Yeah, this show can be like that.
It’s the first ever UK Rusical and their taking on the monolithic cinematic disaster CATS! What could possibly go wrong?
Joe Blacked Out
Obviously we have to start with the aftermath of the elimination of iconc and monolith of the British drag scene, Joe Black. All of the queens are gagged, none more so than A’Whora who believes this has made it that much easier for her to win – she just has to make it passed Asttina, Ellie, Lawrence, The Transformation of Veronica Green into An Ego Monster and the villain edit she’s really leaning into – It should be a cake walk!
Asttina also wants to have her moment of celebration and immediately it is brought up that all of the safe queens, except Ginny because she’s always correct, thought Asttina would be in the bottom for wearing the ASOS jacket. Once again, A’Whora, you are dressed as university party Robin Hood, so stop coming for a pretty fab coat!
And then they had to de-drag, or if you’re Ginny Lemon, re-drag up as Bimini
Honestly, if Ginny has whipped off her dress in the reveal runway to be standing in this, it would have been ICONIC. Not that her runway reveal wasn’t pretty golden already!
Surprise General Election!
A new day in the Werk Room and their first real chance to serve up a Boy LookTM so of course what else do you opt for other than Legolas on the Suffolk Bowling Team?
I love that absolutely nobody addressed or talked about them – not even a whisper. It might have been because A’Whora’s fake tan kind of stole everyone’s spotlight
Did she count Mississippily?
The mini challenge this week is a vote! Because if there’s one thing we need right now it’s another election. The queens will be voting for 4 categories:
The Secretary of Shade – the shadiest queen of the bunch.
Trade Minister – the hottest out of drag
Leader of the House of Lording It Up – the cockiest queen of the bunch
Baroness Basic – the most basic queen of all.
I think it was pretty obvious who was going to be voted into which category, however much I disagree. Tayce was a shoe in for Trade Minister, I mean LOOK AT THE MAN
I could talk for days about how the Drag Race franchise has bastardised the word “Trade” but this recap is already going to be excessively long, I’m not sure we need an etymological essay in the middle of it – that’s what my MasterChef recaps are for! Tayce winning Trade Minister does also lead to one of the most awkward conversation in Drag Race history in which she and A’Whora discuss but kind of tiptoe around the fact they’ve fucked in the past. Which does make me sound prudish but it was more the fact that I’m not sure the editors needed to add the steamy low budget porn saxophone under the conversation, you know to really accentuate the eroticism of this conversation that will no doubt launch 1000 terrible fanfics. Good luck with those being given to you at ever drag convention for the rest of your careers!
A’whora obviously gets Shadiest Queen – I’m not so sure she qualifies as “shady” so much as “unrelentingly bitchy” but that’s me splitting hairs again. Interesting that Lawrence voted for Veronica as the shadiest of the bunch because prior to this episode I’d probably have voted for Veronica as Baroness Basic – she promptly proved me wrong but she was flying a little low at this point. Although a potentially earned vote give that Veronica voted for Asttina, the queen that literally just won the first episode as the most basic of the bunch. It’s honestly beginning to seem a bit like a micro-aggression – maybe we nip this in the bud?
Baroness Basic instead went to Tia Kofi which I take as a personal slight against my terrible taste and I will avenge my favourite’s honour! (But I will acknowledge that Tia is delightfully basic).
Rats: The Live Rusical!
The main challenge this week, and the reason the episode was an extra 15 minutes long, is because it’s the first musical challenge of the UK franchise: RATS! A parody of both Andrew Lloyd-Webber in general but mostly just CATS (2019) a film I saw 5 times in cinemas, all of which qualify as my best cinema experience of all time – the best of which was watching a matinee screening with a gaggle of old ladies and them loving every second of it.
Role Up, Role Up!
As a consolation prize for being voted Baroness Basic, Tia is given the task of assigning the roles and the swiftness at which Veronica transformed from kind of meek and unassuming to Rachel Berry levels of desperation to get the lead part of Evita von Fleas was astounding. Although we should have seen it coming the moment she settled herself on the floor with her massive red velvet skirt pooling around her like she was in a photoshoot after winning every Tony Award going
I’m an entirely converted Veronica Green Stan Account.
She’s having to fight Cherry Valentine for the role and has absolutely nobody fighting in her corner and A’Whora gassing Cherry up, which probably did more harm than good and I would say at least 60% out of pure spite Tia overlooks Cherry and hands Veronica the role of sexy strip rat. Now she could have just given Cherry the role of the ingénue, Jane the House Rat but no, Tia barrels on and hands that to Asttina, sending Cherry straight into the Rat Pack along with Sister Sister and Lawrence Chaney who is so uncomfortable with the entire challenge that she barely says a word despite literally just being voted as the cockiest queen. It’s quite the humble pie recipe.
Ginny is obviously given the role of Dame Dudy Stench, it’s the role she was destined to play!
Bimini and A’Whora are playing the roles of Depravity and Miss Dystenery (which very promptly just becomes Diphtheria because Ginny decided on it). They’re roles are parodying the possibly incestuous and definitely the most disturbingly sexual part of Cats: Mungojerry and Rumpleteazer.
Tayce and Ellie are saddled with the lazy stereotypical Hood Rats: Scat Rat and Scabies and Tia Kofi takes the role of Specimen 1 because everyone has finally worked out that you usually win these challenges by either being theatre trained or having the least lines.
The Queens get what we shall generously call vocal coaching from Dane Chalfin and Michelle Visage (TRACK 9 ON THE BODYGUARD SOUNDTRACK!). Most of the coaching time is to set up that both Tayce and Ellie are going to have a serious case of mush mouth and that Lawrence is nervous as shit. And that A’Whora is going to be doing her best Right Said Fred impersonation for the routine but is struggling to get into character because she’s not currently dressed as a humanoid rat – I did very much enjoy Michelle’s response to it
But also Veronica begins her ascension into the Pantheon of Theatre Goddesses by hitting a high note that has everyone a little shaken and truly the theatre monster is OUT.
It’s during the choreography session that Lawrence’s tentativeness really comes to a head and he has a bit of a meltdown on stage because he’s worried that he’s going to shit – it’s Relatable Content 101 – but the queens rally around and assure him that it’ll all be alright on the night. It wasn’t entirely true but they tried their best and apparently it was very taxing on Sister Sister…
Fellow Scottish queen, Ellie Diamond, is much more confident with choreo and claims she can pick it very easily, I would like to see proof of this given that she was a good 2 beats behind Tayce at almost every moment. But hey, she can do a dip and that’s what counts on this show
Veronica Domination Update:
I saw a lot of decisiveness on Twitter about the success of this Rusical with a just about equal split between it being the worst thing they’d ever seen and thinking it was the best Rusical that the franchise has done since the one featuring Courtney Act and Adore Delano. I personally lean more towards the positive, especially given the recent offerings of Cheese Frightening, The Kardashian Musical and That Cursed Cher Musical. I’m also obviously well versed in all things CATS (2019) so I got all of the references and jokes which always helps with these.
The obvious stand out is Veronica Green eating the entire stage up with her performance as the disturbingly alluring Evita von Fleas
and she truly stole the whole show with the reveal of her 8 glistening nipples and a pair of mouse toy pasties
You try explaining this to your parents when they walk in halfway through the episode!
She sadly never quite got the mouse tassels spinning correctly
Which somehow only made the whole thing even more insane and incredible.
The pasties weren’t the only reveal though as Tia Kofi as Specimen 1 hobbles forward singing their offbrand version of Memory and reveals that she has had an ear grown on her back
The scream of delight I let out – it’s SO GOOD.
My one critique of Tia’s performance was that when she died at the end she fell the wrong way and nobody could really appreciate the giant ear anymore
but obviously then we got treated to her crawling off stage and really lining herself up for a win, the only thing really standing in her way was the now murderous Veronica Green and a particularly dull runway outfit.
Ginny also did very well in a role that was both parodying and also not parodying Old Deuteronomy and Ginny did what Ginny does best: look absolutely insane
How long before the judges call her out on it and she gets eliminated? I’m saying Week 6.
Bimini and A’Whora were also both stand outs in the show
Their characterisation was extremely strong as were their vocal performance and I’m a little surprised that A’Whora wasn’t in the top 3. I’m less surprised about Bimini given the runway but we’ll get to that later…
The Rat Pack did their job perfectly serviceably
I think of all the songs theirs was my favourite and definitely the most referential. The judges claim that Cherry Valentine looked lost and panicked the whole way through the performance but I thought it seemed like more of character choice and would argue that Sister Sister was so dull that they forgot to put her in the bottom 3.
The two weakest performers were both Tayce and Ellie by a fairly large margin. It didn’t help that they were given the most nonsense part of the whole show – aside from Asttina whose performance was kind of nothing but overall rang true to what Francesca Hayward delivered as Victoria in the film. Both Ellie and Tayce dropped words left and right and failed to hit numerous marks with their choreography
and constantly glancing at one another for cues – an unfortunate scenario given it was essentially the blind leading the blinder. Honestly, I would say Ellie was the weaker of the two.
Overall I really enjoyed it – I’m personally offended on the lack of a Drag Queen Skimbleshanks scene. It’s the best number in the whole films aside from Jennifer Hudson singing Memory while leaking snot EVERYWHERE. I was also confused why they praised Ellie so much for her Hood Rat Costume given that they were obviously given them by production seeing as The Rat Pack were dressed identically and Veronica obviously did not bring in a perfectly fitted, nippled rat suit.
This week’s runway was the now Drag Race Finale staple: The Reveal! The point of a reveal being to not be able to tell what is coming next – a concept that has wholly been broken by Sasha Velour’s rose petal shenanigans (and Asia O’Hara’s butterfly massacre). Neva4get.
First down the runway was A’Whora who successfully navigated the task of having two outfits that cohesively went together, transforming from
Abraham Lincoln a groom into a bride
Again, I’m genuinely shocked that given her performance as well as this reveal that she wasn’t in the top 3.
Lawrence needed quite the reveal to save her from the lipsync given that not a single thing she did in the Rusical was even remotely memorable and she mostly managed it transforming from a sequined Saltire flag inspired jumpsuit into a tartan dress
They’re both perfectly fine looks but she had by far the most fumbling reveal of the reveals that were even moderately successful
And her banter with Sheridan Smith was very funny – Lawrence just has that It Factor that is almost certainly destined for the final.
In terms of cohesive looks and telling a story it was Ellie who really stood out with her three Wizard of Oz looks
3 in one is very impressive but I was kind of waiting for the Dorothy reveal that just never happened. She also absolutely knew that The Wizard of Oz was Ru’s favourite film and we haven’t seen this flagrant a case of arse kissing since Gigi Goode cosplayed as both RuPaul and Dorothy Gale in the Season 12 Zoom Finale.
Now Tia Kofi was primed for a winning night and all she had to do to at least earn a joint win was give a passably competent reveal and then this happened
And while her first look is hilarious and the reveal was very smooth, revealing to what is absolutely a low budget Moulin Rouge Halloween costume is not exactly winning material. All it needed was a bit of glitz and sparkle to add some sort of dimension to it.
I do however heartily disagree with Alan Carr because I loved the macarena on the runway
It’s just stupid silly fun and I’m glad someone on this show has remembered that.
So with Tia essentially tapping out it was Veronica’s badge to steal and when she first came out I thought “OH GOD! YOU’VE BLOWN IT TOO!”
She claims it was meant to be a 1950s housewife but to me it’s reading much more Mrs. Doubtfire, and I get that she was hiding an entire C3PO costume under there but it could have been more 1950s, even just in the makeup
Her reveal was slightly messy, kind of like watching a possessed Digestive biscuit trying to tear its own way out of a bag
but the final result is pretty cool and its a brilliant concept
Truly a monster has been born. I cannot wait.
Sister Sister’s concept was along the same lines, in that it started off as a hideous floral dress with insane makeup
and then revealing it to something wacky and twisted
It’s less successful to me because it’s such a visual hodge-podge and cannot believe they can criticise Tia Kofi for doing the Macarena and not hold Sister Sister accountable for this fumbling teddy bear roll
It’s like a Year 7 gymnastics showcase all over again. But y’know… with BDSM.
Fair play to her for a decent de-wigging
it was really her only reveal that I cared for.
I had thought Ginny was going to go down the exact same route as both Sister Sister and Veronica when she came out in her own personal brand of hideous floral outfit
WHERE DO YOU EVEN BUY PLATFORM CROCS FROM?
And then her reveal starts and we tend to overuse to word “iconic” but I truly think revealing from one dress into the same dress is a suitable use of the word ICONIC
And the just as RuPaul began sketching Ginny’s name into the Bottom 3 she turned around and revealed a window to her hair arse
I still would have loved a reveal to Bimini’s awful Nottingham Football outfit but this is perfectly Ginny.
The last of the real success stories in this runway was Asttina and at first I was sceptical because while the outfit was top tier cosplay with no care for copyright infringement (clearly the BBC got better lawyers after last year’s London Tube Map debacle) I thought she had blown her reveal too early
How silly of me to doubt Asttina Mandella because she then pulls down her mask to reveal her horrifyingly fanged mouth
While up close the prosthetic application might not be brilliant, it certainly read well from afar and she delivers hell of a performance on the runway.
Considerably less successful in concept was Cherry Valentine who decided to come as a gender reveal
I think it just needed more a twist on the concept than bursting the balloon to reveal rainbow confetti
Give birth on the runway – rip out some sort of Eldritch monster from your womb. GET WEIRD.
It doesn’t help that her pre-reveal outfit was not that great, the skirt just kind of sat around her like a benevolent floatation device and her makeup wasn’t really up to her usual standard, especially her lips which kind of just looked like she had drunk a chocolate milkshake in hell of a hurry
Having paint problems of her own was Bimini who came out swinging with Hell of a concept based on Alexander McQueen’s infamous live painting runway and she was going to burst all of the balloons to cover her corset in splatters of paint
Except the popping started and oh boy was it a disaster, like curl up and die out of awkwardness levels of disaster as she struggled to pop balloon any of the balloons which seemed to be filled with a minimal amount of paint
At least the wig was cool?
And lastly we have Tayce who thought revealing from a red coat to another red coat to a red jumpsuit and then dribbling red blood down it would have any sort of impact
Michelle was particularly upset by the visibility of the black corset, which could have easily been disguised by hot-gluing red fabric over it, which I totally get. But dear Lord if she she isn’t one the most arrestingly stunning queens to have ever been on this franchise:
Put her in The Louvre.
Of course she’s finished off with splatter of blood across her face and a signature arse touching wig but some things just aren’t enough to save you from a bottom 2 situation.
An Arbitrary Reveal Runway Ranking
- A’Whora’s Self Marriage
- Mileena Mandella
- No Room For Dorothy
- Robo-Wife 2.0
- Ginny Lemon’s Hairy Arse
- Full Scottish Lawrence Chaney
- Masc 4 Moulin Rouge
- Preggy Valentine
- Black and Blonde and Red All Over
- Sister Fister
- Watching Paint Dry
The tops are Veronica, Tia and Ellie – seemingly just because of her Wizard of Oz reveals. And then our bottoms are Cherry, Lawrence and Tayce. Personally I think my Top 3 were Tia, Veronica and Ginny and my bottoms were Tayce, Sister Sister and Ellie – with the first two headed straight for that lipsync.
Despite my opinions it’s Cherry and Tayce who find themselves in the bottom two and having to lipsync to Memory by Elaine Paige, or Memories if you’re the Drag Race editor
SORT YOURSELVES OUT.
I think it’s fair to say this is a left field choice of a lipsync and overall one of the worst we’ve ever had – not because either Cherry or Tayce were bad at it but I don’t think either of them really understood the context of the song or connected to it. Of course they can’t exactly death drop and shablam to it but Cherry just stood there while stiff and pregnant
And Tayce slunk around the stage looking like the final girl in a Tarantino film
Neither of them reaching the melodramatic heights of pitiful despair that Grizabella calls for.
In the end Ru decides to save Tayce and Cherry is eliminated which I am very sad about because she was our local queen but I think I would have been sadder to lose Tayce. But I hope Cherry got what she needed from the show – her opening up about not feeling able to be proudly gay was extremely poignant and I hope that she feels more connected to the queer community now.
And so, 10 Queens remain