10 moments that prove Drag Race UK was the best season yet
Drag Race UK was an absolute triumph, and RuPaul deserves a damehood for shining a much-needed spotlight on British drag.
Charisma. Uniqueness. Nerve. Tuppence. Drag Race UK had all of this and then some.
Over a tight eight week run, ten of the UK’s finest queens proved that our drag can compete with the likes of Trixie Mattel and Alyssa Edwards, propelling homegrown drag from the back rooms of pubs to a global stage.
What’s more, where the show shined most was when it deviated from its American counterpart and doubled down on the specificities of British drag. It was camp as tits and cruder than an Ann Summers party, and all the better for it.
Before the first run had concluded a second season was confirmed – a wise decision for both the BBC, which drew in audiences in their millions, and for the Drag Race franchise, which has emerged revitalised.
In our official, not-up-for-debate rankings, this season is up there with season 5 and All Stars 2 in the god tier of Drag Race, for theses reasons and so many more.
1. The werk room entrances.
Straight off the bat, the UK queens showed us that this wasn’t going to be a normal season of Drag Race, henny.
Whereas the werk room entrances are usually all death drops and tongue pops, the British girls gave us opening line gems that referenced battered sausages, Daddies sauce, and Kat Slater’s immortal: “I didn’t just become a little bit of a slag, I became a total slag.”
Immediately, we knew that we were in a good time.
2. The Vivienne’s Kim Woodburn impression.
Before Drag Race UK aired, there was a fear among many that the show might fail to honour good old-fashioned British camp, and instead stick to more internationally-recognised references.
How wrong we all were.
Before the first episode was over, The Vivienne had already treated us to her uncanny Kim Woodburn impression, which made more comebacks than Shangela as the series went on.
We also lapped up the queens paying homage to icons such as Gemma Collins, Nadine Coyle, Pete Burns and the Cock Destroyers (more on that later).
3. Alan Carr’s ‘estate agent’ realness critique.
Look, we like Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews as much as the next queen, but when was the last time either of them said anything that made you laugh so much you thought you might pass out?
It took Alan Carr all of a few minutes to cement his place on the Drag Race judging hall of fame, critiquing Gothy Kendoll’s Leicester tiger look with this withering read: “She looked like an estate agent that’s gone to Regents Park Zoo and said could you paint my face for 50p and then she’s gone back into work and gone what do you think girls?”
We’re keeping everything crossed that he returns for season 2.
4. The Brit Crew.
Say no more
5. The tops and bottoms mini challenge
After The Vivienne won the first-ever Ru Peter Badge, she returned to the work room the following week and was immediately tasked with ranking the queens in order of who she thought was the biggest competition.
It was an immediate signal that this series was less about shade, and more about slagging your competition off to their face. This direct approach made any actual drama feel genuine, and not a product of any rigor morris.
6. The Snatch Game.
Britain is known for producing some of the world’s finest thespians – Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Ian McKellen, Olivia Colman – and now, Baga Chipz and The Vivienne.
Taking on the roles of Margaret Thatcher and Donald Trump respectively, the pair elevated the Snatch Game above anything that had come before it (and bagged themselves a spin-off series in the process).
But don’t just take our word for it. Michelle Visage said that The Vivienne’s Trump was possibly “the best Snatch Game character in the history of the show,” rivalling classic performances like Ben Delacreme’s Maggie Smith and Alaska’s Mae West.
7. The Frock Destroyers.
Where do we start with this one? It was the singing challenge to end all singing challenges, with Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea and Divine De Campo (four-and-a-half octaves, five languages, all while doing the splits, in case you didn’t know) uniting as the Frock Destroyers.
Named for Gay Twitter’s favourite straight pornstars-turned-LGBT+ allies, the trio bestowed upon us such moving lyrics as “Baga Chipz is stunning/Baga Chips is class/Baga Chipz is sexy/She takes it up the…” and “Despunk my balls” (not included in the final version for some perplexing reason).
Their track, ‘Break Up Bye Bye’ skyrocketed into the iTunes Charts at number two, and debuted on the official Top 40 at a respectable number 35.
8. The Section 28 chat.
In its later years, Drag Race US has developed a tendency to get a bit “after school special,” with difficult topics treated with all the grace of a Mimi Imfurst lip-sync.
While earlier series featured honest, earnest discussions about topics such as HIV and homelessness, in later years you can practically see the producers’ strings in the werk room, with many conversations coming off as forced, and sometimes as bait for drama.
In contrast, the Drag Race UK queens tackled Section 28, Northern Ireland’s archaic marriage laws and addiction in the LGBT+ community in a way that felt honest and earnest. It was a return to the Drag Race of old, and felt at times genuinely ground-breaking.
9. The sibling makeover challenge.
If you needed any further proof that Drag Race UK can more than hold its own against its American counterpart, just look at the penultimate mini challenge.
Baga Chipz aside, all three finalists gave us incredible family resemblances. Cheryl Hole’s sister gave us a better runway than half of the girls on Drag Race US season 1, for crying out loud, and still landed in the bottom two because the others were so damn good.
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The Delisha De Campo for season 2 challenge starts right here, tbh.
10. The final three.
That the internet is divided by The Vivienne’s crowning is testament to the strength of the top three queens.
The Scouse queen was a worthy winner – she can sing, act, dance, her Snatch Game was impeccable and she’s frankly hilarious.
But so too was Baga Chipz, who, apart from a few lacklustre runway outfits, shone throughout the competition.
And of course, Divina De Campo practically defines drag excellence: polished, dedicated and full of surprises.
Though we all had our favourites, any of the top three queens would have been worthy winners.