RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Series 1, Episode 2 Recap – “Downton Draggy”

Hello and welcome to The Blogging DJ. In this post I will be continuing to recap the first series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. For British fans of the popular reality TV show, we were hoping more than expecting that Ru would make the trip across the Atlantic to highlight the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent of our local Queens. She is finally here and the series started out strongly last week, when ten new racers were tasked with coming up with a look that highlights their Hometown and one that is pure Queen Elizabeth II realness. The Vivienne won the first main challenge of the show, whilst a very nervous Gothy Kendoll became the first to sashay away.

*Warning: This recap contains spoilers*

After last week’s elimination, the nine queens return to the Werkroom and see Gothy’s lipstick message on the mirror. I think that with more confidence she could have gone a lot further; the looks she is posting on social media suggests that she is capable of so much more. She names herself as “the UK’s Porkchop” and much like the seasoned queen who exited first on Drag Race US season 1, she and her “rawr” will be remembered for a long time to come. There is also hints of a rivalry developing between The Vivienne and Cheryl Hole, the former starting to get irritated by the volume of the latter.

This week sees the introduction of the mini challenge, though only The Vivienne plays and it is basically an excuse for the producers to ruffle feathers between the competitors. She has to line up the others from biggest to smallest competition in her opinion. Of course she puts the more experienced queens like Vinegar, Baga and Divina towards the top, whilst those like Blu and Scaredy are at the bottom along with Cheryl, who The Vivienne has made it clear that she is annoyed by. As Scaredy Kat is placed in the bottom position, her and The Vivienne are team captains. They then pick their teams and it goes in a similar way to The Vivienne’s order. Divina was not impressed that she was picked first by Scaredy Kat, or by the team mates that she had to work with. Her team mates end up being Cheryl Hole, Blu Hydrangea and Crystal, who was confused why she was picked last. The Vivienne’s team seemed much stronger on paper with Vinegar Strokes, Baga Chipz and Sum Ting Wong.

The maxi challenge this week is a fun acting one; the two teams will star in scenes of the latest sumptuous TV period drama, Downton Draggy. As one of the biggest exports of British TV in recent years, especially over to the US, it was pretty obvious that this would be parodied for this show. It was straight on to rehearsing lines and I found it interesting how Team The Vivienne thought everyone was sleeping on Scaredy Kat, like with Tatianna or Valentina in previous US seasons. During the walk throughs, RuPaul shows concern for Sum Ting Wong’s and Crystal’s accent, as well as Blu Hydrangea flying under the radar (which I don’t understand at all for week two).

It is now time to record the scenes with Michelle Visage, who I always love as a director because she can tear everything to shreds with just one look. Team The Vivienne all have their individual notes to work on, with the exception of Baga Chipz, who is a hilarious steamroller that we haven’t seen since Bob the Drag Queen in season 8. I am very worried about how flat Sum Ting Wong is coming across and how they can’t remember their line at all. But their team is much better at this point than Team Scaredy Kat, with Cheryl not knowing her lines, Blu not standing out at all, Crystal being confused with her accent and Scaredy coming across as Farrah Moan on acid. No wonder Divina is frustrated; she is doing a great job but is the only one doing so.

Back in the Werkroom and Blu and Sum Ting Wong are feeling very nervous about their placing in this challenge. It seems Blu is nearly all but ready to lipsync, which is not helped by Cheryl putting her 2p in and stating that Blu was “a nervous wreck”. Once again this annoys The Vivienne and I can understand it from both sides; I know Cheryl is just being honest and Blu did ask for her thoughts but she is also being the biggest personality in the Werkroom all of the time. Meanwhile, there was a nice little moment between Vinegar and Scaredy, where the former is happy that the kids are able to be more open. Sum Ting Wong then shares an emotional personal story, revealing that they haven’t told their parents that they do drag because it was ignored when they were a child. It makes for a reminder about how hard it is for children and people of different cultures to be accepted as gay or queer.

It is now time for the runway presentation. The theme for this week is ‘Bond Girl’, which I am very happy to see, especially since the contestants come up with names to go with them. Ru and Michelle Visage are joined by a new regular judge, Graham Norton (who appeared on Season 2 of All Stars), whilst the special guest judge is Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams. Here are my thoughts on the outfits on show in alphabetical order: (all pics owned by the BBC)

Baga Chipz
Has a brilliant name and outfit in the form of Lazer Minelli. She is strutting down the runway showing all of Liza’s dramatic personality and is completely different from what the others brought out. Good job.
Blu Hydrangea
I do like this look from Blu. She said she was inspired by cosplay as I can see the influence here, with the three boobs like something out of a sci-fi film. I wish she would have had this attitude for the challenge.
Cheryl Hole
The best part of this outfit to me is the wavy chocolate brown wig. The dress doesn’t look as glamourous as it could have been and the bathing suit was just there as a reveal look. The joke about the gun on stage brought an awkward moment, broken by Graham Norton.
Crystal
Going total bondage in a black latex outfit complete with a cracking whip that terrifies poor Maisie Williams, this feels fresh and very different from what the other competitors brought out.
Divina De Campo
This feels very fun, like this is what people would imagine sexy dangerous Bond Girls to look like in the 70s and 80s, with a bit of a sci-fi twist in there. She is really working that look down the runway.
Scaredy Kat
Another to go in a completely different direction from the others, this feels like a decent attempt at an Amelia Earhart cosplay. I really wish that the makeup wasn’t black and white still.
Sum Ting Wong
A fun look from Sum Ting Wong once again. It reminds me of when Manila Luzon wore a yellow and black catsuit with a hood for a Space Couture challenge and I like the detail of having no wig. It doesn’t feel as polished as others but she is having fun on stage.
The Vivienne
Once again it is very polished from The Vivienne. She states that she is inspired by Grace Jones for this look and it is clear to see. Despite it being so polished, it would have been good to see a more unique look.
Vinegar Strokes
Looking more like a Miss Moneypenny secretarial look rather than a Bond Girl, this outfit seems late 90s/early 00s in some way and that boa has no need to be there at all apart from being dragged on the floor. One of the weakest looks of the week.

To no one’s great surprise, Team The Vivienne had a much better final product, due to Baga’s brilliant performance and solid turns from The Vivienne and Vinegar. This means they are all safe from elimination, with the relief on Sum Ting Wong’s face evident. Baga is also announced as the deserved winner of the main challenge and gets her hands on one of the RuPeter badges. This means Team Scaredy Kat are all up for elimination.

Cheryl Hole is praised for her runway presentation but given mixed feedback for her acting, with some of the panel thinking she could have gone further. She then jokingly throws Sum Ting Wong under the bus for a lacklustre performance. Crystal was given praise on her brilliant outfit that she created herself, as well as her ability to take notes to elevate her acting of Lady Kylie. Scaredy Kat received praise for her outfit but the makeup was criticised for the runway and maxi challenge for always looking like a cat. The acting was also torn apart for being one note of whiny. Divina receives complete praise for her look and her acting, with Ru saying that she added something lovely to the role. When asked how she did, much like last week, she was very tough on herself for always wanting to give as much as she possibly can do for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was also interesting that she said she “hasn’t arrived yet” so I look forward to that. Blu got praised for her runway but her character was missing in the acting challenge (I felt she was better towards the end of the scene). She admits that she is feeling lonely being from Ireland and has yet to open up to the others.

Back in the Werkroom, Team The Vivienne were talking about how Cheryl is taking on a persona that is not her own, when the other team walk in. Cheryl quickly takes attention away from the queens who are crying from the losing team to mention to the comment she made about Sum, to which Vinegar and Sum admit that she is not being herself. Divina’s reaction to this is priceless. Cheryl breaks down in confessions that she is trying to stand out and feels attacked somewhat.

Divina is called as safe, whilst Scaredy Kat fell into the bottom two. After Crystal was also called as safe, it was between Cheryl and Blu to see who would fall into the bottom. Both need a kick to restart their competition, but Cheryl was once again let off the hook, meaning Blu Hydrangea would lipsync against Scaredy Kat to Bananarama’s “Venus”. This was a much better song than last week and the lipsync was better too. For her first ever performance, Scaredy Kat danced like a drunk giraffe but was entertaining with the ad-libs within the song. However, Blu Hydrangea gave a much more levelled and polished performance, meaning she lives to fight another day. I think that she will rise from this occasion and go on to do very well. Before she leaves, Scaredy Kat is given the same words by RuPaul as Shangela was when she went out in her first season. Maybe we haven’t seen the last of Scaredy Kat in the Drag Race franchise?

What did you make of this episode of Drag Race UK? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date with all of my latest Drag Race and TV recaps. I’ll see you next week, where the eight are tasked with designing an outfit make from scraps found at a car boot sale.

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