Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the queens turned themselves into superheroes, using all of the items we hoarded during lockdown. So basically, toilet paper, flour, yeast and eggs. After winning the reading challenge, Sister took hoarding to the next level and snatched literally everything from the loot before the other girls were even able to make a play for anything. Tayce drew inspiration from Baga with her steel wool scraps, while A’Whora destroyed and took out her second victory with one of the best design looks to ever grace the mainstage while Sister looks like she was living in the Mushroom Kingdom, on mushrooms. After Tayce landed in the bottom opposite her, the extra hoarding proved all for nought as Tayce once again assassinated the lip sync and sent home another Sister (Sister).
Backstage the girls were thrilled to make the top five, with Tayce particularly feeling giddy about felling another queen. To the point that she couldn’t even read her farewell message correctly. Lawrence meanwhile was nervous for Tayce, knowing that she can’t make it to the end on lip syncs alone. But given what we’ve seen, can she? The girls congratulated A’Whora on her second victory, before talk turned to Lawrence being on a bottoming streak and as such, A’Whora felt she needed to turn it up or get out of the way. Ellie decided to make things awkward and share that she felt they were going to be the top five after the COVID break, with A’Whora agreeing but telling her that she thinks she will be the next to go since she doesn’t have a badge.
Oh and Tayce admitted she has no idea what comes out of her mouth in confessionals which doesn’t add anything, but is important and adorable. And explains why I love her so.
The next day Ellie was still fired up about the girls underestimating her, vowing to step it up, play the game and prove herself in the competition. With Bimini doubling down and sharing that if she really doesn’t get a win soon, she may as well pack up and go home. A’Whora and Ellie’s arguing about the crux of the last challenge was interrupted by Ru arriving for this week’s mini challenge where the dolls would dress in boy drag to compete in the Masc 4 Masc Singer to “Hey, Kitty Girl” with the butchest topping. Ellie opted to take a risk, pivot and go with ‘80s androgynous realness, while A’Whora was flooding Ellie’s basement in her leather daddy look. Lawrence looked like Conchita Wurst’s brother, Tayce was a young Iggy Pop and Bimini looked like Sid Vicious and Kid Rock had a baby.
All of the dolls were totally demented and while Tayce was my personal favourite and A’Whora’s hilarious assurances of not knowing who Lady Gaga is, it was Ellie who took out a well deserved victory. And as such, she was given the power to decide the order in this week’s love themed comedy show maxi challenge. Oh and perform in front of my legendary friend, Dawn French.
The girls split up to work on their sets before, as she promised, Ellie opted to go in and set each and every queen up for failure. She put the weaker girls at the start and end, with A’Whora and Tayce taking out each slot while popping herself after A’Whora followed by Bimini and Lawrence before the aforementioned icon, Tayce. Lawrence immediately blew up, pointing out it was a terrible line-up and not only set up everyone else poorly, but that it will also screw herself over. Ellie stood up for herself though, pointing out it is a game and she needs to play it. Lawrence questioned whether she thinks she can actually score victory, with Ellie pointing out that following A’Whora is her best shot and she needs to take it. Much to Tayce’s delight.
Oh and then Ellie made the mistake of asking whether everyone is happy with their place, with Bimini assuring her that she will slay no matter where she performs while Lawrence cussed her out yet again. As Tayce delighted in the drama. Poor Ellie started to spiral, with Tayce and Bimini assuring her that playing the game isn’t wrong and to not feel bad about it, the latter pointing out again that good material is good no matter where it is placed. As Lawrence and A’Whora continued to simmer in the corner.
Speaking of A’Whora she was first to meet Alan for a tutorial and given most of her jokes were beeped, we only know it was filthy and not much else. Ellie justified placing everyone where she did, before delighting Alan with her dirty, deep voiced alter ego. Despite the set feeling a bit confusing. Bimini admitted that she has only performed stand-up twice, meaning she absolutely destroyed her rehearsal and left with not once piece of feedback. Lawrence thankfully didn’t let her anger get in her way, landing her punchlines with minimal direction required. And Tayce, bless, walked out and charmed her way into the rehearsal, having Alan in hysterics before even getting to material. Then Alan told her to focus on her love for beans on toast and well, I hope that is good advice.
Elimination Day rolled around with Lawrence and A’Whora admitting that sleeping on the order only made them angrier at Ellie, willing karma to strike her down. Lawrence desperately tried to get the tawdry details out of Tayce and A’Whora’s past, with them admitting that they are just friends. Tayce then spoke about her first ever date, which resulted in multiple STDs and made her lose her trust in men and brought down her self-esteem as she questioned why she hasn’t found someone to love her. This bonded Tayce and Lawrence, united by their insecurities and how drag gives them the confidence to take over the world. And ugh, again, I love them all so much.
As A’Whora took the stage, it was very clear that she didn’t opt to clean up her act, having the entire second half of her set bleeped, while the start was all about sex and had the judges chuckling and cringing in equal measure. I mean, even Tayce was blushing in her confessional. Ellie Diamond was up next and delighted the judges with her demon voice, though I still didn’t really get it. That being said, she was having fun, she was smutty and when she started to confuse the judges, I loved it. Despite it ending out of nowhere.
Bimini was up next and owned the stage from the very first moment, with smart jokes, killer punchlines, references to the judges careers and a great rhythm. Again, just give her the down crown – Bimini is a star. As Lawrence feared, following Bimini was the order equivalent of climbing Everest. But damn if she didn’t work hard to overcome it, having the judges in stitches from the very first moment. Until she took an extended time to get to her final punchline and lost the momentum. Rounding out the show, Tayce brought her usual charm to the performance, shading her competitors and delighting everyone. Before Meg Ryan-ing over her passion for beans. Sadly that was it, as she then went through a series of small lines which ended with it being a story for another time, with her potentially needing to bring one of those stories up to flesh out this time.
As always A’Whora slayed on the Stoned on the Runway runway, complete with stoned IV and stunning headpiece. Ellie meanwhile was a sexy, angel Dolly Parton before Bimini killed it once again as a sexy, punk, acne breakout. Lawrence was a pink, stoned alien, while Tayce was glorious as a shimmering, metallic warrior and ugh, I love it.
The judges lived for A’Whora’s outfit, though she was cautioned to maybe edit her material for the audience, given the show is on the BBC. That being said, Alan commended her on coming out and opening the show with such confidence. Ellie was read for not having rhythm in her set, though the judges lived for her snow queen runway. As is becoming a trend, the judges lived for everything Bimini did, praising her killer material, her intelligence and her chameleon, brave and stunning runways. Lawrence was praised for everything she did, however as feared, she clearly couldn’t overcome following Bimini despite comedy coming most naturally to her. Tayce was praised for surprising everyone with her comedy chops, despite the judges wanting to hear the end of some of her stories. And rightfully, they loved everything about her runway.
Backstage A’Whora’s rage exploded, furious that Ellie’s plan worked and she clearly landed in the bottom. Ellie once again tried to explain her position and admitted that she felt horrible about upsetting her and Lawrence. This obviously didn’t sit well with Lawrence, who tore into Ellie again because at the end of the day, she could have changed the order if it bothered her, but she didn’t. Once again Tayce was the only one seeing sense, reminding us that if you stumble, maybe you should have looked at the floor if you thought someone was trying to trip you. Ellie pointed out Ru was delighted by her choices, which made Lawrence even more incensed with Bimini rightly pointing out that the latter’s rage runs much deeper than the order.
Ultimately Lawrence was once again pipped at the post by Bimini, which in my opinion would have happened no matter where either of the performers placed in the line-up. Ellie meanwhile managed to save herself, simply by not being as filthy as A’Whora, who landed in the bottom with Tayce. Poor A’Whora was fighting back tears as Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me started up, but boy did she push through. The besties channelled their obvious emotions into the performances, hitting every lyric and selling the pain of the song as they fought for their places in the competition. Sadly for A’Whora, it wasn’t enough as Tayce well and truly took her place as the lip sync assassin of Drag Race UK, sending her best friend and roommate home.
A’Whora quickly found me by following the sound of my screaming tears all the way back into the Werk Room. While I wasn’t willing to jump in and pile more hate on Ellie – I live for the drama she caused, obviously – I did admit that she and Lawrence were hard done by, though I don’t really think their order in the performance would have changed things for either of them. A’Whora and I then started screaming at each other before I pulled her in for a hug, apologised and told her how heartbroken I was she didn’t make the finale. But as always, I reminded her that being robbed is always better than overstaying your welcome and as such, we both felt better. Though how can you not when you’ve got a big bowl of Pork A’Whoragu and Gnocchi in front of you?
This tweaked Laura Sharrad number – hey, we all watched a lot of Masterchef during lockdown, ok? – is near perfection. Light, fluffy gnocchi and the aggressively spiced ragu pair perfectly to create a heart, robust meal that soothes any and all pains. Particularly of the post-boot variety.
Pork A’Whoragu and Gnocchi
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 carrot, grated
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
650g pork mince
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground clove
1 cup red wine
1.6kg canned diced tomatoes
500g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped into a generous dice (larger pieces, less water absorbed)
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
110g plain flour, plus extra to dust
shaved parmigiano, to serve
To make the ragu, heat a good lug of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the onion, garlic, celery and carrot until soft and sweet. Season well. Stir in the pork, cinnamon and clove and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through. Add the wine and tomatoes, bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for a couple of hours, or until reduced and thick.
While the ragu is simmering, get to work on the gnocchi which despite my best instincts, I make from scratch from this given I feel it is necessary for the delicious ragu. As such, pop the potatoes in a pan of cold water – this is important – bring to the boil and cook until just tender. Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring, for a minute or two to get rid of all the excess moisture. Allow to cool completely.
Pass through a ricer or mash aggressively until smooth and your rage sorted. Add the nutmeg, eggs, a pinch of salt and flour and gently bring together with your hands until it has just come together and no more
Once it has come together, dust the bench and your hands with flour and take about a quarter of the dough, roll into a 1.5cm thick log. Slice into 2cm lengths, use the back of a fork to roll the gnocchi to give you the imprint – press the fork down into the length and pull towards you – and place on a floured baking sheet to rest. Repeat the process until they are all done and allow them to rest for an hour or so.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches until they rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and repeat until they’re done. Then fold through the ragu and serve with a generous heap of the parmigiano. And devour, regally.
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