Drag Race‘s newest inductee into the “lip-sync assassin” hall of fame has finally met her end. After deploying her signature “DeDe Smash” move against three of her season five sisters – Banksie, Vicki Vivacious and Kate Butch – DeDeLicious failed to complete another hit (trying to use assassin language here, probably failing) when she faced Tomara Thomas in her fourth smackdown to Annie Lennox’s dance-rock banger ‘Little Bird’.
In their semi-final challenge, the top four queens flexed their stand-up chops in a Gladiators-inspired roast in front of the eliminated queens (bar Cara Melle, who didn’t appear due to sickness). While DeDe delivered a variety of stingers – including her instantly-iconic “guess who’s back in the house, walking stick click-clacking about” read of RuPaul – she was unable to keep up with comedic titans Ginger Johnson and Michael Marouli, sashaying away in fourth place. DeDe tells GAY TIMES that the ‘stars were aligned’ for her elimination: “It was my time to go. No matter if I did good or bad, it was the right time for me.”
Following her exit, we caught up with the Kent queen to discuss her legendary stint on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. From her status as a lip-sync assassin to the “bullshit” conflict with Vicki Vivacious, as well as online backlash for sending the aforementioned queens packin’, DeDe doesn’t hold back…
Dede, how you doing babe?
I’m great! Last episode was amazing. It’s just really surreal. The journey’s come to an end. Here we are, I’ve been assassinated.
You were Uma Thurman in Kill Bill-levels of assassin.
I was just chopping them down one-by-one. You could see in my face when I won against Kate. I started laughing because I was like, ‘What? This is ridiculous.’
DeDe, I truly think you are one of the best lip-sync assassins we’ve ever seen on the show. You destroyed every! single! one!
Thank you! She’s the devil, honey. She just goes on demon mode and then boom, it’s crazy.
Tell me, what is the definition of the “DeDe Smash”?
The DeDe Smash is this move where I jump onto my bum, and it’s protected because I’ve got huge bum pads, they’re like cushions, and swing the legs out. It’s the most chaotic move you can possibly do. It just gets the energy going, somehow. Yeah, I call it the DeDe Smash because it’s such a messy move, but it’s a smash.
They need to add that to the dictionary.
Yeah, it needs to go in there now. I don’t know who we need to speak to, who we need to bone, but the DeDe Smash is now an official legal term.
Now that you’re an extremely famous person, I’m sure you have contacts at the dictionary.
Yeah, I have them on speed dial, babe.
What a brilliant episode. That was one of the most gut-busting roast challenges we’ve ever seen. I was cackling. How did it feel watching it back, because you did so well?
Thank you. Watching it back was really nice. It was nice for me to do well in a comedy challenge. I was gagged in myself. Everyone all-round killed it. It was another one of those episodes, which we’ve had a lot this season, where everyone smashed it. It was a pleasure to watch. There was no cringing! It wasn’t Snatch Game, let’s say that.
You still made me laugh in the Snatch Game, though.
No! Not the bug eating. I can’t even tell you the silence in the room while I was pretending to chew on bugs. That in itself was Lhilarious. Not in the moment, but when I walked away I was like, ‘That was so stupid.’
I assume Lady C has sent you an email? She’s been in touch, yeah?
Oh yeah, death threats. I’m kidding. To be fair, I hope she never sees it. She’s an icon.
You were hilarious in that roast. How does it feel to have done so well, but still be told to sashay away? Especially in that look?
That look was the one I was waiting for to show off. But the thing is, I knew we were getting towards the end. I’d been in the bottom three times. I thought I could maybe lip-sync my way into the final. The stars aligned, it was correct. It was my time to go, no matter if I did bad or good, it was the right time for me.
I have to say that line, “Walking stick, click-clackin’ about,” had me on my hands and knees.
I don’t know where that came from! I don’t know how the funny mode switched on. Kate actually called out when I was doing it, ‘Oh! She is funny!’
I’ve got a bone to pick with you. Previously, you’ve said that you’re not a comedian, but every lip-sync you’ve done has incorporated humour in some way?
I think, in a lip-sync, I go to the campy, comedic side. That’s just what I prefer to do. When it actually comes to using my mouth and speaking, especially when someone’s like ‘be funny!’, then I freeze up. Especially on Drag Race, Ru’s right there looking at you… I think it’s the pressure for me, but in a lip-sync I’m free to do whatever.
We can now safely say DeDeLicious is a comedienne.
Have I been officially named a partial comedy queen? I’ll take “partial”! Ahh, the growth. You grow from the show.
Once again, you de-destroyed the lip-sync but Tomara kept her place in the competition. Shady question now: do you think she actually won?
I think it was very neck-and-neck. I think we were both the same level, especially in the edit. When I was watching it with all my friends, everyone was like, ‘We don’t know who is going to take this.’ But, I think Tomara with the movement of the dress, and she’s a trained dancer, she sold the song and hit every beat. It was the only lip-sync where I could actually see what the other person was doing in front of me.
Do you think you would’ve stayed if it wasn’t your fourth time in the bottom?
Yeah! I do.
I don’t mean to say this in a rude way, but I was excited every time you landed in the bottom because I knew we were going to get a performance.
Honestly, whenever I was in the bottom – controversial opinion! – I was having the time of my life. I felt like I was just going to the gig and performing. That genuinely was where I was most comfortable, and I think it shows.
I really do think you’ve subverted expectations for a queen of your age. People tend to think that younger queens are primarily look queens and can’t perform, but you can lip-sync and, as we’ve established, you’re a comedian now too.
Woo! I’ll take that title. I’ll take it. One thing going onto the show, I did want to brand myself more as a performance queen than I did a look queen. She can still paint her face and put on some nice hair, blah blah blah. But, my drag was born from performance. Although yes, I was in the bottom four times – I’ve lost count – that’s fine because I got to show off what I’m best at. It’s a win-win for me.
You expressed remorse in the latest episode over sending Kate home. Did you not care about sending home Banksie and Vicki?
Listen… No! Absolutely joking. With Kate, we had a lot of time together off-camera, on the bus back to the hotel and stuff like that. If I was in a bit of a zone like, ‘Oh god, I’ve done really bad this week’, we would just sit there, laugh and tell jokes to each other. To lose her in the competition was a bit more of a gut-punch. With Banksie and Vicki, I didn’t get as much time to get to know them. Obviously, it was sad to see Banksie go because she was a strong frontrunner. Also Vicki, she’s such an experienced drag queen and she knows her shit. Yeah, it was weird to see them all go. I can’t believe I did it.
Sending so many queens home does come with a bit of backlash, however. So, how have you been navigating that on social media?
It really popped off after Kate because, let’s be honest, we all love Kate. You can’t really blame people, they’re just expressing their disappointment or whatever. Obviously, it’s better if you go to Kate’s page and send her love instead of coming to my page and sending me hate. Weirdly enough, it made me more motivated to just be better and upgrade myself more. If you’ve got something nasty to say, darling, who fucking cares?
Do you like having the “lip-sync assassin” title? In the world of Drag Race, the title means you’ve been in the bottom so many times. But when I hear “lip-sync assassin” I think of incredible performers like Trinity K. Bonet, Jujubee and Alyssa Edwards. So, how does it feel to be up there with those iconic queens?
I love it. I love the title of “assassin”. I tried to hold it off until I got my third win, because I feel like nowadays you have to win at least three. That’s the DeDe rule, you have to win three to be an assassin. To be compared to all these amazing performers, it’s a very memorable role to have on the show, so no complaints at all.
It’s funny you said that because on the latest seasons of All Stars, they’re bringing back queens as assassins who haven’t even won lip-syncs, or maybe have one to their name….
They’re like, ‘Here’s Lucy! She was on the first episode of season 45.’
I’m looking forward to seeing you come back for All Stars, as well as an assassin. I wanna see the curtain, or whatever it is, rise up and have you standing there.
Oh my god, imagine the DeDe Smash but from above? It’d be so iconic, I’d love to do that.
I have to talk about the drama that occurred this episode…
[Starts drinking her Red Bull.] Right, let’s get into it. Let’s go. I’m ready. I’m ready.
When the preview last week showed Vicki coming at someone, I don’t think anyone expected it to be you. When she directed her pointedness your way, I was shocked. The whole audience was shocked. How did you feel in that moment?
I remember, I was so sure that message was not for me. We never had any moments, really. It was always kind words to each other so, when it happened, I was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t blink, I just stared her straight in the face. I thought I’d hear her out and see what she’s got to say. In all honesty, I think it was a bunch of bullshit. I do! It’s fine. Stuff happens on the show and it was entertaining, so I don’t think she regrets anything. I don’t regret anything. So, it is what it is.
I don’t even think your comment about Alexis in the premiere was that bad? People are making out that you stabbed her in the face?
Dya know what I mean? It’s funny because Cara asked me a question and I go, ‘Oh Alexis.’ Everyone’s like, ‘WHAT?! Why you stabbing her in the back?’ Everyone went mad over it. But, I think in all respects, it was the first day. Any sort of comment like that would ruffle anyone’s feathers.
But again, we love the drama don’t we?
We absolutely love it. That’s the one thing about season five I’m obsessed with: drama! So much drama.
How are things with you and Vicki now? And Alexis?
Great. Me and Vicki recently talked it out. We laid it out. We had a bit of a disconnect after the show because I think everyone’s just trying to process Drag Race and blah blah blah. We’re all good. It’s in the past. Same with Alexis. We knew each other from before the competition, so there was never any beef there in the first place. As soon as we came off the show, we were texting and we were good.
You and season three champion Krystal Versace are sisters. She won, you didn’t. However, you are known as a lip-sync assassin and she isn’t. So, you both have something on each other. Is it a healthy rivalry? What does it look like?
We just rip each other to shreds! She’s like, ‘You ain’t got a badge’ and I’m like, ‘You didn’t deserve your second badge!’ It’s really fun that we kind of experienced solar opposites. When I told Krystal [about my lip-sync assassin status] she was like, ‘Perfect. This is exactly what you needed from this show, to show off your performance skills.’ She’s been great with all of it.
Who’s winning in a lip-sync?
Me or Krystal? Me! Me, me, me.
I would pay a lot of bloody money to see that.
Let’s manifest it because we used to do numbers together. Our first performance ever, I’m gonna have to post it because it’s a mess, it’s just limbs here and there. Krystal’s doing a cartwheel in the back and I’m doing a death drop in the front. We did a improv lip-sync together as one of our first performances and it’s wild. So, god knows what would happen if we were in a lip-sync…
A lot of fans want to see a season of Drag Race where two queens who are best friends compete together. Not like All Stars 1, however! Like Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme, Katya and Trixie Mattel.. Would you and Krystal be open to that?
That would be fierce. My god, the amount of arguments we’d have… We’re like family. Sisters, brothers, whatever. We would fight. We would just end up fighting through the challenge. It would be iconic TV, I can’t lie.
What can we expect from you post-Drag Race?
Some really exciting stuff. I recently shot a campaign which should be coming out real soon. I want to get onto makeup brands. I would love to have an assassin show and have all of the assassins back. And just getting out there, seeing the world and all the divas from all corners of the globe.
Is there an assassin you’d be scared to go up against?
Tayce. That bitch is crazy. She’s so quick with everything. You know I’m catching my breath when I just stand there going like that [waves finger] with my hands? It’s because I’ve lost my breath! I’m not trying to get a moment. I’m just exhausted. That screams, ‘I’m so out of breath and unhealthy and unfit.’
I hope I get to see Tayce vs DeDeLicious in the future…
That would be mental.
Drag Race UK season five is streaming now on BBC iPlayer.
You can watch our entire interview with DeDeLicious here or below.