The premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK debuted on WOW Presents Plus on Thursday (and will air starting on October 11 on Logo – so if you haven’t watched yet and don’t want spoilers, read no further) and it was everything.
Ten glamazons from all across the United Kingdom delivered on the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent and gave us fits, fashions and some great television. Let’s take a closer look at the top moments from the episode.
1. The Werk Room Entrances
In grand Drag Race tradition, the queens are introduced as they sashay into the Werk Room. Our first queen to enter is Baga Chipz, who says she’s “queen of the battered sausage, and I love to be covered in Daddies’ sauce”, whatever that means. There’s a lot of British slang going on here, and my fellow American viewers may want to keep Google close by to get some of the references and slang. Blu Hydrangea is true to her look, coming in (sans padding) with a flurry of flowers. Divina De Campo comes in stating “It’s DDC on the BBC” and jokingly hopes the season one filter will be in effect (it’s not, thank goodness. Rewatching Drag Race season one always made me think there was something wrong with my vision.) Running through her on-screen credits prior to Drag Race, she is coming off like the season’s Willam. She’s also my pick for “best laugh” – look out, Yvie Oddly, Divinia is coming for you.
Crystal is a stunner and comes in hot with the line that made me laugh out loud, “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s body dysmorphia.” Sum Ting Wong asks if someone ordered delivery, because she was going to “take away” the crown. Cheryl Hole, the “queen of Essex” is all hair and fringe, and I love her already. Gothy Kendoll enters in a sparkly violet jumpsuit. “Total slag” Vinegar Strokes enters in a snakeskin suit and immediately gives me a Latrice Royale vibe (and fun fact: she performed on stage with Michelle Visage in the musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.) 19-year-old Scaredy Kat enters with a feline hiss and lots of fashion. Scaredy also has a girlfriend (!) who is also a drag queen, named “Pussy Kat.” Last but not least is The Vivienne, who commands attention in a metallic red jumpsuit. These queens do a lot of their own singing, can work a sewing machine and are delightfully raunchy. This is going to be a good season.
2. The Photoshoot Mini-Challenge
Following the entrances, the queens take part in the traditional photo shoot. This time, paying tribute to the show’s British-ness, they pose in a Tower of London-inspired look where they serve body and severed head. Well, it’s creative. Baga puts her severed head between her legs, Blu channels her inner Cher, kicking her head away and exclaiming “How you gonna have a cuppa without this mug?” Crystal uses her head to…ummm…giver herself head and asks “What? You’d do it yourself if you could.” (Have I mentioned these queens are raunchy?) Poor Gothy seems out of her element already, “getting” the head joke, but not really committing to it. Is she this season’s Pearl? Ru seems amused. Vinegar gives us doggy style and explains the origin of her name (I won’t go into detail, but think “O-Face.”) Scaredy Kat decides to poop out her head (and Ru reminds us “You’re watching the BBC.”) Sum Ting Wong breastfeeds her head with her enormous fake boobs. The Vivienne brings some impressions, including a middling Michael Caine, Maggie Smith and Cardi B. before delivering her line in the style of Kim Woodburn (who I guess is the UK’s Marie Kondo.) I loved Blu, but Ru declared Scaredy Kat the winner.
Would it be any surprise if Ru didn’t rule the runway. She comes out in a chartreuse mini dress with a gorge blond wig and is painted for the gods. I can’t wait to see what other tricks she’s got up her sleeve this season.
The first part of the queens’ inaugural runway was for them to serve a look the represented where they came from. Some of the standouts were The Vivienne, who gave us Pete Burns realness (RIP, Pete), Baga Chipz’s quite accurate Amy Winehouse (RIP, Amy) and my favorite, Cheryl Hole’s perfect recreation of every woman I’ve seen on The Only Way is Essex (think the UK’s Jersey Shore), complete with splotchy spray tan and toilet paper on her shoe. Gothy Kendoll paid tribute to her home of Leicester by painting her face as a tiger, in honor of the local football club. As she walked the runway, she gave a few half-hearted tiger-esque poses that were not lost on the judges’ panel. Judge Alan Carr (who is a riot) said of her look,
“She looks like an estate agent who’s gone into Regent’s Park Zoo and said: ‘Can you face paint me face for 50p?’ And then she’s gone back into work and gone: ‘What do you think girls?'”
So accurate. Andrew added that he probably would have done the same thing early in his career and then the entire panel offered their best “Grr”. This was definitely the biggest LOL of the episode.
5. Queens on the Runway
In addition to the regional runway, the queens also had to give us a look sported by Queen Elizabeth and there were definitely some standouts. Crystal’s “military dominatrix” look is killer, but there are three quite clever looks that won the runway for me. Sum Ting Wong puts her head in a box (again) to replicate the Queen’s postage stamp, complete with “Lick me” written on the back. Blu Hydrangea turns her head into the Queen’s British pound coin and The Vivienne gives us leisure royal realness in her hunting togs, complete with stuffed ducks. Gothy doesn’t do so well with her coronation look, Vinegar and Cheryl also fail to impress and Scaredy Kat gives us a (slightly disturbing) take on the baby Queen. Divinia and Baga also bring so e nice looks to the runway. The Vivienne emerges victorious and receives the first “Ru-Peter badge”, which is a tribute to a long-running kids’ show in the UK.
6. The Vivienne’s Nose
In the episode’s most awkward moment, Michelle “complements” The Vivienne’s commitment to replicating Queen Elizabeth’s hunting/holiday look that she brings visiting the royals’ holiday home in Scotland, Balmoral. Michelle said she loved that Vivienne had applied a prosthetic nose to achieve such an accurate transformation. Unfortunately, she didn’t, replying with, “This is just my face!” (and some exceptional makeup skills.) Ru chimed in to try and fix the situation, stating that “The Vivienne had the biggest transformation on the stage”.
7. Andrew Garfield
From the minute he comes strutting out on the runway, in surprisingly fashion-forward bell-bottom trousers, the adorable actor is immediately in the running for best guest judge. He tells Ru that “I feel like a competition winner and the prize is a day in gay heaven,” and brings the puns to the runway, my favorite being, “This is less Dame Helen Mirren and more DAMN Helen Mirren.” I’d be okay if he came back for more episodes (US Drag Race too.)
8. Untucked Lite
The entire episode zipped along and there was never a dull moment, and I think one of the reasons why was that the backstage cocktails and post-runway chatter happened during the show, not on Untucked. It was just enough insight from the queens and it kept the pace from lagging.
9. Vinegar Strokes lip syncs for her life
In the first lip-sync, a clearly nervous Gothy Kendoll is up against Vinegar Strokes to perform Dua Lipa’s song “New Rule”. To be honest, no one was turning it out at first, but once Vinegar got into it, she delivered an entertaining performance. There were no death drops to be had, but Vinegar ripped off her turban to unleash a downpour of glitter and then we got a wig reveal, as she took off her brunette hairpiece to reveal a blonde bob. Sadly, Gothy is the first queen to sashay away and jokes that she’s the Porkchop of DRUK. That’s honestly not a bad queen to emulate, as Porkchop is still one of our faves. She also gave us a little Miss Vanjie, leaving the runway backward, saying, “Miss Ken Doll. Miss Ken Doll. Miss Ken Doll.”
10. The Brit Crew
I’ve already expressed my delight that the Pit Crew concept has made it across the pond, but these fellas are hotter than a plate of fish ‘n’ chips fresh out of the fryer. They made their entrance in Beefeater hats and teeny shorts emblazoned with the Union Jack (and, sorry, Willam, they are also not wearing shoes.) I don’t know about you, but this crew is definitely my cup of tea.
So, what did you think? I for one, can’t wait until the next episode! Next time, the queens take on Downton Abbey, which should be quite interesting. See you next week, my little crumpets!