Photo / Drag Race Philippines

We’re four episodes in on Drag Race Philippines and we’ve seen the range of talents of the local queens. In the latest episode, they showed off their impersonation skills in OPM Divas: The Rusical, where the queens performed as some of the country’s biggest icons.

One of the things that fans have talked about is the judging style of the panel, led by host Paolo Ballesteros. They are joined by Jiggly Caliente and KaladKaren as the permanent judges and BJ Pascual, Jon Santos, and Rajo Laurel as rotating critics. Any franchise of Drag Race wouldn’t be complete without guest judges and so far we’ve seen Pops Fernandez, Pokwang, Nadine Lustre, and Regine Velasquez.

Many loved the honest feedback the judges have given the queens. In fact, Ballesteros’ critique of Prince’s shoes in episode one still lives rent-free in this writer’s mind.


We asked Caliente during our interview about her judging style on the show.

“I led with my heart, with the knowledge of the rules of Drag Race. On top of that, I didn’t say anything for a soundbite. Nothing was ever malicious because I understand and I empathize with the girls, as a former contestant,” Caliente says.

Caliente memorably competed in the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2012, and returned in 2021 for the sixth run of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.

She adds, “I’ve been in the bottom numerous times [on the show] so I knew, don’t say anything disparaging or malicious when they’re already down. That’s the worst thing you can do to somebody. You want to help people get better, not kick them when they’re down.”

What’s notable about the show is that while the feedback may sometimes be tough, they are usually constructive. When fashion designer Rajo Laurel guest judged the Sagalamazon challenge, his feedback on the girls’ looks was thoughtful and helpful.

Caliente shares, “What you’re going to get out of me is, ‘if this didn’t work out, this is a possibility of how to make this better.’”

A fan favorite goes home

Followers of Drag Race Philippines were shocked when fan-favorite Turing was sent home in the OPM Divas: The Rusical challenge after winning the Pop Off Ate! episode just the week before. Caliente was criticized on social media for her comments on Turing during judging.

She defended her opinion on Twitter, saying, “I hated judging a little sister. I had to be fair. [It’s] my job. I’m not a woman that coddles people. I’m firm but fair.”

Caliente added, “I love you, @turingofficial. [I’ll] always be here to support and love you. You didn’t disappoint you have a world of people [to] that you’ve uplifted by being there.”

It’s also important to note that Caliente and Turing are on good terms. The judge responded to a tweet with, “We’re good[,] we spoke[,] even had dinner[, and she’s] still my baby sister.”

Turing also tweeted about her journey and said, “Please stop with the hate[,] ah?”

Drag Race Philippines streams on discovery+, HBO GO, and WOW Presents Plus every Wednesday. For the first time ever, the spin-off and after-show, Drag Race Philippines: Untucked streams every Friday.

discovery+

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/discoveryplusPH

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/discoveryplusph/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/discoveryplusPH

HBO GO

Website: https://www.hbogoasia.ph/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HBOAsia/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hboasia/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HBOAsia

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