The Norm Can Conform

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

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – S1 Ep8: The Great British Drag-Off Finale

I, like most Drag Race fans, am sad to see this season end. We’ve had highs, we’ve had lows and we’ve had a whole lot of ‘battered sausage’ references. For the first season EVER of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, the queens did fucking phenomenal! I think each and every queen represented the UK’s diversity, talent and humour spectacularly and they should be tremendously proud of paving the way for future UK seasons of the show.

After the Rigga Morris of Cheryl being thrown in the bottom last week (come at me bro, I stand by it), we saw Divina De Campo, The Vivienne and Baga Chipz as our holy trinity. I can’t say I was shocked by these three making the top, they’re all incredibly talented, witty and represent the UK beautifully. But this week the queens would be facing their biggest challenge to date, of course they are, it’s the finale!

Though each of the queens won many challenges, I did think it was somewhat set up that they won 3 each. Blu was the only other queen to win a challenge this season (and it was a group effort with Baga and Divina). But hey, in the show’s eyes we have a balanced Top 3 where ‘anyone could win’ (but let’s be honest, we all kind of knew it was going to Drag Race UK Ambassador, The Vivienne didn’t we?)

The Grand Finale Maxi Challenge

As we’ve come to expect now in the finale, we’ll be seeing the queens write their own verses, dance and perform one of RuPaul’s many hit songs. But not a hit like Break Up (Bye Bye) which actually charted in the UK, just a RuPaul song in general really. Because no matter what happens on the show, Break Up (Bye Bye) will always be:

It’s a bloody big ask, but it’s one we’ve come to expect (much like the sewing challenges). The only person who looked a little worried was The Vivienne and I can’t blame her, she was in the lipsync for the girl group challenge.

Rocket To The Moon..?

The song that the queens would be performing is RuPaul’s Rocket To The Moon… I was like, erm, what song? 🤷🏻‍♂️ Then the queens sang a little bit (like they knew every word). Honestly, I thought the lyrics were “Toot, toot, toot, toot or boot” which is why Raja and Raven used it in Fashion Photo RuView. 🤦🏻‍♂️ Well, don’t I feel foolish.

ANYWAY, enough about the song title, let’s talk about the process. Baga wanted to do more of a gay pride club anthem for her lyrics to contrast with her comedy stuff from The Frock Destroyers. Honestly, I thought it was quite a smart move. Read U Wrote U and Kitty Girl are both bops because you hear them in gay bars and gay clubs and they don’t just sound like a silly song. Equally, Break Up (Bye Bye) had the same effect with a great beat and fun lyrics. If you want the gays to get behind it, you’ve gotta bring the sass.

The Vivienne did lyrics about being The Vivienne and scouse despite locals referring to her as a woolyback (people from outside of Liverpool who claim to be from Liverpool) presumably. Honestly, I can’t remember. I think Divina mentioned something to do with red wigs and the splits. Who knows, I’ll have to listen to it again.

The Finale Podcasts

Tic-tac brunches are out and podcasts are in as you all know. There’s no exception for the UK queens. Each one got the chance to speak on Ru & Michelle’s podcast to share their thoughts on life and the competition.

Baga Chipz

This actually melted my heart a little bit. The finale definitely showcased Baga’s softer side. I definitely relate to Baga’s use of comedy to avoid showing feelings or emotions. Comedy is a great barrier to have in life and she certainly uses it to her advantage.

We also saw a nice little moment where Ru gave Baga a hug at the end of the podcast. Though it may have been a well-planned TV moment, it certainly looked like it meant a lot to Baga so that was nice.

Baga Chipz finale podcast

I think at this point Baga’s pretty confident that she isn’t going to win the show and she’s just having fun and being grateful for the experience, this episode was a whole new Baga and I loved it.

Divina De Campo

Ru and Michelle were both quick to applaud Divina’s work ethic and triumphs in the competition. I’m quite glad they did because she has worked really hard, she has been professional and (apart from her breakdown) she’s felt a little under-rated so these comments will have meant something.

I’ve known of Divina for quite some time now and I’ve seen her live a couple of times and she is phenomenal. What I didn’t expect was to see her excel in design challenges. I know she can sing, dance and act but that was another skill that she nailed and blew me away with it.

Divina is a perfectionist and she wants to be the top at everything and anything. It’s not a bad trait to have but sometimes that strive for perfection can manifest and takeover your actual talents and personality.

The Vivienne

RuPaul tried to greet her in her native tongue, however, Ru ended up doing a Geordie accent instead of a scouse one. As per, Viv knocked out a few accents afterwards to showcase her many vocal stylings.

We also saw The Vivienne open up more about her past struggles with addiction. I have to give her credit for talking candidly about how she was throwing her life away and how she came out better on the other side. This episode was a bit of an emotion-fest all around.

The dance rehearsals

The queens were treated to a dance masterclass with Strictly Come Dancing star, AJ Pritchard and his big little brother, Curtis. AJ is an absolute bae-goal so I was quite excited to see him on the show. He’s not going easy on these girls – he’s a ballroom champion and he’s here to show you why. It is the grand finale after all!

Just look at that little man, he’s precious (and hopefully my future husband). AJ wanted to show off his skills by putting the queens through it! With his brother by his side, the two planned out some difficult choreography for the queens.

finale dance rehearsal

Divina was the first they called up and immediately she showed them some of her flexibility. Because of this, Divina was definitely going to get the hardest choreography (think of Katya in Read U Wrote U).

finale dance rehearsal

Baga and Viv were definitely bricking it just a little bit with this challenge. But the bit that made me laugh the most was when Baga was rehearsing and she turned and made a comment about the dancers trying to pick up Viv.

Time to get ready for the big finale

Our final three queens headed back to the werkroom to get into their best drag looks for the runway. It was the same old story, the Top 3 talked about how happy they were to have made the final, what it all means to them and about how they admire their fellow competitors.

‘Rocket To The Moon’ Final Performance

Before I talk about the queens’ performance, let’s have a quick look at their dance attire. They all donned some Strictly Come Dancing inspired outfits for the finale.

finale performance

Toot or Boot

I don’t know if the queens were given costumes or if they were told what to bring so I can’t say too much about it. I wish all three wore the same colour or variations. Divina and Viv are in blue with Baga in gold. It would have been nice if they all wore gold or all wore different shades of the same colour.

The Vivienne

I liked her makeup but I wasn’t that fussed about the wig although the pink matched nicely with the dress. The shoes were a major miss for me. They were generic dance shoes and I wish they were silver or pink to match the wig. They’re also tiny little heels compared to what Divina and Baga wore – boo hiss boo.

Baga Chipz

The gold dress made her stand out and her makeup looked quite polished. I wish her shoes were gold to match the dress and I wish she either had a bigger wig or a higher ponytail.

Divina De Campo

Divina’s attire/wig/makeup looked the most ‘dancer’ out of all of them. It felt classically ballroom with her tight up-do and flower in her hair. It was campy and old school and she wore the biggest heels – props to her.

The Performance

Baga was first up. I quite liked Baga’s verse, the lyrics were alright, she’s got a nice voice and she made it different to the Break Up (Bye Bye) song. Baga’s dancing wasn’t as thrilling, but she gave it a good bash.

finale performance Rocket To The Moon

It didn’t matter that her dancing skills were limited, Baga knows how to perform and she certainly sold the comedy. Every time she was lifted up she had a big stonking grin or shocked face and that’s what I’m living for.

Divina was given a lot of difficult choreography and rightfully so – if you’ve got the moves, show them off. Her verse was good and she sold the performance. Divina looked like a proper dancer and she was the clear star of this performance.

I wasn’t fussed about The Vivienne’s verse. To be honest, I wasn’t bothered about the song in general. It feels old already compared to other finale performance numbers. Personally I thought the girl group challenge was more thrilling, but hey, it’s hard to top perfection.

The Vivienne finale

I think Viv did a good job, she can’t do flips or jumps but she sold them in a funny way and her performance was much stronger than her girl group attempt. All of the girls did a brilliant job. Not just in this challenge, but in general – they’ve represented the UK brilliantly. Come through you ferocious queens!

Making the chop

Before the show crowned a winner, they had to determine 3rd place. The judges deliberated and decided that Baga Chipz would be the bronze medalist. Honestly, I love Baga and I would have loved to have seen her win but I think she deserved 3rd place. She was a phenomenal competitor and a huge percentage of the show’s overall entertainment. Is she the queen to represent the UK? Yes. Do American’s maybe find her too crass? Also yes. Either way, she’s a winner to me and I have no doubt that she’ll be crossing the pond for an All Stars season.

But what really got me was Baga’s little speech she did at the end. I genuinely shed a tear. She was so humble and real, there were no jokes, no crudeness, just a real heartwarming moment about why the other two queens deserved to win more than her. That is a true drag superstar in my eyes.

Divina pleaded a great case about bringing something different and having a vast array of talents. She really is a great representation of the UK. The Vivienne also mentioned her strengths in the competition and said she has a likeability that people would relate too…

A Drag Family Finale Reunion

The queens headed backstage where they had a little surprise from some familiar faces. Yes, the Season 1 sisters all came back for the finale to do it in style – and boy did they!

Drag Race UK finale

I love seeing all the queens back together in their best glam looks. Each one different and unique – so let’s talk about it.

Category Is: Final 3 Eleganza Extravaganza

finale queens

But before I go into the Top 3’s looks, let’s review all the queens from the season as they all came back in true style.

Gothy Kendoll – Toot

I love this. Normally I just see Gothy in dark clothing so to see her in an all-white look was fun. It was really modern and youthful, the nipple covers were cute, her makeup was on point and I loved the simplistic nature of the wig. My only critique was that I wish she had a whole heap more feathers than she actually had.

Scaredy Kat – Boot

Not a fan. The giant bows on the boots were cute and I didn’t hate the colour but it felt like an obvious ‘Scaredy Kat’ costume. The messy wig and the headpiece didn’t do it for me either, it was like a ballerina costume from a fancy dress shop.

Vinegar Strokes – Boot

I liked the idea and I loved the colour, but the execution was, dare I say hodge-podge. Her wig was cute and her makeup was a drastic improvement but I don’t think the outfit was quite there. I wish she had something more on the body.

Sum Ting Wong – Toot

Love it. Sum Ting Wong didn’t wander too far away from her Asian heritage and this felt like the perfect finale outfit for her. I would have loved it if the wig was a proper updo but that can be forgiven because the kimono was a beaut.

Crystal – Toot

ADORE the mint colour of this latex mini dress and the matching evening robe. It was a mixture of a boudoir mistress and a dominatrix and that’s just how I see Crystal. The giant messy wig was great, the jewellery was cool but I just wished the boots matched the mint colour of the dress.

Blu Hydrangea – Toot

Blu looks spectacular here. I haven’t been that much of a fan of her attire throughout the competition, not because it’s bad, it’s just not my style. However, this was beautiful. The colour was lush, Blu’s makeup, as always, was on point and the wig was fun.

Cheryl Hole – Toot

Love it. This is such a heightened version of Cheryl Hole. When she came down in the feathers I thought it was nice, then when she pulled it down into this number, I was truly thrilled. Her updo looked expensive, the feathers looked great, her makeup was lush – this is Cheryl Hole at her finest.

On to the Top 3

Now we move over to our final queens. This was their last (visual) chance to impress the judges in the hopes of snatching the crown.

the grand finale

But how did our finale girls look compared to the other queens?

Baga Chipz – Toot

I actually really like this look. It was uber camp, it felt like a super 1980’s office Christmas party attire worn by Carol from accounts who got pissed and tried to pull Dave the HR manager. The colour was nice (lots of turquoise and mint this year) and the wig was cute too. I also loved the huge sleeves on the dress, this was Baga to perfection and she owns it.

Divina De Campo – Toot

I’ve seen a lot of flag dresses over the years. Don’t believe me, let’s talk about Drag Race specifically; Kennedy Davenport and Nina West have worn Pride flag outfits. Shuga Cain wore one of Nina’s trans flag outfits. Courtney Act wore an Australian flag, Serena ChaCha had her little moment. Even RuPaul has worn a flag (off the show), Ru donned the confederate flag in the film Too Wong Fu. What I love about Divina’s dress is that it wasn’t an obvious Union Jack dress, it was a deconstructed number yet we all knew what it was supposed to be. It was beautiful and made her look like the Pride of Britain. She also rocked her signature red wig (take that, Viv!) and sold her true style.

The Vivienne – Boot

As always, The Vivienne’s makeup couldn’t be faulted. However, I think this outfit was a bit bland for a finale. Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely, but just a bit “meh”. The wig was nice but it looked a little too square on camera. I wanted to see something unique for the final and this felt like quite a safe look.

Bonus Toot or Boot – The Judges

Graham Norton, Michelle Visage, RuPaul, Alan Carr finale

A quick left to right, I loved Graham’s black and gold suit, very fitting for a finale. Michelle was a bit basic, she looked like a hooch secretary. I really didn’t like Ru’s dress. It looked so cheap and boring. Also that wig?! It was just a big ball on her head – boo hiss boo RuPaul. Then we come to Alan, love the blazer. Nice, simple and smart.

The final lip sync

My little heart was beating. One step closer to my Yorkshire hometown hero potentially winning the competition (even though she’s against a fierce competitor who was already a Drag Race ambassador of the show).

The queens performed ‘I’m Your Man‘ by Wham! and I thought it was a really fun, camp way to end this glorious British season. Honestly, both queens did a pretty good job. I couldn’t really decide who was necessarily better between them. Divina’s felt a bit more high-energy for me so I guess I enjoyed her lipsync more. ANYWAY, we don’t need to delve into the lipsync too much – the results are in.

Crowning A Queen

This felt like such a tense finale. From day 1, I felt Viv was going to win as she was already the Drag Race UK ambassador. However, as we found ourselves here in the final, I genuinely thought Divina could snatch it. A proud Yorkshire queen representing the UK in the first season would be phenomenal. It all boiled down to this moment…

I watched this moment at my local gay bar, it was packed. We all waited with hope to see Divina snatch the crown. Then RuPaul called it, “The Vivienne”. Defeat.

The drag queens in our bar all had confetti cannons to celebrate the victor and when the moment was announced, nobody bothered firing a single one. We all felt Divina was the strongest in the final challenge and equally strong through the competition so it was a shame that they went for the obvious choice.

70% of the room wandered off and didn’t even bother to watch the last 5 minutes of the episode. Multiple people went to the bar, others went to the toilets, the drag queens went backstage and just 1 person in the room cheered for Viv.

Still, not to be a Debbie Downer but it was a great season overall. Even though it wasn’t the outcome I would have hoped for, it was a phenomenal season and The Vivienne is a worthy winner. The Yorkshireman in me craved for a Divina win but hey, Viv smashed it too and she’s got the polished look that most of the American fans seem comfortable with.

I can’t wait to see what all the girls do going forward and I’m thrilled that a second season is already in the casting process! Bring on more British queens (and hopefully a UK/US crossover of All Stars). Failing that, give it another couple of seasons and we’ll have our own All Stars *fingers crossed*. For now, I can imagine Ru putting the Frock Destroyers onto All Stars – all 3 queens did great and they would represent the UK perfectly.

How has that affected the scores?

I had the victorious queen of the season but did I also have the most points (yes, I smashed it). Let’s see how the scores have totalled at the end of this phenomenal season.

Winner: The Vivienne – 5 Points
Top: Divina De Camoi – 3 Points
Safe: Baga Chipz– 1 Point

And just like that, the season has ended. Tom gained 1 point in the finale taking his total to 23 points and I gained 8 points which stormed me ahead to 46 points.

finale The Vivienne

I’m so insanely thrilled by how well this first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK went and I’m even more excited that they’re already casting for season 2! The UK has some phenomenal queens with amazing talents so I can’t wait to have more of them showcased to the world.

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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