In what was one of the brightest launchings of the franchise ever, there were extraordinary queen entryways, bubbling competitions, considerate LGBTQ+ conversation, and a gag initially knock-out
Caution: this column contains spoilers for Drag Race UK Season Two, Episode One
There was an early minute when Tayce, billed as accomplished dancer, and Asttina, also mostly a dancer, were asked if there was going to be a rivalry in between the “dancing queens”– it seemed to be serving as an uncomfortable euphemism for “Black”. Blessedly, the show pulled away from pitting two black queens versus each other, especially when they both chose Naomi Campbell as their British gay icon for the maxi obstacle.
” Joe Black simply reveals us the sort of personality you only get in the UK cabaret circuit”.
Last nights premiere was the very best first episode of any Drag Race season Ive seen in years. The very first series, if we are being sincere, had a hard time to get all the very best queens– many working the present circuit fidgeted about how the show would be received and decided to wait for the 2nd series to audition. It absolutely reveals.
Londoners: #DragRaceUKpic. twitter.com/P8FS1r3hqu— RuPauls Drag Race UK (@dragraceukbbc) January 14, 2021.
Its time to speak about the runway and the honestly wild evaluating remarks, which, as one buddy said to me after the episode aired, seemed to be informed by smoking the finest fracture. Bonus unique visitor judge Elizabeth Hurley, AKA the only reason Im still on Instagram, was born to do this. If youre a truth TELEVISION geek like me, youll keep in mind that circa 2006 Hurley presented Project Catwalk, the temporary UK variation of Project Runway, which, with Americas Next Top Model, was the program Drag Race was at first created to parody– and now has eclipsed. Job Catwalk was rather po faced, and Hurley appeared much more at home in the poppers oclock version of a runway contest, ad libbing and crude punning her method into our hearts..
In the end, Bimini and Joe lip synced for their lives to Frankie Goes to Hollywoods “Relax”, and Joe Black, who had so much more to give, was gone, leaving Twitter reeling. As unfair as it might appear, I hope this brutality is a trademark of a series which will stun and surprise us in equal measure. Lets face it: we all need a little bit of drama in our lives this winter season..
While there were some remarkable queens on series one, it was clear last night that the basic skill level this year is greater from the very start. Darlington gothic queen Cherry Valentine cheerily informed us she was a drag queen, a Botox aesthetician, and a mental health nurse, which suggests that even if she doesnt win this show I wish to employ her on retainer. The truth, is you simply dont get queens like Joe Black, Lawrence Chaney, or Ginny Lemon in the United States: Ginny and Lawrence, for example, are seemingly precise and highly controlled performers, who can masquerade as erratic mess. Joe Black was weird, retro, and grandiose: even kooky American queens like Sharon Needles have to explain to us that theyre odd and various. Joe Black just reveals us, its the type of character you only get in the UK cabaret circuit..
The queens were asked to prepare 2 appearances– a homage to a British gay icon and a look based on their hometown. East London queen Bimini Bon Boulash took a danger and served queen of London Underground nightlife Princess Julia, followed by a Norwich football attire that left little to the creativity, tucked to high paradise and sans underwear.
Drag Race UK is offered to watch on iPlayer every Thursday from 8PM.
Darlington gothic queen Cherry Valentine cheerily informed us she was a drag queen, a Botox aesthetician, and a psychological health nurse, which indicates that even if she doesnt win this show I desire to employ her on retainer. Blessedly, the show retreated from pitting two black queens against each other, especially when they both chose Naomi Campbell as their British gay icon for the maxi difficulty.
Turing took his own life in 1954 in one of the most shameful episodes of British queer history. It appeared odd, then, that Tias homage to Turing included her wearing a rainbow-coloured pant fit and bouncy wig that made her look less like a genius tortured by British state violence and more like the chief officer of a dishonest multi-level marketing company that sells costly mascara.
The Drag Race franchise continues to bring in criticism from drag artists themselves for its aversion to welcome the full richness and diversity of reality drag scenes with its preference for cis males (occasionally enabling nonbinary people and, in America, the odd trans female to slip through the net, typically by suggesting theyre males anyway). If you were fretted about more marginalised groups being left this series then fear not: Tia Kofi is a Clapham Gay (an identity which I expect is less about being materially downtrodden and more about being spiritually impoverished). In all seriousness, Ginny Lemon and Bimini Bon Boulash are out as nonbinary. It is a little disappointing though to see that no female or trans manly queens made it this time..
Welcome back to RuPauls Drag Race UK: given that its triumphant very first series in winter 2019 the world has, quite absolutely, gone to shit. Much like commercialism or Kylie Minogue, the RuPaul industrial complex shows itself able to weather the storm.
Rather, the program brought the 2 queens together to talk about why they had both picked Campbell, and what took place was a poignant discussion about the scarcity of role models and icons for Black British gay people. Its true: racking my brains for any other examples of Black British gay icons that might fairly be impersonated by a drag queen. East London queen Bimini Bon Boulash served and took a danger queen of London Underground nightlife Princess Julia, followed by a Norwich football attire that left little to the imagination, tucked to high heaven and sans underwear.
Drag Race UK stays the grubby little runt compared to its older and glossier American sister show, but is all the more lovely for it. The Wimbled Hun mini-challenge saw the queens pose for star professional photographer Kevin McDaid who, it was discussed, has actually photographed Cheryl, Rita Ora, and Jessie J (bad male!
” Tias tribute to Turing included her using a rainbow-coloured pant match and bouncy wig that made her look less like a genius tortured by British state violence and more like the chief exec of an unethical multi-level marketing business that sells overpriced mascara”.
Rather, the program brought the two queens together to discuss why they had both picked Campbell, and what took place was a poignant discussion about the scarcity of role models and icons for Black British gay people. Its real: racking my brains for any other examples of Black British gay icons that could fairly be impersonated by a drag queen. I might almost manage to remember Sinittas high camp palm leaf attire on X Factor, and remember my peaceful resentment at how the British music industry did not increase the career of LGBTQ+ ally Beverly Knight, perhaps the finest singer this country has actually produced in my lifetime. When its running at its most considerate and thoughtful levels, it was an example of what this show can do for representing LGBTQ+ issues. In any event, if you want rivalry this season, it may be much better to aim to the brewing competitors in between Scottish queens Lawrence Chaney and her former protégé Ellie Diamond: its like All About Eve, if Eve were a conniving twink..