05th Mar2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK 2×08’ Review

by Rhys Payne

So last week the queens had to create an outfit from household items to transform themselves into lockdown (s)hero’s and I enjoyed that the show referenced the global situation, as everyone knows about it and is thinking about it. We saw A’whora shine as she crafted an incredibly impactful and dramatic outfit that served as her homage to the NHS but also saw the elimination of Sister Sister. In the bottom was obviously Sister Sister but also Tayce with her scrubber dress that was stunning from the waist up but below the waist was disappointing. This was the episode that Tayce had to bounce back if she had any hope of going into the top four and let me tell you the cards were most definitely stacked against her…

Many people feared that when it was originally announced that Ru Paul’s Drag Race would be doing a UK season, that the show would be too Americanised but they couldn’t have been more wrong! To me, they are two very different shows that reflect the type of drag they were showcasing. I recently watched an episode of Fashion Photo Review (hosted by Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK season 1 winner The Vivienne and US season 3 winner Raja) where they talked about how it looked like Ru was living her best life on this show. She would never have entered the American werk-room dressed the way she has done this season but also the UK show seems a lot more fun and real which is great. Drag Race UK also seems to carefully think about its challenges for a more cohesive viewing experience for its audience. The main challenge this week was to perform a stand-up comedy routine which was workshopped in front of Alan Car and performed in front of Dawn French (both of which are talented stand-up performers) and this just made sense which I love! Dawn French provided very professional and constructive feedback to the queens to improve their performances… if they even decide to do this style of comedy again! I did find myself thing thought out however, won’t Dawn find Ru Paul’s exit line “Can I get an Amen?” a bit close to the bone due to her stint as The Vicar of Dibley.

The mini-challenge this week was to perform in the masc for masc(Ed) singer which is a clear reference to the new TV show craze The Masked Singer. For those who are not aware, masc for masc is a term used on dating apps to describe a manly gay man looking for another ‘straight’ acting guy. I appreciate the clever reference and joke her and the challenge itself was absolute chaos. For this task, the queens have to dress up as manly as they could and perform a manly rendition of Ru Paul’s song Kitty Girl. I thought that Lawerence Chaney was incredible in this challenge as she had me laughing through it. She had dressed up as ‘THAT’ older guy you would see in a pub-based karaoke evening who just gets a little TOO into the performance, which I thought was brilliant! However, Ellie Diamond was crowned the winner of the mini-challenge and so got to decide the order in which the queens had to perform – which caused loads of drama. Before we get into that, however, I would just like to say that I do believe that people are overlooking Ellie Diamond. She is only 21 and does everything for her drag herself (including making her costumes, designing hair etc) and always looks incredible so that deserves a lot of credit. Anyway, the main challenge this week had the queens writing and performing an original stand up routine, which they had to perform live … in front of an empty audience (due to the current global situation!) I have never realised how much of a difference the live audience makes to the queens and so all of them should be proud that they were able to perform this well in front of an empty room! As always, the queens were given an opportunity to practise their acts in front of Alan Car but I am always uncertain when queens do well in these rehearsals, as it usually means the actual performance will not go very well. Bimini did very well in her practise so I was very concerned that she would flop in the actual performance but [spoiler alert] she didn’t!

Like I said earlier, the cards were very much stacked up against Tayce, due to the fact she was just coming off of being in the bottom two last week; she is not experienced with comedy and Ellie Diamond made her perform as the closing act. However, Tayce managed to do fairly well as she delivered jokes about her love of beans on toast! This week she talked about beans of toast, in the lockdown special she talked about Pot Noodle sandwiches – she is a queen after the people’s heart and represents Welsh culture very well! It’s not just food that Tayce was talking about this week, she also delivered a very important discussion around STI and sexual health. This led to a heartbreaking conversation between herself and Lawerence were they talked about how they both suffer with self-esteem issues. Tayce was deemed by her peers as the “trade” of the season but yet she still feels conscious about herself. It’s SO important for the viewers to see someone, who is known for being gorgeous, talk about how they feel about their bodies – as it’s not just one type of person who can experience self-esteem issues but everyone!

The comedy routines were performed in front of an empty “audience” fileld with inanimate objects such as mannequins which I found very funny. I have to say that A’whora looked stunning during her performance – where she wore an incredible tight body gown that was amazing to look at. Ellie Diamonds act in this challenge was so ridiculously chaotic but had me howling throughout. She had created this demonic alter ego called “Dirty Diamond” that had a very funny and very scary voice. Now, like I said earlier, Bimini did well in the run through and she did fairly well in the challenge. She looked amazing in a black and white outfit and also delivered a very clever joke that referenced The Vicar of Dibley, which Dawn French is famous for starring in. This was Lawerence Chaney challenge to win but yet again she did not. Don’t get me wrong she did well and I particularly loved her describing her outfit and then turning around and saying “Big and poofy was my nickname in school” anyway who knows me, knows that this is my type of comedy!

The runway theme this week was ‘stoned on the runway’. Bimini continues to be a queen who is very fashion-forward but also brings her own unique and creative perspective. This week she wore a blazer jacket that was covered in jewelled spots that continued onto her face, which was incredible. This different interpretation of the challenges are incredible to look at but also help her to truly stand out against these other queens. A’whora again looked incredible as she was dripping with diamonds when she walked the runway with a jewelled IV ‘drip’ which I thought was a nice bit of comedy. Lawerence Chaney was gorgeous this week as she wore this alien pink bodysuit which looked like it had crystals growing out for her and especially from her head. This had to be one of Lawerence best looks in my opinion! After all the drama around the order Ellie had chosen had been discussed, I was sure that we would have had Ellie in the bottom against either A’whora or Lawerence as they were the queens who expressed an explosive amount of anger toward Ellie’s strategy. However, I was wrong…

Bimini was declared the winner this week (with Lawerence not winning her second comedy challenge) with Tayce and A’whora in the bottom. This was particularly interesting as this was Tayce’s third time in the bottom and had to lip-sync last week. Additionally, it was revealed that Tayce and A’whora have had some ‘history’ together and now live in the same house. This was drama! Move over Tia Kofi as Tayce has now been crowned as the lip-sync assassin of Drag Race UK season 2 as she has won three lip-syncs and so A’whora must leave the competition! I thought last week was going to be a turning point for A’whora after her insane NHS inspired outfit but alas what’s in the past does affect the next episode. We are now down to the final four which means next weeks mini-challenge will involve puppets and this is my favourite reoccurring challenge in the entire show!

This episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK delivered drama by the bucket load with a shady order and a lip-sync between two very ‘close’ friends. I am eager to see how the drama unfolds next week as Ellie, who had manipulated the order, was just safe and I am sure Lawrence is going to have something to say about it! There were also some hilarious moments in this comedy challenge with a judging panel that made perfect sense.

**** 4/5

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