This season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is moving along so quickly, and it’s getting more painful to see each queen go, as they are all wonderful.
This week, the queens take part in a fan-favorite Drag Race mini-challenge and face off in the fiercest girl groups this side of the Spice Girls (although, as we saw last week, Ginger is not the fiercest anything anymore. Sad face.) Our fair ladies then took to the runway in their finest race day attire and we said goodbye to another queen with a solid lip sync.
Let’s look back on the top moments from the episode.
The reading challenge
As Ru says, in the great tradition of Paris is Burning, the library is now open. The Brit Crew brings out a cup of tea to accompany the “reading” glasses (nice touch) and we get to it. At first, I am worried that the queens, who can’t help but be nice to each other, are going to deliver a less than savage reading challenge, but fortunately, they manage to get in a few zingers. Here are some of the best ones:
Baga on Blu: “If the Milky Bar Kid and Casper the Friendly Ghost had a rent boy baby.” It’s a good dig, but not nearly as funny as a producer telling Blu what a rent boy is. (And, upon finding out that that was, added, “Well, at least she’s not wrong.”)
Divina on Baga: “She’s like class in a glass…without the class or the glass.”
Divina on The Vivienne: “The Vivienne. Queen of the Mersey. It’s time you got on that ferry and fucked off!”
Cheryl on Divina: “Now, I love your work on the telly, but my favorite show you’ve done already is the Grand National! (Horse whinny.)”
The Vivienne on Cheryl: “as you’re more affectionately known, ‘Cheryl Baggy Battered Thirsty Hole’”
The Vivienne on Crystal: “How aptly named. Just like crystals, you are lifeless, stiff and I can see right through you.”
Crystal on Baga: “How many times are we going to have to flush to get rid of you?”
Crystal on The Vivienne: “Proof you can polish a turd.”
Crystal on Blu: “In the immortal words of Madonna, ‘I loathe hydrangeas.’”
Blu on Cheryl: We know your biggest drag inspiration is Alyssa Edwards. You’ve got the dancing, the outrageous personality…the overbite and the backrolls!”
Blu told Baga, “I have a makeup tip for you” and tried in earnest to put a paper bag over her head, finally exclaiming, “Much betta!”
Check out all of the reads here:
Surprisingly, Crystal is deemed the winner of the reading challenge and her prize is choosing the two queens she would like to join her in forming a girl group. Crystal chooses The Vivienne and Cheryl, leaving Baga, Blu and Divina as the opposing group. Team Crystal chooses Filth Harmony as their team name and Team Baga decide to pay tribute to another sort of girl group for their band name, dubbing themselves Frock Destroyers. There is confidence abound as the teams put together their songs, which leads to…
Blu gets blue in the recording studio
Our two newly formed girl groups head into the recording studio to work on their tracks with famed British singer/songwriter/producer MNEK. While Filth Harmony is having some difficulties (including The Vivienne having difficulty spelling “break” and Crystal being a little tone deaf), Frock Destroyers (in lovely matching turbans) impress MNEK from the get-go. Divina show off her impressive Mariah Carey-esque whistle tones and Blu shuts down the session with one of the most unforgettable ad-libbed lines in Drag Race history, not content with mere “oohs” and “ahhs” our innocent-faced queen utters “despunk my balls.” MNEK’s reaction is priceless. I love Blu.
Divina talks about growing up under section 28
Along with the goops, gags and laughs we’ve had so far this season, we also get the chance to learn more about the queens, behind the makeup and sparkles. On this episode, Divina shared tales of being bullied in school because she was gay. Divina grew up under section 28, a 1988 law passed by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government that stopped councils and schools from “promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. Under this law, funding was cut off for books, plays, leaflets, films, or other materials showing same-sex relationships, and teachers weren’t allowed to teach about gay relationships in schools.
Divina recalled that he got a lot of flack from hi8s classmates and said, “Growing up was really hard. Growing up for everybody is hard, but then you add on being gay and it’s just a whole other level, particularly for the time I grew up in. He went on to say that, “Because of Section 28, a lot of teachers felt they couldn’t step in. It did a lot of damage to people like me. For most teachers, that meant [homosexuality] could not even be spoke about. It just erased people completely. There was no discussion around it, so you’d have no understanding as a gay person that there can be a different way of living.”
Divina shared that she has been teaching at-risk students and recalled a time when one of them called her a derogatory name and the other students had her back. She said it gave her hope that growing up wasn’t going to be the same for kids growing up in today’s age. Moments like these are what makes me love this show so very much.
Ru is once again looking spectacular on the runway, in an asymmetrical mini-dress with lots of sparkle (including jewels affixed to her chest.) As always, her makeup and hair are flawless. I guess in keeping with the earlier reading challenge, Ru asks Michelle (former member of Seduction) “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a popular girl group?” The shade of it all.
Crystal, Cheryl and The Vivienne were up first. Cheryl was having a blast, and it was obvious. Crystal could have benefitted from a belt sander and metallic codpiece to spice up her performance and The Vivienne was seen repeatedly not lip-syncing along with the song. I thought the recorded verses were fun and, although their looks weren’t cohesive, I thought they looked good. See for yourself:
From the opening reveal to the end pose, Baga, Blu (channeling India Ferrah with the lace bodysuit and breastplate…anyone else?) and Divina nailed it. They did so good that their version of the song had made the UK’s top 10. Good on ya, dolls!
A Day at the Races runway
The ladies hit the runway with their best Ascot races look. Let’s review:
Win: Divina, with her jockey-inspired look, complete with horse’s bit and heel-less platform shoes that I can’t believe she can walk in.
Place: Blu again brings her signature hue to a look that can best be described as a carousel horse that escaped from a magical carnival. She’s wearing an ornately decorated horse’s head on her own with a diaphanous blue jumpsuit. Lovely.
Show: Crystal in a Cecil Beaton-inspired, floral print body suit with accent bows along the legs, complete with matching hat, face-kini and even a flask. It’s avant garde and I can’t stop looking at her (I also loved Beaton’s costumes for My Fair Lady, so there’s that.)
Our runners up are Baga and Vivienne, with Baga winning by a (non-prosthetic) nose and Cheryl, in a cute enough dress that looked a little too off-the-rack for Drag Race, coming in last (bit don’t get me wrong, she still looked cute.)
The lip sync
With the Frock Destroyers running away with the victory (and all receiving Ru Peter badges), Ru decides that Filth Harmony members The Vivienne and Crystal must lip sync for their lives. Since Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall is a judge this week, this week’s song is “Power” from the girl group. (Fun fact: Drag Race alums Willam, Alaska and Courtney Act are all in the video for the song, which was produced by…you guessed it, MNEK.) Anyone who thought The Vivienne was going to sashay away must not have been paying attention up to this point. Crystal goes down fighting and we now must bid adieu to our favorite hirsute queen.
BONUS: The Vivienne’s eyebrow tutorial
Remember when The Vivienne ripped off her eyebrows in order to get ready for the quick drag maypole challenge? Well, in a scene that wasn’t aired during the episode, she has a little fun with her stick-on brows and shows the other queens how to heighten any facial expression with a well-placed brow. (This was actually my favorite moment from the episode).
Next week, the queens must produce ads for their own brands of bottled water and guest judge Cheryl Cole joins the panel. Will Cheryl Hole be able to keep it together? Who will be next to sashay away? How many poop jokes will we hear next week? All will soon be revealed and, so, until next week, everybody say LOVE!
Ps – Both versions of “Break Up (Bye Bye)” are available wherever you get your music. Download at your own risk, both groups deliver songs that will get stuck in your head!