01st Oct2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK 3×02’ Review

by Rhys Payne

Last week we saw eleven new queens (and one returning queen) enter the werk room in the hopes to become the next drag race superstar. Unfortunately for Anubis, this dream didn’t last very long as, after her lip-sync against Electra Fence, she was sent home. The more press interviewers and clips of Anubis that I watched, the more I am gutted that she has gone home this early, as she offers a very old school camp drag style that I particularly love. This sort of classical and theatrical view of drag is very unusual in someone who is just nineteen years old and so I would have like to have seen how she blends the traditional with her youthful side. While I am not a particularly superstitious person, this is the second season in which a queen from Brighton has gone home in the first episode of Drag Race UK (the first being Joe Black) which has led to many people online believing in a Brighton curse. On the other end of the competition, for the first time in drag race herstory, we had a top-two lip-sync as well between Victoria Scone and Crystal Versace with the latter just nabbing the win for the episode! I have made two revelations about last weeks episode since posting my review. Firstly, I missed the pun in Kitty Scott-Claus’ name and secondly if I was to ever walk the runway for the queen of your hometown category I would wear the iconic basque that Nessa wears during the brilliant “I don’t need the whip” scene on Gavin and Stacey!

We start this weeks episode of Drag Race UK by learning that Victoria Scone had damaged her knee during her winner’s lip-sync which, knowing Drag Race, can go one of two ways. Either she will bounce back and win the whole completion (like Yvie Oddly from season eleven) or she will be sent home to rest and return next season (like Eureka from season nine.) You will have to read all the way to the end of this review to find out which option Victoria falls into! We have seen the mini-challenge this week appear multiple times throughout every franchise of Drag Race but I just don’t enjoy it in all honesty, especially this version. As the winner of last weeks episode, Crystal had to essentially label who she thought was her biggest and least competition of the queens remaining. However, Drag Race UK season three put a special spin on it where she had to find a sticker in a supermarket and then attach the sticker to the queen that fitted that category. Victoria was given the title of star buy (biggest competition, but more on that later) and also some weird titles such as BOG OFF which was supposed to signify who would go home next but I don’t understand the connection. These awards did not affect the rest of the episode and so were purely there for pointless drama! I know that there is going to be a debate online over the use of “trade” to symbolise an attractive person as this is the definition that Ru was using and while I’m not sure of its entomology, I agree with Ella Veday getting this most attractive title. I am very confused by the missing Brit crew this season as they were referenced and shown via a video cam but Ru had said that they are working from home. I’m not sure of the real reason why they cannot be in the same physical location as the queens as they have in other seasons. The main challenge had the queens split into groups and then had to perform a choreographed routine that was work out inspired. I get confused when Ru decides the grouping for the main challenges as it seems like there is always a hidden reason and can sometimes come across as quite manufactured. The other thing I also can’t get my head around (and I will comment on it every time it happens) is why does Ru continue to call groups over to her instead of walking through the werk room. This means the queens have to stop whatever they are doing (sometimes take over examples of their work) to go and have sit down chat about how they are getting on in the challenge. This must waste so much vital time so I don’t understand why it continues to be a thing! There were however some very important discussions that occurred in this weeks episode amongst the queens. After an off-hand remark about her being “big”, Crystal and Victoria sat down to discuss how body-shaming still exists especially within the theatre community which I think is terrible! No one should be made to feel bad about the way they look, if they are talented then they are talented! This led to vanity talking about the racism that she experience during school which I know for a fact continues to this day.

I had very high hopes for this dance-inspired challenge as Veronica and Ella have the early stages of a theatre rivalry starting to show, Ella and Victoria both trained in the same drama school, Vanity Milan is a dance teacher, Electra Fence showed us last episode that she is an incredible dancer and Kitty Scott-Claus is appearing in the latest tour of Death Drop so is another talented performer. I have to admit I was quite disappointed by the performance in this challenge. There were many mistakes within the performance with many of them happening by performers who were front and central stage which makes it painfully obvious they have gone wrong. There was very little unity in the teams within the three sections and I think the theme did get a little muddled throughout. Victoria had to sit down for her performance due to her health conditions but it did seem a little out of place. In season eleven the eventual winner Yvie also could not perform due to her injuries but instead sat on the side of the stage and gave a crazy and over the top performance whereas Victoria could not in this challenge.

The runway theme this week was red carpet showstopper so I was expected over the top glamour ready for a red carpet. I thought that Kitty looked incredible in her pink Marilyn Monroe/Madonna inspired dress with matching gloves and dripping in jewels. I also thought that Veronica Green look the best that I have ever seen her look this week! She walked the runway with a Kylie Minogue inspired yellow dress, complete with permed hair and tons of bussels in the back of the outfit! It was announced that the winner this week was Crystal Versace who has now one-two consecutive episode in a room which marks her out as a powerhouse in the conception. In the bottom was Electra Fence (again) and Vanity. These are two very talented dancers so I had very high hopes! Electra showcased all her tricks and splits but most of them happened at the back of the stag behind Vanity which meant that the audience at home missed most of them. This meant that Electra was sent home but there were another twists! Victoria was called to the stage where Ru informed her that she will be sent home for testing on her knee to see if she is safe to continue in the competition or not. I hope that Victoria is able to return as she was setting a standard for both AFAB and Cardiff drag but I am aware that she needs to do whatever is best for her health. We wish Victoria a quick recovery regardless of if she returns to the race or not!

Overall this was a very strange episode of Drag Race UK with a mini-challenge that seemed to only be there to add pointless drama before the group challenge. The work out inspired dance challenge seemed very disjointed and was not particularly memorable so I will give this episode…

*** 3/5

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