GPCD Fan Pool: RuPaul’s Drag Race UK2, E8

March 5, 2021

Whew, church! Most seasons heading into the final stretch tend to become a slog, as the frontrunners are already firmly established and it seems like we’re just burning episodes until the inevitable conclusion. Not UK2! These queens are bringing the DRAMA, mama, and I don’t think you can count any of these gals out just yet. (Although certainly one of them is having a meteoric rise, while the rest are slugging it out to get within reach of that crown and scepter.)

The mini challenge saw the girls getting into butch drag (sure, we’ll call it that) and taking turns at the mic to perform RuPaul’s “Kitty Girl.” Because I guess Ru is no longer making new music? Anyway, it was awful, but in a wonderful way. I was absolutely howling at Bimini clearly not knowing the lyrics, and caterwauling as best she could during the chorus. (Voice like an angel, that one.) A’Whora, bless her, tried to give us leather daddy as best she could, Lawrence and Tayce painted on beards, while Ellie went for an 80s glam rock concept. I personally don’t understand how that met the “butch” part of the challenge, but I think it was clear that Ellie threw herself fully into the performance, and she justifiably won the challenge — the only thing she has won, by Episode 8, a source of much consternation for Ms. Diamond, and much derision from the other four girls, all of whom have at least one RuPeter badge.

And that is where our drama begins, children. Because winning the mini-challenge gave Ellie the ability to assign the run order for the main challenge, performing stand-up comedy routines about love, sex, and relationships in front of the panel and an audience of literal blow-up dolls. Or as I call them, a jury of my peers. And Ellie, summoning some Big Naomi Smalls Energy, used that to her utmost advantage, putting all the other girls in a spot in the showcase that would least benefit them, and hopefully benefit her most.

This particularly pissed off two of the gals, A’Whora — who Ellie clearly felt was the weakest remaining queen, and was focused on pushing her out the door so she could secure that F4 spot — and Lawrence Chaney, Ellie’s fellow Scottish sister. Both A’Whora and Lawrence came for Ellie relentlessly, saying that in her brazen attempts to play the game, she was doing everyone else dirty. Ellie fully acknowledged this, but then made a fatal mistake: she said that doing so made her feel bad.

Ellie. You are young. I get that. But the first rule of being a bitch — which stands for Being In Total Control of Herself, per Latrice Royale — is DO NOT APOLOGIZE. It’s a game. You’re playing it. You are coming to the finale without a single win. You in danger, girl. You need to use every tool available to you to push these other bitches out of the way. I respected Ellie’s move here. I just wish she stuck to her guns and told the others, “Spend less time worrying about my game, and more time worrying about your comedy.” Because honestly, they needed it.

I also completely understand where Lawerence and A’Whora were coming from. The finale is in sight. They have to make it past two more challenges and they’re there. Both have performed strongly over the course of this competition. Lawrence dominated the pre-COVID break (but has admittedly struggled since their return), A’Whora has performed more strongly than I think her track record accurately reflects, and even then, she’s won two challenges. The idea of getting iced out of a finale spot by a queen who has been, at best, OK throughout the whole competition would be galling to me, too. That’s not to justify their little fits in the work room and during judging, but I do think it explains the heat they were bringing. Also, some inside baseball: A’Whora said on social media that part of why she was so enraged at Ellie backstage during judging was because on the mainstage, Ru did the whole “Who should go home tonight?” thing and Ellie again pushed A’Whora in front of the bus. So bear in that mind.

As for how the actual comedy challenge shook out, the only one who fully slayed was Bimini Bon Boulash, who came back from COVID break fully bodying the spirit of All Stars 3 Ben de la Creme. Bimini looked sensational, and her act killed. It was smart, it was well delivered, and it was funny. Lawrence started strong and then got lost in an emotional monologue that took far too long to get to a punchline. A’Whora went for true blue comedy but was undermined by her own hesitance (I also call BS on that bleeping out of her punchline — this show features the word “fuck” liberally, and I think the censors were trying to make A’Whora look more vulgar than she actually was). Ellie went for a Jekyll/Hyde cock monster character that she only marginally pulled off, and totally bombed a big chunk of it. And poor Tayce, who confessed that she had never been in love, was all nerves as she unburdened her soul regarding her affection for beans on toast. Confidential to Tayce: we really need to have a food intervention.

The runway theme was Stoned on the Runway, and frankly, I was underwhelmed. Check out our Bird Watch fashion review (should be up Saturday night) for more, with special guest judge Kevin Bleyle!

Ultimately Bimini was correctly named the winner — her third win in four weeks! — and Lawrence and Ellie were safe, leaving the totally not-at-all producer-driven Final 2 of best friends/flatmates/former slam pieces A’Whora and Tayce lipsynching to “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield. For those keeping score, this was A’Whora’s first time in the B2, and Tayce’s THIRD. A’Whora has two wins to her name — one individual, one group — and Tayce has just one, a shared win. I thought if anything the lipsynch was a draw, but personally I favored A’Whora, especially in the beginning. I found her emoting more believable than Tayce, who was giving me a performance far too similar to her “Memory” lipsynch.

And yet A’Whora went home. You could tell that she was crushed. She should be. In my opinion, A’Whora 100 percent should still be in this competition. She has been an overall stronger performer than Tayce — who has been barely scraping by most of the series — and Ellie, who has been a C performer at best. A’Whora had a few missteps, including this week, but she has routinely performed more strongly than either of those two, and that lipsynch was close enough, based on what they showed us, that they could have easily kept her in the game. But they are going to drag Tayce as far as they possibly can, no matter if it’s at the expense of other queens who are better at Drag Race. Chin up, A’Whora. You will make a fantastic All Star.

Up next: an acting challenge taking the piss out of EastEnders! Only two episodes left! More shenanigans!

Here is this week’s edition of Bird Watch, featuring special guest judge Kevin Bleyle!

How are you doing in our little pool? Make sure you check out scoreboard once it’s updated this weekend, and fill out your VERY LAST UK2 episode poll. It’s your last chance to score some bonus points before the finale!

ALSO: In case you missed it, the new Australian/New Zealand spinoff Drag Race Down Under has not only filmed, they’ve already released the cast! You can check them out right here. There’s no firm premiere date, but I’d be stunned if it’s not coming down the pike quickly after UK2 wraps. If you’d like to join our pool for THAT series, please leave a comment on this blog post!

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