Drag Race UK, Season 3, Episode 2: Bovine Clara Bow

If Blair St, Clair can have shivering as a gimmick, I’m willing to allow River Medway to point her way to the semi-finals.

Are you ready for an episode of Drag Race UK that is somehow more chaotic than anything that happened on Drag Race Holland, a series seemingly entirely designed to be as unhinged as possible? Good, strap in.

The Sun Sets on Brighton

With Anubis going home first everyone is obviously all a bother about The Curse of Brighton, but I think we’ll have to wait another season just to see if it’s The Curse of Brighton or The Curse of Dressing Up as a Building, it really could be either.
Stealing Anubis’s First Boot Spotlight however is Victoria Scone whose knee slide into second place was apparently as painful as it was awkward. Who knew drag queens weren’t built for baseball? And further stealing the spotlight from Victoria Scone’s weak knee was Charity Kase in her demonic clown half-drag

Every time they cut to her I both cackled and had 4 years shaved off my life. I’m not sure if it made me laugh harder than when she said “Let’s face it everyone had a good look.” and the camera cut straight to River Medway who lest we forget wore one of the most aesthetically baffling outfits I think we’ve ever seen on the runway

I have been trying to solve it all week, it is by all means The Zodiac Killer of Drag Race.

Supermarket Sneak

In true second episode mini challenge fashion, the main objective was to create as much drama between the queens as possible and with Krystal seemingly all too willing to lean into being the villain of the season, I think we can safely say it’s going swimmingly for production.
For winning the previous episode by not kneecapping herself like a self-effacing Mafiosi, Krystal was given the opportunity to play Rupermarket Sweep, in which she would get to ascribe mostly incredibly rude superlatives to her rival queens, that was after she ran around the supermarket display looking like Pat Butcher having a breakdown in the middle of Tesco

the superlatives are pretty much as you would expect – there’s Bargain Bin Queen who was meant to be deemed to have the trashiest taste, which she immediately gives to River Medway. I personally wouldn’t describe River’s drag as “trashy”, her two runway looks were maybe a little cheaper looking than some of the other queens’s looks but I’ll stand by her entrance outfit actually being very good.
She of course has to pick the queen who she believes will be eliminated next and takes the easy option of picking Elektra Fence

lock her up in a temple of snakes and call her Cassandra, I guess?
And yet somehow the biggest YIKES moment came from her awarding the Star Buy, indicating her biggest competition, to Victoria Scone because she makes the decision to make a fat joke that has everyone desperately wishing the entire studio floor would open up and consume them

as it turns out Victoria has a history of eating disorders and body dysmorphia, which the two of them do have a very open and frank conversation about and as someone who herself has struggled with anorexia in the past, I thought the conversation was extremely well handled and sensitive. It’s an important topic that I think the show quite often doesn’t do the best job of handling, especially when so many of the critiques of queens can revolve around body shape and size – it’s hard to ignore the amount of praise heaped upon queens just for having a miniscule waist and many a queen being criticised for not having the perfect figure for a runway look.

Physically Painful

For this week’s Maxi Challenge the queens would creating a parody of Peloton called “Dragoton” and I guess it was meant to be a dance based challenge except it became very apparent VERY quickly that this is not a cast of queens blessed with the gift of rhythm with Vanity and Elektra declaring themselves the dancers of the season – that really worked out for you two didn’t it? And then Ella and Victoria both went to the same dance college but Victoria is injured so had to do the whole thing while elegantly perched on a stool and trying not to shake a baby doll in a way that may get several OFCOM complaints

I’m baffled why this wasn’t turned into a joke in the routine? Or maybe it was and I was so cognitively confused by everything that happened in this accursed routine that by the time it got to Victoria’s group I was just mentally checked out and missed it.

The queens were split into three teams:

The Ride or Dies: Choriza, Vanity and Elektra
The Ball Busters: Krystal, Veronica, Kitty and River
The Babysizers: Victoria, Charity, Ella and Scarlett

The quicker I can expunge the word “babycizers” from my mind the better, it makes me itch like there are 1000 insects under my skin.

You would think that with Choriza being in a group with the two self-declared performers of the season, she would stick out like a sore thumb and yet while she had absolutely no idea what the bleeding heck she was meant to be doing for roughly 60% of the routine, it was Vanity’s wig that proved the more distracting, wildly uncoordinated entity on that stage

Vanity’s entire outfit in this challenge remains a mystery to me – the wig is very Miss Frizzle and then the outfit is halfway between alien cocktail waitress on Mars and Xanadu ensemble cast member who drew the short straw.
I actually really like both Choriza and Elektra’s outfits though and if Vanity had worn something with a print and burnt that wig, this would have at least been a more visually cohesive group and maybe they wouldn’t have landed in the bottom because quite how Scarlett avoided being in that lipsync despite just about not doing a single thing at the same time as anyone else is a mystery to me

bless her, she tried her hardest and she was truly terrible but it’s hard not to be slightly enamoured by someone trying to dance and looking every bit like a praying mantis suffocating in the vacuum of space.
The Babycizers were the group that by all means had the best opportunity to play up a character with the whole yummy-mummy image being pretty easy to satirize and yet, none of them really seemed to do it very well? But again, they did have the misfortune of following The Ball Busters whose entire gimmick was screaming – to the point where Krystal genuinely blew out her microphone in the beginning of their segment – RIP to the sound tech’s eardrums, I hope your insurance covered the damage.
Despite the general exhausting nature of the group, The Ball Busters were definitely the strongest team, if only because their outfits at least looked mildly cohesive

Note to future contestants: always pack a few black and white separates, it will do you the world of good.
Although I am disappointed that Veronica didn’t show up in something as visually distressing as her rehearsal outfit

I demand a thorough notes app apology for that novelty socks and heels combination.
I personally thought that River Medway was the strongest of the group, she had some great to-camera moments

and in my eyes delivered the most engaging performance of the bunch and I think I would have put her in the top over Veronica – she screamed “I LOVE ARSE!” directly to camera for crying out loud! But I really can’t blame the judges for seemingly just pointing at six queens and deciding they’re the tops and bottoms of the week because the challenge was utterly incomprehensible for the most part as the wildly disparate reactions from RuPaul and Guest Judge and Only True Source of Joy in the World, Oti Mabuse illustrates

these two reactions were within 3 seconds of one another.
Also, congratulations to all of us as we’re now all fully qualified to be Oti Mabuse’s dentists.

Rolling Out the Red Carpet

It was a fairly standard theme on the runway this week as the queens had to don their best red carpet worthy gowns, which mostly meant just wear a dress with some sequins on it, which might explain why Vicky Gill struggled so much on Strictly over the weekend – the UK sequin supply can only handle so much campery at any single time.

First out and setting quite a high standard was Choriza May in a flamenco inspired gown

I love this – the layering and combination of prints and fabrics is really interesting without being utterly overwhelming but it’s the wig that’s the real focal point of the look – let’s just thank God the door was high enough for her to not Cherry Valentine herself as she walked out.
While Choriza managed to serve some impact when she walked out, Elektra really thought she was pulling a stunt

everything about this is a bizarre choice but most of all the shy letting down of the hood like was walking into a café from the rain and was very sorry about getting the floor wet.
As for the dress, it’s just a weird silhouette because the top half looks like a tracksuit from one of BooHoo’s limited edition collections with *insert ITVBe celebrity here* and then the skirt is, in Alan Carr’s words, just a wizard’s robe

I can appreciate what she was trying to do, because The Vivienne did something similar in Season 1 with the Bond Girl Runway

that is absolutely what I believe Elektra thought she was serving and… well, she wasn’t.
I think Elektra could have had a really good gown had she had a plunging neckline, done something more interesting with the sleeves and had lined the dress in anything other than black.

Vanity Milan was next in her cherry blossom ensemble

I want to like this more than I actually do – she at least managed to avoid The Rosé Conflict and the cherry blossom ruffles are at least mostly flattering – the hourglass shape of them could potentially have ended less like a schlong but we can workshop that one. I also wish the cape was much grander and trailed out further behind her, just imagine it even 5 feet longer with more of the strange feathery jellyfish appliques? Although the judges had more of an issue with the smallness of her wig than the cape, I was indifferent and didn’t think it was that small, we were just spoiled by Choriza May’s superb wig coming out first.

Continuing her love of “very obscure pop culture references” that she likes to use in her drag, Kitty Scott-Claus came out in a gown inspired by that star of little renown, Marilyn Monroe

as far as Marilyn Monroe cosplay goes, this is perfectly good and Kitty pulls it off very well – Michelle of course clocks the black corset with hawk-like precision, no undergarment is safe.

Next was a pair of tits

the best thing about this runway was Oti’s reaction as like recognises like

it’s a rare moment when you find your kindred breast spirit.
I think the “wowness” of the look is mostly Krystal’s face as she continues to champion highlighter as a personality trait

the dress itself is fine, I love the sleeves – I’ve never met a bishop’s sleeve that I would say no to, but I would have liked something more than a leotard in all honesty, especially for a red carpet look. Although leotards did seem to be a bit of a trend as River Medway followed

I think this is really cute in a very early 2000s Paris Hilton promoting The Simple Life kind of way and I truly believe that this combined with her Dragoton performance should have landed her in the top because I have some issues with Veronica’s outfit

if we’re going to slam Vanity’s Dragoton wig, then I will not be excusing Veronica’s wig which is somehow both at once extremely voluminous and yet very flat. I just feel like it’s swallowing her up and very much competing with her dress – and the less said about her penchant for the absolute worst coloured lipsticks the better. The dress however is a delight and it looks great on her, it just deserved significantly better styling – imagine this with the wig River Medway had on and you have a really great look.
Veronica’s look was at least not as confusing as Charity Kase coming out as The Crypt Keeper at a Jay Gatsby party

I do think it’s savvy of Charity to give a more, I suppose, glamorous look on the runway before Michelle had to prompt her however I don’t think this is very successful, the colour is gorgeous and the lazer cut koi headpiece and matching earrings are STUNNING but I find the layering to be a little boggling and while I like the eye-makeup, the lips are truly terrible

it looks like she painted a cow’s nose on her mouth? I think a more classical Clara Bow lip would have rounded the look out a little better than a great big honking moo snoot.

Ella Vaday went with the much more classical 1950s red carpet style, which I’m surprised we didn’t see more of

I’m never going to be overwhelmingly excited by a peach coloured dress but she looks beautiful in it and that hair colour really suits her and I’d like to see her wear it more often. I do also think that this was a more successful take on this style of dress than Scarlett Adams managed on Drag Race Down Under

I think my biggest complaint with Ella’s is that the jewellery felt a little too contemporary drag against such a classic looked dress

but a girl has to hide a breastplate somehow.
Scarlett Harlett was also going for the classic Hollywood red carpet look and I think managed a more cohesive aesthetic if a slightly less interesting gown

also, a more successful use of the glitter jersey fabric than Elektra managed.
I did find the whole shy Bambi performance to be a little unsettling in the same way I found Elektra Fence dressed as a man-sized toddler last week – it’s just bad vibes. Also, a weird choice of eye-makeup for this look

beautifully done, mind, I just don’t see it with this dress and wig.

Seeing us out was Victoria Scone in a perfectly serviceable gown

I think this is maybe only a little disappointing because Victoria set such a high bar in the first episode – it’s also difficult to make this fabric look expensive and it’s a marvel that it’s as uncreased as it is. She could have also turned the fact she was wearing trainers under the dress because of her injured knee, into something a little cheekier – go the full I’m-not-like-other-girls hog!

A Red Carpet Showstopper Runway Ranking

  1. Choriza May Supremacy
  2. Veronica Green’s Dress
  3. Ella Vaday Lookin’ Peach Perfect
  4. Justice For River Medway
  5. Krystal Versace’s Emerald Titties
  6. Kitty Scott-Claus Knew Marilyn Before She Was Cool
  7. Scarlett Harlett’s Bambi in a Gown
  8. Victoria Scone’s Lovely Gown, Beautiful Gown
  9. Veronica Green’s Wig
  10. Vanity Milan’s Accidental Cherry Schlong
  11. Charity Kase’s Bovine Clara Bow
  12. Elektra Fence’s Apologetic Disco Hood
  13. Veronica Green’s Choice of Lipstick

the randomly selected tops and bottoms of the week were Kitty, Krystal and Veronica in the top – as I said before I would have put River in there over Veronica. I think Kitty deserved it, I rather enjoyed her Roller Derby Baby Spice character in the Dragoton sketch

Also, whoever put Anubis’s name on the Werkout Leaderboard is a shady arse and I love them.
As for Krystal, it’s hard to forget all the screaming and boobs so I can get why she left an impression on the judges, honestly this episode didn’t deserve a winner because the whole thing was a fatiguing fever dream but with her second win, it is looking like a slightly inevitable Krystal Versace crowning.
As for the bottoms, it’s our two bona-fide self-accredited performers of the season Vanity and Elektra who are joined by Charity Kase, more as a courtesy than anything else, meanwhile Scarlett skips off the stage as fast as she can before they notice.
In the end Charity Kase is spared the lipsync and so Elektra and Vanity go ahead in what is certainly one Hell of a lipsync.

Moving on Up, Down, Left, Right, Triangle, Circle, Square, Start

So Elektra and Vanity lipsync to Moving on Up by M People and it is a truly bizarre experience as Vanity makes the brave power move to slide into a splits in front of her nemesis

this seemingly kick starting a series of events as Elektra Fence becomes completely immune to the very concept of gravity, everything she did looks like it was being played in reverse

it’s like a Mortal Kombat character has glitched out and gone rogue, but good God was it fun to watch – especially when the camera firmly focused on Vanity Milan giving a solid lipsync while Elektra flipped down the back of the runway in the background being payed absolute DUST by production

and because that feeling of certain doom was settling in after a previous bottom 2 appearance and the front runner of the competition all but offering you up as a drag queen sacrifice, Elektra just starts breakdancing in a song that in no way calls for breakdancing

and this completely breaks Michelle who just yells “What the fuck?” at the whirling silver dervish that is Elektra Fence’s last gasps of Drag Race glory. So ultimately it is fitting that she ends the lipsync by completely yeeting herself off the stage like a baco-foil wrapped turkey completely overcome by the death of its husband

an action that has been rumoured for years now to be an instant disqualification – whether this is true or just angry Katya fans who thought Kennedy should have been eliminated instead of Katya in season 7 remains to be seen but Ru’s unflinching look of disgust suggests this might well be the case

It’s hard to remember anything that Vanity Milan did, it’s like Elektra became a Neuralyzer and yet it is Vanity who gets to remain while Elektra is sent packing

and in true Elektra fashion gave a very sweet and bumbling sign off message, bless her cotton socks.

But before we leave there is DRAMA as Victoria Scone is called to the front of the stage and told she will have to visit another doctor who will decide whether or not she can remain in the competition. I’m guessing that because she was afforded more dignity than Eureka O’Hara in season 9 – lest we forget the image of her hobbling up the stage dressed as a muppet’s worst nightmare

that Victoria Scone is not about to be eliminated and asked to come back next season? I just don’t see them pulling this kind of a cliff-hanger to break that news, but worse decisions have been made on this show. And if she is sent home, it begs the question of whether Elektra or Anubis comes back. Or maybe they’ll just nonsensically bring Art Simone back for another go.

And so, for now at least, 10 queens remain

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