RuPaul takes shocking absence from RuPaul's Drag Race UK panel as Raven, Michelle Visage fill in

Warning: This article contains spoilers for RuPaul's Drag Race UK season 4 episode 7.

For the first time in RuPaul's Drag Race her-story, Mama Ru was absent from judging.

Thursday's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race UK season 4 saw the host take a temporary leave of absence from the panel, though she enlisted her Emmy-winning makeup artist, RuPaul's Drag Race alum Raven, as well as the show's longtime judge Michelle Visage to fill in for her.

The show began with RuPaul entering the Werk Room to introduce the week's maxi challenge: The return of the fan-favorite makeovers, which included the queens dolling up special guests in drag. However, Ru wasn't present for her typical walk-through as the contestants prepared, with Raven strutting to the set instead.

"Ru wanted me to stop in and check on your progress. Is that okay?" Raven asked as she came through the Werk Room door.

RuPaul's Drag Race UK
RuPaul's Drag Race UK

BBC/World of Wonder Raven and Michelle Visage take over for RuPaul's absence from the panel on 'RuPaul's Drag Race UK' season 4.

Later, Visage kicked off the runway segment on the UK Main Stage where RuPaul typically makes her grand entrance.

"Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, RuPaul is unable to join us tonight. But, Mama Ru is watching via a live video link, so now, with Ru's blessing, the show must go on," Visage said before welcoming Raven back to the table alongside Graham Norton and guest judge Boy George.

After the queens hit the runway for their critiques, Visage stressed, "I have not made my decision. I need to call RuPaul."

The panel then deliberated, and revealed that Dakota Schiffer and Pixie Polite were the week's bottom-performing queens, and would lip-sync for their lives to "Miss Me Blind" by George's beloved band, Culture Club.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK S4
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK S4

World of Wonder/BBC Meet the 'RuPaul's Drag Race UK' season 4 cast of queens.

Visage slightly altered RuPaul's usual wording ahead of the lip-sync: "Ladies, this is your last chance to impress us and save yourself from elimination. The time has come for you to lip-sync for your life. Good luck, and, Boy George..." she said before tossing to the singer-songwriter, who delivered the classic "Don't f--- it up" line.

Following the lip-sync battle, Visage clutched her earpiece and told the cast that she needed to "talk to Ru" to determine this week's eliminated queen. Ultimately, Pixie was permitted to stay, and Dakota sashayed away.

A preview for next week's episode confirms that RuPaul will be back. EW has reached out to representatives for RuPaul's Drag Race UK for more information on RuPaul's absence.

The series continues Thursdays at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. on the WOW Presents Plus subscription streaming service.

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including reactions with the cast, special guests, and more.

Related content: