This is Freddie from DYCAL and we are back for another recap of the UK edition of Rupaul’s Drag Race! It is Episode 2 and the 11 remaining contestants battle it out in an episode dedicated heavily to the roasting the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical turned Hollywood laughing stock: CATS.
[If you missed last weeks recap you can catch-up HERE]
This week the girls reconvene after the shocking elimination of cabaret superstar Joe Black, and the producers have clearly asked them all to say something about how ‘all bets are off’; which to be honest is kind of true. I mean, who didn’t see Joe Black as at least top 5 material?
Drag Race never dwells too long on the queen who has gone home, and we have much more important things to talk about, like how A’Whora is STILL going on about Asttina’s winning ASOS jacket!
We have to remember though that it’s been about 5 minutes for the girls and a whole week for us. At least A’Whora has stuck to her guns and said everything to the girls’ faces! Asttina is obviously displeased but she also seems relatively unbothered which is refreshing and correct.
Moving on to the next challenge day with workroom banter; Ginny Lemon is really surprising me with these quick retaliations! She has a reputation for being quick of course but I didn’t expect her to be painted this favourably. On the other hand, Lawrence is the first to laugh and joke with her and then makes a pretty damning comment about Ginny in her confessional? Girl, either take the joke or don’t.
Just in time for the Biden-Harris inauguration, the queens are asked to step into a voting booth (A’Whora makes a very strange sexy comment about boxes) and vote their competitors into categories. This mini-challenge is really fun. The same challenge has been done before in Season 7 of the American version, but this time I liked how the producers turned it into a moment for the queens to openly banter with the others.
The voting categories are as follows:
1. Secretary of Shade (Bitchiest)
2. Trade Minister (Fittest)
3. Leader of Lording It Up (Cockiest)
4. Baroness Basic (Ouch)
Many of the queens vote Tayce as the fittest, and this sets up an unexpected storyline; a budding romance between A’Whora and Tayce? I have a feeling they are just friends who have had sex before though – these are homosexuals we are talking about, yes it can happen! On top of that I laughed so hard when Sister Sister voted Veronica as ‘secretary of shade’, and everybody turning Tia’s joke about dry wigs back to her was easily a highlight.
A’Whora of course takes the bitchiest queen, Tayce as the fittest, Lawrence as the cockiest, and Tia Kofi as ‘Baroness Basic’ HAHA. Little to the queens’ knowledge, this means Tia is deciding all of the roles for the MAIN challenge: A parody ‘Ru-sical’ of ‘Cats’ by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Any Drag Race fan knows that some roles in these scripted challenges are designed to be ‘winning’ roles and some are not. So casting is really a gift.
Tia fairly assigns most roles. Veronica Green our cringe queen (with love) really fights for one of the star roles by listing her previous accolades. Cherry wants the same role and understandably is mildly pressed when she doesn’t get it. However, Cherry really should have dug her heels in further and listed her accolades too! It’s not begging if you’re correct! Asttina is given the role of the ingenue, and I personally think she was miscast – only because she is so seasoned.
We move on to vocal rehearsals; Bimini Bon Boulash is killing it, and that’s about it. I agree with A’Whora here – it must be unimaginably hard to learn a song in five minutes and perform it out of costume in front of Michelle Visage and a camera crew FULL ON.
The choreography rehearsal is where things get more interesting, but still it’s so difficult to see how the musical is even going to come together. Does it eventually? Ehhh kind of. We have to remember these queens get essentially 20 minutes to learn all their lines and dance. Therefore I can understand Lawrence feeling out of his comfort zone, but as Tayce says: it’s only week 2! Also, isn’t everybody out of their comfort zone? To stop the rehearsal and have everyone literally clapping and cheering you on feels… strange. Funny though.
Back in the workroom we see A’Whora being a bit more human and talking somewhat openly about her attraction to Tayce, which is lovely to see. I’m really enjoying the edit that A’Whora is getting; it’s not as black and white as her being a villain or an angel and to a reality TV superfan it’s exciting to watch. This transitions to Cherry Valentine telling her story about being from a travellers background, and the gender stereotypes that come with that background. It was an important story to tell, and for UK viewers it really gives an alternate view of gypsy’s instead of infamous shows like ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’. Unfortunately, editing-wise, it sent alarm bells into my head that Cherry is clearly going to be in the bottom two.
RATS: the musical is a shit show, and I kind of loved it. The lyrics, when delivered properly, were actually funny and shined a light on just how surreal the original Cats is. Obviously any nuance that the original stage show does have is completely lost here, but that’s all the fun of Drag Race!
The highlight for me was seeing Bimini and A’Whora performing a Prodigy inspired musical number really well, and it’s this kind of British pop-culture crossover that I look out for. Tayce and Ellie’s scene felt like a let down, mainly because the stale reference to ‘RuPaul’s Rat Race’ felt unbelievably cringe. Veronica and Tia Kofi completely stole the show however, and solidified the top two for me. I also felt that Ginny could have got some recognition too, especially with her runway… speaking of.
The runway this week was ‘Surprise Surprise’; AKA two looks in one that you didn’t see coming. In general it was a good runway, with so many high notes and only a few let downs – lets break it down by queen.
A’Whora did great, and I genuinely thought she should have been in the top for her combined look and main challenge performance. The masculine look into the feminine bride was really well done, I just wish the black trousers were covered faster by the reveal.
Lawrence’s look was an ill-fitting jumpsuit (and I LOVE a jumpsuit) into a boxy tartan dress. Bear in mind that last week the judges praised her for not going for the obvious tartan so… ? What does it mean what does it all mean?
Ginny Lemon’s look completely floored me. I genuinely didn’t see how the dress was going to turn into something else, and it didn’t, which was so hilarious to me. After so many seasons of Drag Race it’s this kind of subversion that we love to see.
Cherry Valentine looked absolutely stunning as she walked down the runway, however I was disappointed at the reveal just because the final look felt unfinished. I do believe that her place in the bottom three was sort of justified for the runway and performance combined.
Conversely, Tia Kofi would have been the winner of the challenge if one of her looks had been as stunning as one of Cherry’s. I absolutely adore Tia Kofi, and don’t mind that her runways aren’t exactly the best because she is completely owning every other part of the competition. Ultimately I do feel the looks will be her downfall.
Ellie Diamond’s runway was really really good, I just have no idea how she ended up in the top. Her performance for me wasn’t up to the same level as the other queens, and if we’re going to place Tayce in the bottom for… the same performance then… I don’t know. I always have to remember that she is 21 and makes everything she wears, which is so so impressive.
Asttina Mandela’s starting look was exquisite. I really wish she had held the mystery of her entrance to the runway just a tad longer. I enjoyed that there was an extra layer of surprise too with the prosthetic horror mouth. Go on gamer girl! Definitely enough to ensure her safety for another week.
I know that DYCAL is completely biased towards Sister Sister, but her runway was undeniably fierce. The transformation between the two looks totally fit the category of ‘Surprise Surprise’; mainly because of the added detail with her tattoo-laden nude bodysuit underneath the dominatrix look. For TV I wish she performed the hair reveal front and centre… but hey – I’m in love!
Can we talk about how Veronica Green somehow predicted the release of Marvel’s WandaVision in tandem with her winning episode! I thought her housewife, like Sister Sister’s, would also turn into a ‘slut’ so i’m glad she went more PG-13 to give us variety. A completely deserved win in my eyes, I just wish Tia Kofi’s runway was better.
Next up we have Tayce who’s idea was one of the best in my opinion, I think the changing of the red silhouette was really fashion forward but I understand the judges concerns… Was it enough to place her in the bottom? No. Did it give me my favourite lip-sync in a long time? YES.
Finally we have Bimini Bon Boulash, who’s high fashion look really excited me. Even though the reveal of paint splatters didn’t work, the look was still really abstract and cool before the balloons popped! Clearly her performance was strong enough to keep her safe which I agree with. Although, she would have been in the top had the reveal worked.
We learn that Lawrence, Cherry, Tia, Ellie, Veronica, and Tayce are being critiqued. I thought for sure Ellie was in the bottom with Tayce or Cherry. Before the judges give their final verdict, the safe girls meet with the tops and bottoms to discuss… surprise surprise… Lawrence (feat. Tayce). It’s very sad that Cherry is getting overlooked again, when she easily could have been in the top last week. Instead we get more Lawrence drama.
I’ve seen some people say online that Sister Sister should have been near the bottom, and I am baffled! In the ‘rat-pack’ Sister was clearly the leader. Lawrence should be thanking the other two for handing her the role that required the least musical knowledge and experience; all she had to do was:
1. Wait for Sister Sister to deliver her line excellently
2. Wait for Cherry to deliver her line well
3. Deliver her punchline.
I fully agree with Sister Sister and the choreographers; you are drag queens in a competition performing a musical. Lawrence not being theatrically comfortable does not give her an excuse to be crying on the main stage when the girls, especially Sister and Cherry, could have been using that time to rehearse. Sister Sister wasn’t even harsh about it and was very clearly coming from a place of trying to understand what Lawrence’s issue really was, and I’m not convinced there was one? It just seems to be the Lawrence show; I for one can completely understand both Sister and Cherry’s frustration.
On top of that, Lawrence’s confessionals are certainly starting to get… mean. It’s one thing to say funny yet shady comments in good nature, but to actually get SO defensive and attack people when they’re not in the room to defend themselves really did not sit right with me. At the beginning of the episode we had it with Ginny Lemon, and now again with Sister Sister. Nevertheless we move on to the lip-sync.
On Twitter right now i’m seeing some people confused as to why ‘Memories’ was a suitable lip-sync song, and i’m confused as to why anybody would be confused. For starters, Memories is THE song that makes Cats: it’s a complete powerhouse of a song but yes I do think it could have been saved for when the stakes are higher. Tayce’s Carrie-esque outfit and demonic energy added a new dimension of horror meets glamour to what is already one of the most haunting songs of our time.
It was unfortunate to see Cherry Valentine second guess her movements throughout the lip-sync, but even if Cherry had emoted well the song was Tayce’s to own. I think Cherry is one of the more interesting queens the franchise has seen for a long time and it’s such a shame because she, like Joe Black before her, clearly had so much to give based on her MTQ video. I am enjoying how it really feels like anyone’s game at the moment. The ‘supposed’ front-runners Tayce, Lawrence and Ginny have all stumbled or been overlooked up to this point and it’s refreshing.
So that’s it for another week! Going forward I will be thinking about how every time you pause Tayce’s lip-sync it looks like a postcard. Join us next week for another recap of Rupaul’s Drag Race UK only at DYCALMag.com!
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Thank you to the five people who read this to the end! Bye x