thu 25/07/2024

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World Season 2, BBC Three review - fun, friendship and big talents | reviews, news & interviews

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World Season 2, BBC Three review - fun, friendship and big talents

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World Season 2, BBC Three review - fun, friendship and big talents

Worthy and lovable winners (no spoilers) as the best stay the course

Team UK challenges other previous competitors from around the world

In the finale of the latest RuPaul extravaganza to make it to the BBC, our hostess asks each of the competitors “why does the world need drag now more than ever?” The question needs detailed answers as increasingly more intense hate is hurled against the age-old art around the world, and it’s clear that the finals, at least when not all-American, are more a love-in than a competition.

Those who’ve resisted the Drag Race phenomenon until now should perhaps start towards the end of this or any other series. Not only will you get the best of what in the bring-em-back formulas are mostly also the best, and something of the range of styles, but you’ll see the camaraderie and support at their strongest. There’s no fakery about the love or the smiling responses of judges RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and Alan Carr - yes, very funny indeed, but all kind (pictured below). RuPaul judgesThe two Americans often call a competitor “kiddo”, which only serves to remind us how much supreme talent has already been honed through hard work at a young age. Sure, you get the usual “I want this so badly”s and some of the game-show cliches, but you can always be surprised by the way the queens adapt to the challenges; highlights this time included a ballroom dancing sequence in which two pairs excelled and a comedy roast over the fantasy prospect of Michelle's wedding to Graham.

I’m not going to divulge much, I hope, but it seems reasonable to give a few observations about those who seemed most consummate at a very early stage in these proceedngs (short-lived compared to the main format). Tia Kofi, “Baroness Basic” in the designs for her looks on her first series appearance, was always adorable, funny and real; she upped her glamour game this time, though spontaneous wit is her trump card. Also making the most of her tall personage is La Grande Dame (from France, no surprise, pictured below on the right with Tia Kofi), a bewildering mixture of couture and comedy, taking the most unexpected turns in several episodes (the giant condom look is a classic). Dancing in RuPaul's Drag RaceEvidently the best dancer and the prettiest, Marina Summers from the Philippines, pictured below) won our hearts with her kindness and sincerity. Contestants were right to fear her credentials as lipsync assassin, but would this flawless performer take the crown?

There was no surprise at the delusional, not quite likable real-life person behind Scarlet Envy, whose bad vibes the others quickly picked up on, but devotees of a previous series might have been taken aback by the bad graces of Northern Irish Jonbers Blonde. Others clearly weren’t going to be winners but several kept us smiling with their congeniality. Marina Summers in DragRaceThe trajectory is familiar from other reality tv shows – however well the contenders might know the formula, you can’t keep up the façade for ever. And one of the paradoxes of drag is that the more you’re yourself in your performance, the better you’ll do. Any nastiness exists around the fringes in social media - fair enough to contend the winner, but how abhorrent that hatred and racism should be part of the opinion-making. Each time a new series comes round, I watch half-heartedly at the start, but by the end, as we head to the coronation of the Queen of the Mothertucking World,  I feel I’m in the room with folk I’d want to spend time with. Long may the surprises continue.

Tia Kofi, 'Baroness Basic' in the designs for her looks in the first series, was always adorable, funny and real


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters