I usually have my review of the latest Drag Race UK episode in on Mondays. Better late than never, and since I am saying ‘nup to the cup’, why not put out my drag race recap instead?
This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of Drag Race UK. If you haven’t watched it yet, be warned.
Another week, another episode of Drag Race UK, and now that we are halfway through the competition, things are really heating up – especially this week when the comp turns on its head!
As I said last week, it is really coming down to fumbles or minor details when it comes to who’s in the bottom, which is a testament to each contestant.
As the queens farewelled Sum Ting Wong they also discussed the double win from last week. Did The Vivienne and Baga Chipz really both deserve to win? They did a great Snatch Game, but their runways weren’t top shelf. Blu thinks it should have been her time to shine, and she certainly did, but it clearly wasn’t enough to be on top.
It’s safe to say that Cheryl Hole is getting the hard edit this season. I’ll admit there are times I have found her grating, but after doing some searching on the internet, every eliminated queen has highlighted that that is just her, and she is really genuine. So, I will try to go easy on her, but with a girl group challenge, that is not going to be easy – also enough with the tongue pops!
Anyhow it’s another day in the Werk Room and before we dive into the main challenge, the library is open, and these queens are shady. Cheryl got the lion’s share of the quips but what I loved the most is how the UK compares to the US show and comes out on top time and time again. We didn’t need sonnets of shade or elobarate expressions when you can just call another queen shite and tell ’em to fark off!
Honourable reading mentions:
Crystal to The Vivienne: “Proof you can polish a turd!”
Divina De Camp to Baga Chipz: “More like Baga Shite!”
Cheryl Hole to Blu: “The best makeup you’ve done is painting on that innocent look every week.”
Everyone had a good laugh and Crystal came out on top in the mini challenge; I guess a small win counts for something.
Now it’s time for the maxi challenge and it’s a girl group sing off (to Cheryl’s excitement).
The gals will be recording the same track with their own lyrics in a debut performance called Break Up with help by MNEK. For those that don’t know, MNEK is a British singer, songwriter and record producer and is also gorgeous – check out his music here.
guys i totally h̶a̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶s̶i̶g̶n̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶N̶D̶A̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶t̶e̶l̶l̶ ̶u̶ forgot to tell u that I’m gonna be on @dragraceukbbc ! so excited 2 have been asked to be a part of it- can’t wait to see how the episode pans out 💙 also @rupaulofficial was super sweet and tall 💕 pic.twitter.com/Z3F3Kt3Pqk
— MNEK (@MNEK) July 24, 2019
As Crystal won the mini challenge, she got to pick the teams, and caused the great divide of 2019, splitting up The Vivienne and Baga Chipz. Knowing her own limitations and wanting to have strengths on both ends of the spectrum, she took The Vivienne for her voice and Cheryl Hole for her for her dancing and call themselves Filth Harmony.
I know I said I would take it easy on Cheryl but when she acts like this challenge is made for her, I just want to see her pushed off that pedestal she keeps assuming she is on. Yes, you do girl group shows, yes you are named after next week’s guest judge Cheryl Cole, but this is about so much more than that. You have to write your own lyrics (in a very short amount of time) and make a cohesive girl group number.
Anyway, confidence corner seems to live with the other team of Blu Hydrangea, Divina and Baga. Who, calling themselves The Frock Destroyers, ascertain their strengths and weaknesses and figure out the best way to move forward together.
There is a bit of smack talk between the teams which I love, but mostly, let’s just get on with it, because it is time to record with the gorgeous MNEK.
Being the only singer in Filth Harmony, The Vivienne pretty much smashes it out of the park – which is on brand anyway. Cheryl … oh girl, you are just so loud. Yes, it is funny, but oh my god. Still, she brings the goods and it looks like this team is going to need it because Crystal cannot sing. She is told to speak instead, which doesn’t bode well.
As for The Frock Destroyers, Baga surprised us all with that voice, is she playing the long game and revealing even more as we hit the half way mark, or is it just that we get the hard core edit with all the Baga fun? I love that we are finally getting to see Blu as more than just an innocent little kid. Blu does such an amazing job on the runway and may be diving into crassness by trying to be seen in certain elements, but I love what they are doing.
And then there was Divina, anyone who has done some basic research on the queens this year knows Divina can sing, but this moment, this is the moment that fed my soul and I have played this tweet on repeat for days. Is Divina perhaps a countertenor and doesn’t even know it? Honestly that is amazing and hard work and just beautiful
Me: sleeping soundly
The birds outside my window at 5:38 in the morning: pic.twitter.com/tMkbfvsCrG
— Lee Dawson (@LeeDawsonPT) October 31, 2019
Now it’s time for choreography, and Cheryl feels (again) that it is her time to shine. I don’t know whether a producer is egging her on to say these things or this is exactly what she thinks, but anyone who has worked in or even watched group performances knows that the only way you succeed is together. Cheryl has planned the moves and Crystal is not getting it, there seems to be no harmony in Filth Harmony!
As for The Frock Destroyers, it seems Divina is sorting out everything as per the girls strengths, working to complement their vastly different skill sets. The two teams seem worlds apart, and at the time I assumed it was just the editing, but when you look at the final performance, it clearly isn’t.
Before we hit the Melbourne Cup Runway, I mean Day at the Races Runway, we need to talk about the important moments that happened as the girls were getting ready this week. No, I’m don’t mean the trash talking, I mean Divina opening up about being out as a child in school.
We haven’t had moments like these on the show in a few eps and I am glad to see them back, not only because they highlight important conversations, but elevate problems we are having all around the world.
Divina talks about not only being bullied while in school as a child but working in schools and being called a fag as well. She brings up Section 28, which was a big backwards step after the legalisation of homosexuality. Section 28 banned the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities and in British schools. It forced LGBT support groups in schools to go into hiding or shot down. While it was repealed in Scotland 2000, and the rest of the UK by 2003, it caused a lot of damage to basic equality for young people.
Cut to today in Australia where we have a Religious Discrimination Bill that could do the same. We have had Safe Schools programs shut down in schools and we still have trans and gender diverse young people’s identities disrespected in environments that should support them.
Yes Drag Race Uk (@dragraceukbbc) is entertaining, but can we talk about how it’s brought crucial UK queer history topics like Section 28 into the limelight?
So please, try to tell me again that we don’t need LGBT education in schools… I’m waiting
— Brett Sinclair (@brettsinclairr) November 4, 2019
This hit hard with me in this episode because it seems the more things change the more, they say the same, and we need to make sure we are doing something about stopping laws that make things harder for young LGBTQIA+ people, or any people – and that fight is all around us.
I have a lot of fun doing these recaps (which is one of the reasons I think the Star Observer team just let me do them) but honesty it is moments like this on Drag Race UK that I am very grateful for – allowing me the space to reflect and to realise that while things are better than they were when I was young, that doesn’t mean they are okay, and we need to keep talking about it and building ourselves up to make the world a safer and more equal space for all.
Blu said it best, “What happens in school will affect you for the rest of your life, but we take our insecurities and direct them into our art”. I feel the same way about a lot of what I do.
Let’s hit the debut farewell performances of Break Up, which debut in the UK Top Ten this week because of course it did. I will say though I loved having the queens watch backstage.
They don’t have a cohesive look, but that’s okay, neither did the Spice Girls and is something that can totally work in their favour. The Vivienne looks amazing, and that about all I am going to say about her performance. A deer in headlights is more animated and it was a shock to see. She just went blank and pushed through, but it was a lot to watch.
Cheryl is totally owning it and proving she isn’t all talk, and because she is so much smaller and animated compared to the other two, you can’t help but focus on her. And Crystal … that wig is not your friend, get rid of it. Also, I don’t know what emotion you are trying to convey, but I think it is ‘tall’.
This was a mess and it is really a shame because they had some great ideas that just didn’t land, and no cohesiveness to make it work. Lip synching aside, they could have synched so much more together instead of trying to stand alone.
But more importantly, they get two goes at the number for filming, was this the best cuts of all the shots … That’s not good.
The Frock Destroyers
Baga kicks things off brilliantly and these girls hit it out of the parl. With a unified tone and look that is also something different for everyone one of them, we had cohesive movement and attitude, and a heap of cheeky fun with the lyrics and the number. We already know who is on top.
Now for the runway.
The Vivienne – I don’t care what the judges say, this is gorgeous! The hair and the way it shaped her body is divine. Get to Toorak immediately!
Cheryl Hole – When I lived in the UK I loved partying with the Essex girls, but at some point is anyone gonna let Cheryl know that constantly hitting the runway defining Essex means you are dressing that look down big time? When you use that to define you, you have a problem. Love you in red hair though.
Crystal – THIS WAS AMAZING – once again judges: HOW DARE YOU! It’s a Bowery/My Fair Lady/Awful Wallpaper delight and I was in love as soon as she stepped out.
Baga Chipz – What a bloomin’ great look. I wasn’t loving Baga’s runways at the start but she takes a theme and runs with it when she wants to, it’s a water sports fantasy delight.
Blu Hydrangea – Someone wasn’t horsing around this week, with a creative and beautiful horses head that didn’t take away from her look at all on the runway.
Divina de Campo – Bow down, this is the jockey fantasy of my dreams, from head to toe she brought something we didn’t expect and totally loved.
Backstage we see the reality set in the The Vivienne and Crystal are clearly on the bottom. It was nice to see cracks in The Vivienne’s armour, but in a good way, and it was great to see how much they all supported one another. Cut to the chase (because I have written way too much this week) The Frock Destroyers all get a Ru Peter Badge and Cheryle is safe again, which means the tables have turned for The Vivienne as she joins Crystal in the lip-synch.
A part of me loved the idea of The Vivienne going home, because it would change the dynamic of everything we have seen up to this point, but as they performed to a true banga of a track (Why can’t we have more songs like this, Drag Race UK?) it was clear that The Vivienne was owning it.
Poor Crystal, her outfit and wig just got in the way and she was sent home. She was a unique artist in this competition, always bringing something different to the runway and to the group. As we send her on her way, let’s look back at her amazing looks.