Canada’s Drag Race – behind-the-scenes secrets revealed

Exclusive: from where the queens' hide their microphones to what a day of filming is really like.

Canada's Drag Race

Canada’s Drag Race – the RuPaul spin-off featuring queens living in the Great White North – is currently well underway on BBC iPlayer, with the number of Canadian queens fighting for the drag superstar title dwindling each week.

Advertisement recently spoke to the show’s sound supervisor John Diemar, who revealed a few behind-the-scenes secrets about the Canadian reality series for fans who want to know more about the spin-off.

Here are a few fun facts about production on Canada’s Drag Race, where queens hide their microphones and what a day of filming can consist of.

Canada’s Drag Race is filmed like a live show

Diemar revealed that every episode Canada’s Drag Race is filmed with few retakes to save as much time as possible.

“It’s more like a live show than anything really,” he said. “Because of the nature of the whole lip syncs and the runway and things like that, there’s not too much in the world of TV like redos or anything like that.”

He continued: “It’s such a long haul for the queens, it’s like they want to preserve them for the marathon that is so to make them not have to repeat runways or anything like that. They want it to be all natural.”

The judges’ outfits are surprisingly difficult to mic

Canada's Drag Race
Canada’s Drag Race

When it comes to ensuring Brooke Lynn Hytes, Stacey McKenzie and Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman’s critiques are heard loud and clear, Diemar said that it can actually be a tricky task attaching a mic to their outfits.

The person who did mic the judges and spent the most time with the judges, the funniest part of our day is that he would send me photos of what the judges were wearing that day from the wardrobe department and just be like, ‘I’m sorry man'” he said.

He continued: “He would apologise to me because the outfits are crazy. Getting clean audio is already a difficult task as it is, then if you add pleather jackets and sequinned things and low-cut dresses and all of these things for the judges, he would send me photos from the Wardrobe Department and be like ‘I’m sorry man’ and I’d have to offer him advice from via text or over a walkie or something.”

“But they always did a really good job,” Diemar added. “It was always awesome and you never saw the mics and they sounded great.”

The queens are mic’d all the time

According to Diemar, the competing queens seen on the show have microphones attached to them all the time – from applying make-up in the workroom, to strutting down the runway.

“I don’t think people really realise that the queens are actually mic’d all of the time,” he said “When they’re on the runway and doing lip-syncs and things, they’re wearing microphones and that was often the craziest part of our day was just all hands on deck to mic the queens.”

In fact, the microphones are hidden to well, even the sound crew struggle to see where they placed the mic packs when watching the show back.

“You watch the show and you’re just like where? I even watch it now and we put the microphones on them and I’m like I don’t even know where that mic is,” he said.

Diemar added that the sound team make sure to work with each queen when it comes to hiding their mics, as they are usually the ones who have designed their outfits.

“We do all sorts of things with the queens and work with the queens to hide their mics in their outfits because a lot of [the outfits] are made and assembled by them so we work very closely with them.”

The crew don’t know who will be lip syncing for their life before it happens

Canada's Drag Race
Canada’s Drag Race

At the end of each episode, the two bottom queens must lip-sync against one another to save their spot in the competition – but the sound crew never know ahead of time who these queens might be.

“When you’re mic’ing them, you never know who’s going to lip sync obviously,” he said. “We’re mic’ing them well before we find out who’s in the top and who’s in the bottom, so we’re mic’ing everybody with the assumption that they’re going to be doing flips and splits and whatever because when we mic them, we don’t have time to stop them, we don’t want to stop them, we don’t have time to do anything until once they lip sync.” 

The strangest place a mic has been hidden

When it comes to securely mic’ing all the queens, Diemar revealed that this can prove difficult when you dealing with delicate material, revealing outfits and contestants who could be dancing and flipping on the runway.

Therefore, the mic must be pinned wherever it’ll fit on a queen’s outfit, but he added that he’s put microphones in “some of the weirdest places on this show” – including queens’ padding.

“Sometimes [microphones] are just stuffed into the pads, we’ll put a pin in things like that and we put them on early on and they just put their pads over the top of them,” he said.

“As long as they don’t fall off during the lip sync, that’s the most important thing,” he added.


Canada’s Drag Race is released on BBC iPlayer every Friday. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.