Drag Race Thailand Raised The Bar In An Emotional “Année Maywong Episode”

Drag Race Thailand is on its final lap, but the closer it gets to the finish line the harder are the challenges. After the double elimination that ended JAJA’s and Amadiva’s chance to win the crown, only four of the ten contestants remain: Année Maywong, B Ella, Dearis Doll and Natalia Pliacam.

Much like RuPaul’s Drag Race, Drag Race Thailand stacks more challenges as the show nears the finale. This week the contestants competed in four challenges: one mini challenge, two maxi challenges and a runway challenge.

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For Natalia, who didn’t get along very well with Amadiva and JAJA, it was business as usual the following day, jokingly speculating this week’s bottom two. As B Ella and Dearis Doll made their team entrance in the Werk Room, she said, “I’m so happy for this week’s bottom two who will be lip-syncing.” B Ella, the only remaining contestant who hasn’t fallen in the bottom two and lip-synced, got a little spooked after a bit of superstitious talk among the cast about “Année’s Curse”, volunteered to erase the lipstick message on the mirror. “Bye JAJA,” Natalia teased, “B Ella will be catching up with you soon.” “She’s using some witchcraft on us,” Dearis chimed in on the superstitious talk. Then B Ella proceed to do a web tutorial on how to sign-up for LINE MOBILE SIM card using a notebook … in the Werk Room. Not so subtle, but a sponsor is a sponsor is a sponsor.

Mini Challenge: #DoubleTrouble

The mini challenge’s theme was twins. The contestants were paired into two teams for a beauty portrait photoshoot challenge using a sponsored product, NYX cosmetics. They were given ten minutes to shoot and direct their portraiture with photographer Beer Sutkade Chiewpanich.  A raffle was made to pick the first queen, who will decide which one she wants to be paired with. Année Maywong won the draw, and picked Dearis Doll. B Ella and Natalia Pliacam automatically became the second team. To which Dearis remarked, “let the fat one and the old one be on the same team.” B Ella and Natalia were assigned Team Halo, while Année and Dearis were assigned Team Vinyl. The latter went for the “mode” theme, emphasizing on eyes and lips, while the former went for an outer space theme, which B Ella aptly described as, “Aliens from Planet NYX Halo Prism.”
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Both hosts were on set giving instructions and tips to the contestants throughout the process. “A fashion shoot is about emotion and what you’re trying to communicate,” Art Arya gave Dearis and Année some notes on their first attempt, “What are you trying to sell? There’s something else taking the attention away from it.” Both picked up on the feedback and made adjustments accordingly. B Ella and Natalia followed and finished their shoot without incident.

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Année Maywong and Dearis Doll won the challenge. Art Arya explained to the both teams why the other won and the other didn’t. Basically it all came down to contouring.

Maxi Challenge #1: Mini Fashion Show

The first maxi challenge is an embedded marketing for one of the show’s sponsor – Eighteen 18, a skin supplement from fruit extract. The guest judge for the segment is the sponsor’s spokesperson, DJ Matoon. The contestants were to use empty boxes of the product and fashion them into a costume, while conveying the brand’s namesake and being “fresh and bubbly like you’re 18 again. Full of joy and fun,” Matoon explained. Année was excited about the challenge, “this is right up in my alley!” she said during the confessional. “I get to design again! Let’s see if it’s the return of the Queen of the Runway.”

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For the challenge twist, each of the four contestants were to pair themselves with one of the eliminated cast and present the outfit as conjoined twins and they’ll be walking on the runway as such. And how they’re conjoined will be up to them. Host Art Arya called in the eliminated cast to enter the Werk Room. “They came in like a flock,” Dearis Doll remarked. Année and Dearis, who won the mini challenge, were given the first opportunity to choose each of their twin. They were given the options to either pick the twins for the losing team or have them pick for themselves. They opted for the latter, “we’re letting them choose. If they fail then they can’t blame us,” Dearis explained.

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Année picked a very excited Meanie Minaj, Dearis Doll picked Petchra, B Ella picked Bunny Be Fly, and Natalia picked Amadiva, which surprised everyone, given their history. Morrigan and JAJA didn’t got picked and were asked to leave the set. JAJA felt a little sad, “because I wasn’t picked,” she said. And Morrigan thought, about not being picked, “maybe they all do hate me after all.”

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Dearis Doll and Petchra did a country girl theme. Natalia’s and Amadiva’s costume was inspired by a rabbit, wearing bunny ears as headdress. B Ella and Bunny Be Fly was inspired by birds, they had wings cutout everywhere. And Année Maywong and Meanie Minaj made an elaborate gown that gave host Art and guest judge goosebumps. With the exception of B Ella and Bunny Be Fly, who were joined on the back, the rest were joined on the side.

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Année and Meanie won the challenge and a cash prize of forty thousand Bahts. Meanie immediately suggested to split the winnings 50/50, lol. “It’s up to you if you want to split the prize money, Année,” Art said. “Divide that in half,” Meannie put her foot down. lol

Instructions for the second maxi challenge followed immediately after.

Maxi Challenge #2: Acting Challenge

The acting challenge was a parody of a popular Thai TV drama entitled “The Royal Fire.” The parody was given the title, “Plerng Phra Nang Katoey“, with “katoey” added, meaning “ladyboy.” Four major characters were raffled for each of the top four. Année got Princess Ananthip, which was what she was hoping for; Natalia got Princess Sekkaradewi; Dearis Doll got Princess Tongnuan, which she rather have saying, “I don’t wanna be old. B Ella can do that“; and B Ella got Dowager Samphao Ngam.

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Scenes of the acting challenge were shot at Sanphet Palace, the actual location of the show, and it was directed by Ott Teerasak Promngern, the actual director.

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The eliminated cast rejoined once more, in full drag, to play minor roles.  Drag Race Thailand cast all did great in the acting challenge. Année and Dearis were memorable. B Ella was okay, surprisingly. Natalia was not memorable, perhaps it can be all attributed to the character she end up with.

Runway Challenge

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The runway theme was #WaterFestival, to coincide with Thai New Year’s festival in April. Hosts Art and Pangina Heals were joined by guest judges Ploy Chermarn, an actress, Utt Uttsada, a controversial actor and The Face Thailand Season 1 host, and Chom, Queen of Miss ACDC – Alternative Creature’s Devoted Creation, a charity beauty pageant. The hosts’ costumes were very elaborate, Art Arya had a heart face makeup while Pangina Heals wore vegetables and mortar and pestle over her shoulder. “Art, do you want to toss my papaya salad?” Pangina teased. “I’m usually the one getting tossed, darling,” Art replied. LOL naturally, of course!

Dearis Doll wore a traditional Thai outfit for visiting the temple. She did one reveal, changing into a skimpy and sexy costume and armed with big water guns. “She left the temple and got slutty,” Art remarked.

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Natalia Pliacam made her entrance wearing a big sand castle, which could easily be mistaken for a multi-layered pyramid cake. She took the top off to reveal a gorgeous dress with water splash illusion complete with a fascinator resembling a pot pouring water on her head. Something Raja would be very proud of.

B Ella’s concept for her costume was that she was competing in a Songkran beauty pageant, but she first have to make her way through Silom district, where revelers take to the streets to throw water (or using water guns/canons) at each other. She pulled three cardboard cutouts of her cast-mates in a row, like in a pageant, and then push them all of the stage. As she exit the runway, she addressed the judges saying, “thank you for the question.” Probably in reference to a pageant’s question and answer portion. Pangina replied, “we didn’t ask one yet.” “Thank you,” she replied. Pangina snapped back, “You crazy bitch!” “Thank you for the question,” B Ella now kind of taunting and almost off the runway entrance. Pangina replied, laughing, “Crazy bitch!

Année Maywong’s costume was inspired by Songkran Goddess. She painted her face and exposed skin with purple, since, according to her, purple is the color of Saturday, which happens to be the day of the festival. The detail and sophistication of her costume and props were amazing… including the prop weapons “Don’t badmouth her, she’ll attack you,” Chom said. She throw one of her prop weapon off stage for extra effect. “You just killed my camera operator,” Art quipped.

All four contestants got high praise for their creativity and effort, but not all of them got good marks for stage presentation. The judges thought some did not make the most of the time allotted to them on the runway.

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Année Maywong won the second maxi challenge and runway challenge, earning an additional thirty thousand Baht …. it was a clean sweep. Natalia was declared safe. While B Ella and Dearis Doll end up in the bottom two and had to lip sync for their life.

While the top four were waiting in the untucked lounge for the judges to finish their deliberations, Dearis and B Ella made a packed to make their lip sync a memorable one instead of trying to beat each other. They’re going to do their best, and give something back to the show and its viewers to show how much they love the show. That’s basically what a “lip sync for your life” is all about in the first place.

B Ella and Dearis Doll, both close friends, got very emotional as prepare to lip sync against each other. The judges rallied around them, figuratively, encouraging them … lighting their fire. Pangina encouraged them, in her booming voice, “You guys can do this, you guys can do this!” Chom chimed in, “Snap out of it, snap out of it!” “You guys can do this. You’re fucking survivors,” Pangina exclaimed.

They lip sync to Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” single featuring Jay Z. The music’s volume started off low, Dearis motioned, “Can you please turn the music up?” Then they both lit the stage on fire … not literally. B Ella mentioned in past confessionals that she’s a dancer, it wasn’t as tight as I expected. She lost her wig early in the song, and she shook her head… attempting to do a hairography with her short boy-haircut. Beyoncé didn’t do that for this song… it was a miss. Dearis Doll however, obviously studied the song’s music video … she was serving legit choreography on a platter. Her choreography was smoother, sexy and more in sync with the song.

After the glitter settled, Art Arya said to the girls, “in a competition, there’s a winner and a loser.” In this case, Dearis Doll won the lip sync, sending B Ella home. The elimination was very sentimental. After so many weeks, the hosts and cast have bonded. Art says very sweet farewells to eliminated Queens, which of course means one thing to an already emotionally charged situation … waterworks.

And then there were three! Condragulations to Année Mayong, Dearis Doll and Natalia Pliacam.

“Of course, today was my day. No, wait… this episode was mine because I came to slay.” — Année Maywong

The Last Performance Ranking

Top three ranking based on performance up to this episode is a tight one. Année has a confortable lead. The final outcome will depend on whatever challenges remain. Natalia mentioned in the Werk Room that this is the last final episode, before the finale or coronation? Art Arya mentioned that there are more challenges to come, so perhaps there are a few before the final runway challenge and coronation. Who knows?

But one thing is for sure. It seems like Thailand runs their competition a bit differently compared to their  USA counterpart. There are no apparent twists or crazy storylines or stunts for the much-sought shock factor. Surprises are more challenge-centered than drama. And so far, the contestants were eliminated based solely on performance in challenges. Predictability didn’t seem to matter, even spoilers didn’t matter. If this is the case, it is very likely Année Maywong, who has remained on the top spot of the ranking since the first episode, is the winner in waiting. At this point, I don’t believe Drag Raise Thailand will pull a crazy stunt and end up crowning someone who fared less. But we’ll see?

With that said, Drag Race Thailand season one winner is Année Maywong, Miss Congeniality will be B Ella – I have no clue how they’re going to pick this title, if at all – and breakout star of the season is Dearis Doll.

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Finale is set April 5th! Good luck everyone!

 

 

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