08th Nov2022

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK 4×07’ Review

by Rhys Payne

All the way back on Drag Race US season two (which was just over twelve years ago) Ru Paul introduced the first-ever snatch game that saw the queens showcase their best celebrity impressions in a bid to make the queen supreme laugh. Since then this challenge has become a key part of any season of Drag Race and has become a decisive challenge that instantly marks the front runners of every season. It not only takes a talented queen but also a clever choice of character in order for a queen to excel in the snatch game and I for one am not sure that I would struggle under the intense stage lights in this improvised, impersonation challenge! Last week’s episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK saw the return of this iconic challenge with two both Cheddar and Dakota doing surprisingly well (as Queen Elizabeth 1st and Pete Burns respectively) with the former showcasing one of the most powerful runway looks I have seen in a very long time! Cheddar used the neon nights category to deliver a very powerful message about HIV awareness in a unique black and pink triangle (which was linked to the symbol used in nazi Germany to identify homosexuals) outfit complete with the words “silence equals death” brazen across it. The powerful fashion statement alongside the incredible snatch game performance totally justified why Cheddar was declared as the winner of this week’s episode! When it was announced that the challenge this week would be the snatch game I was sure that Danny Beard and Pixie Polite would obviously be at the top as they are both very talented actors and the producers have been building a professional rivalry between these two queens. However, their performances as Cilla Black and Dame Shirley Bassey were fairly lacking lustre. At the very bottom of the competition, we saw Le Fil being told to sashay away after a rather unique lip-sync against Black Peppa.

It is not only the snatch game that has become a Drag Race staple but we have also seen many versions of make-over challenges. Due to the global lockdown restrictions, however, the producers of Drag Race were forced to put a hold on these challenges as it required extra people to be brought into the werk room and the queens are forced to get extremely close to the invited guests. It seems like we have managed to weather the storm that was COVID-19 and that means that these make-up challenges can finally return! The creative team working on this episode not only thought it was time for these challenges to return but also was the perfect opportunity to thank those who work behind the scenes to make sure the queens are as comfortable as possible. The remaining queens of season four were tasked with making over a selection of staff from the queen team as a way of thanking them for all their hard work behind the scenes which led to many emotional moments throughout the episode! Not only did this episode mark the return of the make-over challenge but also saw a very drastic change to the judging panel. For the first time ever in Drag Race her-story, this week’s judging panel did not contain the supermodel of the world Ru Paul herself! Instead, Michelle Visage (who looked absolutely incredible in a sparkly power suit) was left in charge of the panel with special guest judges, 80s icon Boy George and Drag Race alum Raven. What is extra fantastic about having Raven on the judging panel is the fact that it is her responsibility to personally make sure that Ru Paul looks fantastic episode as she is in charge of doing her make-up!

The first up on the runway this week was Jonber and her partner who decided to go for a clown-inspired outfit. I personally am a fan of black and white as a colour scheme and so seeing it being cleverly mirrored between the two looks also fitted with the classic ideas of clowning and the adorable drawn-on tears were also a very nice touch! While I thought that the theatrics/presentations of the looks were very entertaining, I didn’t quite fully understand why the clown elements were included which Pixie Polite actually called out later in the episodes. I think this look should have been slightly more exaggerated as some of the other looks were much more extravagant! One of my favourite concepts of the week was worn by the wonderful pairing of Pixie and her partner Trixie as they wore adorable, matching purple fairy-inspired looks! Not only were these looks both very cute and cohesive but were also an emotional tribute to Pixie’s grandmother as it was in her nan’s garden where the queen could truly relax and be herself! While I personally liked both the looks I can also appreciate how Pixie appeared to pay a lot of attention to her own look and her partner was an almost afterthought with the make-up being the biggest difference.

During the episode this week we saw Black Peppa open up about how being queer is still unaccepted in the Caribbean. She discussed the terrible treatment she experienced growing up and how she fled to find refuge in the UK where her drag career really began to take off! Both the judges and I thought that the top half of Black Peppa and her partner’s look was very exciting but everything else was fairly simple. The pairing graced the stage with an innovative braided hairstyle that certainly joined together as they walked down the runway but Peppa had also decided to design an incredibly unique make-up look that was unlike anything I have seen in a very long time! The rest of the Peppa’s look this week however was simply a plain black outfit that did not fit the over-the-top-ness we have come to expect from the club kid genre that Black Peppa was supposed to be channelling with these looks. The make-up for this look was a very controversial choice as both she and Danny were aiming for a very similar vibe which is particularly interesting as they previously delivered similar looks in the ‘Battle of the Blobbies’ during the first runway category! While talking about Danny Beard, she deserves a round of applause as her 60s-inspired looks this week not only looked amazing but were incredible on brand which is the fundamental factor of these challenges! She even managed to convince her partner to don a unique beard and moustache combination which was fantastic to see on the runway! My favourite looks of the week however would have to be Cheddar and Brie who both managed to capture the unique brand the former has become synonymous with. I really enjoyed the battling elements fire vs Earth looks were so clever with one having trousers and the other a dress but both have fun hoods. I was really surprised by how well Cheddar did with this make-over category until I remember that she rose to fame on the Channel Four TV programme Drag SOS where they make over members of the public!

The was first announced that each of the queen team guests would be awarded a Ru Peter badge as a thank-you for taking part and also the winner of the episode Cheddar was also given one! This marks the second win a week where Cheddar is the overall winner of an episode solidifying her place alongside Danny as the front runners of the season. At the bottom of the competition, this week however was Pixie Polite and Dakota Schifer which marks the third time this queen has ended up in the bottom lip-sync. Pixie delivered a very energetic and camp performance whereas Dakota brought her usual brand of model-infused to lip-sync she has become known for. Ru Paul announced that Pixie would be staying in the competition which means that sadly the first ever trans woman to appear on drag race UK Dakota must sadly sashay away!

Overall, this episode saw the exciting return of make-over challenges on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK which also celebrated the unsung heroes of Drag Race who are often forgotten about on the show. Some of the pairings had a unique interpretation of the family resemblance category with Danny and Cheddar doing uniquely branded outfits whereas the others looked great but was no instantly recognisable. The aforementioned queens continue their domination in the upper echelons of the season, with the bottom queens being fairly justified!

**** 4/5


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