Canada’s Drag Race Returns on Crave

Judge Brad Goreski talks about the funny, inspiring, uniquely Canadian appeal of this catwalk competition

Judge Brad Goreski talks about the funny, inspiring, uniquely Canadian appeal of this catwalk competition 

The Queens of the North are back and ready to slay in the third season of Canada’s Drag Race, where 12 drag artists compete for the title of Canada’s Next Drag Superstar and a $100,000 grand prize. The nine episodes will be marked by fantastical challenges, fierce contestants and fabulous guest judges like hockey player Sarah Nurse, season-one winner Jimbo and Canadian singer-songwriter Carole Pope. Returning to the judges’ table are Brooke Lynn Hytes, Tracy Melchor and Brad Goreski, for whom this marks the second time on the Canadian competition show. “On season two, I had the time of my life,” Goreski tells us. “To return for season three, it’s like we just picked up where we left off. And this new group of queens is just through the roof sensational.” Goreski chatted with TV Week in-depth about the show that combines his love for glamour, talent, humour, creativity and Canadian queens. 

TV Week: What’s unique for you, professionally, in terms of judging this race? 
Brad Goreski: For me, I love the runways. I’m always so excited to see what kinds of looks the queens are going to turn out. It always blows my mind. I can’t believe the talent. The sewing capability and the creativity is off the charts. But I think what’s also really nice about the show is seeing the queens change from week to week, and how receptive they are to criticism and our advice, because myself, Traci and Brooke Lynn, our No. 1 thing is to celebrate their individuality and really help them become better versions of themselves. 

Canada's Drag RaceCraveWhen you’re part of a known franchise, is there pressure to make it your own?
I don’t know if there’s pressure to make it our own. Myself, Traci and Brooke Lynn, we all come from different expertise. Obviously, mine is fashion, and Brooke Lynn’s is from the world of drag, and Traci has all this incredible expertise in the entertainment industry and is such an icon in Canada. I think we all come from different points of view and we speak from our heart and from expertise, so that sets us apart.  

What makes this show particularly Canadian? 
It’s the queens. This season especially, we have queens all the way from Newfoundland and all across Canada. I do think, with Canada’s Drag Race, there’s an inherent kindness in the show. I mean, there’s tons of drama and shade and bickering between the judges and all of that good stuff, but I think there’s also an essence of kindness that’s in the show. And I think that we as judges always try to come from a place, even when we’re critiquing or we don’t like something, where it’s constructive and it’s to help improve rather than tear down. 

Tell us about this season’s contestants. What stands out about them? 
The big thing for me is how diverse this group of queens is. It’s so exciting to see the different styles of drag, and you really get to see how much talent there is across this country in the drag world. 

Canada's Drag RaceCraveAre there personal stories that have touched you? 
Always. A through-line of this show is getting to know the queens, getting to hear their story and how their drag came to life and how they’ve really developed their drag personas. It’s always full of wonderful stories, and getting to know each and every one of these queens is one of the best parts of the job. 

How do you feel about the guest judges who were recruited this season?  
Oh, I thought they were great! We’re always so happy to have our guests on the panel. We have so much fun with them, and it’s nice to have people who also bring in a different point of view but are fans of the show and fans of drag.  

What makes a good guest judge? 
Being opinionated. We always love the guest judges that have very clear points of view about what they’re seeing. We love for people to weigh in and give their honest opinions, and I think the queens really appreciate it as well, because a lot of the times the guest judges are people that they also really look up to, or are fans of. Getting praise or constructive criticism from them is very welcome. I always love it when somebody comes in guns-a-blazing, really giving their honest opinion. 

Canada's Drag RaceCraveAnd this year the three of you judges got to hit the ground running. What are the dynamics like between the judges now that you have an established relationship? 
We really love each other. I’m very close with Brooke Lynn and Traci on- and off-screen, and I think that comes across on the show as well, because what you see on camera is exactly what’s happening off camera as well. We laugh so much. We have a really good time, and we all genuinely really care about the queens. We had so much fun this season. To return and just be able to laugh and have a good time, it’s really a dream job. I feel so lucky to be a part of this show. 

Why do you think this is an important show for the current times? 
Now, more than ever, actually, it’s super-important. I think Pride, this year, takes on a different meaning, and I think that this show really celebrates queerness and the LGBTQ+ community and all different forms of drag, and everybody is included. I think the show resonates with all ages because it is about celebrating individuality and being yourself, and that’s really important to emphasize right now: That it’s OK to be who you are. We have to keep doing the work. We have to keep being ourselves and being unapologetically unique and celebrating diversity in all of the full colours in the rainbow, because it does really matter. What RuPaul has started is absolutely incredible, and now it’s a global phenomenon. Representation definitely matters, and to be a part of a show that celebrates that is really special.  

Canada’s Drag Race airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Crave1