RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Miss Fugly Beauty Pageant

Posted on November 06, 2021

We greeted this week’s challenge with surprised delight; partially because it was the first original (or at least not wildly over-used) challenge in a long time, but mostly because we instantly realized it would make recapping the episode so much easier. Given that we’re recapping forty different Drag Race franchises simultaneously (give or take), we’ll take our relief where we can get it. Of course it also meant that Lorenzo had to snag screencaps of three different looks for each queen and then make collages out of them, but even so. The important thing is that Tom doesn’t have to type as much on a Saturday morning and that’s all that matters.


The show has had plenty of quick drag challenges and plenty of challenges that required them to model a multitude of looks on the runway, but we don’t think there’s been a challenge that combined the two as effectively as this one. Our only complaint is that, in typical Ru fashion, the challenge itself wasn’t explained all that well. It’s a “Fugly Beauty Pageant,” but according to Ru, that stands for “Friend, U Gotta Love Yourself” and ohmigod we can’t stop rolling our eyes hard enough at how lame that is. To compound the confusion, queens were sometimes praised for producing deliberately ugly looks and sometimes praised for delivering beautiful ones. In other words, it was another challenge that allowed Ru to reward whoever the hell she wanted to, criteria be damned. Shrug. We’re just here for the drag, not the shenanigans.

The dolls were asked to put together three looks in ridiculously short spans of time: A bathing suit look for which they had ninety minutes to prepare, a charity shop look for which they had sixty minutes, and a Fugly Fashion look that had to be executed in a half-hour.


Vanity’s bathing suit look was cute enough, although it looked as thrown together as it was and the fit wasn’t particularly flattering. The judges seemed to love her charity shop look, but it felt like they were just happy to see something with sequins on it. The dress is okay, but she didn’t accessorize very well and we disagreed mightily when Michelle complimented the wig. Her fashion look was gorgeous, though. Why it got so much praise when they were told to go fugly is a mystery.


We were going to riot if this bitch didn’t win this week. We still think she’s the most likely to win it all, but we’re waiting for the judges to catch up on that fact. No one else manages her level of polish while delivering looks that range from campy to glamorous to sexy. She’s easily the funniest and most creative girl there. Love all three of these looks, especially the boldness of that final one for a fashion challenge. But as Alan Carr rightly pointed out, that’s pretty much the current Gucci aesthetic on display.


Scarlet’s first look was clever and cute. His second look was bland and it tended to highlight just how much he defaults to these sorts of uninteresting “sexy tacky lady” looks. However, his final entry, a salute to East London, was so hilariously tacky and on point that we couldn’t help loving it.


We’re slowly coming around on Ella Vaday. Not that we ever had an issue with her drag; just that it never really stood out to us. But she’s more creative (and funnier) than we gave her credit for. We think the fashion look was a bit wildly over-praised, but then again, they praised it for being both gorgeous and ugly, which gives you some idea of how ill-defined the challenge was. Her bathing suit look is fine, but her charity shop look is so good that it makes us think she could be a costume designer. Adding the lavender wig to that hideous frock was kind of brilliant.


Well, she did it. And now we’re just waiting for them to hand her the crown. All season long, we’ve been saying that Krystal needs to show some range apart from the Aquaria-esque “Sexy Bitch” drag. She clearly knows what she’s doing, because she had both a horror drag and a high-fashion camp drag look ready to go this week. they were both fantastic looks and killed any criticisms that she’s limited in her drag. Having said that, her charity shop look was pretty terrible.


It’s about time the best bitch in the group got her badge. We still think she’s the contender, but the judges are clearly smitten with Krystal.


Vanity and Scarlet were well-matched in the lip sync and honestly, it could have gone either way, from what we could see.


She’s not a bad queen at all and she should be proud of her work this season, but we think her defensiveness about the other queens’ underestimating her overwhelmed her a little bit. Personally, we think she has quite a bit more personality and polish than Vanity, but her results have only been so-so.



Our book, 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 Plus via Tom and Lorenzo]

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