Warning : This article contains spoilers for the second episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. If you haven’t watched it yet, read at your own peril!
Episode 2 of Drag Race UK has dropped and has proven that acting isn’t everything when it comes to drag, and apparently, neither is makeup!
After last week’s elimination the remaining queens return to the Werk Room to talk about the first queen down, Gothy Kendoll. I said it last week and I will say it again, there is something lovely about the comradery in the UK version of the competition. Sure, the body wasn’t even cold before Vinegar rubbed her message off the mirror, but it was nice that everyone wasn’t shady, at least for five minutes.
I thought Divina De Campo’s laugh would the only thing irritating me this season but Cheryl has turned that around quick smart by not realising that it’s not all about her. Sharing every thought that was spewing out of her mouth and not giving any of the other performers a chance to process their feelings is a great way to win friends; still it looks like The Vivienne has had enough of her already!
“Whatever comes, I’m gonna kill it,” Cheryl exclaims. Those are famous last words, doll! Has she never watched reality TV before? (Well, we know she has because she is trying to fit as many ‘dragraceisms’ on camera as she can.)
It’s nice for Scaredy Kat to acknowledge that, having only done drag for five minutes, she is proud to be keeping her own, but the editors worked overtime in this episode and I think it was to the show’s detriment. Sure there are storylines, but everything didn’t seem as dramatic as they would portray. Still if I could make one request, could Ru never try to do an English accent again? We are not amused!
Before we dive into the mini challenge, Ru gives last week’s winner The Vivienne the task of ordering the queens from top to bottom rated on who she thinks her competition is.
Considering Sum Ting Wong was a very close second, it was surprising she put her halfway. Scaredy wasn’t surprised to be on the bottom but Cheryl was livid to see she wasn’t the main competition. Still it can’t just be because she is mouthy, after all Baga was placed third!
In a twist that everyone saw coming Ru announces Scaredy as the team leader for the mini challenge, and the queens are informed that (unfortunately for all of us) it’s an acting challenge, with the girls recreating comedy Downton Abbey skits.
We all knew it was going to happen, but could this not have been an episode or two down the line. Week two could have been a great opportunity for a singing and acting challenge, after all this weeks lipsynch wasn’t exactly a showstopper again!
Anyway the queens will be judged on how well they over act, and The Vivienne grabs all the bigger than life, charismatic performers, while it looks like Scaredy is thinking less strategically, which could have made all the difference.
After a pointless conversation about what a tuppence is, it is time to dive into the scripts, and not a moment too soon! A more interesting conversation than everyone picking there parts is the fact that everyone seems to think they are underestimating Scaredy Kat (spoiler alert, they aren’t) who, having never performed and not trying to be the centre of attention has left everyone wondering, is there something more (again spoiler alert, there’s not).
It was pretty obvious that Team ‘SLAG’ Vivienne would have a bigger advantage with performers who found their spots and got on with it. Sure, Sum Ting seemed to be in trouble with these big personalities but that’s what teams are for, to work together.
Real winners put the work in, and it shows as Team Scaredy seemed to be acting more for the camera than for the challenge. But with Scaredy doing her best Farrah Moan impression (constantly) and Cheryl trying to have the last word at every moment what do you expect?
Then we have the day of filming … look, the less said about this the better. The premise was way over the top and led to confusing scripts, nearly everyone forgot their lines. Sum Ting was not going to be wining this week, Vinegar clearly does well with direction rather than improvising and Divina was clearly carrying her team. Also, why did Blu Hydrangea decide to drag up as Cheryl? From shot to shot I kept confusing them—that’s how memorable their performances were.
Runway day was where the real drama was and I really hope that the BBC put out more footage of these conversations, because it’s what I really love about the show, the true narratives. We finally dive into the bisexuality of Scaredy Kat, not that we needed to, but it really frustrated me seeing the editors have him say that he is not gay and has a girlfriend, and then having everyone jump up and down online saying: ‘Sure queen, you’re obviously gay.’ Bi people are everywhere, and it is a shame more people didn’t just assume that. It is also a shame there wasn’t more time conversation about pansexuality and the fact that for Scaredy, his girlfriend is his sexuality. It was also lovely seeing Vinegar and Scaredy just be mates together.
Then the conversation turned again as the queens start talking about whether their family know they are gay or into drag, with Vinegar touching on how being a person of colour meant he felt more comfortable coming out later. And Sum Ting sharing that he hides a huge part of his life from his family because they just don’t want to know. It is a shame and heartbreaking to watch but also a very true narrative for many people in our communities. If we don’t delve into that further in this series, I really hope the BBC get onto some special spin offs.
Well, it’s legs eleven on the runway as Ru struts her stuff and introduces us to this week’s judges, Michelle (of course), Graham Norton and Maisie Williams. After last week, what a disappointment, the fun just wasn’t there—bring back Andrew Garfield I say!
I was pretty excited for a Bond Girl Glamourama Runway, but apparently I was the only one, with many looks lacking that ‘va va voom’ you get with this kind of a theme. Still let’s break down the looks.
The Vivienne: You look lovely, but did we need another impersonation of a celebrity? Sure you look great, got anything else?
Sum Ting Wong: Way to put your own spin on it and serve a look that is different and you. Did I love it? No, but was that the kind of boldness you brought us last week, totally. Keep it up!
Vinegar Strokes: Are all your outfits going to look like they come from Top Shop? Where was the ‘U’ you promised us last week?
Baga Chipz: We get it, you’re funny. The narrative is great and totally camp. But week two are you really going to just be the caricature queen? What will The Vivienne do?
Cheryl Hole: I like where you were going with this, and then you revealed … well, I still don’t know what. It’s like you were wearing someone else’s Austin Powers Fembot costume and it didn’t fit. Also, stop doing things you think we want to see on the runway because they are ‘Drag Racey’. Where is the Cheryl from your first runway last week? More of that queen, please!
Crystal: Way to put the Bond in Bondage. A great take on the theme and serving sexy kinky realness with a mighty crack!
Scaredy Kat: They couldn’t have set you up with a better opportunity to give us pussy puns, and you give us Amelia Airheart. It was more Bullwinkle than Bond!
Divina De Campo: Fabulous Femme Fatale Runway Realness, leggy, lovely and evil. Give me more!
Blu Hydrangea: I didn’t recognise you, and I loved it. More of this Blu needs to come out. But calm down on the tits, tits, tits across the board babe. Honestly, women don’t touch their breasts that much. We can see them, no need to draw more attention to them
And then there was Downton Draggy. Baga stole the show (which is a shock to no one), while Sum Tings choices just didn’t translate, and Divina stole the show for her team. Honestly, the most overacting was from the judges trying to look like they found it funny.
It was a runway of emotions this week with everyone feeling with Divina having all the feels. She doesn’t feel like she has ‘arrived’ yet, and we find out later that all the queens are feeling that way. Even though we all know the US franchise, it isn’t easy being the first ones out of the box, and reality TV is hard. Everyone wants to be doing their best, but I’m glad to see all the queens owning their stress and anxiety early, it will help them build stronger connections and support one another.
Now to the Werk Room, and the ‘guess who?’ game that is Cheryl Hole. Everyone addressed Cheryls’ Laganja-like on camera exploits, and I couldn’t be happier this is happening in the same episode. She needs to calm down, it will do her better in the long run, but hopefully the comradery will turn that around (though it doesn’t look like it yet). When Vinegar said: “If you wanna stand out, just be you,”’ truer words couldn’t have been spoken. And that is great advice for all of them.
Cheryl ended up safe in the bottom three again, and hopefully that will be the kick up the ass she needs, so she can calm down and just own what she does instead of what she thinks she needed to do.
With Blu and Scaredy on the bottom, it is time to lip-synch for your life, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s not good. It’s not bad either, it is just underwhelming. Scaredy Kat has never performed before, and it takes a bold person to do it for the first time on an international television show. The edits were awful to watch, but just like last week, it isn’t just about your lip-synch, but it also proves that just because you can paint a face, doesn’t mean you should stay in the race!
Blu didn’t rest on their laurels and gives a great performance, where was this energy during Downton Draggy, and walks away victorious. Scaredy Kat doesn’t get nine lives and is out the door, but what a brilliant first gig!
With two of the youngest queens out the door and another on the bottom, could the UK show us age does matter when it comes to drag? Only time will tell. And not that much time, it’s not long to another wp after all. But at least the younger performers are not being dragged down, and are being celebrated for what they have brought to the space. US Drag Race, take note!