well, rest in peace.” LOL
There was a bit of drama in the Werk Room the following day. Petchra’s heartfelt lipstick message on the mirror mentioned the other queens except JAJA and Amadiva. Both Amadiva and JAJA get along fine, maybe because they both speak fluent English, which makes communication a bit easier having a common language. Petchra didn’t seem to care for JAJA – she said she doesn’t understand her, perhaps it’s the language barrier – and everyone has some animosity against Amadiva, accusing her of being fake, which was a bit of a shocker for her.
“Petchra hates me? People hating JAJA is completely normal. But me? I think I’m adorable though. For real. It doesn’t matter if she hates me, she’s not here anymore and I’m okay with that.” – Amadiva
Dearis tied to downplay the message, “I don’t know whether she hates you or not by writing your name too,” she said. “Why don’t you follow her (on social media) and find out?“
For the mini challenge, hosts Art Arya and Pangina Heals were joined by LINE MOBILE’s Chief Marketing Officer, Pavarisa Chumvigrant, who spilled the details for the challenge. She explained five benefits of the LINE MOBILE SIM card to the contestants. Each were tasked to produce a one minute video clip promoting the product, and to mention at least three out of the five benefits she just mentioned.
Année Maywong did well, with little slip up on the first take. B Ella took a playful approach, popping up from the back of the sofa on set and doing a hush-hush gossip kind of delivery. Amadiva stuck to her brand, potty mouth, “talk a lot of shit,” in her own words. She closed her pitch with, “What the hell are you waiting for, bitches?! Go buy it!” Pangina Heals was taken aback. “It felt like she was cursing me off!” she said. Chumvigrant smiled, and said to Pangina, “it’s her own unique poetry.” Dearis Doll, who didn’t get enough sleep the night before had difficulty delivering her lines. “My brain isn’t functioning,” she said, feeling defeated. While JAJA compared the product to being single. She was enjoying herself on set but their guest was not impressed, and thought JAJA had the worst pitch.
B Ella won the challenge. “I won! It only took six goddamn episodes!” she exclaimed. Much to her and the other’s excitement. “She finally left the zoo,” Dearis said. “She won because she’s funny.” B Ella, who studied marketing, was able to capitalize on her education and humor to deliver a fun and convincing promo. Her prize was a two-year unlimited mobile plan from the sponsor.
Pavarisa Chumvigrant returned to join Art Arya and Pangina Heals for the maxi challenge. They were tasked to create a parody of LINE MOBILE’s commercials, and were given up to fifteen minutes and unlimited takes to film it. The queens were paired and grouped into three. B Ella who won the mini challenge, was given the privilege to choose her partner, pair the remaining queens and assign one of three commercials.
She picked Dearis Doll, and the rest was paired based on who they stood closest with; Année and Natalia, and Amadiva and JAJA. Amadiva was praying not to be paired with JAJA, well, all of them were. The three pit crews joined them, all dressed up in a mascot representing the computer generated character in each of the three commercials. B Ella picked the octopus – “Easily Loved, No Contracts” commercial. Année and Natalia end up with a seal – “Easily Loved, Lowest Fee” commercial. And JAJA and Amadiva got a turtle – “Easily Loved, Don’t Wait” commercial.
JAJA and Amadiva struggled during production. Amadiva was frustrated that JAJA wasn’t very time conscious. She thought JAJA was delaying the takes. In her defense, JAJA argued that there was plenty of time so there was no need to rush. Année’s and Natalia’s production was more smooth. Even though Année wanted to play the seal instead of the girl, because the seal didn’t have any line. She stressed before that she won’t do well in challenges when talking is involved. Since Natalia was heavier than her, she convinced her that she’s more fitting for the role. The two manage to pull it off. B Ella and Dearis Doll were the last to go. B Ella was acing her performance, having studied marketing. The had a little trouble in the end when B Ella mixed up the name of the product and the show’s streaming platform. However, her confidence and laser focus made the whole situation enjoyable to watch, that even the hosts and guest were having a ball.
Dearis and B Ella won the maxi challenge. Each received a three-year unlimited mobile subscription plan. B Ella end up getting free unlimited mobile subscription for five years. The hosts and the rest of the queens were also given free limited subscription plans.
For the runway challenge, the queens where asked to do a parody of Chompoo Araya A. Hargate, queen of commercials and famous superstar in Thailand.
But wait! There’s more. The queens were also asked to do a dance performance to a medley of megamix super hits. Aum and Aek from Harlem Shake both served as choreographers. The choreography was high energy. There were lots of crawling and heavy patting. Some of the contestants felt bad for Natalia, whom they call “Uncle” as terms of endearment for being the oldest, because she had to crawl on the floor the most. “I feel bad for our uncle. She’s crawling here and there” Amadiva said feeling sorry. “I feel so bad.“
“I mean it’s funny but she’s old and her knees are probably already done. They’re making her go up and down. I just wanna tell the producers to bring out a wheelchair as a prop for her when she dances.” – Dearis Doll
“I just wanna ask the coaches. Why are you guys making me crawl on the floor so much?” said Natalia. “Honestly, I’m crawling everywhere. Are you guys angry at me about something?” But it’s not just Natalia who’s feeling the pressure, the rest of the queens were tired and exhausted having already done two back-to-back challenges, and then there’s the runway outfit to work on on top of the performance. “Just bury me. Bury it all on me and get this over with,” Année said in her confessional. But B Ella, who’s still in her element, said, “I’m exhausted but I love to dance. So I’m giving my all.”
Day of Reckoning
On elimination day the queens read the choreographers to filth. They mocking the choreographers for pushing them to give more energy when they’re already so exhausted. They mocked themselves too.
The judges panel were joined by Chompoo Araya A. Hargate herself, who was unfortunately under the weather, and Ma Ornapa Krisadee, a transgender actress and model.
During Arya’s introduction, Heals made a colorful comment about her outfit, “Art! You look like a silver penis totem tonight.” lol, the shade. Krisadee, who sat next to Heals, threw shade at her figure, “I feel so tiny sitting right here.” Arya chimed in, “Not just your height but your face as well.” All Heals could do was screamed and pointed a finger gun to her temple and cocked it. LOL
For the queen’s dance performance they were all dressed in colorful active wear, like Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” video. JAJA did a death drop at the end of the first act. All the queens were giving lots of energy and attitude, it was amazing to watch.
For the runway presentation, Natalia Pliacam’s fabulous dress was inspired by Hargate’s red wedding dress. She brought a life-size cardboard cutout of Hargate’s husband wearing a tuxedo. Krisadee made a comment about her pointy headdress with a large base resembling that of a Hershey’s Kisses chocolate, “can I just say that her hat reminds me of sperm?” I don’t know if that’s good or bad but the judges were all laughing. Année Maywong’s look was inspired by multiple looks of Hargate. She had about four looks. With her final look involving a sling with two babies (dolls), twins in fact, and taking a selfie. JAJA recreated a gown made by Zac Posen for Hargate’s Cannes 2013 red carpet using recycled materials. Part of her costume around her mid-section was pointing outwards, to which Heals’ described, “looks a bit like a penis.” lol JAJA pulled a piece of her gown which she used as a fan. Dearis Doll was inspired by the same gown as JAJA’s, but she went further. She gave it a mother nature’s touch. She wore a rose apple cutout on her head, a literal reference to “chompoo,” and painted her arms and shoulder blade red. And fashioned large green leaves for her bustier, hand gloves and skirt flap. Amadiva wore a version another dress worn by Hargate at Cannes but colored green instead of flesh. It seemed a little bit loose. And true to her “brand” … she left a big gaping whole behind exposing her rear. Some of the judges were confused and visibly put off by it. B Ella’s white gown concept was “Chompoo’s Happiness.” She dragged a mannequin in a suite on stage. She did one reveal and sang a song from a movie Hargate starred in.
Dearis Doll won the runway challenge. B Ella, Année Maywong, and Natalia Pliacam were declared safe. Amadiva and JAJA fell in the bottom two and had to lip sync for their life. The song was in Thai, JAJA said she knew parts of it and did her best. Amadiva was giving it her all. Unfortunately, Arya was not impressed by either one of them and were sent home in a double elimination.
Dearis Doll made the biggest leap this week in terms of rank positions, moving three places up from second to the last to tie second place with Natalia Pliacam. Her average performance in the previous weeks, three safe and one bottom two, is still not enough to dethrone the front runner, Année Maywong. While Natalia, remains on the second spot. B Ella, who won the mini challenge and maxi challenge, manage to skirt the ax this week, but her winnings is still not enough to move her to a comfortable position. Maxi challenge and runway challenge impacts the ranking; mini challenge, not so much even though it gives the queens an advantage in the maxi challenge. With the competition entering it’s second half, B Ella needs to win more maxi challenges and runway challenges for her to really move up the rank. With four queens left, the competition will get even more tougher. There are likely only two to three episodes left, including a reunion, if they have one. Année Maywong has had trouble in challenges outside her comfort zone, like comedy, acting or speaking challenges. To keep her spot, she’ll have to take future challenges head on, regardless if it’s within her element or not.