RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is back to rule Britannia with episode one showing our girls are more than a match for their US counterparts.
As season 13 rages on over in the States, the British brought the glamour, the glitter and a hell of a lot of camp to try and impress RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and this week’s extra special guest judge, Liz Hurley.
And they absolutely smashed it, giving one of the strongest opening episodes in the entire franchise.
Thrown in the deep end with a Wimbled-hun theme photo challenge with balls flying at their face, the 12 new queens then hit the runway with two looks – celebrating gay icons of Britain, and then a hometown homage.
As you can imagine, some were more successful than others, with shock decisions from the judges and fiery egos promising one hell of a series to come.
So, who stood out for us, and who failed to leave a mark after the first episode?Here are our thoughts – from top to bottom.
From episode one, it seems like Asttina Mandella is the one to beat – and she’s already making some enemies over it.
But like she said: ‘People find me intimidating, but that’s not my fault.’
Even stomping a runway in a jacket straight from Asos (which is not a sackable offence girls, you work with what you can get), Asttina knows herself and has confidence in it.
She seems like she could be a cracking role model for young and upcoming queens, and moreso seems to want to be that role model, especially for queens of colour.
Throw in a killer sense of humour and we’re loving her.
In our notes about Tayce from this episode, we simply wrote: ‘Yessss Naomi Campbell realness’.
She really did show up ready to fight for this crown and we were addicted to it.
Fashion from the second she walked in, this Welsh queen had a sassy confessional, beautiful looks and some great quips.
Let’s hope she lives up to her own hype going forward.
Ginny Lemon is a queen that knows her brand – but ‘fancy a slice?’ was used at least three times within her walking into the work room, so we’re kind of hoping we never hear it again.
It’ll make some great merch though, we’re sure.
It’s hard not to love anyone who brands themselves ‘a hybrid of Grace Jones and Su Pollard’ – and even more so when that is a pretty accurate representation of their look.
We didn’t see too much interaction between her and the others, though we had to cheer her on a little when she defended Asttina as ‘pure talent’ to A’Whorea amid ‘jacketgate’.
Her Kate Bush was iconic and that orange Worcester sauce-esque outfit to represent her West Midlands heritage made us crack up laughing.
We’re seriously intrigued to see what’s coming next.
In every season of Drag Race, a sassy confessionals commentator tends to rise above the pack – and we have our money that this year it’s going to be Tia.
Quirky and a bit weird, Tia had us at ‘I was nearly called Tamera Boutros Boutros-Ghali but it didn’t have the same ring to it’.
Self-aware and stylish, Tia seems to be embracing the fun of the experience, not taking herself too seriously and taking us all along for the ride.
While she looked fabulous, we didn’t quite see the Alan Turing in her cipher-inspired outfit, but she gave legs for days in her Robin Hood get up. We like her a lot.
Cherry Valentine had a bit of a smashing entrance – and stole our hearts a little as she crashed her headpiece into the door frame, getting knocked sideways in the process.
At 26, she has possibly the most addictive laugh you’ve ever heard on a human being, and seems to be an interesting character both in and out of drag.
(I mean… a mental health nurse with a botox side hustle and a drag queen night job? We’re kind of living for it.)
While her Freddie Mercury ‘I Want To Break Free’ homage was cute, if a little ‘done a million times before’, it was her steampunk switch up to celebrate Darlington that really proved she had an eye for detail.
We need her to keep up that energy.
We are throwing it out there right now – Joe Black did not deserve to be in the bottom two, and did not deserve the judges’ criticism.
It might be because she is so established that she’s held to a higher standard, but her looks were fab, and Joe deserved more than her bottom two placement.
Giving her spin on David Bowie for the icon look may not have read to Michelle, but it read to us – and certainly worked more clearly than, say, Tia’s Turing outfit (which was great, but was inspired by Turing rather than being Turing).
And yes, OK we get the point that the Brighton pavilion could’ve been executed better, or done in white instead of gold. But again there were other queens that did not represent their city half as clearly, Veronica by her own admission, so it’s a bit baffling that Joe was the one taken down for it.
In the confessionals, Joe had a fabulously infectious energy we were obsessed with, and we wanted to see more of.
Justice for Joe Black.
Lawrence Chaney was a full on rollercoaster throughout the episode, and as a result she took up a good chunk of the airtime.
The first queen to enter the workroom, she lost us a bit with her shady comments that didn’t quite land in the ‘fun’ zone, and her bolshy personality seemed a bit much – like Eureka in the US season nine, before she mellowed out a little for season 10.
But then she had these vulnerable moments about being afraid to take off her make up, some comedy moments like that meme-worthy shot of when she discovered there was another Scottish queen and she killed on the runway.
Do we think she’s worthy of getting so much hype from the judges so quickly? No. But we don’t doubt she’s about to be a great competitor if she keeps her head in the game.
Ellie Diamond is so talented when it comes to making her outfits and beating her mug it should be illegal – she made a great start on Drag Race.
Coming in and immediately causing Lawrence’s face to crack just by daring to also be a Scottish queen, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect from her as she seemed so new and potentially not established in her character enough to be a threat.
We were so, so wrong, and that Dennis The Menace PVC dress of fabulousness certainly proved that.
We wish we saw her talk more to the other queens, but she’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
A’Whorea’s fashion design background has ensured she has the wardrobe to beat in this competition.
Walking in looking like a slutty Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, there’s something about her style that’s very polished Adore Delano, kind of.
However, her reputation precedes her and that’s not a good thing, with her shady side beginning to come out already.
We felt her targeting Asttina and Tia was completely uncalled for, especially as they seemed two of the stronger competitors within the first episode, and it made her come off a little jealous.
Credit where it’s due though, at least she said it to their face when asked.
As for the runway, her Robin Hood look was meh compared to Tia’s, but her Vivienne Westwood was pretty flipping fabulous – we can’t wait to see what she has in store next.
We have to admit there’s a big ol’ soft spot in our heart for Veronica Green, who seems just too pure for this competition.
She’s her own version of Little Shop Of Horrors, giving us super sweet Seymour complete with glasses and braces in the confessionals, before becoming a sexy and naughty version of Audrey once the make up’s on.
Unfortunately Veronica also seems a little out of their depth among the other queens and taken aback by suddenly being surrounded by all the performers she follows on Insta – which isn’t ideal when you need to rise above them.
She’s a hell of a lot of fun though, so we hope she overcomes it, with ‘ooooh, you’re trying to trap me with saucy stuff’ living in our heads rent free.
Her Boy George icon homage was pretty impressive, and we loved the change from the Karma Chameleon singer to that massive red ball gown – but even by her own admission, that wasn’t a Lancashire look and she knew it.
Bimini Bon Boulash
We’re pretty sure even Bimini would be willing to acknowledge that she dropped the ball on a couple of things during her first outing on the Drag Race mainstage.
The main problem was the visible tuck tape, which just didn’t go down well with the judges and let people in a little too much on the illusion.
She has a killer figure, but her Norwich football kit outfit didn’t quite work and she didn’t look confident in it – especially when compared to her amazing Princess Julia icon look.
We have to give her credit for using Princess Julia as her icon instead of someone a bit more obvious, but sadly that also bit her in the bum with the judges, who didn’t compute the reference.
Sadly, she was destined for the bottom two in such a strong group of girls, but she has such a bubbly personality you couldn’t help but root for her.
Plus she walked into the workroom looking like Barbie had been given a C**k Destroyer makeover so we kind of loved it.
Sister Sister was someone who’s drag we think may be a grower, not a shower, because something about her just didn’t click so well.
LOVED that she entered the workroom with an obscure Titanic reference noone seemed to understand, and her weird blue mouth that, as Ginny said ‘made her look like she’d gone down on a Smurf’ but apart from that, nothing stood out.
She told us she was kooky but didn’t do much to really show us apart from the make-up choice in the entrance.
As for her runways, her Dusty Springfield was lacking the wow factor for us, though it was pretty, and her hometown runway seemed a little lacking, despite the comedy element.
She missed the bottom two by the skin of her teeth so she needs to step up now.
Credit: Original article published here.