Drag

Drag Race UK’s Blu Hydrangea on controversial elimination, toxic fans and favouritism

Gary Grimes March 8, 2022
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Blu Hydrangea

Blu Hydrangea. (BBC)

Blu Hydrangea wouldn’t change her journey to the top four of the “chaotic” RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World.

The inaugural season of Drag Race UK vs The World will go down in history for its shock eliminations.

The show’s All Stars-esque format has seen a number of fan favourite queens sent packing early, and no exit caused more of a stir than when Northern Irish queen Blu Hydrangea gave the boot to Drag Race Thailand co-host and series frontrunner Pangina Heals.

The move left the judges open-mouthed with shock and immediately reduced Pangina to sobbing tears so loudly they echoed from backstage even after the queen left the runway.

It’s impossible to know how differently the series might have gone with the classic Lip Sync For Your Life format, and RuPaul making the final decision. Blu Hydrangea feels confident however, that regardless of which rules were in place, she would have rightfully claimed her spot in the finale, albeit perhaps with a different combination of queens beside her.

“It’s definitely not the final four I expected. I actually knew once Mo walked in that was definitely going to be someone to look out for,” she told us ahead of Tuesday’s (8 March) finale.

“Obviously [I thought] Pangina maybe, but I stopped her in her tracks – too right, and I would do it again,” Blu laughed proudly. “I think Jimbo was probably a good contender for the final if it was a regular season with Lip Sync For Your Life . I think the top four would be me, Mo, Pangina and Jimbo in a lip sync.”

She might take pride in her cutthroat decision to eliminate her strongest competition, but the move certainly hasn’t been well-received by everyone watching at home. In the immediate aftermath of the episode airing, both Blu and Pangina were forced to take to social media to defend both themselves and each other from the onslaught of abuse they were receiving from fans who either agreed or disagreed with Blu’s choice.

In a note to her followers on Twitter, Blu wrote: “Alongside all the love and funny comments has been disgusting and toxic messages which could cause serious damage. I’m lucky I’m thick skinned – but I shouldn’t have to be.”

We asked the queen why she thinks the Drag Race fandom has developed such a reputation for being so vitriolic to the show’s stars. “Oh, gosh, I think people just are obsessed with the show. It’s probably like football, but for gay people.

“I think maybe also because you really get attached to these characters when they’re telling you a story that’s so intimate to them, that then if you relate to that [story] you almost feel like it’s part of you being represented on that screen,” she hypothesised.

“When it comes to toxic fans, I think maybe they’re just young or they think that they’re just saying this and they don’t realise that you are going to read it – because in reality, you see your DMs. Even if they go into your requests, you definitely do see them.

“This is so fun, like, why do people have to ruin it? I remember watching Drag Race in 2012, back when you had to wait a full year for the next season. And I was just obsessed with it and the people on it.  I definitely wasn’t online sending people death threats.”

The usually mild-mannered queen did take the opportunity to point out that she feels Pangina, and other queens of colour on the show, have unfairly taken the brunt of the negativity on social media. “I actually think I didn’t get it that bad. I think Pangina got it worse which shows even more toxicity because that’s a race problem.

“That’s someone attacking Pangina because of her race for eliminating someone who is white,” she continued, referring to Pangina’s controversial decision to eliminate Canadian queen Jimbo. “And that’s another thing that I can’t even really talk about. I think I got hate because I sent Pangina home, but there’s been queens way before me on Drag Race who are queens of colour that got hate just for being there.”

Responding to Jimbo’s post-elimination claims that there was clear favouritism shown by producers and RuPaul to Baga Chipz and Jujubee, Blu had little sympathy for the upset queen: “It could be worse – she could be Cheryl,” she joked about her fellow UK queen. “I mean, Baga and Jujubee gave us great TV so they would have been missed.”

Blu also revealed to us that she believes, in spite of the Canadian queen’s claims, it may have been Jimbo herself who faired better than she ought to have when it came to editing the show. “Jimbo definitely got a lovely edit,” she laughed.

When asked how she might advise another queen on how to make the top four within this rule format, Blu agreed with her fellow finalist Mo Heart that taking the opportunity to cut the strongest competition, as she did, would be her recommendation.

“I think make friends too. If Pangina’s strategy taught you anything, it’s that she was playing a dirty game,” referring to Pangina sending Jimbo home. “I think that just put her all on our radars, whereas with Janey, she had won just as many challenges as Jimbo and Pangina but she played it friendly.”

“I think, honestly, just cut the girls that are doing the best and you’ll get to the top four!”

Whatever the fan reaction, Blu feels confident she and her fellow competitors have delivered a classic season of Drag Race. “I think that the Drag Race fans are not appreciating this season – this season is gold, baby. There’s drama. There’s shock eliminations.

“Everyone’s like: ‘The top four are not the best queens.’ Well, we survived that chaotic season. I feel like if you’re able to survive that then you’re a winner, baby!”

The finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World airs Tuesday (8 March) at 9pm on BBC Three.

More: Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race

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