In a shocking finale episode, we reach the conclusion of arguably one of the best seasons of Drag Race ever. As always, I’m Freddie and this is DYCALmag. After writing roughly 20,000 words all about this season, please consider following @DYCALmag on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!
If you have missed any of DYCAL’s previous recaps, you can click the links below!
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 1
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 2
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 3
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 4
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 5
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 6
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 7
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 8
Drag Race UK Season 2: Episode 9
After last week’s double save the
three four remaining queens return for a chance to be crowned the UK’s next drag race superstar. But before we get into the stunning conclusion, lets take a look at who’s remaining and their place in the competition.
With no main challenge wins and just one (in my opinion, excellent lip-sync) Dundee’s Ellie Diamond holds a precarious position going into the final. As the young engeniue of the season, Ellie holds a special place in RuPaul’s heart, but can she win the whole thing? It’s highly unlikely.
With three RuPeter badges (2 and a quarter if you weigh fairly) Lawrence started the competition with an incredible trajectory, earning many high placements along the way. Recently though, after a poor Snatch Game, Lawrence’s confidence has faltered, allowing one queen to equalise.
That queen is Bimini Bon Boulash, East-London’s vegan superstar and resident dark horse. After falling in the bottom two on the very first episode, Bimini has redeemed herself week after week, and has completely dominated the competition since returning from lockdown. But can Bimini keep their upward motion?
And then we have Tayce, the new princess of Wales. Tayce has had arguably the most tumultuous journey thus far, with many highs but also four lip-syncs! After sending ‘two-badge A’Whora’ home, Tayce has proven that she can send anyone home. If she can pull off an exceptional performance and runway then there’s no reason why she can’t win.
So lets get into the finale of my favourite show!
The four queens return to the workroom after Ellie and Tayce have just lip-synced, and Tayce rightfully claims her position as the lip-sync serial killer of the season (sorry Tia). Four lip-sync wins is exceptionally rare even compared to US seasons, so Tayce has done herself proud there.
Ellie and Lawrence also hash out their tension from the past few episodes, and have a moment to reflect on their journeys. At 21 and 23, the Scottish queens have both showed their age at times, but with glimpses of maturity beyond their years – it’s lovely to see and reminds us that these queens are complex humans underneath their flashy exteriors.
The finale episodes of Drag Race usually follow a very predictable format, and this season is no exception. RuPaul arrives to announce that the queens will be performing in a final music number, with the queens writing their own solo verses to a RuPaul song before performing them on the main stage. It isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but it works, especially for a newer UK audience.
If ‘UK Hun?’ is anything to go by, Lawrence is going to struggle. They aren’t known for excellent lyrics, singing, or dancing. Whereas Bimini seems to be throwing out rhyming couplets like it’s nobodies business. Ellie has to rewrite her lyrics because she starts slagging everyone off for the song ‘A Little Bit Of Love‘; as a 21 year old myself I relate.
Finale episodes also come with a chance for the queens to have some 1-1 time with RuPaul. However, as it’s the UK version, Michelle Visage has come as a translator. A self-entitled Anglophile, Michelle has actually been a largely consistent judge for many many seasons of Drag Race; and I feel she doesn’t get enough credit for being the primary mentor and mother to the queens after the show. (post-season tours etc.)
First up, Tayce comes jangling up to RuPaul all blinged out in a casual daytime look. RuPaul asks Tayce what it’s like to represent *looks at smudged writing on hand* Wales. Now, the finale episodes very rarely touch on anything new, but it is the chance for the queens to summarise their individual experiences both on the show and before the show. As fixated viewers we have already heard most of what has been said before, until Tayce casually drops that her Dad was in Wham! and then moves on as if that’s nothing! We want to hear more about that!
RuPaul is just simply living for Ellie, it’s so fun to watch. She might not have a chance of winning outright, but to know that you had a genuine connection with RuPaul is a crown in itself. Lawrence then follows Ellie to talk about Scotland being parodied in Austin Powers, complete with a cringe inducing ‘fat bastard’ impression. I’m not sure what the point is, but all I know is that Austin Powers isn’t particularly funny.
After the first three queens we arrive at Bimini’s 1-2 session with Ru and Michelle, and I found it deeply affecting. Bimini reveals that they personally had a history of drug abuse, and also gives a nod to a close friend who passed too soon. It proves that not only has Bimini turned it around in this competition, but also how she has turned her life around prior to competing. It’s no wonder that Bimini was strong enough to deal with her bottom two placement on the first episode. This is the kind of character development I personally expect to see in the final episode, and it’s one that cements Bimini as the top threat that she is.
Up next is the choreography for the final number, and here is where Lawrence really gets a lot of screen time. She talks about her insecurities, and how much effort she puts into the number. It’s admirable and endearing, but ultimately fruitless, as Ellie has to essentially tell Lawrence how to move. Bimini and Tayce kill it completely, with Bimini cementing herself as the bendiest bitch in Britain juxtaposed with Tayce’s pure chaotic energy; but we been knew.
The final performance musically is… lacklustre. The primary reason for that is that there’s something really off about the sound editing? It makes the queens look like they’re out of sync. It also becomes very hard to hear the queens verses, which is a pretty important part of the challenge in terms of defining your brand moving on from the competition. I love the vibe at the start of the song though, it feels very Pet Shop Boys.
Lawrence and Ellie are very in theme with the song, and the red and pink hues together look pretty spectacular. However, Bimini and Tayce just look leagues ahead as pop-stars and performers, both visually and through their movements and confidence. Lawrence is very clearly behind in the steps, it’s not that off-putting as an audience viewer, but it becomes irritating later when the judges praise it. The performance is saved ultimately by an inspiring touch. To have the eliminated queens join for the final chorus was genuinely fun and really made me smile, although that was primarily due to Tia Kofi, Ginny Lemon and the two seconds of Sister Sister.
There is absolutely no time to breathe before we are presented with the final runways. I think on the whole it was pretty fantastic, with the exception of one…. but first.
What I admire most about Bimini is her ability to give elevated looks that are very much in the theme of ‘sex-worker’. With the growing popularity of OnlyFans and the presence of media stars such as the Cock Destroyers, Cardi B, and TS Madison, sex work is being pushed to be seen in a positive light. Bimini’s aesthetic marries with this perfectly, and it’s amazing to see such an intelligent and talented queen bring a high-fashion mindset to this sex-positive movement. This outfit following the performance cements Bimini as the winner for me.
Ellie, per usual, looks f*cking great. Her makeup and self-made hair choices are always on point, and this gown is completely over the top in size and grandeur. Unfortunately, the same critique applies for her looks, which is that it isn’t particularly new or groundbreaking. At just 21 years old her taste could evolve so much in the next few years; then she could really start to deliver content that is outside the box.
This is perhaps the best thing that Lawrence has ever worn. The gown is a classic shape with a number of modern twists, and ultimately it looks damn expensive. The racing stripes on the side of the dress for me are an absolute win, so inspired, and she knows that RuPaul adores any sort of Drag Race reference even on her own show. It’s smart and it could be enough to place her in the top two, depending on Tayce’s runway.
Did Tayce run out of clothes for real? This look, up until the winner was announced, was a shoo-in for disappointment of the night. Don’t get me wrong, she looks good in it, but it doesn’t scream finale eleganza as much as the others did. Tayce more than anyone could have surprised us all and reached the final two after her stellar live performance. Alas, the black hairy things are too far and few between, and nude illusions very rarely look expensive.
After the judges critiques it feels like it’s truly shaping up to be a Bimini vs. Lawrence top two. This is due to the fact that Bimini’s critiques were perfection, and Lawrence’s choreography mistakes were praised. Ellie gets the ‘too young’ storyline of growth, and I just simply can’t imagine her going any further but she should be exceptionally proud.
Despite the judges spending all season bringing Tayce down, suddenly in time for the finale they love everything about her. Michelle does pick up on how the final outfit isn’t elevated, which I agree with, but I’m surprised they couldn’t see her effervescence in say, the comedy challenge. It feels like they are sending her out on a high note.
At this point the rankings are pretty much set in stone, nevertheless, the four finalists do give speeches as to why they should win which always feels too American. We are also faced with the cringeworthy ‘What would you say to your younger self?’ challenge which I thought they had binned. In the grand scheme of Drag Race, these very rarely influence the final decision. However, the way that RuPaul is shown to belly laugh at pretty much everything Lawrence does tells us that he will be in the top two.
The queens go to the workroom to find all of the eliminated girls. There are no major developments story-wise, but as a precursor to the winners announcement it does feel like a needed break. The queens collectively are perhaps the most charismatic queens we have ever had on a single season of Drag Race. We have villains who are secret sweethearts such as A’Whora and Sister Sister, we have plucky fan favourites Tia Kofi and Veronica Green, the undeniably talented and polished early-outs Asttina Mandela and Cherry Valentine, and the kooky wildcards Joe Black and Ginny Lemon.
As a satisfying conclusion to their time on Drag Race, all of the queens get to walk the runway for a final time. A’Whora’s asymmetrical mint green pieces remind me of Aquaria’s good twin look, but for me the highlights were Sister’s campy vengeance axe, Asttina’s gorgeous minimalism, and Ginny’s continuation of walking off the stage. I nearly forgot the crowning was about to happen!
In a shocking revelation, RuPaul reveals that not only have Bimini and Lawrence made it to the top two, but Tayce will also be lip-syncing with them! My Mum was very very pleased, but even she felt that perhaps this was done with other intentions. After a nail-biting three way lip-sync to Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing‘, whereby Bimini reveals she is athletic enough to emulate Ukrainian dancing, the winner is announced…
As Lawrence Chaney.
In a season full of shocking eliminations, we didn’t realise this would extend to the final crowning! On nearly all accounts, this pretty much should not have happened. Bimini had the best track record going into the final, Bimini had the best performance in ‘A Little Bit of Love‘, and Bimini won the fan vote by a complete landslide. Admittedly, Lawrence’s final outfit is exceptional, but I don’t think it’s enough to justify the win.
That being said, Lawrence is a fantastic winner, and will do well to represent Scotland and the UK as Drag Race royalty no doubt. However, based on the season, it is a fact that Bimini out-performed Lawrence; ultimately it just feels unfair. I know the fans are pretty outraged, but seeing as Bimini didn’t miss out on any prize money I can survive. If you can’t win the crown, win the crowd, and Bimini has done exactly that.
In light of the crowning and the message of Drag Race, we must remember to never send hate to any queen. It is not Lawrence’s fault for doing her absolute best and winning, and as much as I am not impressed by the outcome, there is a fine line between voicing discontent and pointing out personal issues you have with a contestant. Lets see what the reigning of Lawrence Chaney brings before we take up arms!
Thank you to all the readers that have stuck around all season. As always, i’m Freddie and this is @DYCALmag on all social media. Until next season!