Drag Race UK vs The World, Series 1, Episode 5: Interpretive Chicken

This is a Blu Hydrangea’s Narwhal Topknot Stan Account.

Did everybody know this was a semi-final except me? I’m not complaining, I’m just used to Drag Race seasons going on for what feels like centuries.

Thai Breakers

In the wake of Pangina’s elimination and her anguished sobs still echoing through the Werk Room, Blu is incredibly shaken by the whole thing and clearly her thoughts were running a mile a minute as she wondered if she would have a career after all this. The queens all reassure her, mostly using Naomi Smalls leaning into the whole Killer of Manila palaver as their evidence. But the queens also kind of just respect the decision – it is after all the name of the game and this is exactly what this format is actively encouraging. It should however be red flags to the producers that the queens talk a lot about how the audience at home don’t understand the pressures of it and can’t relate to the decisions being made because in my mind (if I may flex that I have a degree in Film and Television Production for a second) that just means it’s not great television.

Blu however can somewhat rest easy in the knowledge that Baga was going to make the same decision, and Pangina can at least look on the brightside that she wasn’t eliminated by someone’s drunk aunt at a wedding

so truly, Pangina was utterly and completely screwed in an episode that didn’t even warrant her being in the bottom. I also love that this season has been so chaotic that in four lipstick pulls, the decision was only the same once.

London Calling

This week’s Main Challenge was for the queens to write and record a new verse for RuPaul’s “Living My Life in London” which is distinctly odd because I assume the finale is going to be… the exact same challenge? But I suppose you have to try before you buy, which is probably why this panned out the way it did considering that more and more of Jade Thirlwall’s life force was leaving her every time Janey made an attempt to reach the top note

the only other time I have seen someone age so visibly in only a matter of seconds was when Rhys finished murdering his jive on Strictly

I imagine the main difference between this challenge and the inevitable finale song challenge will be that nobody rhymed “down” and “crown” this time and that the queens had to choreograph this themselves, with Mo Heart taking the lead and trying to choreography their very own Busby Berkeley number, which of course Baga was having none of and wasn’t going to try do anything above a mild mannered walk and some arm movements. Thankfully Mo categorically outlawed having everyone march in place like they were animatronics in Disneyland’s It’s a Small World ride

can you imagine? Just bottom placements all round and invite Pangina back to eliminate someone at random. They did however manage to force Mo to put in Baga’s patented Swinging Arm

I love that Mo Heart’s sleeve make it look like she’s the beginning process of going the full Tetsuo

this did make me google to see if anyone had tried to put on an ill-advised stage production of Akira – I am equally relieved and disappointed to report that there is not. And I have the same feels about the live action adaptation that has been banished to Development Hell for the last 3 years while Taika Waititi busies himself with Marvel and being in a throuple. I’m sorry, were you here for a Drag Race recap?

Mo was however trying to do the absolute most, which I can’t really blame her for considering this sort of standard drag choreography is what she does very well – just don’t ask her to cartwheel – but she did concede and gave in to the fact Baga cannot and will not dance. Although, I don’t know what Janey and Blu’s excuses were

Mo did still manage to shine the brightest though – her verse was punchy and sounded complex and just the way she sang “HOLLYWOOD BABY!” was a joy and very tempting to turn into my text alert. I was a little lukewarm on her performance outfit, but I appreciate that she stuck to the red, white and blue theme without being weirdly patriotic about it, I am also fascinated by the aforementioned Tetsuo sleeve because it also reminds me of those novelty tomato-shaped ketchup bottles and I want to squeeze it really badly

and she’s pulling off the Miley Cyrus Having a Breakdown wig about as well as you could hope anyone to.

Baga however was going Full Patriot in the most unsubtle way

Hey, there’s a platinum jubilee to try and get booked for this year, you might as well show off what you’ve got.

Baga’s verse was your standard Baga fare, there were tit jokes and the general air of a Kim Woodburn parody song from YouTube circa 2009 but I’m just glad it was considerably more elevated than the karaoke nightmare that was her talent show performance.

In terms of the verse I enjoyed the most, while I think Mo’s vocals were the best, Blu’s was the most… Drag Race and I did SCREAM-cackle when she said “Creator, Eliminator” and whipped out the Goodbye Lipstick

to me, she and Mo ate this challenge, because while Jujubee’s vocals were pretty, I didn’t think there was actually that much to remember from her verse, mostly because I was VERY distracted by Janey and Baga rubbing her tits with all the sensuality of someone buffering a foot callus, and of course Baga was wearing the imitation Diana ring

Drag is not a contact sport!

As for Janey, given the fact Jade Thirlwall probably had to check into a private clinic after recording her verse, she sounded really good, almost suspiciously good… Are there That Was not Janey’s Voice truthers yet? Because if not, I will create the cyan text’d 3D rotating clipart website to attract them.
I did really like her outfit too, it was of course the standard Drag Race Chaps, but the combination of animals prints meant it didn’t read too obviously as a reference to the Netherlands flag, I just maybe wish she had a more contemporary earring as opposed to the standard pageant gemstone ladders – and just some darker eyebrows, the red wig really washed them right out

and with an outfit that was so striking, her verse needed to match it and it just didn’t – it sounded like what people who don’t watch Eurovision think Eurovision songs sound like, but thinking about it now that’s kind of just Drag Race songs in general. What I mean it that it was too Scooch adjacent.

Did Somebody Mention Art?

For the runway this week the queens had to draw inspiration from the art world – Drag Race Espana had a very similar theme focusing exclusively on Spanish Art, where naturally there were plenty of Dalis, and in fact Sagittaria did Dali’s Woman With Flower Head

which Mo Heart also references for this runway, but while Sagittaria didn’t want to stray to far from her brand of wearing a leotard and perspex pleasers, Mo Heart fully embraced the surreal body horror that makes the piece so unsettling

and of course she wasn’t going to let anyone say she didn’t paint her face because as much as I wish she had just done the entire judging critique with a faceful of flowers, I got a great deal of joy from how happy she was to reveal that the face-cage opened

but I particularly loved just how gagged the judging panel seemed to be by it all

granted, the crack effect she had painted was very impressive.

Blu also went the surreal route, drawing from Picasso

I do really like this, however I do think there are a number of things that were doing her a disservice with this look – I think the belt should have been yellow, just to make that random pop of yellow on the collar make more sense and the shoes are really cutting her off and ruining the proportions of the whole thing – I think something like these shoes that Vivaldi wore on Drag Race Holland series 2 would have been better and fed better into the play on shapes and colours

or just anything but those black Westwood shoes from the 90s.

And while Blu’s Picasso dress was a very grand and elaborate outfit (and I might not have done quite so many 80s pelmet ruffles) I will not stand for the judges saying they were confused about which artist she was referencing when they had no clue what Jujubee was referencing and just shrugged because at least she wasn’t wearing a black mini dress

allegedly this was inspired by Iris van Herpen and I think Jujubee owes Iris a VERY long and sincere apology because you cannot pass off a gown that I am 100% sure that given long enough I could find on AliExpress as “inspired by Iris van Herpen”. I do think Jujubee looks beautiful though and the headpiece did at least make the whole thing seem slightly more ~artistic~

and that rich honey-gold hair on her is just sublime.

I had similar issues with the judges being overly picky about the fit and style of Blu’s outfit and then gleefully congratulating Baga because she had come dressed as a child’s drawing of Van Gogh’s sunflowers

My issue with Baga is there’s never a twist to anything – she’s always Just Diana, Just Bagpuss, Just an Academy Award, Just Some Poorly Timed Army Propaganda, Just a Leprechaun, Just a Mess, Just a Pot of Sunflowers… I would just like a touch of fashion, a smidge of thought, an iota of design – even if the sunflowers had just been slightly different colours to better imitate Van Gogh’s painting – AND MY GOD IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR AN INVISIBLE ZIP?

ok, that might be a picky but it’s the telltale sign of having just quickly bought something from a theatrical costume shop. AND LOOK AT THE BACK OF BLU’S GOWN

I am *so* mad about how the judges talked about her outfit.

And lastly we have Janey Jacké who forwent the Dutch Masters and embraced Pop Art

would I have prefered to see Janey pull off a really stellar Girl With The Pearl Earring? Yes I would have, I think the way she paints her face always has a ring of the Baroque about it and she would have suited it well. But this look is at least interesting and I admire her for attempting to do a very elaborate makeup job that is very much out of her comfort zone, I do however think it got a little muddy

It’s really difficult to contour and highlight when you do a look like this, we can’t all be Juno Birch levels of good at it, but I really loved the outfit – I will be coveting that sparkly green coat dress for the foreseeable future. And she did a better job at referencing Pop Art than the Queens on All Stars 6 who literally had Pop Art as a runway theme.

A Work Of Art Runway Ranking

  1. Mo Heart’s SERVE-ador Dali
  2. Picasso’s Blu Period
  3. Janey’s Slightly Muddy Marilyn
  4. Jujubee’s Iris van I-just-happen-to-own-this
  5. Baga Chipz as The Sunflowers in a Nativity Play

The clear winner, ahead of the lipsync at least, was Mo Heart – great verse, great stage presence, fantastic interpretation of the brief, we cannot possibly stan harder. As for who should have joined her in the top 2, I would have put Blu up there but the judges were weirdly harsh on her outfit and nobody else’s so I guess the Pangina grudge runs deeper than the judges would care to admit. But because this season is absolutely Jujubee’s own personal Escape Room, she does have to be dragged to the final whether she wants to be there or not and because she would be the logical choice to eliminate, she is of course just bumped up to Top 2, because what is a runway theme but an arbitrary schematic?

Nothing But Netta

This week’s lipsync song was Toy by Netta which is a distinctly weird choice given the entire Eurovision oeuvre available, also I’m just wondering if this is a hint that the BBC will finally be announcing their plans for Eurovision this year? The deadline is drawing ever nearer… And I swear to god if a single one of you suggests Bing Bang Bong I will write you a 5000 word essay about why that is a terrible idea and cannot, within the rules, even be done and I will use your own blood to write it.

The only way to play Toy as a lipsync is to go comedic and the Jujubee really won this lipsync the moment she started acting like a literal chicken

I’m not surprised that Mo wasn’t willing to go that far, she was a much more interpretive chicken, she did of course, imaginably, have to be bribed just to do Baga’s patented drunk pirate arm. Although I was obsessed that Mo just changed into the black version of her performance outfit, wig and all

it’s not really the vibe of the song but it was probably the only outfit that would even vaguely gel with the fact she had painted her face like the San Andreas Fault Line.
Jujubee went with a much more performance friendly outfit and looked very cute

and even with the chicken dancing aside, she did feel much more “in control” of the song – it always does a queen well to interact with the instrumental of the song as much as the lyrics and Juju had her timing DOWN – so as much I think Mo deserved a goddamn RuPeter badge for SOMETHING, ANYTHING, PLEASE GIVE HER A CHEAP BADGE, Juju did win this lipsync.

Given that there’s been this long running narrative of REVENGE! this season, I had fully thought that Jujubee might drink from the same well and just oust Blu in the name of St. Pangina because she certainly wasn’t going to get rid of Baga after Baga just went full puppy-eyes and kissed the arses of both Jujubee and Mo. But Janey did seem to be on a one woman mission to get herself eliminated by reminding Jujubee that she would have eliminated her in episode 2

and thus Jujubee’s mind was made up

I’m disappointed, more because it comes down to just being a race between the UK and the US queens, I would’ve liked it to be a little more mixed, and I’ve really enjoyed Janey on the show and I think she was a great casting choice. I am curious as to who Mo would have gone for, I fully believe she’s picked Baga’s lipstick – I just really need to know that SOMEONE would have eliminated Baga at some point, it would help me sleep at night.

It is also nice that Jujubee has a badge so that she isn’t somehow The Cheryl Hole of the Season in a season that Cheryl Hole herself was actually part of.

And so, 4 queens go to the seemingly very premature finale…

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of the Drag Race UK vs The World semi-final and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

One thought on “Drag Race UK vs The World, Series 1, Episode 5: Interpretive Chicken

  1. josie

    “Pangina was utterly and completely screwed in an episode that didn’t even warrant her being in the bottom” Didn’t all of the queens acknowledge that Pangina and Janey were the clear bottom 2?

Leave a Reply