The inaugural season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” is under way with 8 queens still vying for the kingdom’s newest crown. The queens still in the running are Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, Crystal, Cheryl Hole, Divina de Campo, Sum Ting Wong, The Vivienne, and Vinegar Strokes. In last week’s second episode (“Downton Draggy”) RuPaul Charles selected Baga as the challenge winner, recognizing her comedy chops as superior to her teammates Vivienne, Vinegar and Sum Ting. After failing to lead her team to success and facing off against Blu in a lip sync for her life, Scaredy was the second queen eliminated.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” airs every Thursday on the BBC Three section of BBC iPlayer in the UK. The series is also made available day-and-date in the US and other territories via WOW Presents Plus at 3 pm ET and on Logo at 8 pm ET/PT. After you check out the episode for yourself, be sure to read our own analysis of the show in our weekly recaps. Below is our take on episode 3!
Following Scaredy’s elimination the queens gathered to say goodbye and reflect on their own performances in the previous challenge. Blu was inspired by her placement in the bottom and successfully landing the lip sync, ready to take that energy forward and find new life in the game. Elsewhere Cheryl was concerned with how two of her close friends on the show felt like she wasn’t showing her real self, but she was also determined to lot let it get her down.
The next day Ru greeted the group with a lesson in versatility and fashion. For the mini challenge he asked the queens to “dance around the May pole” in “genteel English rose” quick drag and the most entertaining pole dancer would win. Hilariously Baga did not understand the assignment and dressed somewhere between a librarian and a secretary (small difference!) while the rest were accurately dressed in more Spring attire. Based on her multiple death drops Ru selected Cheryl as the winner, to the chagrin of all her competitors.
Then Ru introduced the week’s main challenge with the help of U.S. all star Raven who arrived on the hood of a car full of “rubbish.” That was the basis for the challenge: Ru-purpose the junk in the car for a high fashion look to wear down the runway. As the mini challenge winner Cheryl got a 15 second head start on collecting what she wanted from the car.
After collecting their goods the queens set out in the first design challenge of their season. For Crystal and Blu the path forward wasn’t too daunting considering they had some design experience already. For Sum Ting, Vinegar and Crystal it was a much scarier task. In fact, Vinegar’s plan was to… bear with me here… take inspiration from a… toothbrush… and to put a… toilet seat… on her face. My reaction to that was a bit more exaggerated that Vivienne’s and Vivienne counseled her against it big time!
During check-ins with Ru wanted to know from Cheryl how it feels to have been in the bottom of the pack for the first two challenges. Though she was feeling down about it Cheryl was confident that she could turn things around and put her best foot forward. And with Vinegar Ru threw it all out there telling her that her design aesthetic so far would be considered “hodge podge.” It wasn’t a compliment, but Vinegar agreed and stressed that she likes to have a sense of humor behind her drag. Ok, fair!
As the designs started coming along Vinegar was really struggling. At one point she tried on her in-progress creation and everyone agreed the orange cape looked more like a hamburger bun. But as she told the other girls she was ready to embrace the “hodge podge couture” and was taking everything in stride rather than letting it get her down.
While applying makeup Blu and Divina shared opinions on the current state of drag. As one of the older queens, Divina pointed out that so many people want to be drag queens these days, but that it’s important to remember that you have to put in the work to actually call yourself one. You can’t just throw something on and perform once–you have to know how to perform, know how to turn a look and especially these days you have to be somewhat polished. Not exactly related, but kind of related: Divina noticed that Vivienne and Baga had developed a bond with one another, shared by their wins in the competition thus far. The area they got ready, “Confidence Corner,” was becoming a clique spot with Crystal and from Divina’s POV the three queens bring a lot to the show, but they don’t bring everything and certainly don’t bring what some of the other girls bring. And, well, that’s tea!
On the mainstage Ru was joined by Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and special guest and fashion icon Dame Twiggy! On the runway Divina’s red, white and blue look was made from bags and an umbrella and inspired by David Bowie and McQueen. Baga made a bronze dress made from wire sponges, Blu fashioned a pink and yellow super villain look made from car interior and table cloths, and Sum Ting managed to created an 80s business woman suit with a little sex appeal (she revealed a bare chest). The Vivienne went dramatic with black videotape tasseled into a dress and wore a big white wig, Vinegar glued a bunch of dictionary pages into a skirt and jacket, Cheryl had a cute dress made from yellow dishwashing gloves and then Crystal finished the show with a neoclassical corset with a hip pad skirt.
Based on their looks the judges declared Baga and Blu safe for the week, falling in the middle of the pack. That left the other six on stage to hear critiques. Michelle told Divina that she’s very proud of her “avant garde and form fitting” outfit and Twiggy complimented her on the great tailoring. Sum Ting got tough remarks about her sloppy execution, but they appreciated the idea and the work involved. Vivienne found herself in the top again for finding a way to turn a generic idea into something unique and well-constructed. Once again Vinegar was on the bottom and Michelle gave it to her rough (“messy”) and Twiggy was disappointed that it’s obvious what she made the garment from. Cheryl also fell to the bottom again, but Graham was at least proud of her for selling the outfit with confidence. Then on the top was Crystal for her well polished look and the judges even liked how she did a contour on her chest while keeping the chest hair.
Backstage things got heated between Vivienne and Sum Ting when Viv read Sum for filth over being proud of something that everyone else had warned her wasn’t going to work for the judges. Fair point, sure, but as Sum Ting pointed out she was happy with it and would proudly go home in it and that’s all that matters. Sum Ting was further bothered by Vivienne’s over-confidence and how she brags in front of the rest of the cast in such a catty way.
After deliberating, Divina’s high fashion look was declared the winner! That left Crystal and Vivienne as the runners-up and safe from elimination. Of the three queens in the bottom, Vinegar and Sum Ting were the worst and so they were set to lip sync for their lives. The two queens performed “Would I Lie to You?” by Eurythmics, breathing the mid tempo song with a ton of life and energy. Sum Ting played the sexy part and slowly stripped away her garment while Vinegar slipped across the stage and then tore away the pages of her garment in fits. In the end it was Sum Ting that received the “shantay” to stay which meant that we said goodbye to Vinegar Strokes.