This week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three was a mess, a brilliant and unhinged mess. It also delivered the best lip-sync in Drag Race UK herstory.
Following the elimination of Anubis at the hands of Elektra Fence, the 11 remaining contestants saw their dance and co-ordinations skills put to the test in the high-energy workout challenge, called – dramatic music! – Dragoton, with the help of Strictly Come Dancing champion Oti Mabuse.
The episode started with drama as the queens sashayed back into the werkroom – with the exception of Victoria Scone, who injured her knee in the premiere’s top two lip-sync against Krystal Versace. The two memorably battled it out to Bonnie Tyler’s pop classic Total Eclipse of the Heart, with the latter taking the win and earning a RuPeter badge in the process. Ultimately, Victoria was deemed well enough by doctors to return to the competition, but her knee continued to hinder her performance throughout the episode.
The drama continued when RuPaul tasked Krystal with slapping a price sticker on her fellow contestants in RuPermarket Sweep, with labels ranging from Star Buy to Out of Date. Krystal voted Victoria as her biggest competition, River Medway as the queen with the trashiest taste, Ella Vaday as the “trade” of the season, Veronica Green as the “irrelevant” cast member and the next eliminated queen as Elektra. Her vote for Victoria drew controversy from her fellow queens, as Krystal “joked” that her weight was the reason for her being voted the “biggest” competition.
Shortly after, the queens were divided into three groups: Ride or Dies, which consisted of Choriza May, Vanity Milan and Elektra; Ball Busters, with Krystal, River, Veronica and Kitty Scott-Claus; and Babycizers, with Charity Kase, Victoria, Scarlett Harlett and Ella. Rehearsal with Oti Mabuse was absolute carnage, with Veronica and her leotard delivering some X-rated footage as she bounced on an exercise ball, and Krystal, Choriza and Scarlett failing to keep up with the steps.
Later, as the queens prepared for their performance, Victoria confronted Krystal over her comments. They quickly settled their conflict, and it led to a beautiful discussion amongst the other queens about body image and their self-esteem issues. Victoria admitted that her weight has fluctuated over the years, but she’s now in a place where’s content with her body. “The thought is embedded into the industry of theatre and dance that you have to look a certain way or you just won’t work,” she explained in tears. “I had to carve my own career, which led me to drag.”
Elektra also shared that, at her all-boys Catholic School, her peers used to taunt her freckles and call it a “skin disease”. It was until she met her boyfriend, Charlie, who made her feel beautiful about her skin, that she truly accepted herself. Their discussion resulted in Vanity Milan revealing her school, which featured pre-dominantly white pupils, would bully her with racial slurs. “I got told I’m so Black that I’m purple,” said Vanity. “I got it all. And I remember my mum saying, ‘The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice.'”
Vanity ultimately addressed the lack of Black contenders on the season, which has been a topic of controversy ever since the cast was unveiled earlier this year. Out of all 12 queens on the season, Vanity is the only Black queen on season three, which made her feel “pressured” once she saw the lack of representation for the community. “It’s like I’m carrying my culture, my people,” she told her sisters, “and I’m representing a lot of people and I want to do them all proud.”
Before hitting the runway in their finest Red Carpet Showstoppers Couture, the queens premiered Dragoton to the panel, which included Mabuse. The first few minutes, which saw all 11 contestants on the stage delivering some intense, high-energy choreo, was utter bedlam but in the best possible way. Soon after, they branched off into their individual teams with the Ride or Dies spinning for their life on stationary cycles. Although Choriza wasn’t comfortable with the choreography, she outshined Vanity and Elektra thanks to her bonkers and more comedic take on a dance instructor. All four queens in Ball Busters delivered in spades, particularly Kitty and – despite her lack of confidence – Krystal.
Babycizers were a lot of fun. Ella was undeniably the standout of the group with Scarlett in close second. Because of her worsening injury, Victoria was forced to deliver her choreo on a stool and Charity’s bimbo-inspired character failed to keep up with the steps. After stomping down the runway, Vanity, Charity and Elektra were subjected to harsh critiques – particularly the latter, who was told her performance was too excessive and that her runway resembled “Superman’s mother” coming “down from another planet”. (Was that Michelle’s funniest critique ever?)
Krystal, Veronica and Kitty were praised, which didn’t come as much of a shock because their performances were unhinged. Despite this, Choriza’s safe placement was undeserved and she should’ve been right there in the top – in our opinion, this was her week and she should’ve won her first RuPeter badge. Ultimately, Krystal won her second consecutive maxi-challenge – becoming the first contestant in herstory to do so – while Elektra and Vanity were deemed the bottom two of the week.
To the beat of M People’s iconic dance-pop anthem Moving On Up, the two dancah’s of the season delivered kicks, flips, splits and other sickening tricks we can’t even describe and, honestly, it was one of the best smackdowns on the British spin-off to date. Wait, let’s go further than that: it was – LIKE WE SAID IN THE HEADLINE – the best lip-sync in Drag Race UK herstory. Both queens put on a show, a show that proves just why this show is a massive success today. Condragulations to both Elektra and Vanity for that gag-worthy performance – you both just made herstory. But wait – that’s not the only gag of the episode.
Before RuPaul delivered his “if you can’t love yourself…” mantra, he called Victoria up to the stage and told her that he can’t, with good conscience, let her continue in the competition unless it’s safe to do so. Unlike Eureka’s injury, he didn’t eliminate her there on the spot. Instead, he said he’ll wait for the doctor’s review, and if her knee is in seriously bad shape, she will be removed from the competition. Presumably, if this happens, Victoria will receive an open invitation for season four. “I want you here, but more than anything, I want you healthy,” said Ru. However, we won’t know until next week’s episode of Drag Race UK, which premieres Thursday 7 October on BBC iPlayer.