It’s not that I didn’t enjoy last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. on Logo, but it definitely didn’t delight me like the previous installments.
It just seems these gals are being stuffed in an American box for portions of the show (the lip-syncs especially). Having already not been blown away by many of the queens’ fashions, I certainly didn’t come into tonight’s design challenge with very high hopes.
Don’t get me wrong, there were a couple of stunners, but there was a lot of “meh” there as well.
More importantly, the episode really plodded toward the runway after a satisfyingly silly mini-challenge. The workroom scenes this week just felt more lifeless than normal. It’s time for some of these English roses to show their thorns.
Enough prattling on, though. Let’s dive into our recap and rankings below.
After a little light trash talk from Baga, the gals are back to the workroom for this week’s mini-challenge. Ru arrives to introduce the May Pole, which the queens will dance around in quick drag in a sort of twerking musical chairs. Crystal is ambitious mounting the pole for a stripper spin, and Blu takes a chance with a weird little character that looks like something modeled after Drag Race All Star Milk.
This is Cheryl’s time to shine, though, and she does. The stunt queen let it drop and mopped the floor with the rest.
Her prize is a very slight advantage in this week’s maxi-challenge. It’s an unconventional materials challenge (shame on Ru for not capitalizing on the Ru-Bish pun just sitting there). They’ll need to transform trash into treasure, and Cheryl gets first dibs on materials.
A few gals are at an advantage, like Divina, the Vivienne and especially Crystal, who studied costume in college. Of course, Vinegar isn’t well-suited, since she’s struggled to pull together looks from existing, professionally-made materials. Crystal is taking a wacky approach with too many yellow rubber gloves.
But Divina seems to have divine inspiration, seizing on some plaid laundry bags and pushing forward with a bold vision. Her seemingly surging is interesting as Baga, Vivienne and Crystal seem to be forming a little clique like the Heathers or RoLaskaTox before them. Could Divina end up being this season’s Jinkx?
There are few surprises in the judges’ critiques. Baga and Blu are rightfully safe. It’s an incredibly close call among our top three of the night — Divina, in a punky, Vivienne Westwood/Leigh Bowery get-up that is truly sickening; the Vivienne giving Angelina Jolie a run for her Malificent money using unspooled videotapes and rugby pads to make a dramatic silhouette; and Crystal deliver a gorgeous, polished piece with plenty of avant-garde pizzazz. The judges opt for Divina, further cementing her status as a threat.
The judges seemed at least a little charmed by Cheryl’s campy presentation, even if the actual garment was lacking. Vinegar also gets by on a lot of personality, but there’s no saving her horrendous paper bolero and kitten heels. It’s rough.
Oddly enough, Sum Ting also went with a bare-chested look with her jacket. Vinegar wore a nude bodysuit, which definitely made the look worse, but I can’t believe these two saw each other’s outfits in the workroom and didn’t think to change their concept.
The queens all seem shocked to see Vinegar in the bottom with Sum Ting, assuming Cheryl would be next on the chopping block. Instead, the two friends dueled to the Eurythmics’ “Would I Lie to You,” and it’s … fine.
Sum Ting is just a bit more committed to the performance, while it seems like Vinegar is struggling to do something to create a “moment.” They both do what I think is supposed to be a reveal, where they tearaway their bottoms, but … there’s nothing revealed? They’re just bottomless now. The whole thing felt flat. I guess it’s sort of overdone to drag Drag Race U.K. for the ill-fitting lip-sync elimination format, so I’ll just move on and save you the pixels.
Sum Ting gets to shantay, while Vinegar sashays away.
Where does that leave our standings? Check out our (totally subjective) rankings below, and leave yours in the comments.
- Even though she didn’t get the win, the Vivienne continues to dominate. She took a familiar concept — the sort of Morticia Addams dramatic, slinky black dress — and some really cool choices with proportion and makeup. I’m hesitant to call her a “lock” for the finale at this point, but she is distancing herself from the pack each week.
- I wasn’t as sold as the judges on Divina‘s ensemble, but there’s no denying this was a surging week for her. I really, liked her approach, but I think there was a better ensemble on the runway. (More on that in a moment.) However, we’ve already glimpsed her acting chops, and she has design skills. Divina has all the makings of a winner, baby.
- I’m still smitten with Baga. At one point she says “I am so out of breath, I’m bloody knackered, I’ve got the wrong shoes on, I’m coughing me minge up, I feel like Paula Radcliffe, I’m gonna have a piss in the street in a minute!” and I don’t have a clue what most of that means. Nor do I care! Her steel wool minidress was a bit clunky, but Baga is already the breakaway star of this series.
- If it were up to me, Crystal would’ve won the badge this week. Her gorgeous gown was a brilliant idea perfectly executed, and it tied so many elements together so elegantly. This should’ve been Crystal’s week to shine.
- I appreciate Blu taking some risks in her mini-challenge character and runway presentation. She’s got a little bit of a contemporary Trinity the Tuck Taylor edge. What made Trinity so endearing though was her over-the-top personality. Blu is so sweet, and I love some of the concepts she’s serving. However, I think the stronger personalities are really asserting themselves, and Blu will be left in the dust.
- I kind of liked Cheryl‘s lewk? I know it wasn’t exactly “good,” but she sold it. It was more camp than fashion, and it wasn’t super well-made, but it was fun. Cheryl can be loud and at times a touch obnoxious, but she adds some energy to the workroom that I appreciate.
- There were many things wrong with Sum Ting‘s outfit on that stage. Her taste level is just not there. She’s funny and quick, so she may stick around a bit longer if she can skate by with sub-par fashion.
- What’s there to say about Vinegar? She is massively charming and has a ton of personality, but the drag just never made it up to standard. And look, I know Vinegar fancies herself a low-budget queen, and that’s OK! Look at early Alaska or even Chi Chi Duvayne. They took cheap materials, but they transformed them with their vision and creativity. (I thought Vinegar’s Bond Girl runway felt particularly off-the-rack.) As we’ve all been beaten over the head, U.K. drag puts less emphasis on super glam aesthetic, so I’m sure Vinegar will still have a fruitful career. It was the right call to send her home.
How would you rank the queens?