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RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Fierceness Across the Pond

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S1.E6: Thirsty Werk

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This week the queens’ creative marketing skills are put to the test as they are asked to create an advert - and brand themselves. US Drag Race All Star Katya makes a surprise visit while pop icon Cheryl joins Michelle Visage and Graham Norton on the judging panel as another queen exits the competition.

Original UK air date: 11/7/19
Original USA air date: 11/15/19

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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Michelle: Nothing says rain like jazz hands.

Divina's ad was the most cohesive. She had a concept and each shot she did had a purpose. Her ad was the only one that didn't seem repetitive or too long.

I liked Blu's runway look because it was fun and campy which is what drag should be.

I totally cracked up when Cheryl started rhapsodizing about meeting Cheryl and Blu interrupted to announce that Cheryl was about to give another lecture on girl groups.

Watching the Vivienne and Baga trying to hug on the runway without knocking each other's rainy day runway costumes was hilarious.

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team Baga or Divina for the win.. I'm sorry there just isnt a connection or "likeability" for me with The Vivian and poor Cheryl unless she pulls some kinda miracle out of her ass in no way has a shot at winning 

Edited by Keywestclubkid
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The Vivienne is 27? I swear, I thought she was and old bitch of 52 or so. I could not understand why she said she was on drugs in her 20's but only recently stopped. I said to my husband "um - how did she survive 25 years of drugs?"  It's not just the way she acts, but the way she looks out is drag. I know that fillers and the like can make you look older, but dang! I felt for sure she was older than Davina!  And Davina looks older than 35!

I was not impressed with these queens on Snatch Game or in their ability to read.  Crystal totally stole Alaska's reading with "oh I don't want to do this..." puts on glasses, reads for filth and then removes glasses with "ahem, I don't know what came over me!" That was beyond annoying. 

I hope Ru watches Baga ready to throw it all away! I'm so offended that darling Blu went when Baga was ready to roll over! Now, Blu is not a top queen, but dang it, she's got fight! 

Cheryl needs to go already. 

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S1.E7: The Family That Slays Together

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Only four queens remain. Tensions are high and emotions are charged as they are challenged to give family members a very special drag makeover. BAFTA winner Michaela Coel joins Michelle Visage and Alan Carr on the judging panel as another queen is eliminated from the competition.

Original UK air date: 11/14/19
Original USA air date: 11/22/19

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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The puppet mini challenge was fun and the reads were better than the actual reading challenge from a few weeks ago.

When you are given bio family members for makeovers, the most difficult thing (creating a resemblance) is already taken care of so all you have to do is make the other person look great.

Divina was the clear winner. She did a great job with her sister's makeup. I actually thought Cheryl did the second best with the family resemblance/makeup. She landed in the bottom because of the lackluster outfit she put her sister in.

I didn't understand why the Vivienne got so much praise for her mom's makeover which I thought was fair to middling.

Far below everyone else was Baga. There was no family resemblance which is a huge part of the makeover challenge, but even if you take that out of the equation, the hair, makeup, and outfit she gave her mother - all atrocious. The ONLY good thing about the entire concept was having her mom hold the sex tape. Other than that, the whole thing was a bust.

And then to make matters even worse, she wouldn't let her mom get a word in edgewise, even when Ru specifically addressed her questions to her mom.

But worst of all were all the insulting excuses she made for the way that her mother looked. We know your mom is older than Divina's sister but that is no reason to say on camera MULTIPLE times that it's harder to dress a woman of a certain age with a belly. Seriously, STFU. We know she doesn't have the body of a 16 year old and no one is judging her for that. What I am judging is saying such embarrassing things about your own mother on tv. She could have phrased everything so much more tactfully/less insultingly.

And just because someone doesn't want to walk the runway in a bikini doesn't mean you have to dress them like THAT. She still could have worn something with shape and color.

Between her behavior this week and her totally giving up last week when she was in the bottom, I was more than ready for Baga to go home.

On a positive note, I love Michaela Coel! If you haven't watched Chewing Gum, DO IT.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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6 hours ago, Mayberry said:

Baga's LSFYL was quite impressive. You can usually tell who is feeling the song right away, while the other person is flailing about (Cheryl.)

It very much looked like Cheryl doesn't know how to lip sync without going to the dance-y girl group place. For Amy Winehouse all that bopping about felt tone deaf and out of place. Baga had a much better handle on how to emote the song and still entertain. She moved and used the stage and balanced the need to put on a show with the tone of the song. Cheryl is the weaker competitor overall and gave the weaker performance so I'm fine with the elimination but Baga got lucky because if anyone else landed in the bottom with her, she would have been in trouble.

The stuff with Baga and his mom was awkward but he is right that we only see a few hours of their relationship and it's hard to judge from that alone. I do think the q&a session with the judges was a bit painful because Baga kept going on about his mom's physical flaws but we also don't know if Baga really was cutting his mom off or if that was editing. I do agree with Davina that Baga made his mom feel guilty for the failure when really Baga made all the bad choices. All black with that flat, black wig? There was no visual interest. She didn't have a neck or shoulders because the flat wig ate that entire area of her body. If you don't want to draw too much attention to the body, frame the face and make it the focus! Plus, you know your coming on this show that always has a makeover week and you don't practice painting anyone else's face before hand? Choices.

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Oh, I'm watching it in the States and I saw all of this Katya scene. But then I watched it on WOW Presents. I guess this part didn't make it to the Logo broadcast?

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On 11/15/2019 at 2:56 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I didn't understand why the Vivienne got so much praise for her mom's makeover which I thought was fair to middling.

Agreed. Plus, I didn't like how both the mothers were put in black. It's such a cop-out and it's very severe. We get it: black is supposed to be slimming and elegant. But it doesn't show much imagination.

I actually went into this finale rooting for Divina, who I felt had a kind of Katya/Alyssa underdog quality. Her crazy laughter was at first a little abrasive to me, but I grew to love her spirit. At least she was really having fun and gave a dance worthy of the finale. And that dress! I didn't even care that she reused the red wig because that dress was everything (and better than Vivianne's washed-out number). Very polished and very appropriate. I also loved the proud and quiet way she walked the runway. I was surprised when the judges said that she was constantly bragging about her abilities. I don't remember her doing that. Did she? It felt like one of those things that they said at the finale to further build a case for the Vivianne.

Of of course, the Vivianne was the clear front-runner from early on, but I didn't really like her all that much. She seemed to have a sort of negative energy to her, like she would steamroll you if she had to. It wasn't until she did that performance at the last lip sync that I felt she deserved the crown. Divina really didn't deliver well during that song. In fact she seemed a little resentful during the last moments when she had to plead her case, especially when the Vivianne claimed she was likeable. I get that Divina's ego was still smarting from earlier in the season, but when you make it to the finale you plaster on your biggest smile and you say your most genuine things and you forget about everybody else. It seemed like she wasn't able to do that, and I think that worked against her being named the champion.

Overall it was a pretty weak season, but I did kind of like that it felt a little bit like the very first season of Drag Race. So many skirts that barely passed crotch level! Tammie Brown would be proud! A lot of the contestants were really rough around the edges and it gave me perspective on just how polished most of the queens are in typical seasons of the show now. Hopefully season 2 will have more serious contenders for the title.

Can anybody explain to me what the hell was the point of those stupid buttons that they won? Can you redeem them for something? I didn't care about them being rewarded with a stupid button. Couldn't the network cough up a $100 tip? Or gift certificates to that gay travel website or something? Even the main prize was pretty weak. Great, they get to fly to LA and do a green screen series in the basement of WOW. No free clothes? Shoes? Makeup? Does the UK not have a makeup company that would see the benefit of advertising within the Drag Race franchise by giving some free product away?

I realize this is only the first season, so the network wasn't going to throw more money at it than they had to, but come on now. These prizes were pretty dinky. A crown and sceptre (the default for the winner), a bunch of collectible (?) buttons and a chance to be featured - like any past drag race contestant - on the webisode series that could just as easily be produced in the UK? It's not nothing, but come on now.

Also, I think Baga got a free pass on the last episode. Cheryl did a much better job with her makeover and even with the lip sync. Baga's one note personality got her through because at least it was brandable. I don't begrudge her being in the finale because she was one of the more memorable participants, but objectively I think Cheryl should have stayed.

...why did they even bring Baga's mother to the show for that challenge if she and Baga are virtually estranged? Isn't it part of casting to ask the contestants who they're close enough to that can come in for just such a challenge? I don't think Baga would have volunteered his mother coming on if it would be awkward, and it clearly was. I'm still not over the humiliating things he said on the runway last week. It was just cringe-worthy. Hearing this week that they haven't had an especially close relationship put it into a bit of perspective, but still I feel like it doesn't justify parading a weak mother-son relationship in front of the cameras. The point was that they're supposed to be uplifted by these reunions and neither were. Did Baga not have any cousins or best friends or whoever who could show up? Did the producers hear that he had a weak relationship with his mother and exploited it for the sake of drama?

Lastly, I really thought Crystal would get further in the competition but there was something really deflated about her. It just didn't seem like he was enjoying himself all that much...and that's weird because she seems to have quite a bit of talent and capability and yet in front of the cameras she was a bit more of an Eeyore. Weird.

I'm not sure ultimately that this first season made the case for drag racing in the UK. I didn't really learn that much more about UK culture and it feels like there's so many more distinct cultures that are part of the UK, and that's a lot of territory to cover narratively and lot of nuances to try to explain to the audience. Maybe the show read well for the UK audiences, but I kind of felt like here in North America it was just a weird collision of American sensibilities with a couple of UK references thrown in. How did you guys feel about it whether you're in North America or overseas?

And why did they pick a song sung by male singers about being a man for the final number? I don't think they've ever had a male sung song in the finale before. It could have been cute but it was kind of weird.

Edited by DisneyBoy
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5 hours ago, DisneyBoy said:

Can anybody explain to me what the hell was the point of those stupid buttons that they won? Can you redeem them for something? I didn't care about them being rewarded with a stupid button. Couldn't the network cough up a $100 tip? Or gift certificates to that gay travel website or something? Even the main prize was pretty weak. Great, they get to fly to LA and do a green screen series in the basement of WOW. No free clothes? Shoes? Makeup? Does the UK not have a makeup company that would see the benefit of advertising within the Drag Race franchise by giving some free product away?

I realize this is only the first season, so the network wasn't going to throw more money at it than they had to, but come on now. These prizes were pretty dinky. A crown and sceptre (the default for the winner), a bunch of collectible (?) buttons and a chance to be featured - like any past drag race contestant - on the webisode series that could just as easily be produced in the UK? It's not nothing, but come on now.

The series is on the BBC which is Tax Payer funded so no big cash prizes are allowed (unless they're being paid for by someone else), if you watched Bake Off the winner only got a cake stand and some flowers. Also no advertising or sponsorships. I don't understand all of the moaning about it to be honest, I don't think that there needs to be money or grand prizes for the show to be better or more competitive, and half of the prizes on the US versions couldn't be even claimed because of various reasons like the companies going bust. The badges are a reference to a children's TV show here, it's called Blue Peter and basically every kid in the country wanted a Blue Peter badge. The queens themselves have said that they liked the prizes, and they're not too fussed about not winning any money so I don't see an issue with it. 

I think that the show has done well in the UK. I hope that next season they just let it be without having to repeatedly explain everything for overseas audiences. They never do that in the American version, so I don't see why they've got to do that here. I'd also get rid of the lipsynchs and make them sing live. I don't think that lipsynching is as popular in the UK as it is in the US, and it's always been the weakest part of the show to me. It's a very American drag thing, and most UK queens and drag acts sing live. I'd also make sure there were some more non-scripted comedy challenges, particularly ones in front of an audience. I think that that would show how the queens are as performers and how they react to audiences. 

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Cool insights. Didn't know about the BBC being tax funded, or the significance of the buttons.

Which companies in the US reneged on their prizes?

I definitely agree on a live DIY comedy challenge. It's a great way for the contestants to be themselves. Kind of like the All Stars Talent Show. They can stop jumping through hoops and put their best foot forward.

I'd also like to see them doing an "on the street" challenge, interacting with the public, like we saw in past seasons of Drag Race, just to get a sense of how the British public responds and see what gets them laughing. Would that be difficult or dangerous? WOW is in the gay section of LA, I believe, so going out on the street poses little risk. Is the location of the filming in the UK in a similarly friendly neighborhood?

10 hours ago, Mayberry said:

I was really impressed with The Vivienne with her song and choreography routine. She just stood out, even though she wasn't the best dancer. Her star power really stood out. (Though she did get a nice spot with the final solo and some good beats with the Samba.)

Divina was trying too hard in the final LSFYL. She was just overbearingly taking over the whole stage, blocking The Vivienne. It looked a bit desperate.

Divina was just walking around the stage with no "moments" to speak of. Viv did that Patrick Swayze knee slide move and it sealed the deal.

But honestly, I thought they all blended together in the three-way performance. All of them seemed nervous about the choreography (obviously). Viv's verse was the weakest, I felt. Baga at least name-dropped herself and gave an LGBTQ+ shoutout. Divina's lyrics had a nice flow. And she was the best dancer. 

Viv does have presence though. Can't believe she's still in her 20s! Definitely thought she was nearing 40.

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I got the distinct feeling during the podcast segments that Ru did not like Divina so I was pretty sure she was going to have to have an amazing performance and an amazing look on the runway to put herself in contention.

But then Divina ended up with choreography that was by far the most complex and demanding and she nailed it. Baga had extremely simple choreography and she did not perform it well at all. The Vivienne performed her choreography well but it was really simple compared to what Divina did.

On a side note, I did not like the choreographers. The routine they taught the finalists for the chorus of the song was not difficult but they were making it difficult by running it at top speed from the beginning. In most situations, a routine should be taught at a slower speed and then you gradually speed up the tempo of the counts. Teaching it at full speed is just a dick move. Unless you're working with professional dancers, you just don't do that (and even professional dancers get taught at a slower speed most of the time).

Baga's interpretation of eleganza for the final runway - just no. That was an old lady gown with an old lady look. No amount of exaggerated open mouthed mugging could change the fact that it was a very mother of the bride look.

Divina's Union Jack gown was different but in a good way. It wasn't exactly the flag but it was clear that's what the inspiration was.

The Vivienne's gown read very old lady to me too. Not everything has to be short and tight to be youthful but between the old lady color and the style of the dress, it was too mature looking, even with all the sparkle.

On 11/21/2019 at 8:26 PM, DisneyBoy said:

Can anybody explain to me what the hell was the point of those stupid buttons that they won?

I didn't know what they were either but @doesntworkonwood explained it to the non-Brits!

On 10/5/2019 at 12:10 AM, doesntworkonwood said:

Blue Peter is a national institution here, the badges are pretty cool and important. For those of you who don't know, Blue Peter is a childrens 'magazine' show that airs on the Children's BBC. It does loads of things, but it's probably most famous for it's craft stuff and it's garden. It's been running for 60 years now. 

If you're a cool person (or you send in a peice of work that they show on the show), you get a Blue Peter Badge which a) gives you street cred and b) gives you free entry into a bunch of attractions across the UK. If you're a really cool person (aka The Queen or JK Rowling), you get a gold badge. 

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6 hours ago, Mayberry said:

The Vivienne never really gave her approval to Divina though. Divina could tell that The Vivienne wasn't that impressed with her (and so could we.) The Vivienne was quite cold about it, but that was how she felt. The problem was that Divina let it get to her. I think Divina wanted more the friendship while The Vivienne was more cutthroat. 

Interesting, I could see that being the case.  It was so weird that the narrative was suddenly that Divina bragged too much, after all season it's been that she lacks confidence.  I feel like Divina maybe could have won if she had a better final look and final speech.  Maybe Ru wanted to see The Vivienne doing Trump for the webisodes? 

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On 11/23/2019 at 9:40 PM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Baga's interpretation of eleganza for the final runway - just no. That was an old lady gown with an old lady look. No amount of exaggerated open mouthed mugging could change the fact that it was a very mother of the bride look.

This is why I'll never understand why Baga even got a sniff at Top 3! That mugging drove me fucking crazy and her drag reminds me of Molly Sugden in "Are You Being Served." Just no.

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4 hours ago, aussieinsydney said:

This is why I'll never understand why Baga even got a sniff at Top 3! That mugging drove me fucking crazy and her drag reminds me of Molly Sugden in "Are You Being Served." Just no.

I can tolerate it more for specific performance situations (like breaking the third wall to look at the camera with a reaction during a skit) but she did it all the time on the runway which really didn't work for me.

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Meh. Enjoyed the season as a whole, and thoroughly enjoyed The Vivienne’s trump, but otherwise, she left me cold. Not at all surprised by the outcome, but would have been much happier to see Divina take the crown (or scepter, I guess- never saw an actual crown at the end). At least they will all see career boosts from this.

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23 hours ago, DEL901 said:

This is interesting.  The Viviene was appointed the first UK RuPaul's Drag Race ambassador in 2015, according to Wikipedia.  I had no idea that she and Ru knew each other prior to Drag Race UK.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vivienne

 

It was mentioned in the first episode.

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On 11/27/2019 at 1:24 AM, aussieinsydney said:

This is why I'll never understand why Baga even got a sniff at Top 3! That mugging drove me fucking crazy and her drag reminds me of Molly Sugden in "Are You Being Served." Just no.

I finally get around to posting here and see this post and lordy, now I'm picturing Mrs Slocombe on Snatch Game talking about her pussy and what she and Mrs Axelby got up to at the pub the other night. LOL

Back on topic I so enjoyed this first UK season. By the finale I was rooting for Divina but knew the Vivienne would be crowned winner. Just happy that hopefully the season one queens will continue to evolve and book more gigs and bring more love into the world. 

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