Last week on “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” the Ru girls from across the pond brought the West End to the runway in “Rats: The Musical.” Trained singer Veronica Green wowed the judges with her live vocals and was named the challenge winner. The underperformers of the week were Cherry Valentine and Tayce who faced off in an emotional lip sync to “Memory,” but only Tayce was able to tap into what the judges were looking for and was saved from elimination.
RuPaul Charles is back again to host the UK series alongside her longtime friend and collaborator Michelle Visage. They’re joined on the panel by entertainment legends Alan Carr and Graham Norton, as well as a collection of guest judges throughout the season. Read below for our recap of episode 3:
As is custom, the girls gathered in the werk room for a post-elimination goss sesh about the events of the week. The temperature of the room was supportive of Veronica who felt that without standing up for herself and the role she wanted in the challenge she may not have excelled. After being called a “triple threat” by guest judge Sheridan Smith, Veronica was now being seen by the other queens as stiff competition.
The next day the girls’ cheeriness was cut short once Ru arrived to deliver the news that their next challenge would be fashion-focused. For “basic” queens like Tia Kofi it was surely bad news, but A’Whora was begging for the chance to flex one of her own strengths in the competition. But in a bit of reprieve from what was to come, the queens limbo’d for their life in a mini challenge. In their best carnival quick drag, each girl walked the limbo line to the sounds of guest DJ Jodie Harsh. Eventually the bar was lowered to a height that only Tayce and Veronica could master, but in a certain kind of karmic answer to last week’s results the most recent winner and lip syncher finished in a tie!
In preparation for this week’s challenge Ru asked the queens to pair up with their closest friend in the competition. The selection resulted in the following pairs: Sister Sister and Ginny Lemon, Veronica and Tia, Tayce and A’Whora, Asttina Mandella and Bimini Bon-Boulash, and Lawrence Cheney and Ellie Diamond. In their pairs, Ru surprised them by pitting them against one another in a “Who Wore It Best?” head-to-head. Each pair would be given color-themed boxes with identical materials, tasked with having to create a look from scratch that would top the one of their partner. As winners of the mini challenge, Veronica and Tayce earned the right to assign the boxes to the pairs. Veronica chose green for herself and Tia, Tayce chose black for herself and A’Whora, Veronica chose pink for Ginny and Sister, Tayce chose blue for Asttina and Bimini, which left Lawrence and Ellie with gold.
A’Whora was highest in spirits as the queens opened up their boxes, knowing that her training in fashion school would help her this week, but that worried her pair Tayce who admitted to having no skills whatsoever in garment construction. Tia was disappointed with Veronica’s choice of green for themselves, recalling that Michelle is not one to appreciate the color when it’s presented on the runway. Despite being against Lawrence, a self-proclaimed sewer since the age of 10, Ellie was feeling confident in her ability to earn the win.
In check-ins with the queens, Ru stopped by Ginny and Sister’s station to find that they were both planning retro-inspired looks. Ru asked Ginny why she avoids sex appeal in her fashion choices, presenting Ginny with a challenge to the aesthetic she’s built for herself but encouraging her to finally step outside of her comfort zone. With the two Scottish queens paired up, Ru wanted to know what drag culture in Scotland is like and Ellie pointed out that there’s not a lot of money in the country and so the fees that queens command for their shows there isn’t high. In a way that’s required them to be more creative, especially with their costuming which they both are capable of making for themselves.
Ru was also interested in knowing from Tia how she planned to overcome the stigma of being voted Baroness Basic by the other girls last week. As always, Tia took it with good humor and said that it just gives her the opportunity to get more creative with her ideas, though she’d be hamstrung by the fact that she can’t sew. Fully confident in her abilities, A’Whora told Ru she’s planning a catsuit, but really all Ru was interested in was the sexual tension between her and Tayce that Lawrence spilled.
Before leaving the werk room, Ru made it clear that after their runway presentations each pair would be divided into a winner and one up for elimination. The news sent Veronica spiraling because it meant she was going against her best friend in the competition and could possibly be a factor in sending Tia home.
While working on their garments, Sister and Ginny discussed color theory for a bit. Ginny said that the reason she uses yellow so often is because it’s a color of healing and also the gender non-binary color. Ginny then opened up about struggling to identify with her own gender her whole life and how yellow has allowed her to not have to define that for anyone else. She found camaraderie in that with Bimini who also identifies as non-binary and explained that the feelings associated with being non-binary is not new, but the dialogue around it certainly is and when people like Ginny grow up in communities where gender roles are so clearly defined and adhered to that it can be incredibly difficult to find self-acceptance.
Elsewhere, A’Whora followed through with her promise to help Tayce out despite being pitted against her. When Tayce realized she took such a long time to sew one sleeve and that she’d sewn it all together, A’Whora helped her sort it out. Meanwhile, Veronica was really concerned for Tia who by this time was deciding to switch up her entire concept at the last minute.
The next day on the runway, Ru was joined by Michelle, Graham and this week’s guest judge Jourdan Dunn. First to walk was Tayce in a black beetle inspired short dress that was held together quite well by pins. Her competition, A’Whora, walked in what she called a combination of Mae West and Diana Ross with sequins, puffball sleeves and a big blonde wig. Ginny was next, pads and all, in a hot pink slip dress and signature yellow tights that made her feel more of a “sex pot.” Sister went playful in a ruched pant and ruched sleeve shirt with her face painted oddly blue. Veronica managed to create a green gown that showed off her body while Tia went sweetheart with a circle skirt and simple top. Asttina was inspired by anime cartoon girls for another cute look, but her pair Bimini was more high fashion in a lace deep blue dress that was vampy and fitted. In a gold body suit was Ellie loosely inspired by Marie Antoinette and Lawrence followed to close the show in a sleek dress fitted for a “40 year old mother.”
Based on their pairings, Ru announced the five tops: A’Whora, Sister, Veronica, Bimini, and Lawrence. Of that group, Ru also declared only one of them the best of the best and that was Lawrence, much to A’Whora’s chagrin. That left the other five on stage to hear critiques from the judges. Tayce actually impressed the judges, but was dinged slightly by Michelle for wearing a wig too similar to the one she wore in her dragon look a few weeks ago. On the flip side, Michelle loved that Ginny brought herself into the challenge that Ru had put at her feet. While the judges were not impressed by Tia’s look, her humor and embracing of her identity was clearly well-received and caused Jourdan to tell her that all she needs to do is “step into [her] light” in order to go to the next level. Asttina completely underwhelmed the judges with how simple her look was, leaving her legs to be the focus of the story. Michelle liked Ellie’s look and thought she was one of the best overall, but was slightly edged out by the challenge winner.
Backstage, Lawrence said upfront that A’Whora was the one she expected to win. A’Whora was shook by the loss because she had set herself up with the expectation of winning because of her experience, leaving Veronica to suggest that maybe she gave Tayce too much attention during the process. Those feelings may have propelled her statements about how boring she finds Tia, calling her desperate when she tries to cover up her looks with jokes. When the other girls arrived, Tia was still in tears knowing that she’s been getting in her own way and that there’s more she can do. Thankfully, the other girls refrained from bringing up A’Whora’s statements, avoiding inciting more drama for Tia.
After further deliberation, Ru decided that Tayce and Ellie were both clearly safe. Of the remaining three, only one could be spared from the lip sync and that was Ginny. Tia and Asttina remained on stage to battle it out to Dua Lipa‘s “Don’t Start Now.” After declaring earlier in the night that anyone that goes against her in a lip sync should be nervous, Asttina unveiled a strong performance but with fewer tricks or iconic moves than she led us to believe. On the other side of the stage, Tia brought comedic elements into the song and seemed to be garnering more attention from the judges than Asttina. In a total shock to the rest of the girls, Ru decided to give Tia the shantay and asked Asttina to sashay away.
NEXT WEEK: The girls stretch their comedic and improv muscles in a morning news show spoof challenge.
You can catch RPDR UK each Thursday at 11am PT / 2pm ET on WOW Presents Plus in the US and select territories worldwide, day-and-date with its airing on BBCiPlayer in the UK. This season is paired with the 13th season of the US version which unveils a new episode each Friday night at 8 pm ET on VH1.
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