Words: Alastair James / pictures: BBC Pictures
Art Simone says she was “gobsmacked” by her elimination at the end of the second episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under.
The Australian drag performer was asked to sashay away after going up against Coco Jumbo in the lip-sync after performing as Bindi Irwin in the iconic Snatch Game maxi-challenge.
Speaking to Attitude following her exit from the show, the current reigning “Queen of Australia” and "Drag Performer of the Year" (two years running!) also maintained that she should not have been the one to leave.
“We did not see it happening. It was so shocking, and I was processing it…”
“I stand by what I said in the moment. I think it’s refreshing to see some actual raw emotion in an exit interview. I wanted it really badly and I was really disappointed in myself,” says Art.
“The girls were crying, I was crying, the cameraman was crying, the soundman was crying. We did not see it happening. It was so shocking, and I was processing it… I was gobsmacked.”
The drag star says fans have been reaching out to her since the episode aired on Sunday night after being tipped by many to reach the final.
“I think it’s wonderful that after the episode has aired a lot of people agree with me. At least I’ve got that solace!”
“I was possessed by the devil for a moment but after that I’ve gone back to normal!”
Fans certainly weren't happy with the decision and took to social media.
"Not Rupaul eliminating Art Simone the literal most anticipated queen on Drag race down under and the expected winner of the show in episode 2," wrote one user.
Not Rupaul eliminating Art Simone the literal most anticipated queen on Drag race down under and the expected winner of the show in episode 2 pic.twitter.com/j1Z3vlm18J— T.I 🤎 (@my_buttersc0tch) May 8, 2021
The Melbourne-based queen also explained why she chose to do Bindi Irwin, the eldest daughter of the late conservationist and TV presenter Steve Irwin, over her backup choice of Jane Turner of Kath and Kim fame.
“I had Jane Turner with me but didn’t want to do her because I was worried I would be trapped in just quoting a TV show and that would be a negative thing.”
“I speak in a very similar way to her, and I act like her so I was worried the judges wouldn’t see any transformation. That’s why I didn’t bring her out.”
"I made some great TV and it’s all because I was being authentic and true to myself."
Art also had some words of wisdom for future contestants on the show.
“Be yourself. I didn’t go all the way, but no one can deny in the short time I was there I made some great moments, I made some great TV and it’s all because I was being authentic and true to myself. That’s the best bit of advice I can pass on. And that was passed on to me by other drag race queens and they said exactly the same thing and I think it’s really helpful information.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is on BBC iPlayer every Sunday.