EJ Moreno reviews the premiere episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK…
One of the most beautiful times of the year is the start of a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. As a fan of the original version, it’s become tiresome with so many seasons back-to-back, though. Thankfully the UK version of the show is here to freshen the place up with new queens, new stylings, and even more sass.
For anyone familiar with the format of the United States version of the show, Drag Race UK is nothing too strange. What is different about this compared to the American counterpart is the punk edge to the show. There’s a bit of something wild about the show, making it feel more unpredictable than other versions. That being said, the show is still the same fantastic drag queen drama you’d come to expect.
The episode begins with the queens walking into the workroom, all meeting each other and starting to get familiar. There are some standouts very quickly, with either their style or televsion editing making them shine. Baga Chipz, Divina DeCampo, Cheryl Hole, Vinegar Strokes, and Scaredy Kat all made early impressions with each adding some in terms of story or presence. That’s not saying any of the other queens didn’t impress, but when writing my notes, those names kept popping up in my head.
The storyline of Scaredy Kat as the youngest queen, a queen who isn’t gay, and only doing drag for 11 months is like catnip to Drag Race producers. They love a story like this to sell in this season, future seasons, and RuPaul-forbid a UK All-Stars season. Add-in the subplots of Vinegar Strokes and The Vivienne having connections to judges, and the first 15 minutes had more tea to spill than half of last season of Drag Race US.
Starting off the competition is a photo mini-challenge, the perfect way to further the queen’s introductions. This type of challenge shows off personalities, creativity, and how they work with RuPaul. Also, it was wonderful to see the host being the photographer here as it gives the shoot a more personal vibe.
The real highlight of the entire episode was the runway and judging. This moment is where RuPaul’s Drag Race UK feels so different as the panel of judges brought their A-game. Alan Carr is a lovely addition to any group of judges and needs to be on the US edition as soon as possible. The extra special guest judge this week is Andrew Garfield, the former Amazing Spider-Man and an all-around great actor. Michelle Visage and RuPaul were in top form, with the latter feeling so refreshed compared to the usual stiff stylings on the American edition.
The queens also upped the ante with impressive runway outfits and personality through the roof. Even if the outfit wasn’t polished, it was still forward-thinking and entertaining. Sum Ting Wong stood out as my personal favorite, working two amusing costumes, unlike anyone else. One of the disappointments was Vinegar Strokes, who I expected to be at the top due to an excellent workroom entrance look.
Drag Race UK is off to a good start with great queens and a refreshed host. RuPaul is at the top of his game as a host and producer, bringing over the brilliance of the American show seamlessly. If you haven’t seen the show, there is no better time to start. If you were on the fence about watching it, drop what you are doing and join the campy goodness.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK streams on WOW Presents Plus in the US and most international territories. New episodes go live on Thursdays at noon PST.