This week, our top five RuPaul’s Drag Race UK queens not only have to bring charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, they also have to put on their marketing hats and shill their own brand of bottled water.
On the runway, the queens sashayed in the rain in their finest gloomy day gear. Along the way, tensions arise, stories are shared, and one queen meets her namesake.
There’s lots to drink in this week, so let’s get to it and check out the top moments from the episode.
Divina vs The Vivienne
As nice as the queens have been to each other (even in the reading challenge), there are only five queens left, so it’s time to stop being nice and start getting real. After Blu’s elimination, as the queens are defrocking, Divina accused The Vivienne of “discounting” her by not picking her for her team. She went on to say that Viv didn’t appreciate her frag. The Vivienne said that since seeing her on the show, she told Divina that “you are 20 times the drag queen that you are in the outside world” and reduced the past ten years of her career to “a red wig and a dress.” Woof. Divina listed her impressive set of skills (including singing in four octaves and five languages, all while doing the splits) and Vivienne said if she wanted to be output that she wasn’t chosen first, that was her prerogative and vowed not to let Divina’s negativity affect her. The argument was intense, but the reaction of the other queens, especially Baga, took the moment to another level.
The “BBC” mini-challenge
While we don’t get to see a lot of the Brit Crew on the show, when they do show up, they give us quite an eyeful, as they do this week in the BBC mini-challenge. There’s no quick drag, creative reads or any real effort on the part of the queen-testants here, just handsome, scantily clad men. And I am okay with this. As Ru explains, the goal of this challenge is to assess if the Brit Crew members are wearing boxers, briefs or going commando (for modesty’s sake, this entailed a pair of camouflage print briefs.) The queens giggled like school kids when faced with the six handsome men in gym shorts, waiting to see what they were sporting. Cheryl identified one of the fellas’ undies correctly, and exclaimed,“I’ve won something in this competition!” Ru retorted with, “We’ve all won something in this competition. Yes we have, Ru. Yes, we have. (On, and Brit Crew member #6 is officially on my Christmas list.)
During her round, Baga incorrectly guessed that one of the guys was wearing boxers when he was “commando”, which promoted Baga to…lament?…“I thought they’d have their knob out.” Fans of the Brit Crew also expressed their dismay over this turn of events on Twitter.
But hey, we got to see The Vivienne’s Kim Woodburn impression again.
Divina wins the mini-challenge and her prize is a Face Time chat with beloved Drag Race US queen Katya. When their call mysteriously disconnects right after their greetings, Divina is at first disappointed, but then delighted, as Katya walks into the room and leads off the spirited conversation by eagerly asking Divina, “Have you been crying? Have you puked?” She offered some sage advice, telling DDC to abandon her “conditioned, patterned thinking” and treat the show as her own, one-woman show, with Ru as her assistant and Michelle as her intern and, as for everyone else, “you’re gracing them with your presence.” The all-too-brief conversation gave Divina a “eureka moment” and she stated that “I don’t care what these people think because it doesn’t matter” and vows to “offer up de Campo full on to the judges.” I think we could all use a pep talk from Katya. (Call me, Katya!)
The Vivienne opens up
The werk room has been the setting for a whole lot of honesty from the queens, and we’ve learned a lot about Blu’s battle with marriage rights in Northern Ireland, Divina’s struggles growing up under repressive, anti-LGBTQ legislation and now, it’s The Vivienne’s time to share.
As the queens are getting ready for the runway, the conversation turned to clubs and partying, Blu declared that she’s not much of a drinker and Cheryl said she got sucked into the hard-partying that working in nightclubs has to offer. The Vivienne admitted that she was addicted to drugs for four years. She confessed that “It was party drugs, but I couldn’t leave the drugs at the party. It was constant for me.” She said that constantly working in bars and nightclubs at night with little to do during the day contribute to her addiction, noting that
“It was a habit that caught on a bit too quick and a bit too hard,” she continued. “When people say, ‘You’ve got to hit rock bottom to get further,’ it sounds so stupid but it’s the truth.”
The drugs drove a wedge between she and her family, who kicked her out of the house and an emotional Vivienne recalled that she was, “told that I would be dead by the time I was 30.” She said, “It was the loneliest part of my life, I was killing myself… and my family don’t even know. My friends know. I always said it never bothered me, but it did bother me. I was pissing my life up the wall and I could’ve been dead now if I didn’t do anything about it.”
Fortunately, The Vivienne sought treatment and is now two years sober – and she’s glad she has the platform afforded to her by being on the show to be able to help other people. We’re glad too.
Cheryl meets Cheryl
Our guest judge for this episode is singer Cheryl Cole from Girls Aloud, who now apparently goes by Cheryl now. Geri? Cheryl? What’s going on with these former British girl group singers? When Ru tells the queens this news, Cheryl Hole obviously is beside herself with excitement. Later, on the runway, the two have a moment during critiques, with Ms. Hole telling Ms. Cole that the breakup of Girls Aloud devastated her and that she can’t thank her enough for her inspiration. Spoken like a true fangirl.
The “Rainy Day Eleganza” Runway
First off, can we talk about how stunning Ru looks in her red marabou gown and gorgeous blond wig? Gorge. This week, the dolls had to serve their best rainy day looks. Divina came out in a traditional, yellow raincoat, which promoted Ru to say, “Once you go mack, you never go back.” Underneath, she had a fantastic yellow vinyl dress with a black corset and accents. Cheryl had on a barely-there ensemble of a silver jacket and corseted top with matching knee-high boots. Baga had on an outfit that Graham quite accurately described as “Liza Minnelli as a psychiatric nurse” but was saved with an imaginative headpiece which was an upside-down umbrella with an oversized rubber duck on top of it. The Vivienne gave us full Mother Nature, with an oversized cloud hat with sparkly, jeweled rain droplets falling from it and a dress that embodied a tornado. Blu gave us a Katy Perry in the rain look, with a glittery, holographic dress and rainbow wig. I loved the illusion of her melting makeup. All in all, some fabulous looks – and I think judge Cheryl’s yellow suit is stunning too.
This week’s main challenge for the queens was to create ads for their own bottled water. Graham Norton moved from behind the judges’ panel to play director for the spots. Divina’s ad for her “DD Sea” water was hilarious – and environmentally conscious. The disclaimer at the end was a nice touch.
Cheryl’s ad for “Cheryl Hole’s Dancing Diva Drink” was kind of all over the place, bringing to mind the obvious parallels to Alyssa’ Edwards’ ad for her “Drop Dead Gorgeous” energy drink on All-Stars 2. Bonus points for the twerking Brit Crew member. (I’d share this ad, but for whatever reason, her ad – and Blu’s – weren’t shared on Twitter.)
Baga’s ad for her “Chippy Tea Water” was what you’d expect from her. Crude, rude and socially unacceptable…but funny nonetheless. “Goodbye, tum and bum and hello yummy mum!” I love fish and chips and hate gaining weight, so I would totally buy this drink. Make it so.
The Vivienne’s ad for her water “Drippin’” had her going from housewife to glamour girl, and the judges loved it.
Blu had the best product name (“Blu Hydration”) and a glittery bottle, but her ad was kind of lost on the judges. She is just too cute though.
Michelle vs Cheryl
On screen, Michelle hasn’t always appeared to play nice with the guest judges. She looked perturbed during the Drag Race US season 11 episode with noted smarty pants Joel McHale. Commenting on Baga’s ad, Michelle said she wasn’t sure about what she was going for in the spot. She told Baga, “I think we had more fun watching you put stuff in your mouth.” Baga said she was “just trying to sell fish and chips in a bottle”, but Michelle stood her ground, commenting, “Hear from the other judges, maybe it’s just me.”
Cheryl immediately jumped in and told Michelle, “I think it’s just you,” and told Baga that she was smart to stay “on brand”, adding, “If I was going to buy that water, I would know that it’s associated to you.” Michelle came back with “Her name’s not battered sausage is it?” and gave Cheryl the stink eye. And they say all of the drama happens in the werk room.
Of course, you can’t believe everything you see on TV. Michelle later tweeted that it was all in the editing, telling a fan who asked why she hated Cheryl so much that, “Omg it’s telly! We actually love each other.”
She later shared a picture that Cheryl tweeted of she, Ru, Michelle and Graham and tweeted, “You were amazing. I love when I get sassed ESPECIALLY by my @CherylOfficial.”
Once Baga was deemed safe, she went to the back of the stage to share a hug with her show BFF, The Vivienne. In theory, a sweet gesture, in reality, the most hilariously awkward moment of the episode, thanks to their enormous headpieces.
The lip sync
If you ask Cheryl Hole to lip-sync to a Cheryl Cole song, in front of said performer, you can pretty much expect excellence, and that is just what our Essex Empress delivered. Blu was pitted against Cheryl to perform the other Cheryl’s song, “Call My Name.” Cheryl says she knows the song like the back of her hand and is ready to “sell it the f—k out.” Blu said she was “gutted” to have to lip-sync against her best friend in the competition. These two delivered the best lip sync of the season, but there was nothing Blu could do to beat Cheryl, who looked like she had been waiting for this moment all her life and gave us not one, but two, death drops. Blu hugged Cheryl I the middle of the number, seemingly knowing who won this lip sync. Of course, it’s Blu’s time to sashay away, and I will miss her sassiness and Irish brogue.
I can’t believe we are down to the final four! Next week, the queens give family members a makeover (I expect lots of tears and drama) and BAFTA winner Michaela Cole (creator, writer and star of the show Chewing Gum) is the guest judge. Until then, let the music play!