RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K.
Have you ever had only one percent left on your phone and used it to delete a bunch of spam from your email, and then your phone died, and you were like, “Uh, why the fuck did I waste my one percent on spam and not, like, an Uber home from this dreadful party where no one even has a phone charger?” I feel like that is what using the inevitable double save that we were granted when Victoria Scone was sent home with an injury on such a mediocre lip sync as the one we saw this evening. It was like the producers knew they had it and just spent it at the first possible opportunity rather than saving it for two deserving queens or a barn burner of a lip sync that was so unforgettable both queens deserved to stay. That is not, however, what we got.
This week there is only a maxi challenge, and the girls divide themselves into two girl groups, and they’re each going to perform a version of a pop song called “BDE,” which stands for “big drag energy” rather than what you’re thinking. As the winner of last week’s challenge, Scarlett picks Krystal, Kitty, and Charity to form the Slice Girls. As the winner of last week’s lip sync, Vanity picks Ella, River, and Choriza to form Pick ’n’ Mix. (Pick ’n’ mix is all of the gummy candies you see at the movies or in drug stores, and you fill a whole bag full of them and pay by weight. It is something that the English inexplicably love, like tabloids and having all of their establishments close by 11 p.m.)
Even this early in the episode, I knew there would not be a “UK Hun?” in the bunch. There are two separate versions of the same song, one up-tempo and one a low-key ballad. Scarlett gets to pick and, of course, goes with the fast version because it’s more fun. Pick ’n’ Mix is already talking about how they will kill it with a slow song, and the other team seems cocky, so we know that Pick ’n’ Mix is definitely going to win. It’s like being Miss Cleo (RIP), but it’s really just being able to read the editing. It’s like hearing River talk about her mother’s death from COVID. You’re not going to let that queen cry all over the workroom and then send her packing the very next minute. No, that’s only something you do after finding out Roxxxy Andrews’s mother left her at a bus station.
Next, we find out that the girls will be coached by the members of the group Steps, which, like a Glaswegian accent or GCSEs, is something that Americans won’t understand no matter how hard they try. Drag Race fans might be aware of them because of “Heartbreak in the City,” the legit jam Michelle Visage released with them earlier this year. They are a five-person ensemble, two boys and three girls, and the gimmick was that each of their music videos would be choreographed, and the dance moves would be in the sleeve of the single so you could dance along at home. They basically invented the TikTok dance in the late ’90s when they debuted. They had a huge hit with their cover of the BeeGee’s song “Tragedy” that really put them on the map, and they referenced the Nomi Malone–outstretched-manicure-pointing-to-the-face move that everyone in England knows.
River has a really cute moment recording her verse where she talks about being femme 24/7 and says that H, the single-lettered member of Steps, was a camp role model for her growing up. H, if you couldn’t tell by the kilt and glitter harness, is a gay. Yeah, this team is totally going to win.
As soon as the Slice Girls start performing, I know doom is just around the corner. All of the girls are dressed like white and silver disco balls … except Charity, who looks like she is wearing a slutty Dorothy costume right out of the bag. Yes, her verse is about being weird and witchy, but couldn’t she do that with makeup and styling? Secondly, Scarlett doesn’t know any of the words and only about half of the steps. It was like trying to get your mom to do a TikTok dance with you. She even remembers when Steps invented them. I love Scarlett, I think she’s pretty, sexy as a boy, and funny as hell, but she always moves like a marionette that is wading through pudding. It’s both leaden and jangly at the same time. The only one who is killing it is Kitty, and basically, all she’s doing is smiling a lot more than everyone else and selling it.
As for Pick ’n’ Mix, as we foresaw, they totally kill it. Not only is their singing superior, but they have a little chest thump move that is totally sticking in the judges’ heads. They say they want to serve major cheese, and they are basically a mozzarella stick on top of a wheel of Brie next to a fondue pot. At one point, it seems like a parody of a girl group doing a power ballad, but that is just what the judges want. They are declared the winners, duh, and they are all winners. Yes, this is another week that River doesn’t go home, which is only delaying the inevitable, if I’m honest.
The queens also have to present looks for Night of a Thousand Spice Girls and be judged by Baby Spice, who is Kitty’s idol. While Kitty goes with the authentic tour outfit from the group’s latest reunion, Krystal does the far superior Baby Spice. She comes out in an all-blue ensemble, Baby’s signature color, trimmed with fur and beaded. She has the signature haircut with the two super long pigtails. You immediately know who she is, but she looks way more expensive than the original — as even she herself points out.
Where the other two fail is in trying to do Mel B’s Scary Spice. Charity comes out dressed as a Cheetah, complete with abs, face paint, and Jim Carrey’s Riddler cane. It is genius, but it isn’t like Mel B at all. Charity says it’s her interpretation of Scary’s look. Yes, she loved an animal print, but this is not giving Spice at all. It’s giving Bland. It’s like a buffalo wing without the buffalo. It’s just a wing. The only two things you need to do Scary is an animal print and the curly hair. All Charity needed to do was get the perfect wig, put it on the same outfit, and it would have been Mel B as a cheetah, and it would have been so genius that she could have married Chester Cheetah and gotten in on that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos fortune.
Scarlett has similar trouble with the wig. Instead of getting a curly wig, he gets a Peg Bundy wig and makes two tiny little meatballs at the front. As Alan Carr says, he needs the knockers to be a lot bigger. River’s outfit also looks like it is dragged out of the bin at a charity shop. No one wants that Lisa Rinna for QVC duster or that ill-fitting dress the color of glow-in-the-dark nail polish.
The best part of the whole episode is when the queens are backstage and Scarlett apologizes to Kitty for not letting her shine in the girl group challenge when she loves girl groups so much. Kitty says that it’s okay because if they didn’t suck so bad, she never would have gotten to meet Baby Spice, so it was all worth it. Yes, Scarlett. Thanks for being terrible at your job.
The judges save Krystal and Kitty, leaving Charity and Scarlett to strut to the Spice Girl’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” But no. It isn’t great. It isn’t even good. It is fine. I’m sorry, but fine won’t cut it. This should have been a double elimination, but now here we are, with just the number of girls we should have had, and Victoria Scone went home in vain.