What Fans Would Like to See on Drag Race Philippines Season 2

The fans’ critiques have rolled in and they have some points to make.

Mabu-hey! Have you heard? Drag Race Philippines is coming back for another season.

On October 19, the production company World of Wonder, which brought us RuPaul’s Drag Race and its international adaptations, announced that the reality TV competition has been renewed for a second season in the Philippines. Its companion segment Untucked, which features behind-the-scenes drama and backstage footage of the contestants, is also returning. 

The debut season of the show has been a crowd-puller, keeping audiences hooked with unique Filipino references like the “OPM Divas: The Rusical” and “Pop Off Ate!” episodes, or the “Shake, Rattle, and Rampa” and “Perlas ng Silanganan” runway look categories.

For better or worse, the arrival of Drag Race in the country is a huge win for the LGBTQ+ community. It triggered a renaissance of sorts in Philippine drag culture by bringing the talent and artistry of our drag queens out of clubs and into the global limelight. however, despite its intentions, the show did get its fair lacked in a number of areas, which garnered the show justifiable criticism from loyal fans. 

Here are just some improvements fans would love to see when the werkroom reopens next season:

1| Better Production Quality 

Industry professionals, superfans, and casual watchers alike have pointed out the decline in production quality as the show’s first season progressed. The shaky footage and awkward camera angles were disorienting; the background music, at times, is tonally inconsistent and even overpowers the dialogue; the harsh lighting obscures the details of the queens’ faces and outfits (think: the music video challenge); and the color grading is notoriously inconsistent. While we're at it, why use a pink background during the “Pink Pak Boom” runway category? One word: contrast. 


In many instances, these blunders made for a less-than-entertaining viewing experience and distracted the audience from becoming fully engrossed in the talent they are seeing on screen. It’s a good thing the queens’ gag-worthy performances more than made up for them.

2| More Regional Queens

Except for Gigi Era from the Land Down Under and Miss Congeniality Lady Morgana from Davao, the rest of the season one queens are based in Metro Manila (yes, even the extraterrestrial queen Prince Marell). The drag scene may be most alive in the metro but bringing in queens from other parts of the country, or the world, for that matter, would add more spice into the mix.  

It was obvious that many of the queens already knew each other from their residencies at local clubs like O-bar and Nectar—Xilhouete is even the drag mother of two other contestants, Marina Summers and Minty Fresh. The drag community is tight-knit, after all. Still, it would be interesting to learn about the drag culture in other provinces and witness the racers as they get familiar with each other. Not to mention this arrangement is rich with reality TV potential. Can you imagine the drama?

Photo by Kimberly John Bautista.
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3| An Improved Judging Panel

Many high-profile personalities graced the stage during the show’s first season (Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez and Gen Z's “President” Nadine Lustre). While the judging panel did give us iconic quotable moments (The shoooees!), it would be a lie to say there weren’t some questionable takes. 

Why did runway looks seem to weigh more than the performances? Did Viñas Deluxe’s campy pink look deserve to land at the bottom? It was serving Pyer Moss Fall 2021 Couture, henny! Were Boy Abunda’s long speeches necessary? Xilhouete may have met her match on that episode. And lastly, Rajo Laurel, was that comment really called for?  

There’s a need for more judges who appreciate conceptual looks and understand the value of constructive criticism, especially in a high-stakes, high-pressure competition such as this. Oh, and can Jon Santos be on the panel permanently? His witty remarks and insightful feedback are a masterclass in judging.

4| A New Set of Challenges

We’ve seen the queens give incredible song and dance performances. We’ve witnessed their creativity in design challenges. It’s time to see their acting chops in an acting challenge. Just imagine the queens parodying Vilma Santos and Claudine Barretto’s intense confrontation scene in Anak (2000); delivering Maricel Soriano’s iconic “Kirida, kabet, number two, mistress. Relasyon!” line from Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin (1994); or dramatizing the open forum scene in Four Sisters and a Wedding (2013). They would slay the house down, no doubt. 

And if Filipinos could love anything more than they love drama, then it would be comedy. A stand-up routine or even a roast challenge would surely bring out that outstanding Filipino humor. It’s a shame this was only showcased briefly in the “Snatch Game KNB?” and “Miss Shutacca” episodes.


5| A Reunion Episode

Some of the most memorable moments in Drag Race herstory came from these Ru-union episodes: Valentina being demoted from Miss Congeniality to Miss Fan Favorite, The Vixen Walking out, and Willam coining the word “Ru-pologize” after revealing the reason for her disqualification, just to name a few. 

A reunion episode is a chance for the queens to tie up some loose storyline ends. For instance, fans were left curious about how Viñas Deluxe and Turing patched up their beef, or if Brigiding and Minty Fresh ever had a one-on-one talk to iron out their issues. Most importantly, it would have been wonderful to hear from the queens themselves on how the competition has impacted their lives. 

Certainly, the show has an opportunity to serve as a gateway toward better queer representation and acceptance by bringing queer stories to the stage—literally. And just as 4th runner-up Eva Le Queen advocates for, it also opens up avenues for the professionalization of drag artistry in the country. But these would not be actualized if they gradually lose the interest of viewers due to faults that could easily be averted.

We can hardly wait for the second season, but there’s no denying that a great deal of work waiting ahead for the producers of Drag Race Philippines. So good luck, and dapat pakak! 

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Kimberly John Bautista
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