Warning: spoilers ahead for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 4 episode 1.
It’s official – RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 4 is underway, and boy did the first episode deliver us gagworthy looks and lovable personalities galore!
The premiere of the new season saw Dame Joanna Lumley join the panel as the all-star guest judge, sitting alongside Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and head judge RuPaul.
After the mini challenge, which saw the 12 queens take part in a photoshoot inspired by the Spice Girls’ performance at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, the cast were tasked with wowing the judges with two runway looks.
The first, for the category ‘BBC: Keeping it 100’, saw the queens deliver their best celebratory looks in honour of the broadcaster’s centennial, having been founded in 1922.
For their second look, they had to dress for the category ‘Ru are you?’, showcasing an ensemble that represented their signature drag.
Ranking the first episode was a tough feat, as although there were some standouts and some weaker performances, all in all, it was an extremely strong start to the season, with plenty of the queens exhibiting enormous amounts of potential for the weeks ahead.
So how did the queens fare in week one? Here’s our ranking from top to bottom…
Black Peppa was off to a strong start after winning the mini challenge in her spandex outfit and Beyoncé Formation tour-esque ponytail.
That strong streak continued for the runway, as the 29-year-old from Birmingham delivered a futuristic version of Mr Blobby, one that’s somehow both the stuff of nightmares and beauty.
Her second look, inspired by chocolate, was exquisite, and even though Black Peppa suffered her headpiece falling to the ground, she pulled off the mishap effortlessly, showing the judges that she completely owned the stage. Top marks.
Sminty Drop was giving face, innovation, precariously high shoes… the entire works.
For her celebration of the BBC, the 23-year-old from Lancashire transformed into a chandelier inspired by Antiques Roadshow, looking like one of the anthropomorphic characters from Beauty and the Beast.
Not only was her second look also a marvel, looking very Marie Antoinette, Sminty had to duck to get through the doorway at the end of the runway for both looks, and yet still manage to maintain her balance and strut her stuff with envy-worthy confidence.
Copper might not have scored too highly in the judges’ books this week, but for us, she was one of the top-performing queens of the week.
Her homage to Julie Walters as the waitress in the sketch for Victoria Wood’s Two Soups was spot on, from her comedic runway walk to the bowls of soup spilling from her dress.
The 38-year-old from Cheltenham then delivered a powerful statement for look number two, reclaiming the derogatory insults that have been fired her way throughout her life to powerful effect.
Several of the queens were utterly gagged when drag icon Cheddar Gorgeous walked into the Werk Room – and with good reason.
The 38-year-old from Manchester proved they’re brimming with imagination and originality, achieving the impossible by becoming the BBC Text Card F for their first look on the runway.
Next, Cheddar flitted from their clown character to transform into a demure ‘post-industrial, non-binary, alien warrior deity’. As Dame Joanna aptly put: ‘By the hammer of phwoar!’
Not many queens can say that Ru described their entrance look as one of their favourite EVER in the competition – so that’s saying something about the level of skill Starlet has up her sleeve.
The 23-year-old from Surrey, who’s admittedly shy, came out of her shell to become Absolutely Fabulous’ Patsy Stone, earning the seal of approval from Dame Joanna herself.
Her dazzling second look drew parallels with an elevated Tinkerbell or Glinda the Good Witch… however, while Starlet is clearly awe-inspiring to look at, we hope she shows more of her personality in the weeks ahead, especially as she described herself as a ‘goofball’ under the surface.
What better way to really showcase British drag than by taking inspiration from one of the most beloved UK sitcoms of all time, Only Fools and Horses?
Pixie’s take on Del Boy was as camp and fabulous as you’d hope, combining a brilliant look with bundles of personality.
While the 29-year-old’s second look achieved her desired effect, to spread joy as a ray of sunshine at the end of the pier, the Brighton queen’s look was admittedly more on the fancy-dress side when compared to her peers.
Baby’s take on Rastamouse, the CBeebies character, while joyful and well-executed, was far more simple than the looks showcased by the queens at the top of our ranking for week one.
The 25-year-old from South London then took things up a notch for look two, taking to the stage in a beautiful red jumpsuit embellished with hand-sewn stones, and completing her look with a traditional Nigerian hairstyle.
We just can’t love the inspiration behind this look enough – as Baby explained she wanted to look like her nan’s sofa in Tottenham.
The sight of Pudsey Bear on your TV is usually bound to put a smile on your face, with the character eliciting memories of Children In Need and the late Sir Terry Wogan spreading joy to the masses.
Le Fil’s depiction of the cuddly bear was similarly jolly, if on the more costumey side for the Drag Race UK runway.
However, having delivered a strong photoshoot for the mini challenge, the 36-year-old’s second look was a marvel to look at, as the Yorkshire-based queen glided across the stage in a vibrant red creation to represent the significance of the colour in Chinese culture as a symbol of luck and happiness.
Another well-known queen, Danny Beard was at a slight disadvantage this week after it was revealed that Black Peppa was also going to become Mr Blobby on the runway to pay tribute to the BBC.
Unfortunately for Danny, Black Peppa won this round with a more innovative design, while Danny’s appeared to be a more literal representation of the rotund character.
Danny’s second look oozed elegance to the max, but just didn’t push the boat out far enough in comparison to the other queens, featuring a simple black structured dress and showing off her signature white-based makeup look.
Jonbers Blonde certainly has personality in abundance, bringing her charisma to the photoshoot as well as to the main stage.
For her first look, the 33-year-old from Belfast decided to don an ensemble inspired by Blue Peter – but at first glance, the outfit could have certainly been taken to the next level, as the dainty, pretty garments felt as though the queen was holding back.
Her second look – wearing her dad’s refashioned motorcycle leathers – reminded us fondly of Bimini Bon Boulash’s homage to her hometown football team, and we’re glad Jonbers is still in the competition to show us the full extent of her talent.
Dakota Schiffer, the first trans queen ever to appear on Drag Race UK, is clearly as sweet as pie and beautiful to boot.
However, the 22-year-old from Sussexx’s cute-as-a-button personality and pretty persona may not be enough to keep her in the competition if she doesn’t try to deliver more ambitious ideas.
From her take on Anne Boleyn in Horrible Histories to her Scandinavian model-style second look, Dakota has the love of fashion – she just now needs to go above and beyond.
It’s awful to say goodbye to anyone in the first week of Drag Race – but unfortunately, we feel that Just May was the right choice for the chop.
While her Queen Victoria bust from EastEnders was packed with creativity and personality, it wasn’t as smoothly pulled off as one might have hoped and as the judges pointed out.
The 32-year-old from Essex’s second look, a dress covered in her own face, was a fun representation of her character, but sadly for Just May, the talent in the competition this year was simply too high for her to top.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK returns next Thursday at 9pm on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.
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