05th Nov2021

‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK 3×07’ Review

by Rhys Payne

I have to admit that I am disappointed in Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK! They had just got over the run of rather lacklustre episodes with a pretty good snatch game episode and they thought that this would be the perfect time to try a radical new challenge. So far the more experimental challenges (such as the Drag-a-ton dance episode) have been very poorly performing with the more familiar challenges like the aforementioned snatch game being fairly good. If I was in charge of the show, I would have noticed this and tried to include more challenges that the fans know and love as these seem to be the more successful episodes. I think as a community we are all collectively getting over the double elimination of River Medway and Choriza May in last weeks episode as it seemed to come out of nowhere. Their snatch game performances as TOWIE’s Amy Childs and singer Margarita Pracatan respectively were not necessarily bad. I thought that Scarlett Harlett and Crystal Versace’s performances were worse than the two queens who ended up in the bottom. Now, in the lip-sync it was incredibly messy and was not as good as it should have been but I do think the song itself did limit the performers. This double-elimination meant that we are now down to the top five! At the other end of the competition, we have Ella Vedey who really shone in the episode and actually walked away with her first solo win of the season. Ella’s performance as the sensual Nigella Lawson was incredibly funny and, in all honesty, I did not expect this from Ella. I sort of understood what Scarlett was trying to say at the beginning of this week episode where she talked about how she did not expect Ella to be that funny but the way it was phrased was very problematic. It appeared to show Scarlett stating that she thought Ella was not funny at all which is uncalled for especially after Ella had just won the iconic improvised comedy challenge that appears in every season of Drag Race! Ella also always manages to have the most perfect padding when she walks the runway, which helps to give her an incredible silhouette every time.

On this weeks episode, there was no mini-challenge just a very strange pageant sort of game show. The queens were going to walk the runway in three separate categories but they would only find out the themes of the runways just before they enter the category. I thought that the overarching theme of the pageant did become somewhat muddled as the episode progressed. It was billed as the ‘FUGLY’ ball which many people would assume stands for f***ing ugly but Ru Paul explained that for this challenge it stood for Friend you got to love yourself. I think that this idea of being ‘ugly’ is not only problematic but also in all honesty is not what people tune into Drag Race to see. To add extra pressure each section of the challenge was timed (which we as the audience could see in the bottom corner of our screens), which is something we have never seen before in any Drag Race franchise. The structure of the episode was also very unique with Ru Paul’s classic call out and chat with the judges happening towards the beginning of the episode, with each runway category getting its own section of the episode. The first category that was revealed to the queens was FUGLY swimwear where they had 69 minutes to put on their swimming outfits for the runway. I do think that this episode really worked hard to rebuild the reputation of Crystal Versace after it was destroyed in episode two of this season. After her comments towards Victoria Scone, many people have labelled Crystal as horrible and self-centred but in this episode she was shown as being the complete opposite. What I really enjoyed was the fact that Crystal talked about being a virgin despite her drag being known for being extremely sexy and fierce. This raises a very important issue about not judging a book by its cover and how what people wear should have no effect on the way you treat them! I thought that Kitty Scott Clause really lived up to her theatrical and camp persona when she walked the runway in a wonderfully over-the-top swimwear outfit, which was very largely breasted with the biggest hair I have seen in a while! Kitty not only looked extremely fun but also performed as a character the entire time on the runway which really added to the presentation of the outfit. I also really liked Scarlett’s Cat swimsuit and in my opinion, what she wore in this category was one of the best looks we have seen from her this entire season!

The second category that the queens had to walk the runway in was “Charity Shop Couture” which had the queens rummaging through second-hand clothes to use at least five items put together a runway-ready look. For this section of the episode, we were treated to a guest cameo by British charity shop icon ‘Charity Shop Sue’ which made total sense! However, I think Ella summarised this appearance best when she said that Sue is supposed to be there to help but instead she is simply getting in the way and I think that it became totally dominated by Sue, where realistically we all tune into each episode to hear from the queens. What added a bit of extra spicy-ness was the fact that in last weeks Snatch Game episode, Crystal had performed as Charity Shop Sue with mixed responses! I thought that this section of the episode was not set up like a reality TV show challenge but rather what you would simply see in a local charity shop. There was very little crafting/sewing with the queens simply grabbing stuff off the rack (which famously Joe Black was berated for last season!) and I just thought it was disappointing. The judges commented if the fact that Crystal’s look was fairly basic which I have to agree about but she still looked absolutely incredible! I think every viewer is slightly jealous by the fact that Crystal can look that good despite the basic charity shop clothes she had used. I thought that Vanity Milan shone on this runway, where she wore and gorgeous orange sparkly dress with a short blonde wig which just worked perfectly together.

The final runway category was revealed as FUGLY but make fashionable which to me personally is a contradiction but I am by no means a fashion expert. Like the previous challenge the queens had to de-drag and then re-drag for the runway but this time they only had thirty minutes to do so! Again I thought that Vanity looked amazing in her wedding dress made entirely of a black puffer jacket type material. I enjoyed Kitty’s “crazy cat lady” inspired look that even had a knitted waistcoat reveal as a part of it. However it was Crystal that really captured the category with her wonderfully over-the-top, vibrant monster look, which was so different from what we have come to expect from her. Usually, we expect her to be showing off her body but this outfit was extremely camp and gave off Aquaria (winner of season 10) vibes! What I loved about this category was the fact that the queens were asked “apart from your own, whose outfit do you like the best?” Which was a lovely spin on the dreaded question which caused Scarlett to have a meltdown a few episodes ago! This more positive question helped to build the queens up which I personally would much rather see than them being put down!

It was announced that Kitty Scott Clause is the winner of this weeks episode which means she finally gets her much-overdue Ru Peter badge. On the other end of this episode was Scarlett and Vanity who had to lip-sync to see who would leave the competition. What I really want to know is why it has taken us this long to find out that Vanity Milan is an incredible performer! In the opening moments, she revealed a gorgeous black and gold outfit and gave us splits and amazing choreography throughout. She danced literal circles around Scarlett and so it was no surprise when it was announced that Vanity would be staying and Scarlett would be going home. I do think that Scarlett did lose it a bit towards the end of her time on the show with her meltdown, aggressive reading challenge and trying to start unnecessary drama in this weeks episode! However, she is a very funny queen who has showcased some beautiful looks on the runway, so it is a shame to see her go home but it does mean that we are now down to the top four ready for next weeks acting challenge!

Overall, this episode tried to do something never seen on Drag Race before and it did fall a bit flat. I think that the ball format always works so well every season so I am unsure why the creative team on this show though that they should add a timer, no design challenge and a confusing title to create a cheesy game show feel to the episode. Last week saving grace of Snatch Game broke the run of disappointing episodes and I have to admit that we are in danger of falling back into that trap of disappointment yet again!

*** 3/5


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