The Norm Can Conform

The opinions you never asked for on the subjects you’re not bothered about.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – S1 Ep1: Queen(s) of England

The wait is finally over and it’s time to meet our British queens for the first time! For years we have waited for Drag Race to come to the UK and the first episode certainly did not disappoint. It was camp, crass and comedic and I couldn’t have asked for anymore!

So let’s not fanny about, let’s get straight into the entrance looks of our 10 Queens of England.

Baga Chipz, 29, London

Baga entered the werkroom first in true ‘Baga’ style, rude, crude and a whole heap of attitude. Her outfit was camp and tacky and I lived for it. Who doesn’t love an 80’s looking gold sequinned leopard print power suit? Who I ask?! Baga is going to be one to watch in terms of her sharp tongue and comedic style.

Blu Hydrangea, 23, Belfast

Blu is the queen that is probably the most ‘American’ in terms of her visual and she certainly made an entrance. This gorgeous lavender coloured wig and matching floral gown looked great. I wasn’t too keen on how much of the nude fabric we could see but overall it was a nice look.

Divina De Campo, 35, West Yorkshire

Divina has it all, strong operatic vocals, comedic timing and the most infectious laugh in town. She’s a West Yorkshire gal (like me) and I know she’s one to watch. However… I wasn’t keen on this outfit. The colour palette was a bit ‘meh’ and teh style was sort of forgettable. Divina is known for her postbox red wigs so I would have liked to have seen her enter in one of them, I guess she was trying to show she can be diverse? However, it’s nice to see the DDC on the BBC.

Crystal, 34, London

Nailed it! She came stomping in with fierce makeup, a cool outfit and a great tagline – it’s just a shame the boots were black. Crystal is definitely going to serve some fierce looks.

Sum Ting Wong, 30, Birmingham

I loved this colour on her and her makeup was stunning. Sum Ting Wong came in looking sassy and feminine, bravo.

Cheryl Hole, 25, Essex

This is token Cheryl, a girl loves a bodysuit and the fringe details look lush with her long hair and diva sunglasses. One thing I don’t like is queens who wear open toed shoes when they’re in tights – where are your toes?!

Gothy Kendoll, 21, Leicester

Very Gothy! It’s dark, chavy and fashion-forward. There’s nothing more to say about it, I love the colour and the fabric. Come through activewear!

Vinegar Strokes, 35, London

Vinegar entered the werkroom with my favourite tagline “I didn’t become a little bit of a slag, I became a TOTAL SLAG!” For our American viewers, this is a quote from Kat Slater on EastEnders and it is an iconic British quote. But enough about the quote, onto the outfit; the leopard print suit was gross but fabulous _ very Scary Spice but that wig was truly unforgivable.

Scaredy Kat, 19, Wiltshire

The youngest ever Drag Race contestant has entered the room dressed as some sort of Lolita girl. It may be somewhat controversial, but I kinda hate this look 🤷🏻‍♂️ and I’m not about her makeup. Still, I’m sure she’ll have a young fresh eye on fashion (perhaps) so let’s see how it plays out from here.

Not only is she the youngest, she’s the first in the cast to have a girlfriend and this bisexual drag queen’s girlfriend also does drag.

The Vivienne, 27, Liverpool

This 👏🏻 is 👏🏻 how 👏🏻 you 👏🏻 make 👏🏻 an 👏🏻 entrance 👏🏻 !!! The high collar, the colour, the fabric, the wig, the makeup, the sunglasses – The Vivienne knows how to turn a look. My only critique would be the dull as dishwater Drag 101 heels. If they were red or maybe even boots, I would be living, but these bog-standard platforms didn’t give me life – thankfully the rest of the outfit was incredible.

And those are the first ever UK queens to compete! I don’t know about you, but I think this is going to be one hell of a show! And that’s not all, we also got our first look at the Brit Crew:

The Mini Challenge

This week’s mini-challenge is a nice traditional episode 1 photoshoot. However, to celebrate our British History, the queens would be going ‘Off with their head!” in an Anne Boleyn inspired shoot. The queens had to pose in a green-screened dog collar and then pose again with just their face to create a headless image with a snappy tagline.

The winner of this week’s mini-challenge was… Scaredy Kat?! I have to be honest, I was completely shocked to find out she won. I mean, it was a pretty underwhelming performance.

I thought The Vivienne, Bagga Chipz and Divina De Campo did a better job at this challenge. But hey, it’s just a mini challenge. I thought Scaredy Kat’s was pretty bland and Gothy’s was pretty darn flat and awkward… but that didn’t stop Ru howling with laughter right in her face.

The Maxi Challenge

To kick off the series, the queens would be delivering not one, but two runway looks for the judges’ delight. Their first look would be a homage to their hometown and their second look would be a tribute to our reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

So let’s see how the queens got on, but first, I just want to say that I quite like the stage. Yes, I know it’s very similar to the US stage but I like the backdrop of the entrance way a lot more than the beaded curtain the US season has.

Toot or Boot

Before we talk about the queens’ looks, I want to quickly mention the judges’ attire. Alan Carr’s velvet suit, bowtie and carpet slippers were a major toot for me, it was camp and classically Alan. Michelle Visage looked gorgeous in the black dress with gold trim and her hair was impeccable. Andrew Garfield stole it for me in his 70’s style blazer and denim flares, this was right up my street in terms of menswear and I need to recreate this look for myself… However, the queen of the show’s outfit was a major miss for me. This weird green outfit was a flop for me, it’s the first episode of a UK season and I kind of hoped she’d come dressed as Ginger Spice. It almost looked like Ru was wearing a green screen so the BBC could edit in a better outfit later down the line.

But enough about the judges, on with our queens!

Category Is: Queen Of Your Hometown

Crystal – Toot

I absolutely adored this outfit! It was very London with the Pearly Kings & Queens jacket and beaded pearl wig, the ‘3 Day Bender’ slogan on the dress was a nod to Viktor & Rolf and it was so fashion-forward and camp. Bravo Crystal, this was one of my favourite looks of the night!

Cheryl Hole – Toot

Cheryl nailed every single Essex cliche from the white dress, the streaky tan, the tackiness, the vajazzle and the big blonde hair. This was a true Essex look done to perfection.

Sum Ting Wong – Toot

What’s not to love, she’s got massive horns, massive tits and one huge bull-ring. The dress looked great on her with the leg slits looking sassy and the plunging cleavage was everything – great job.

Blu Hydrangea – Boot

I wasn’t stunned by the dress but I did find the concept of dressing up as the cranes that built the Titanic quite funny. It wasn’t the most ‘Irish’ thing I could have thought of but each to their own, at least it was unique!

Baga Chipz – Toot

Praise the Lord for giving us a Camden queen who showcased an Amy Winehouse look. Amy truly was the heart of Camden and s0 it was the perfect tribute to her hometown.

The Vivienne – Toot

Another queen with a brillaint tribute to a local celebrity, The Vivienne’s homage to the late great Pete Burns of Dead or Alive was great. The Westwood boots, bondage pants and tartan print were classically Pete and the hair and makeup screamed of the icon himself, The Vivienne certainly knows what she’s doing.

Vinegar Strokes – Boot

I’ve got to be honest, this outfit did not thrill me. If it wasn’t for the blue Thames squiggle across her stomach, I wouldn’t have known where she was supposed to be from. I wasn’t crazy about the colour of the outfit either and the pink heels seemed to clash. It was a big miss for me this week.

Gothy Kendoll – Boot

Another queen that had me stumped was Gothy. Red Leicester cheese is orange and the Leicester Tigers rugby team would explain the face paint I guess… But why is she wearing an office blazer with a visible crotch? The idea fell a bit flat for me and I didn’t quite understand her intentions, it was a shame that this fashion queen came out quite so plain. I’ll credit her makeup though, it looked fierce.

Scaredy Kat – Toot

This ethereal outfit was full of pure whimsy and wilderness. The shoes covered in twigs and flowers, the dress, the dirty knees and the flowers in her hair made for a great look, not to mention the patchwork coat. I think this look was a hit for Scaredy Kat.

Divina De Campo – Toot

This is so Yorkshire it hurts and I am living for it! The big camp wig, the Yorkshire pudding that resides within it, the Brassed Off inspired trumpet tits and the cup of Yorkshire tea, Divina knows her heritage and she knows how to make it camp. I applaud this look and will scream my Yorkshire pride to the high heavens, well done you fabulous human being!

Category Is: Queen Elizabeth Realness

Crystal – Trooping of the Colour Queen – Toot

Crystal is serving me a royal dominatrix look and I’m all about it. Everything fit her to perfection, the details were beautiful and the styling was professional. Crystal is certainly a queen to watch when it comes to the runway.

Cheryl Hole – Daytime Queen – Boot

I get what Cheryl was going for but this fell flat. I couldn’t work out what it was but as soon as the judges said that she needed a handbag, I agreed immediately, it’s a signature look for the queen, it would be like doing this outfit without wearing a hat… it was disappointing compared to her hometown look.

Sum Ting Wong – Stamp Queen – Toot

YES YES AND YES! This was brilliant, it was hilarious and it was clever. The stamp idea was sheer brilliance and that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Blu Hydrangea – Pound Queen – Toot

Another out of the box look that stood out was this pound coin tribute. The headpiece was fun, the corset adorned with pennies and the gold skirt was just a huge hit. This is the sort of creativity I expect to see every week!

Baga Chipz – 1970’s Queen – Toot

Michelle seemed to think Baga looked too old but I thought this look was spot on. The glasses, the wig, the expression and the dress was a spot on duplicate. I actually think Baga looked the most like the queen so I fully commend her on that AND she actually brought a handbag!

The Vivienne – Hunting Queen – Toot

I loved this take on one of the queen’s iconic looks. The cape was brilliant, the wellies, the hood and the curled wig and of course, the prosthetic nose.

Vinegar Strokes – 1970’s Queen – Boot

I’ve got to be honest, Vinegar’s dress looked cheap as hell. It looked like a table cloth with a belt (and a creased one at that), the turban didn’t fit well and the dress should have been 3 inches longer.

Gothy Kendoll – 1950’s Queen – Boot

I don’t remember seeing any photographs of the queen in her underwear. Although I understood the reference of the character, this outfit looked unfinished. Maybe if the corset was white it would have been a different story. Gothy should have either gone for hyper-realistic in her imitation or made it really fashion forward, edgy interpretation.

Scaredy Kat – Baby Queen – Boot

I liked the idea of Scaredy Kat’s ‘Baby Queen’ attire, sure it wasn’t 100% accurate but it was a fun idea. I don’t think she necessarily needed to write the words ‘Baby Queen’ on a bib but hey, it’s still an okay look and it was different to the other queens’ clobber (maybe that’s because she’s using a wedding dress to represent a toddler 🤷🏻‍♂️).

Divina De Campo – Order of the Garter Queen – Toot

Nailed it! How do you vamp up the queen? Put her in stockings and a corset. Divina did a brilliant job with this outfit as she kept up her camp-style but did it in a fun and classy way to her source material. Love, love, love.

The Results

What a great start to the series, I’m already so invested heavily into this series and the competing queens. Not only that, but Alan Carr makes for a great judge so Graham is going to have some tough boots to fill next week.

“She looks like an estate agent who’s gone into Regent’s Park Zoo and said: ‘Can you face paint me face for 50p?’ And then she’s gone back into work and gone: ‘What do you think girls?'” – Alan Carr

Honestly, some of the decisions this week were a bit different from what I would say. I personally thought Divina delivered two INCREDIBLE looks, as did Crystal and I thought those two were in the running for the win. I also thought Blu Hydrangea and Sum Ting Wong’s queen looks were unique and hilarious and they should have been given a special mention.

But in the end it was The Vivienne who won this first challenge, maybe it’s because she’s the Drag Ambassador, maybe it’s because Michelle thought she had a fake nose and they tried to do damage control, either way, she won a fucking badge and I howled with laughter! That’s the BBC for you! Wear your RuPeter Badge with pride!

The Lipsync

I have to be honest, I wasn’t shocked about who was in the bottom two but it was a shame to see Gothy go so soon, I know she has some interesting looks so it’s a shame we don’t get to see them but Vinegar nailed it in that lip sync! The grotty wig reveal was iconic, the jiggling of the tits, it was spectacular.

Sadly, Gothy didn’t quite have the same stage presence and she looked very out of her depth. She barely made eye contact with the judges and she didn’t seem to have much rhythm in the lipsync – I think it’s a lack of confidence which saw her in the bottom (both in the lip sync and in the mini-challenge and her runway presentations).

“Miss Kendoll, Miss Kendoll… Miss Kendoll”

How has that affected the scores?

I think the right two were in the bottom this week and Ru definitely made the correct decision in terms of a lip sync. I do however think that Sum Ting Wong or Divina should have won the first episode personally, but hey… it’s just a bit of British fun.

Winner: The Vivienne – 5 Points
Top: Sum Ting Wong, Baga Chipz – 3 Points
Safe: Crystal, Divina De Campo, Blu Hydrangea, Scaredy Kat – 1 Point
Bottom:  Cheryl Hole – 0 Points
Lipsyncing: Vinegar Strokes – -1 Point
Eliminated: Gothy Kendoll – -3 Points

After a thrilling first episode, the first scores are in. I walked away with 6 points and Tom was close behind with 5 points. It’s anyone’s game at this point… Well, not Gothy’s, she went home.

I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next week! I already know that this is going to be a real hoot of a series. God bless the UK!

Harry J Bartlett

Digital Content Creator, lover of fashion, drag queen connoisseur and all around phenomenal human being. If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would say; Gorgeous, Talented and Humble.

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