‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ episode 5 recap: The queens get loud with some spicy little mixes in a girl group performance challenge

The inaugural season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” continued on Thursday with 6 queens still vying for the queendom’s newest crown. The artists still in the running are Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, Crystal, Cheryl Hole, Divina de Campo, and The Vivienne. In last week’s fourth episode (“Snatch Game”) RuPaul Charles selected Vivienne and Baga and dual challenge winners–their impersonations of Donald Trump and Margaret Thatcher are already largely considered two of the best to ever appear in “Snatch Game” from any season of the series. After falling into the bottom two for the second straight time, Sum Ting Wong was eliminated by Crystal in the weekly LSFYL.

“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 Fridays 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 5!

Following Sum Ting’s elimination the queens who remained cheered Crystal on for her successful win in the lip sync and congratulated Baga and Viv for their double win. Cheryl and Blu didn’t think they both should have won and the mood among the queens at the bottom was that the ones at the top (Baga and Viv) were getting too comfortable.

The next day Ru greeted the girls in the workroom to present this week’s challenges. For the mini challenge, Ru opened the library for “Reading Is Fundamental” and told them the one that spills the best tea about the others will win. After some, well, mediocre reads Ru declared Crystal the best at reading the room! As the mini challenge winner Crystal earned a spot as leader of one of two girls groups that would compete in this week’s maxi challenge to write, record and perform a track with musician MNEK. Crystal created a team with Cheryl and Vivienne, leaving Blu, Divina and Baga on the other.

In the recording studio, Viv lead her team (Filth Harmony) with strong vocals, but Cheryl was no slag with her rap and a sense of humor that impressed MNEK and had Viv shaking in her boots while Crystal was the weak link in the group. Later the Frock Destroyers got in the studio and immediately had MNEK laughing. Baga started the session off with a strong showing, and despite admitting to having no training as a singer Blu delivered fairly well. Then Divina completely blew MNEK’s mind when she let out a solid whistle tone verse.

During choreo rehearsal, Cheryl took the lead for Filth Harmony, but was frustrated by Crystal’s lack of talent in that area. Likewise, Crystal was frustrated by Cheryl’s impatience with her and for not understanding that dancing doesn’t come as easily for her. Over at Frock Destroyers, Divina was better at managing the skillsets of Baga and Blu who were receiving her guidance easily.

The next day as the groups got ready for their performances backstage the queens swapped stories about their time in school and the different ways that they experienced bullying. For Divina, the oldest in the group, that time was especially hard since it took place during the Margaret Thatcher-enacted Section 28 which forbid “the promotion of sexuality” while it was in action between 1988 and 2000. In terms of school, that meant that teachers couldn’t even speak about homosexuality which meant stopping kids from bullying others for being gay was difficult, if not impossible, for them to do. For the queens, the artistry of drag is like a saving grace in that, as Crystal put it, it gives them a chance to counter all of the bullying and insecurities that stem from their childhood.

Joining Ru on the judging panel this week was mainstay Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and guest judge Jade Thirlwall from girl group Little Mix. The panel watched the two girl groups debut their farewell songs and then walk the runway in “A Day at the Races” realness. During the performances the judges’ faces pretty much said it all–for Filth Harmony we saw a lot of blank stares and for Frock Destroyers it was like they couldn’t stop laughing. It was also nice to see the Frock Destroyers put together three ensembles that looked appropriate together (all black) compared to the mismatchiness of Crystal’s team.

On the runway, Viv kicked it off with a chic bronze ensemble and a flawlessly painted face. Cheryl’s “purple eleganza” looked cheap while Crystal’s floral head-to-toe jumpsuit and huge hat won Jade over immediately. Baga went the comedic route again with a cute yellow short dress and huge daffodil afro-wig, Blu went double literal with a blue horse on her head and Divina wrapped it up in a well-tailored and campy jockey outfit.

In their critiques, the judges clocked Viv for a horrible lip sync to their song. Graham told Viv that the amazing presence she displayed in past challenges completely disappeared this week and Ru qualified that at this point in the competition one misstep can really stand out. In the Filth Harmony group the panel singled out Cheryl as the stand out which made her emotional to hear given her devotion to girl groups and after being in the bottom so often already this season. Crystal was told that she had a hard task as the bad girl in the group and then didn’t live up to expectations. As for the Frock Destroyers, the judges clearly liked them better as a group and acknowledged that they all worked together to meet their vision. Baga earned high marks for her runway and for her solo in the group performance. Like Cheryl, Blu was praised for stepping further out of her shell and exceeding expectations in their performance. Then Michelle told Divina that she loved her verse the most and Graham said that her runway was the most beautifully finished.

While untucking backstage, Viv and Crystal both got emotional knowing that they’d been singled out by the judges as the weakest of the week. It was a bit of a shock for Viv who has been on top for so long that to have a poor performance was a wake up call for her. Crystal knew that this would be the second time in a row to lip sync for her life and questioned whether the hard work she was putting in was amounting to enough to stay in the competition.

After deliberation, Ru and the panel selected all three members of Frock Destroyers as the challenge winners–that means Divina, Blu and Baga all earned a badge! And though she wasn’t on the winning team, they also thought Cheryl was good enough to stay, leaving Vivienne and Crystal in the bottom to lip sync for their lives. In their performance to “Power” by Little Mix both girls revved up their engines and gave committed renditions. Viv had way more verve though while Crystal stayed mostly put with static movements and a rather sloppy wig reveal. After her second trip to the bottom the time had come for Crystal to sashay away which meant that Vivienne received the shantay to stay.

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