08th Oct2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK 3×03’ Review

by Rhys Payne

So last weeks episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK wasn’t my favourite. I thought that the mini-challenge was only there to create drama and almost forced Crystal to become the pseudo-villain of the season. Also, the fitness inspired dance challenges was very messy with none of the girls doing particularly well. Crystal Versace was declared the winner of this episode which marks her second win in a row this season. While Crystal’s red carpet inspired runway was stunning I did think that the challenge win should have gone to either Veronica Green or Kitty Scott Clause as they seem more comfortable and natural with the choreography. On the bottom last week we’re Electra Fence and Vanity Milan which is strange considering that they are both supposed to be the dancers of the season but ended up in the bottom of the dance-inspired episode. It was Electra who was sent home after all her tricks failed to impress the judges enough to save her for a second week in a row. However, the episode did leave us on a bit of a cliffhanger, after it was announced that Victoria Scone would be sent home for testing to see if her knee would hold up for the rest of the competition. It turns out that she is not in a safe enough position to return to the race, and we wish her a speedy recovery, but we also hope that she gets an open invite to the next season as I personally was really enjoying the AFAB and Cardiff drag representation that Victoria was bringing!

This week the episode started with the queens dressing up in butch drag and had to create a Tinder-inspired profile introduction video. The point of this challenge is that the queens were appearing as lads but their characters were straight guys with a secret. I have to admit I hadn’t noticed Scarlett Harlett so far in this competition, but in this episode she really shone! The ‘video’ she had created had everyone (myself included) laughing throughout, with a wonderfully over-the-top performance. Veronica did something very different to the rest of the queens in this challenge where she made the hidden gay aspect of her character a much bigger deal than the rest of the queens had. She wore a leather harness and talked about their love of ‘group activities.’ I thought this challenge was very entertaining but we have seen versions of this on different shows, most recently the sidemen Tinder pick-up lines video series. At least this challenge had an effect on the rest of the episode as Scarlett, who was dubbed as the best in this challenge, was given a fifteen-second head start on the main challenge and by the looks of it she used every second to her advantage!

The queens were given the task to walk the runway in two separate categories with the first being “Hello Camper” which was I believe was a homage to Tammy Brown from Drag Race season one for her iconic “I don’t see you walking children” comment to the judges. I thought that River Medway looked incredible during this first runway when she wore a very high fashion outfit that had an atlas used as accents on the mess outfit. I really enjoyed the colours on her runway this theme as the colours on the map, neon trims and black netting all worked well together. I personally also loved Veronica outfit for the happy campers category. To me it read as a sort of Miss Hanigan (from Annie, the musical) had gone camping and her sleeping bag had fused to her body. Despite how much I loved the design and reference, the outfit didn’t particularly fit the runway theme but still looked amazing in my opinion!

The other runway category was “Camp” which the queens had to create in the werk room out of outdoorsy equipment such as tents, blankets etc. I thought that the play of words regarding the two meanings of “camp” was very clever and did make me chuckle. This was a great challenge for the UK queens as British drag has become synonymous with the word “camp” (meaning fun and flamboyant) for a while so letting them showcase how camp they can be was a great idea. Yet again we have the werk room chats with Ru Paul where the queens are pulled aside to a table to talk with Ru about their ideas and progress. I think this is such a waste of the queens time as they have to leave their stations to go check, potentially being over some samples all for a few moments with mama Ru. However, this weeks sit down conversation had the special guest Raven also present, who was able to give the queens make-up related hints and tips. Raven appeared on Drag Race US season two and has now become Ru Paul’s officials make-up artist and so it is great to see a queen who has gone from competitor to an almost judge. This design challenge does instantly seem like yet another challenge that Crystal Versace could win, as fashion queens tend to know how to make costumes and are able to put a look together flawlessly. I was also excited to see what Charity Case would bring to the runway as she is such a wildcard that I have no idea what she would do. However before she could show off her looks, Charity delivered a very important message in the werk room about living with HIV and being undetectable (which means she cannot spread the disease.) The more people we see on TV talking about STDs the more reduced the stigma will become and so it is so important to see and hear these sorts of chats being had as it educated any of those who listen to them.

In the “Camp” category I thought that Crystal looked stunning with the outfit which to me harked back to Aquaria’s (from Drag Race US season 10) wrestler look but in black. The judges told Crystal that they want more from her as they are starting to get bored with the prettiness she always showcases but I do think that her runways have been of a much higher standard than most of the other queens in this season. Charity Case is clearly trying to showcase a different side to drag than we are all used to and continues to make statements about how all drag firms are valid. I really enjoyed her clown-inspired outfit this week as it was very bright and fun however the back did look incredibly unfinished. I understand the feature concept that she was trying to go for but it did look as if she had run out of time on the back of her costume. Despite what the judges said, I really enjoy Ella Vaday’s green neon coat with wonderful shoulder pads. However, I did think that the dress underneath was a little bit basic but the coat would have looked amazing on a different ensemble. I also liked Veronica’s rainbow butterfly outfit that she has made. She had painted her hands and face to have black dripping down these areas with added a lot of drama to the outfit. Was it the best-constructed outfit? No, but was it super bright, colourful and fun? Yes! If it was finished, I would have loved to have seen this outfit live and if she ever comes to Cardiff I hope she brings this with her. I think that Scarlett’s handmade outfit was the best that she had looked all season. She had transformed a pink and yellow tartan blanket into a wonderful floor-length gown which was absolutely amazing! Her hair and make-up matched the outfit beautifully and made her looked amazing. Having surprising slayed both the mini and maxi challenges this week, Scarlett totally deserved her win in this weeks episode!

On the bottom this week was Vanity Milan (for the second week in a row) and Veronica Green. I think that Veronica’s issue this week was the fact that she spent a lot of time in the werk room helping others and so at the end her outfit was not fully completed. This was a very good lip-sync that was full of energy and ended with Veronica losing and leaving the race! I do think that Veronica is a very talented queen and I’m so glad that she got a second chance (albeit short) to show what she can do!

***½  3.5/5

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