17th Feb2022

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK vs The World 1×03’ Review

by Rhys Payne

We are only on episode three of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK vs The World and already we have had some very controversial eliminations. The first to go in this season was the icon that is Lemon whose act in the talent show, while we have seen similar acts before, showcase incredible dancing abilities and wonderful leaping splits off of a set of stairs. Next Cheryl Hole was told to sashay away after a design challenge where she was clearly not the worst in the lineup. However, recently Cheryl was doing a gig in G-A-Y London where she was joined on stage by none other than Adele (who hilariously pole danced for the audience) who then sang the praises of Cheryl and talked about how she shouldn’t have gone home this early in the competition so I suppose every cloud has a silver lining! If you haven’t seen this video of a rather tipsy Adele on stage with Cheryl Hole then you need to as it is brilliantly hilarious! I think that thus far both Jujubee and Baga chips performances have not been to the same standard as the other queens. Juju’s outfits for last weeks ball challenge (especially the Kitty Girl category) were incredibly disappointing and in fact, I think she could have been eliminated every episode as she has not shone as she did in her previous four appearances in the franchise. Baga’s handmade outfit wasn’t the best either which even had a bit of help from Pangina but what was worse than the runway was Baga’s attitude during the challenge as she napped and moaned her way through the episode!

On the other end of the competition, we have seen Jimbo emerge as a front runner in the race with a wild talent show performance and arguable one of the few outfits in last weeks episode that Ru Paul would actually wear! She has been in the top for the first two episodes of this season which has come around to haunt her. During last weeks deliberations Jimbo sat down with Jujubee and hinted at a potential partnership in the way of if I save you will you save me but at the beginning of this weeks episode, it was revealed that Jimbo had actually chosen to send Juju home if the Canadian queen had won the lip-sync. This was followed by Mo Heart (also known as Monique Heart) telling the queens how she would like to be referred to as Mo as her career is now focussed on being a much more genderless performer. I was quite confused by the fact that during the meet the queens Mo talked about wanting to be called Mo but then in the race, she was going to be Monique but this must have been to do with the filming schedule. This weeks mini-challenge was the reading challenge where the queens have to deliver comical insults to one another. The queens that I expected to do really well in this mini-challenge seemed to really struggle! Baga chips who is known for being a comedy queen and loves to entertain found it really hard to deliver the jokes and her performance was actually quite difficult to watch. Blu who is notorious for being incredibly shady on the show also seems to struggle with the set structure of the challenge! Jujubee, on the other hand, has always done excellently in the reading challenges and this one was no exception! Her reads were hilarious and the one about Baga not looking like Princess Di in her entrance look but instead, Princess Diarrhea was the childish comedy that I really enjoy! I think Juju has reading done to fine art as she yet again wins the mini-challenge which means she gets to decide the role the queens will take for the main challenge this week!

The main challenge this week was a lip-sync ru-sical (ru Paul musical) called “West End Wendy’s – the comeback” which had the queens taking on a parade of an iconic musical theatre character and performing a lip-sync song. The challenge itself was pitched as a new reality tv show where the musical legends were performing for one last chance on the stage after so many years. After the incredible production value of the super bowl challenge during all-stars six, I was so excited to see how the queens and the show would bring these iconic personalities back to life for one final performance. I personally love musical theatre and so really enjoyed Ru Pauls challenge announcement video where she managed to reference iconic musicals such as the Rocky horror picture show, Annie and wizard of Oz which was brilliant! After all the roles had been allocated Baga spent the majority of the episode complaining about how this challenge is not something she wants to do or how the role was not the one she wanted. To sort out the choreography for the performance drag race had brought in none other than the amazing Johannes Radebe who has come straight off of his successful run alongside John Whaite as a part of the first-ever same-sex couple on strictly come dancing!

The reason that Baga was so pressed during the episode was the fact that she was given the hairspray inspired performance which discusses being vegan and eco-friendly. I have to admit that I was expecting so much more From Baga as usually, she can make anything hilarious but this week she struggled. The comedy and eccentric-ness we have come to expect from Baga was totally missing from the performance which was very disappointing in my opinion. Jujubee had given herself the role of Lally Bowlez (much to the despise of Baga) who was an obvious parody of Liza Minnelli. I thought that the outfit itself comprised of a sparkly black jacket that did match the character but I thought that juju didn’t quite match the eccentric energy of Liza. Mo Heart took on the role of Dr Spank and Spurter who a parade of the iconic cross-dressing Frank N Furter from the camp classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is one of my favourite musicals so seeing it on the main stage was great and I really enjoyed the make-up influenced by the show. The performance itself was almost a reverse striptease with Mo putting on clothes as the number went on with an almost Tina Turner-esque influence. During this choreography session, Mo heart performed a flawless cartwheel (which she famously has struggled with since her first run in season ten) which was strangely moving to watch. However, this emotional moment was ripped away from us as she fell during her number and so the cartwheel was not as perfect as it was during rehearsal. The highlight of the whole show would have to be Janey Jacke who took on the role of the always perfect Meryl Streep. She dressed as Donna from Mamma Mia in adorable blue overalls and managed to capture many of the key mannerisms from the film on top of an exaggerated boastful that such a celebrated actress would receive. This was by far the most accurate and entertaining performance of the episode!

The runway theme this week was “…” which I have to say when Ru first announced it, I thought it would be some type of mystery category. Imagine if they did a mystery category and the audience had to guess the theme based on what the queens were wearing not only would that social media involvement but also would really highlight those who do not fit the theme. I thought that Jimbo’s neon green and black polka dot look made from a PVC style material was really interesting and the full stop style headpiece really tied the whole look together. I really didn’t enjoy Juju’s spotted snake outfit which, like the judges commented on, just looked like inflatable snakes on an outfit. It was extremely basic and so yet again she did not stand out amongst the other queens despite having competed five other times. I don’t think that Blue Hydrangea’s make-up skills get enough appreciation on the show as she always looks stunning on the runway. Her head to toe orange and blue (love a bit of branding!) outfit was so wonderfully fun which is really what I look for in a drag performer! Janey walked the runway with a much more simple but elegant design with massive over-the-top sleeves. Her outfit was classic yellow with black spots but done beautifully. My favourite look this week however would have to be Pangina as she walked the runway with a rainbow avant-garde look with a massive helmet/headpiece that fitted flawlessly with the look. The rainbow splashes and coloured balls made for a very energetic and fun look while still being in the high fashion remit.

It was announced that Janey and Pangina are the top two of this weeks episode with Jimbo and Juju at the bottom. This is the first time in three episodes that Jimbo has not been at the higher end of the competition and marks the second time Juju would be in the bottom (I still think she should have been in the bottom of the first episode as well!) so it was down to the top two to decide who would go home. During the lip-sync Pangina took the opportunity to showcase her whacking skills and even added a wonderful streamer! What made this performer even more camp was the fact that the queens at the back of the stage were all dancing along! Both performers did the best they could do with the song but it made total sense when Pangina was declared as this weeks winner. What didn’t make sense however was the fact that Pangina decided to send home Jimbo despite dominating the competition whereas Juju had been incredibly lacklustre so far. The elimination of Jimbo means that this season now has no Canadian queens as Lemon was eliminated two weeks ago. I was really loving Jimbo’s run so far in this season with hilarious performances and incredible looks but I suppose that’s what happens when all-stars rules are in effect!

Overall, this was a fairly disappointing episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK vs The World considering that it was based entirely in the world of musical theatre. The production value of the performances was lacking and the music was not recognisable enough to create the connection between the west end star being represented.

*** 3/5

One Response to “‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK vs The World 1×03’ Review”

  • Gale Barker

    Johannes and John were the first same-sex male couple to compete in Strictly, but there had been a previous female same-sex couple – Nicola Adam’s, the Olympic Gold medal winning boxer and Katya.