One interesting aspect of having two seasons of Drag Race airing simultaneously is that we get almost instant checks on our recency bias. When episode 3 of UK2 aired Thursday night, I heard not a small amount of complaining about the quality of some of the queens’ color creations. Then the Season 13 ball aired a day later, and it included one of the worst — if not THE worst — queen-created looks to ever appear on this franchise, in any season, in any country. And suddenly even the worst looks from the UK2 queens on Thursday looked a whole lot better. Who needs the Scarlet Witch when television rewrites reality for us so quickly?
The mini challenge this week was a limbo competition, and honestly I could have watched that in its entirety. The queens were having a ball — in Ellie’s case, she had two — and Ru seemed to be having a good time, which is always nice to see (I find Ru seems to enjoy himself more with the UK seasons than he does on the modern US series, and I’d love to discover if that’s actually true or just projection).
The main challenge was kind of devious. The queens paired up with their besties at Ru’s request, and then she informed the duos that they would be competing against one another in Who Wore It Best?, the season’s first design challenge. Each pair was assigned a box with color-coordinated fabrics and told to make a better garment than their partner/competitor. Overall I think the queens did generally fine, but I don’t think any one of them knocked it out of the park. And given that we have several sewers on this cast, that surprised me. Even the five winners left me wanting more.
That said, I do believe that Lawrence Chaney was the correct winner. The only real competition here was A’Whora, who as was pointed out in our Bird Watch video review (you’re watching Bird Watch, aren’t you?), gave us something awfully reminiscent of an iconic RPDR Season 4 and also had to work in black, which didn’t allow her garment to really pop. Lawrence created a pretty, eye-catching, curvy look, and this week that was enough to get her a Ru-Peter Badge.
On the opposite side of the color spectrum, there was a very clear Bottom 3 in Team Blue’s Asttina Mandella, Team Green’s Tia Kofi, and Team Pink’s Ginny Lemon. Each of them had different struggles. Ginny was challenged by Ru to step outside of her comfort zone and try to do sexy instead of her campy drag gran/clown shtick. Ginny did her best, she pushed herself, she wore a breastplate and pads for the first time ever, and she shared her struggles with self esteem and acknowledged that she identifies as nonbinary. I do think it’s problematic for the show to push a queen, in particular one with Ginny’s complicated background, into a traditional sexy box, but…here we are! Tia, meanwhile, had no idea what to do in a sewing challenge, and it showed. I actually didn’t hate her green look — again, miles better than at least three of the handmade looks from the S13 ball — and I absolutely loved the way she tried to sell it to the judges. She’s so funny and charming. I did not see her coming.
Nor did Asttina, who ended up in the Bottom 2 opposite Tia for doing very little in the design challenge. Asttina clearly has tremendous potential — she won Episode 1! — but she had been coasting the past two episodes, and you just can’t get away with that in a cast this strong. She also talked a huge game regarding her lipsynch skills, and they were adequate. Possibly even good. But Tia had fire, and she fought through Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” — and emerged victorious. I know several people think the wrong queen went home, but I honestly feel like Tia has been bringing more to the competition (her talking heads are unparalleled), and beyond that, her staying around is clearly chapping the asses of several of the other queens (specifically A’Whora). I’m not mad about the result, and I hope queens learn from Asttina’s mistake. When you finish a challenge early and say, “Yeah, I really don’t think there’s anything else I would do to this,” you aren’t pushing yourself. And the producers will never allow that stick around very long.
How are you doing in our little pool? HERE’S A LINK TO THE CURRENT SCOREBOARD! See how your queens are performing.
Want to see how we came up with those Toot & Boot points? Check out Bird Watch, which special guest Derek Mekita!
NOTE that we are tweaking the format of these videos, and starting next week the plan is to do them via YouTube Live! So if you want to join us by commenting as we stream, we would love to engage with you, gals! We’ll drop a link in the group as we get closer to it.
Here’s the poll for Episode 4! I recommend not waiting to watch this one, as I think you’re going to get spoiled REAL quick…