The inaugural season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” came to an end on Thursday with the 3 finalists queens showing which of them had the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to be crowned the UK’s first drag race superstar. The artists still in the running are Baga Chipz, Divina de Campo, and The Vivienne. In last week’s seventh episode RuPaul Charles awarded Divina with her third challenge win of the season, bringing her even with Baga and Viv who also had three of their own. Baga, however, was in the bottom two and had to lip synch for her life for the first time this season against Cheryl Hole, who sent sent home after their two strong performances on the stage.
After Cheryl’s elimination, the top three were in high spirits as finalists together, acknowledging that the three of them were the best of the competition. For Divina, feelings were especially high because she was the only one of them that hadn’t been in the bottom two all season and never had to lip sync for her life.
The next morning Ru presented the finalists with their last maxi challenge: sing and dance to a remix of his hit single “Rock It (To the Moon),” including their own new original verses and choreography. During their brainstorming sessions, the girls discussed what their biggest worries were with the challenge. For Baga it was the choreography, something she struggled with in a past challenge and for Viv it was that and the singing. Divina is strong in both areas, but that was the source of her own worry because it lessened her chances of surprising the judges.
The girls also joined Ru and Michelle Visage for a podcast session where they discussed their lives outside of drag. Up first there was Baga who opened up about tough teenage years where she lived with her grandma instead of her mom and said that comedy is her mechanism for covering up the pain of that. In her session, Divina discussed second guessing herself throughout the competition and also about how Vivienne was a sort of intimidation for her because she allowed herself to be concerned with what she thought of her as they continued to butt heads in challenges. Later, Viv told Ru and Michelle about her struggles with addiction and outlined her journey in that area and how the crown will help her in an effort to provide support for a community that is riddled with partying and drug abuse.
When it came time to learn choreography, brothers AJ Pritchard and Curtis Pritchard were on hand to teach the girls everything they knew about ballroom dancing. Each queen was given their own dance specialty: Baga worked on the tango, Divina got the cha cha cha, and Viv was given the samba. Divina had a good enough time learning the moves and nailed them pretty easily, but Baga and Viv both struggled significantly more.
For the finale presentations, Ru and Michelle were joined on the panel by Alan Carr and Graham Norton. First up was the finale performance of the song. In Baga’s section she was able to hide her inability to hit the high kicks and splits perfectly with comedy in a way that completely made sense with her personal brand. Divina was the second to be highlighted and sure enough her skill on the dance floor was readily apparent, but she still managed to leave the judges with mouths wide open for just how good she was. Closing it out, Viv proved to have equal parts of both–she was both comedic in her limitations, but also fully committed with the moves that she could execute.
After the performance the queens walked the runway for the final time in the category “Final Three Eleganza Extravaganza.” Baga strutted down in a mint green sequined gown and a blonde wig left behind by Cheryl that Ru hilariously likened to Betty White’s. Divina proudly wore a British flag dress and her signature red wig. Viv closed it out in a Barbie-esque look in a flesh tone and diamond studded gown and a big blonde wig.
In critiques, Baga was complimented for looking glamorous on the runway and while the judges acknowledged that she was clearly out of her element in the dancing challenge they really appreciated that she turned it on its head with her comedic tone. Divina earned high marks for not only having the toughest choreography, but also pushing herself to do it well. They also thought she looked stunning on the runway as well as continuing to surprise them with her unique point of view. The judges seemed high on Viv as well with Graham going as far as telling her that she was the one that sold “face” the best in the challenge and on the runway. Michelle pointed out that even when she’s not the strongest, like in the dancing, that her confidence always sells it and underscored how important that is for a drag queen.
After speaking with the judges directly about what advice they’d give their younger selves and why they believe they deserve to be crowned the winner, the final three went backstage to untuck only to find their competitors, the eliminated queens, in full regalia ready to reunite about their time on the show! Everyone agreed that the top three were deserving of their placements, but Crystal and Blu Hydrangea were the only ones that seemed a bit pressed over their own eliminations. When all was said and done though, this cast was definitely a family and they all clearly supported one another and were happy about what they each got to show for themselves in the competition.
For the crowning moment, Ru brought out the entire cast for one last look at their gowns. After the parade, Ru announced the Divina and Viv were the top two, leaving Baga in third place which as she said herself earlier was still a win for her. As the final two, Ru asked the final two to perform a final lip sync performance of “I’m Your Man” by Wham! for their last chance to impress Ru and earn the crown. In their performance both queens were well prepared and committed to the lip sync. Absent of the wig reveal and dress changes that plague the American version’s finales lately, these two gave us traditional renditions that they should both be proud of.
As always the decision was Ru’s and Ru’s alone. And after all was said and done, Ru crowned The Vivienne as the UK’s first drag race superstar! She was deemed by many as the frontrunner from the beginning and honestly never let up throughout the season. A deserved win and someone that will serve the UK drag community well!