RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K.
Drag Race U.K. does this crazy thing every year where there is a winner who is absolutely great and totally deserving. Then there is The Winner, who is the queen who will walk away from the show a loser but with enough clout to go onto a career with a bit more longevity. In season one, The Vivienne totally deserved to be the show’s first star, but since then, Baga Chipz has been the one we see on celebrity reality shows. Lawrence Chaney gave us great looks and lots of laughs as the victor in season two, but it’s Bimini Bon-Boulash at the House of Gucci premiere and having lunch with London mayor Sadiq Khan.
I feel like we’re going to have a very similar situation this season. From the get-go, Krystal Versace won two challenges in a row and has remained strong throughout the entire competition, including in her final runway look, which is one of the all-time greats. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a year from now, the one we’re still seeing and still talking about is either Kitty Scott-Claus or Ella Vaday. Krystal looks amazing and is funny on the show, but would you pay £20 to see her cabaret show? Probably not.
The episode starts and Krystal informs us that she is the youngest queen ever in a Drag Race final three. I was once the horniest guy on an Atlantis cruise. Where is my prize? When Ru gets into the workroom, we find out that the finale will be Christmas-themed, which is, dare I say it, a choice. It’s Thanksgiving in America, but in the U.K., it’s just … Thursday. The holiday season has been going on for a week or so in England, but this still seems somehow way too early. And this is coming from a man with a Christmas podcast (available now on iTunes, just like the latest version of “Hey Sis, It’s Christmas”).
The girls all have to write their own verses, do their interviews with Ru about their lives, and, of course, learn their choreography. They’re with Jay Revell, the hottest choreographer in the land, and at first, the girls are just telling him what they’re going to do. If they’re planning their own kicks and splits and walking around the stage pointing, why are they paying Jay? However, the group dance provides the most tension in the episode as Krystal is as adept at picking up the choreography as morning dog walkers are scooping up the runny poos of a dog who got into a box of chocolate chip cookies. Ella and Kitty, of course, are trained theater professionals; they just need to see it once and they already know all the steps and are doing the choreo from “Single Ladies” just to show off.
Ella reminds us that Krystal always struggles, and then when the performance comes, she kills it deader than Anubis in a sarcophagus. At first, I’m like, “That is true, so why are you going to rob us of the tension of Krystal maybe not being able to perform?” Then I realize it’s because she’s the winner. We can’t be talking shit about the lady who will be prancing in a crown in just 40 minutes, now can we?
They do the number, and it’s all just great and lovely. Ella sings her verse, which is as rare as a talking emu. Kitty is the funniest, mugging and pointing like she’s a comedic robber in a Paddington movie. Krystal is shockingly the best dancer, throwing her still-supple limbs all around the stage in a way you would never have guessed since we just saw her shuddering like a newborn foal on poppers about five minutes previously. All of the eliminated queens are back in their sexy Santa costumes as backup dancers, and I can’t stop checking out Charity Kase, who in classic style looks like something that Jack Skellington would have delivered to a horrified child in Nightmare Before Christmas. I miss Charity.
As for the final looks, it is, as always, Eleganza Extravaganza. Ella looks like a purple Marilyn Monroe in a stoned dress with a giant bow on the back and hair as high as Justin Bieber about to watch the new Dune. The dress looks great and has a nice, big bottom. Who doesn’t love a big bottom?
Kitty Scott-Claus is done no favors by going second because her dress, while having a bigger skirt, is basically a white version of Ella’s. She has similar hair, and they’re both giving us drag glamour in a very predictable way. The biggest surprise Kitty delivers is when she talks to her younger self, and we learn her boy name is Louis. She does not look like a Louis.
Krystal turns the corner, and immediately the judges are stunned, as am I. She is wearing a tight black dress squeezed over tits so shiny that they blind all of Jeff Bezos’s satellites and he can no longer watch our every move. Anyway, Krystal is the real Amazon. The dress has big shoulders and a tight waist and is very Morticia Addams at junior prom. However, the best part is the matching coterie of gold chains both around her neck and her hips. It is actually very Versace, and you can’t be mad at Krystal. This is the best look of the bunch.
Of course, we also get to see all of the eliminated queens’ Eleganza, and most of them are not surprising. Anubis is dressed as, well Anubis. Charity looks like a demon from a Korn music video, and she will delightfully haunt my nightmares forever. River is underwhelming; Choriza is dressed as a Spanish Señora all in roses; and Scarlett looks just like Cinderella. Yup, this all tracks. But the one to really steal the show and to be the most on-character is Veronica Green, who has on a giant wig, a full face of makeup, and just one of the sheer blinds from your nan’s front room wrapped around her body to barely conceal her man candy. Yes, Veronica Green has her real tits out once again for us to see her flat stomach and pierced nipples so that we can be jealous of her body and also roll our eyes. The only shock is that there is no harness.
While the judges are complimentary of everyone (except Graham, who hates Ella’s silver shoes and that Kitty made a joke about Santa pulling down her knickers), there must be one final lip sync to Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Own Me,” which is the worst choice made on This Sceptered Isle since Boris Johnson tricked everyone into voting to leave in 2016. While the song is dramatic, it only really allows for prancing around the stage and mugging. There can be no tricks, there can be no hair flips, there can be no dancing. I guess it makes sense considering all of the girls are wearing ball gowns (the only time Ella goes down to her knees, she demands Kitty’s help getting back up), but it’s the finale. We want a little bit more. At least Kitty, the consummate professional, has a tearaway skirt so that she can move freely.
Krystal is eventually the obvious choice, particularly because Kitty and Ella are offering up the same thing. It’s like saying, “Would you like this turkey sandwich, this other turkey sandwich with spicy mayo, or a hamburger and fries?” You’d pick the burger all day, but mostly because you really want the fries. I think Krystal is a great winner, and she is obviously a young queen who grew up not on drag but on Drag Race. She had exactly the tool kit one needs to dominate this program, except for a decent Snatch Game character. However, I think we’re going to see a lot more of Ella when she plays Edna in the national touring company of Hairspray and Kitty when she becomes a regular culture correspondent on This Morning With Phil and Holly.