Review: Rupaul’s Drag Race UK (Season Finale)

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The finale of RPDR UK summarised the season nicely, with little shade, heart-wrenching moments, and capturing performances.

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***SPOILERS FOR RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK FINALE BELOW***

The finale of RPDR UK saw Baga Chipz, Divina de Campo and The Vivienne take on an all-singing, all-dancing performance to Rupaul’s ‘Rock It (To The Moon)’ – “Whitney Houston, we have a problem!”. Each queen recorded their own verse, then was taught individual choreography with Strictly superstar AJ Pritchard, and his now-famous ex-Love Islander Curtis. Prior to learning this would be their final challenge, the queens mocked Divina one last time, joking that if the challenge was “red hair realness” or to “sing in five different languages” then Viv and Baga would be “fucked”.

Assessing how to attack this week’s challenge, Viv decided she’d produce “what [she’d] wanna hear in a nightclub”. Whilst Baga wanted to go for a “very ‘Born This Way’ kind of vibe”. It was then noticed that Viv was at highest disadvantage, not just being the only of the trio not part of The Frock Destroyers, but also having to lip-sync for her life following that girl group challenge. 

The trio then took to RuPaul and Michelle’s well-known podcast, ‘What’s the Tea?’. This gave each of them a chance to sell or redeem themselves, which certainly saved Baga’s reputation. Re-connecting with fans following the onslaught of her mother last episode, Baga explained the distant relationship her and her mother share, following her youth and upbringing being spent mostly with her nan. Vivienne also expanded on her previous mention of a drug addiction, explaining that she pretty much lived in a constant ‘k-hole’ with ketamine being her “poison”. She also made sure to lighten conversation by throwing in a little shade, stating that she and Baga do pretty much the same, she (Viv) “just tend to care a little more about how I look”. Both hosts laughed, but not quite so much as when RuPaul greeted Viv by saying “whey aye pet” – combining Northern culture as a whole to confuse Newcastle with Liverpool. 

Choreography saw Baga dancing the tango, Divina taking on the cha cha, and Vivienne sashaying her way through the samba. Viv seemed to be rather frustrated throughout practice suggesting she may lose, whilst Divina swam through it all without a second thought, setting her up to win. As for Baga? She remained her usual witty self, telling the guest choreographers that her only relevant experience was when she “pissed in a nightclub”. 

As for the performance itself, the queens lip-synced to their pre-recorded verses whilst unveiling their choreography in full. Baga’s song certainly had the ‘Born This Way’ vibes she was hoping for, but the much worse version. Her dancing was questionable too, with her half-arsed, wonky-leg lifts reminiscent of our beloved queen BeBe Zahara Benet. On the other end of the spectrum, Divina’s dance served us sexy gymnastic realness. Very in the style of Katya’s all-star performance, Divina’s routine was full of splits, impressive lifts, and all things flexible – these eye-catching moves making it impossible to notice her lyrics. The Vivienne had a similar star-quality about her dance, and really sold it, making it very hard to look away. Her lyrics also capturing what she had planned, and serving us nightclub sensation. 

With the queens taking on the runway in their final looks, Baga was comparable to Elsa from Frozen, or “Marilyn Mon-hoe” as the judges labelled her. Divina looked properly the best she had all season, showing off a very British gown, its red, white and blue colour scheme evocative of the London 2012 Olympic Games. She of course also wore her infamous red wig down the runway one last time. And finally, The Vivienne who stole the runway. She looked like a literal queen, giving us royalty realness in her fairy-godmother-esque pink gown, blonde wig and stunning make-up. Michelle literally labeling this look “actual perfection”. Each queen was then asked to give their 4-year-old self some life advice, in classic RuPaul style. 

Asked to explain why they deserve to win Rupaul’s Drag Race UK, Baga somewhat backed down from the competition – most likely aware it was a two-horse race at this point. She rightly said that both Divina and Vivienne “deserve it way more”, and that by coming this far in the competition she had “already won”. Quite differently, Divina took this chance to sell herself one more time, appearing to be on The Apprentice, not Drag Race as she ranted about herself in an interview/cv-manner. In this robotic-sounding speech, Divina pegged herself as “consistently good throughout this competition” saying that at points she had been “incredible”. After this very long upsell from the red-wigged queen, The Vivienne took us on an emotional journey – the shows emotional music helping queue audience/judge tears. One extremely iconic moment did come from this emotional speech however, as Viv described herself as extremely humble, and editors quickly cut to a now-meme of Divina rolling her eyes. 

Whilst the judges took time to discuss, the queens ventured backstage to find all the previously eliminated queens awaiting their arrival. Though she technically went out fourth, I took this moment to celebrate my queen and winner, Cheryl Hole, rightfully appearing in the final. Very little shade was thrown, and this moment pretty much stood as a time to catch-up on what the eliminated queens had missed, how it felt to have left, and to sip cocktails all together once again. Meanwhile, the judges’ comments appeared to be setting The Vivienne up for her win, which editing and the portrayal of her throughout certainly aided. Initially being the queen to ‘watch out’ for, due to her previous success with her title of RPDR UK Ambassador, The Vivienne appeared cocky and unlikable. This narrative continued until she opened up about her previous drug addiction, with the episode following showing fans just how sweet she and The Mother were together. Gaining a strong track-record, with three Ru-peter badges, and having this favourable editing, it was evident throughout that The Vivienne would be crowned the first-ever winner Rupaul’s Drag Race UK.

Though all this said, The Vivienne was the deserving winner, with Graeme Norton summarising that she “had it all”. And to quote Ebony’s mum, a loyal drag-race fan, “The Vivienne was so real, over the moon for her”.

If you’re missing your Drag Race UK fix already, don’t threat – Rupaul’s Drag Race UK Season 2 applications just closed, meaning it won’t be long until we see our fave Drag Race USA judges getting confused by our UK queens. 

Rupaul’s Drag Race UK Season 1 is available to watch on BBC Three via BBC iPlayer now.

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