Rupaul’s Drag Race is showing no sign of slowing down. Hot on the, very high, heels of All Stars 6 comes the third installment of the UK version of the show and what a great start with episode 1.
First in to the Werk Room is series 2 alumni, Veronica Green, who has painted herself green to resemble a classy Wicked style look. Next in is Kitty Scott-Claus, dressed in a 50s style all pink, Doris Day meets air stewardess style outfit. The pair clearly know each other as they hug and chat.
Third into the Werk Room is relative newbie River Medway (named after the river in Kent) swiftly followed by the self-proclaimed ‘Danny Dyer of Drag’, Scarlett Harlett who seemed very excited to be there. Vanity Milan was a rainbow dream in feathers and chiffon and Ella Vaday strutted in and quickly made it clear she was a West End star. If Veronica wasn’t already green with make-up she would be when she realised she’s got competition.
Next came, my instant favourite, Choriza May. This Spanish queen came in to being when she moved to Newcastle for her favourite thing (her boyfriend’s penis!) and her entrance line of ‘Don’t hate me cos I’m beautiful, hate me cos I’m an immigrant’ was genius.
Next in was the act making herstory, Victoria Scone who is an afab (assigned female at birth) queen. Then cam Elektra Fence whose name came from a video where she touched an electric fence then fell in cow pat when shocked. Following her was Brighton queen, Anubis who was serving a nod to her Egyptian heritage with a look that deconstructed their flag and had hints of Cleopatra.
Next in was Krystal Versace who is clearly this year’s fashion queen with a body any supermodel would be jealous of. That made the entrance of Charity Kase even the more shocking as a courtier from the French Revolution who had been bitten by a vampire maybe? It’s gruesome tone made me think of Sharon Needles or Yvie Oddly; i’m excited to see what she’s going to bring to the series.
As the girls got to know each other, Kitty seemed to stand out as the queen that would be narrating the series. Ru then entered the Werk Room and set the first mini challenge – dirty charades!
Not having played this myself, it soon became clear that it was essentially charades with one word changed to a rude one. For example, ‘A Tale of of Two Titties’. As the girls competed in groups of four, each would pick out an altered film, book or song name and mime it to their group. What it ended up being was lots of queens pointing to their bums, tits or tucks! The one who seemed to struggle the most was Veronica, but to be fair to her she did have ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Bumhole’!
Ru then announced the maxi challenge which would be creating two looks; Hometown and a look inspired by their favourite things. As the queens got ready there was much chatter in the Werk Room. Ella asked Krystal if she’d had work done and she was very open in saying yes, despite only being 19 years old.
River opened up about her mum having died of covid and how she was doing Drag Race for her mum who was very supportive of her. Choriza got a bit emotional as she explained that her boyfriend had actually gotten a job in Spain so she had been really isolated herself when in lockdown. She was just so happy to be around people again and be able to hug someone. She really is a very sweet and funny queen.
As the queens took to the runway to showcase their two looks, Ru was joined on the judging panel by Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and special guest star Matt Lucas. The runway was a little bit of a mixed bag with quite a few basic looking outfits and then some amazingly camp or fashion-focused looks. The highlights for me were Victoria as a giant daffodil, Scarlett as a sophisticated pearly queen crossed with Queen Elizabeth and Krystal’s Garden of England. River had traffic cone hair and looked, well like a leprechaun, but explained she was paying tribute to a statue of Thomas Waghorn from her home town. She kept pointing, sort of freezing and then shuffling around the stage which had Rupaul in stitches; intentional or not!
For the second look, we got a glimpse of the likes of each queen, but again it was a mix of basic and great. Victoria as an afternoon tea platter and Krystal as a cat were the stand outs. Ru called out Kitty, Ella, Veronica, Vanity, Charity and Choriza and told them they were all safe.
That meant the remaining queens were the tops and bottoms of the week. Victoria, Krystal and Scarlett all received positive feedback and were the tops of the week, whereas Anubis, Elektra and River were criticised for their basic looks. As the queens retired to the Werk Room, Anubis revealed that her outfit was inspired by her father who took her to the aquarium when she was 12 and that was the last time she saw him as he died when she was 16.
After deliberation, the judges called back the tops and bottoms and in a Drag Race first, Rupaul announced that the Top two queens would have to lip sync for the win and the bottom two queens would have to lip sync to stay in the competition.
Scarlett was saved and then Victoria and Krystal were declared the top two and would have to lip-sync to Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. Where Victoria tried to add a bit of humour, using her own props that were part of her outfit, Krystal played it very seriously. In the end Rupaul picked Krystal as this week’s winner and then invited the remaining three queens back to the stage.
As River, Anubis and Elektra nervously awaited their fate, it seems that River’s odd statue pointing and shuffling was the right side of weird to save her. That meant that Anubis and Elektra would be lip syncing to stay in the competition.
The pair lip-synced to Little Mix’s ‘Sweet Melody’ with Elektra pulling out all the stops on the dancing front. Her body looked double jointed at times as she worked the runway leaving Anubis with a tough act to compete with. Ru agreed, saving Elektra and asking Anubis to sashay away.
A great start and some interesting characters, with Victoria and Krystal leading the pack and a few queens needing to up their game on the runway. Next week, the special guest is Oti Mabuse and the girls will be having to be dance instructors for Rupaul’s new Dragaton programme. It also teased how Ru puts Krystal on the spot as the winner of episode 1 to tell the other girls the truth about their first performance.
‘Rupaul’s Drag Race UK’ series 3 continues weekly, Thursday at 7pm on BBC iPlayer/BBC Three.