RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Great Outdoors

Posted on October 08, 2021

It’s been a rather long day of Ted Lasso recapping and podcast recording, so we weren’t entirely sure we were going to fit this recap in. Fortunately, Drag Race UK came through for us much in the same way it tends to always come through: by serving up a fairly straightforward, largely bullshit-free celebration of drag, which is a pretty easy thing for us to recap.

 

We really don’t think you can make broad generalizations about the various countries regarding how particular seasons of the international Drag Race franchises play out, but this season of UK has been somewhat breezily uncomplicated compared to the most recent seasons of Holland and Spain. Of course there’s always the chance that drama will break out at any moment, which is a risk any time you put more than three drag queens in a room together, but we’re enjoying how unfussy this group of girls are. The shade is rather lightly applied and there seems to be both a forgiveness of certain personality types and a base level of mutual respect among them all so far. The big news of the episode was that Victoria Scone was let go of the competition because of her knee injury and the rest of the girls seemed genuinely upset to hear it. It seemed a little strange to us that we didn’t see her at all, but it’s possible she was just in too much pain or too upset to go on. We can’t wait for next season, when she inevitably comes back. If nothing else, she will always be the first cisgender female drag queen to compete on Drag Race. Can’t take that away from her.

 

For the mini-challenge, these game gals were asked to do their best masculine guy (this would have been Victoria’s moment to shine, we think) and the results, as they usually are when you ask people who look at gender displays with a satirical eye for a living, tended to be rather hilarious.

 

And by that we mean that some of them were very funny and some of them were hilariously off-base.

 

Always nice to see Raven put to good use. We like that most of the girls asked her makeup questions. When you’ve got a world-class pro there, why wouldn’t you?

 

The queens were tasked with providing two runway looks – one of which had to be hand made from unconventional materials – for a camping themed runway. As noted, there was little drama to be had anywhere, which is why, for instance, the episode had the space and time to devote to Kitty and Charity having a really lovely and poignant discussion about the latter’s HIV status and the clearly very painful events that surround it. We hate to sound like a broken record but the show just keeps proving it over and over again: Drag Race is one of, if not the best show on television for showcasing the lives of experiences of real LGBTQ people, in all their beautiful shades and ranges.

 

Krystal’s girl scout look showed once again how she can take some fairly basic well-rendered costumes and make them look amazing through her modeling and makeup skills. The second look was just okay. Veronica gave her some help, but it seemed to us like Krystal was still responsible for the results.

 

Kitty continues to impress with some fairly high-level drag. Love her draggier take on the scout look. The second look was only so-so.

We honestly think River’s best talent in this competition is how good she is at thinking on her feet. Her first look, with the folded map motif, was a little off base for a camping them, but the judges laughed uproariously at her handmade look, which they took to be a flight attendant’s uniform but we’re not sure if she ever intended it that way. We think she just went with their jokes and started doing a stewardess bit to their delight. We hope she makes it to the Snatch Game, where quick thinking like that wins the day.

 

We have to admit, we were a little bored by Charity’s horror bunny drag because this stuff is already feeling played out from her. But we LOVED her second look and we’re a little surprised it didn’t get more love from the judges. We wonder if her horror drag is causing them to dismiss her too much.

 

Love this wacky queen, but neither of these looks were all that great or made much sense. She wowed the judges with a truly impressive and entertaining round of pure bullshit, which may be her greatest talent as a queen. Again, can’t wait to see her Snatch.

 

We admit we were kind of surprised to see Scarlett take the win this week, but her gown really is amazingly well made and styled. The huntress look was just okay, but at the very least, she showed impressive range this week.

 

Michelle was a bit hung up on how little her camping look had to do with camping, but she was hardly the only queen suffering from that issue this week. Her handmade look wasn’t terrible but her drag is definitely rough and Raven was right to tell her to smile more because it comes off fairly joyless at times.

 

Credit where it’s due: the Victorian butterfly hunter costume was really cute. But her handmade look had the judges echoing something we’ve been saying about her all along: her drag tends toward being generic.

 

We wondered why Veronica’s drag had taken such a conceptual turn this season when her real strength lies in mainstream glamour drag. She explained her reasons for it pretty well, having had covid and all, but she’s just not well suited to these styles. She seemed to think being helpful to other queen damned her in the end, but the execution of these costumes wasn’t the problem.

 

 

We wouldn’t necessarily call this an epic showdown, but at least each queen gave it her all. We weren’t sure which way it was going to go until roughly the halfway point. By then it seemed clear that Veronica wasn’t connecting with the song as well as Vanity was.

 

Sorry to see her go, especially if her trip-up came down to some sort of post-covid depression, but her approach just felt all wrong this time around; like she was trying very hard to be something she’s not. We wonder if she over-corrected for whatever she felt her shortcomings were last season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR is on sale wherever fine books are sold!

 

 

[Photo Credit: WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]

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