On the February 1 premiere of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs. The World,” RuPaul Charles brought together nine all-stars from the series’ many franchises to compete against each other in the ultimate contest to find the “queen of the mother-tucking world.” Hosted in the United Kingdom, the new series sets three queens from the UK franchise as hosts to six other competitors. After a talent showcase, Lemon (5th place on “Canada’s Drag Race” season 1) and Janey Jacké (2nd placeon “Drag Race Holland” season 1) fell to the bottom. In traditional All Stars rules, the top two lipsynced for the right to send one of the bottom two home. In that lipsync, host of “Drag Race Thailand” Pangina Heals defeated “Canada’s Drag Race” season 1 fourth-placer Jimbo and sent her sister Lemon packing.
Below check out our recap of episode 2 to in “Global Glamazons.” “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Versus The World” airs every Tuesday at 4pm ET / 1pm PT in the US and in select territories exclusively on WOW Presents Plus, day-and-date with its local airing on BBC3 in the UK.
After the elimination, the girls gathered to reflect on what it meant for such a fierce performer like Lemon to go out first and the tone it would set for the rest of the season. When it was revealed that Jimbo had chosen Janey’s lipstick out of her sisterhood with Lemon, Janey called it eye-opening that they’ll be playing based on alliances and not the judges’ critiques. With Monique Heart sinking in to the couch and Baga Chipz‘ jaw dropping, it appeared that the girls were shocked by Janey’s confidence that she was better than Lemon. Jimbo even pointed out that the judges came for her looks in the talent performance. Rather than diffusing the tension, Blu Hydrangea raised it by asking Jimbo point blank if she threw the lipsync in Pangina’s favor so that she wouldn’t have to make the decision. Jimbo said there’s no way she would purposefully flop in front of the judges and a Spice Girl, so of course she didn’t throw it.
The next morning, Janey wasn’t ready to drop that Jimbo had sent her home. She asked Jimbo if now that Lemon was gone if she’d still be playing by alliances or if she’d instead start judging by talent. Jimbo clarified again that she had already been judging by talent and that it truly came down to Janey’s costuming in the talent show. Monique cut a little deeper into Janey by saying that when she first came out to perform she wondered why she looked like it was her first time in drag. Janey took it well enough and said she responds well to direct criticism rather than the queens keeping it to herself and acknowledged that now she has double the pressure to prove herself.
For this week’s maxi challenge, Ru asked that the queens walk the runway in three different categories all inspired by her and appropriately called the “RuPaul Ball.” The three categories were Kitty Girl – a cat-inspired look, Butch Queen – a masculine-inspired outfit, and U Wear It Well – a dress created from scratch that Ru would want to wear herself. For the last category, Ru made it clear that she doesn’t want them impersonating her, but rather creating gowns that exhibit the style that Ru would wear.
After racing for their top fabric choices, the girls got to work on their fresh creations for the third category. Baga and Cheryl Hole were most worried about seeing a sewing challenge so early in the season, but Jimbo was excited to show off her costuming skills. Having already competed in three other seasons, Jujubee was familiar with what it takes to get through a sewing challenge, but she went down the reliable route of choosing Ru’s favorite colors for the gown to hide any imperfections that might show. Monique pressured Cheryl to get out of her head and to reconsider doing a pantsuit that would have to fit perfectly.
When Ru popped back in for a chat, she sat the UK girls down first. Baga and Cheryl both beat around the bush of their lack of sewing skills, while Blu confidently showed a drawing of a gown with a puffed sleeve that Ru liked. Monique and Juju showed Ru fabrics that she responded well to and reminded them both that she brought them back because they “have it.” To the other international queens, Ru stressed that they “don’t have to reinvent the wheel” if they aren’t comfortable with a sewing machine and to just do what they can to make it beautiful. It was the first time meeting Ru up close for Jimbo, Pangina and Janey so it was a bit of an emotional experience for them, but for an old regular like Baga it was the perfect time to take a nap on the couch. No, really, she napped with Ru still in the room.
Having watched Juju on past seasons, Blu was eager to get her perspective on how she’s managed to juggle the career and balance her life outside of drag over the years. The conversation led to Blu opening up about gender dysphoria that she’s felt before brought about by the attention that Blu the drag queen gets that is lost once she is no longer in drag. The back and forth of those feelings caused her to question her gender identity privately, but being on the show and watching the show has helped her understand the wider perspective of gender that now allows her to fall somewhere on the spectrum that isn’t one of the two binaries.
The next morning as they prepared for the runway, Pangina was offering a great deal of help to the struggling Baga in finishing and refining her dress. Though the other girls were throwing shade at Baga, Pangina wanted everyone to look beautiful and so she didn’t mind helping out. Overnight, Cheryl’s planned catsuit wasn’t up to par and so she went a different direction with a quickly-fashioned draped dress. Janey also pivoted quickly to a catsuit with a draping moment after realizing her fabric wasn’t stretchy enough to work for her original idea.
On the main stage, Ru was joined by Michelle Visage, Alan Carr and the week’s special guest Daisy May Cooper. In the Kitty Girls category, Pangina opened as a conceptual hairless Sphinx cat, followed by Janey in the second Egyptian look, Cheryl as a furry white cat in a simple catsuit, Juju in a silver mini dress with purple feathers, Jimbo as a bright red liger, Baga in a white and pink striped Dr. Seuss looking outfit, Blu in an elaborate purple space-cat suit, and Monique as Luna from the Sailor Moon anime series. For the Butch Queen category, Pangina returned as the Queen of England going hunting, Janey was inspired by “Orange Is the New Black” in a prison getup, Cheryl came out as a fiery motorbiker, Juju opened up a leather executive suit to reveal flowers underneath, Jimbo had on a black latex conceptual motorcycle look, Baga arrived as a drunken soldier, Blu did a take on a strong man from the circus, and Monique went full throttle in black pants and a jacket with a mustache. And in the final U Wear It Well category, Pangina made a poofy asymmetrical dress with black tights, Janey took it disco with a silver catsuit with a big lavender shoulder piece, Cheryl wore a short bright orange dress with a leopard print sash, Ru managed a draped lavender gown with a slit all the way up to the crotch, Jimbo made a full-sleeve sequined gown with a high slit, Baga had a simply made magenta single-shoulder dress, Blu wore a one-poofy-sleeve catsuit with a half skirt on the opposing side, and Monique closed with an asymmetrical fitted green gown.
Based on the three presentations, Ru called forward Baga and Blu as the two safe queens and left the other six on stage to hear their critiques. Michelle liked how smart her cat look was and Daisy May called her second look her favorite of the night, but the judges were less impressed by the incompleteness of her final look. Michelle thought her Kitty Girl look was her least favorite, but called her final look the one that Ru would actually wear. Ru called it “so cute and simple.” Michelle and Daisy May disagreed on Cheryl’s Kitty Girl look and despite the compliments from Daisy May, Cheryl took a lot of tough marks from the rest of the panel. Michelle told Juju to “stop it now” because it seems like she hasn’t arrived with such basic looks. Ru agreed with Michelle and noted that Juju “hasn’t arrived at the expectations” that they had for her. The judges agreed that all three of Jimbo’s looks were fun and that she does look like a cheap version of Ru (a compliment to Jimbo’s ears). The judges were over the moon about Monique’s Butch Queen look with Ru calling it “iconic.” They weren’t as high on her final look because it didn’t quite come together, but the good idea was there.
Ultimately, Ru’s decision was that Janey and Jimbo were the top two queens of the week. With positive comments, Pangina and Monique were declared safe, while Juju and Cheryl fell to the bottom. After retreating backstage, Janey and Jimbo were both proud of their placement — for Janey it was a rebound from last week’s bottom placement and for Jimbo it was a turn-around from the ball that sent her home on her original season. On the flip side, Juju agreed that she belonged in the bottom and that she could have tried harder. Blu wanted to know from Cheryl how she felt about being in the bottom despite Baga also having a rough dress and needing help to finish it.
In private conversations between the tops and bottoms, Cheryl told Jimbo and Janey both that Juju has had so many opportunities already and Cheryl deserved a second chance of her own. Jimbo wanted to know from Cheryl if she’d save her in the bottom and it sounded like music to her ears when Cheryl said yes, and then Cheryl gave Janey the same assurances later. Juju told Janey that she didn’t struggle as much in the challenge as Cheryl did and suggested that if Janey wants to beat the best then she should let Juju stay. Juju was able to articulate to Jimbo that she wants to say she beat the best if she makes it to the end and that Jimbo is someone she wants to be at the end with.
Back on stage, Jimbo and Janey took their places for a lipsync to a remix of Ru’s own “Supermodel” song. Determined to step up her performance game, Jimbo managed to stay on her feet instead of tripping over Janey. Meanwhile Janey delivered a more varied set of moves that worked really well with her fringe bodysuit. In the end, Ru decided that this week’s winner was Janey and that Jimbo was just safe yet again. Using her power as the winner, Janey pulled Cheryl’s lipstick and sent her home “based on what happened in the challenge.” On her way out, Cheryl told Juju in her ear that she “better win this time.”
NEXT WEEK: The girls star in the “West End Wendys” rusical, but Baga is upset about how the role selection goes down.
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