Well hello there Squirrel Friends and welcome to the first recap of the brand new RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. After eleven seasons of the Emmy award winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, Mama Ru has finally crossed the pond to introduce British drag to the world. The first season is airing every week on BBC Three here in the UK, and will begin airing in the US on World of Wonder later this month. So let’s catch up on what happened in our first episode.
The new British series follows the same structure as its US sister, complete with Ru, and Michelle Visage (who is currently slaying it on the dance floor in Strictly Come Dancing) heading up the judging panel. They are joined by British stars Graham Norton and Alan Carr who are completing the permanent judging panel with a plethora of British stars who are lined up to join the show as guest judges. This week we were joined by actor Andrew Garfield who slotted in like a pro onto the panel this week.
As with every opening episode, we are introduced to the queens we will come to know, love and possibly hate as the season progresses and boy are there some differences between our UK Queens and their US sisters. Our UK queens are a fabulous mix of trashy, tacky, traditional and down right bizarre. With Queens such as Baga Chipz, The Vivienne, Sum Ting Wong, and Cheryl Hole, it is clear that a change will do you good.
One thing I loved about the opening episode is the wide range of talent and experience that we have in our line up, there are Queens like Divina de Campo and Vinegar Strokes are experienced performers who have featured on primetime TV, and have performed in the West End (Vinegar Strokes starred in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie alongside Michelle Visage); and there are younger queens such as Gothy Kendoll, Blu Hydrangea and Scaredy Kat, who shares her drag world with her girlfriend who we learn is a Bio Queen performer.
I have to say that I was howling with laughter at how forthright and honest our queens come across and God alone only knows what our international viewers will think of the queens who throw classic British slang around such as minge, tuppence and my personal favourite word Gobshite like they are confetti For anyone who is totally lost minge and tuppence some of the best slang words for the female genitalia that have ever been existed, well trust me everyone knows a Gobshite.
For the first mini challenge, Ru had the queens play with a green screen and show off their best catchphrases, some were more successful than others, with Gothy Kendoll really struggling to get their personality to shine through.
However, big love for the Kim Woodburn references because well she’s a bloody icon and I would love to see her become one of the Snatch Game contestants, because let’s be honest Baga would rock that top knot like the legend she they both are.
For the main runway challenge, the Queens were asked to show their local city pride, and show off their favourite Elizabeth II looks. For me the winners of the city challenge were Baga Chipz for her Amy Winehouse, Cheryl Hole for showing off her Essex Girl realness, Blu Hydrangea for bringing my own home to life with the iconic Belfast landmarks of Samson and Goliath the Harland and Wolf cranes that loom over the city skyline and survived through everything, and The Vivienne for her true Pete Burns look. Queens such as Gothy Kendoll, Scaredy Kat, and shockingly Vinegar Strokes struggled in this challenge.
For their second look, it was The Vivienne who took the crown with her Queen at Balmoral look, and her make up truly left Michelle gagged at the change in her make up and apparently her entire bone structure from the first challenge to the second. Sum Ting Wong was my favourite in this challenge with her Queen as a stamp look which was so clever and showed us that she is one to beat. Blu also impressed me with her coin look.
Divina, and Cheryl were just ok and I was surprised because I expected more from them given their experience. I have to say that for me the one queen I kept forgetting was there was Crystal, there is just something about her that I just don’t get or care about. She can head off anytime she likes for my money, and I think that if any queen is going to rub the other girls up the wrong way then Crystal is going to be that Queen.
As with the original version of the show, the bottom queens had to Lipsync for their life; and it is clear that some queens are definitely lacking in the performance department, and that those who have worked the UK Drag scene will shine through. Vinegar wiped the floor with Gothy (who admitted she is a look queen rather than a performer) and there was only ever going to be one winner from the start.
Mini-Challenge: Off With Her Head
Mini-Challenge Winners: Scaredy Kat
Runway Theme: Home Town Realness and Queen Elizabeth II Realness
Main Challenge Winner: The Vivienne
Bottom Two: Gothy Kendoll & Vinegar Strokes
Lip Sync Song: “New Rules” by Dua Lipa
Shantay You Stay: Vinegar Strokes
Sashay Away: Gothy Kendoll
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is definitely something special, and I can’t wait to see what our queens have to show to the world. It was the perfect mix of smut, humour and everything British. Even the judging panel was similar but something different with Alan Carr mixing so wonderfully with Michelle and Ru.
Come back next week to see what else our girls have in store for us, and we get to meet Graham Norton and see what kind of judge he going to be and I can’t wait.