Warning: This post contains spoilers about the first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Read ahead at your own risk!
The time has come: The fish (well, with this cast, it’s debatable) and chips are finally here.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK launched its inaugural season Thursday on WOW Presents Plus, pitting nine British queens (and one Canadian!) against each other for the Emmy-winning franchise’s first European crown. Garnished with charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and (sometimes misguided) talent from its colorful cast, episode 1 brimmed with crass British comedy, jaw-dropping lewks, and stock music that was definitely used on early seasons of America’s Next Top Model.
Despite a few clunkers on the runway, episode 1 kicked off the series’ English edition with a royal bang, as the queens were tasked with crafting two looks: Regal eleganza inspired by Queen Elizabeth, as well as cheeky looks inspired by their hometowns. It all came together under the watchful, mascara’d eye of Mama Ru, who presided over the judging panel next to Michelle Visage, Alan Carr, and Oscar-nominated actor Andrew Garfield.
Below, EW breaks down the premiere’s best moments, from severed henny heads to one queen’s shocking admission about her sexuality. Read on for episode 1 highlights, and check the WOW Presents Plus streaming service next Thursday at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT for episode 2.
In what appears to be a Drag Race first, 19-year-old Scaredy Kat (the franchise’s youngest-ever competitor, who’s only been doing drag for 11 months) seemingly “came out” as “not actually gay” at the top of the episode. “I’ve actually got a girlfriend,” he told his competitors. The real goop? He’s dating a bio queen (a cisgender woman who participates in the art of drag). Without missing a beat, Baga Chipz — now affectionately known as the nan of the season — adorably urged Scaredy to have “little drag babies” with his lover.
Instructed to pose for a photo-based mini-challenge with what would eventually be their own severed heads resting in their laps (or hands, or… you’ll see in just a moment), Baga plopped herself down into this amusing shape, which produced the perfect image both in and out of context:
Then, Vinegar did this and it is the GIF that keeps on giving:
Attempting to explain what Sum Ting Wong chose to do for her session diminishes its impact. Just see for yourself:
The simplest pleasure of the episode saw Vinegar and Blu Hydrangea jiggling the former’s silicone breasts in their hands like a pair of curious schoolboys.
If Garfield was trying to tell us something with his flirtatious quips from the judging panel, we may or may not have been listening (very, very closely). For starters, he relished the opportunity to appear on Drag Race as a day well spent in “Gay heaven.” He then joked that Baga performed her tipsy stumble on a “walk of shame from my house.” In reference to Vivienne’s Peter Burns-inspired look, he said: “I found it sexy. I found it hot.” You’ve got our Spidey senses tingling, mister!
Baga’s spot-on ode to a boozy Amy Winehouse hit the right notes. As Garfield observed, it was a bold, super British way to pay tribute to a fallen queen that radiated affection versus malice.
Part adorably nervous, part frustratingly self-conscious, Gothy attempted to roar on the runway, but it ended up registering as a half-hearted whimper that Visage was not having (and the whole thing looked more like a child’s painted face after a trip to the zoo).
Sum Ting Wong shuffled about the stage in a genius camp creation as Elizabeth on a First Class stamp.
Michelle mistook Vivienne’s elderly Queen Elizabeth face for utilizing “prosthesis” when, as RuPaul stressed, “Michelle, that’s her nose!”
The final lip-sync between Gothy and Vinegar (to Dua Lipa’s “New Rules”) saw the latter tossing off her hat and her wig to reveal a sleek blonde bob hiding underneath. C for originality, A for execution!
Upon her exit, Gothy proved she was a real Drag Race fan, writing: “I’m the U.K.’s Porkchop!” (with reference to the first-ever queen to sashay away in 2009) on the mirror as her lipstick message.