Za’tarlet

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Spice Mix, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK twelve new queens arrived and promptly paid tribute to the Spiceys’ iconic entrance at the London Olympics in a photoshoot Mini Challenge. Which Peppa promptly won, as she is an icon, despite the fact the premiere Geri Halliwell impersonator was in the building. For the Maxi Challenge, the dolls were tasked with stomping too runways in honour of the BBC and their hometown. Poor Copper, Dakota and Just May struggled, while Black Peppa slayed literally everything she did and took out the first win of the season. And more importantly demolished Danny Beard to be the Grand Supreme Blobby. Tragically it just wasn’t Just May’s week, as while she gave a solid lip sync, Dakota’s was full of fire and saved herself, leaving May to become the Gothy of the season.

Backstage the dolls were feeling the usual shock that the competition is well and truly on. Dakota opened up about the shock that it wasn’t Copper in the bottom with her while Starlet was just grateful she learnt who Geri Halliwell was, given nobody bothered to teach her in her five years in the UK. The dolls sat down for a little kiki, with Copper ready to redeem herself and prove her stint in the bottom was a one off while Peppa was thrilled to stamp her mark on the competition. Pixie meanwhile was just happy she broke the Brighton curse. And Sminty’s insides were rearranged, which is important if you ask me.

The next day the girls were feeling far more hopeful and upbeat, with Danny in particular ready for the challenge ahead. Starlet meanwhile shadily speculated over who would be the next to go before Pixie opted to focus on good things, praising Peppa for absolutely slaying. Danny pointed out the fashion queens did well last week, begging the question, how will they go with the next challenge? Which summoned Ru faster than saying Bloody Mary in a mirror, where he announced the arrival of one of the earliest girl groups challenge of all time. This year, they would split into two bands for a headlining performance at Yass-tonberry Festival with their new singles, Come Alive. Which had Baby ready to slay, given this is right in her wheelhouse.

As the winner of last week’s challenge and lip sync respectively, Peppa and Dakota were tasked with choosing their groups with Peppa snatching Baby, Sminty, Jonbers and Starlet while Dakota opted for Danny, Le Fil, Cheddar and Pixie, leaving Copper as the last one standing. And while she was smarting, she had the last laugh by getting to pick which team she sided with, selecting team Dakota. Or the winning team as she told their rivals, while Peppa was just glad to avoid having her.

The bands split up to listen to the songs, with team Peppa kiki-ing about being happy to avoid landing on team Dakota. Which totally means they are going to bomb, right? Particularly since they went with the name Triple Threat. Despite their being five of them. Pixie meanwhile suggested Team Dakota should be Shakespeare’s Fister while Danny thankfully suggested the greatest name of all time, Queens of the Bone Age instead. Pixie opened up about having a girl group pedigree, though was hopeful she would do better than bandmate Tia Kofi, who landed in the bottom on her season. Danny described their aesthetic like a band that broke up, had kids and is returning to the festival for a comeback. While Triple Threat were super confident, given Baby has a doctorate in songwriting. And while yeah, she slayed, will she be the only one on her team?

Ru made her ru-turn with songwriting icon Cathy Dennis for a bit of a masterclass, with Baby giddy to meet such a talent and likened her own writing as FKA Twigs inspired. Peppa meanwhile had Cathy in hysterics, Starlet was nervous about her shy personality, Jonbers’ lyrics were a bit bland – but what about the FAMINE?! Queens of the Bone Age traded out, with Dakota using her time in the bottom to give herself a phoenix verse, Cheddar was ready to melt, Danny dropped some F-bombs in front of Cathy while Pixie was ready to Famke Jansen her way to choking people. Oh and on Ru’s exit, he announced FKA Twigs would be this week’s guest judge which instantly blew Baby’s mind.

Queens of the Bone Age were first to record their track with Leland and Freddy, where Dakota was lacking the confidence while Le Fil was dripping in it. Speaking of dripping, Cheddar wasn’t dripping after getting rid of the melting cheese line, though damn can she sing. Copper was energetic and full of joy, Danny was a powerhouse – despite the swears – and Pixie was an absolute hilarious delight. The five members of Triple Threat traded in where Baby slayed from start to finish while Starlet was stuck in her head and Sminty gave us all of the attitude. Peppa too was perfection – duh – before Jonbers just bombed. Oh so badly. Which just breaks my damn heart, because Jonbers is a perfect delight.

When it came to learning the choreography, Dakota quickly put Le Fil in charge of Queens of the Bone Age’s performance. And well, she was born to choreograph, working around people’s weaknesses and giving them enough to make it look stunning. Despite the fact Danny was terrified about each and every moment. Thankfully though, her sisters were confident for her. And well, maybe this is RuPaul’s Best Friend’s Race after all. Triple Threat meanwhile were giving all the confidence, well, three of them were, as Starlet and Sminty struggled to get it down.

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls feeling all the oats as they split up to talk through their outfits. Bone Age locked in lime green before Dakota opened up to Sminty about how close she is to her twin and how grateful she is to have that relationship. Particularly since they were both bullied agressively at school and came out as queer together before her sibling came out as non-binary and her as trans. Despite having a stereotypically cockney father, she admitted she feels all the love from her parents, despite the initial difficulty as she came into her tran-ness. And ugh, you know I’m crying. 

On the Mainstage FKA – or is it Twigs – took her place next to Ru, Michelle and Graham as The Triple Threats kicked off the show with their debut performance of Come Alive. And oh my God, Baby was perfection from start to finish, as was Peppa. Sadly Starlet just felt lost the entire time and Jonbers was trapped in her head. Though Sminty was having fun, which was nice to see! Well, until she got backstage and brokedown about messing up some of the moves, though Baby assured her that while she was annoyed by it – lol – she will move on. When it came to the Queens of the Bone Age however, each and everyone of them knocked it out of the park, they were in the pocket from start to finish, were in sync and felt like one cohesive unit.

While backstage Baby continued to fume and was ready to tell her sisters how disappointed in them she is.

Starlet kicked off the Neon Nights runway looking like a fluffy version of Peppa’s Blobby from last week. Jonbers was a sexy neon painter, Baby was a feathered neon delight – of a feather go’a if you ask my new bestie, FKA – Sminty was a perfect showgirl jellyfish, despite thinking she looked alien and Peppa was a glorious neon yellow delight, serving ALL THE DRAMA. Again, crown her. Copper was a Shakespearean delight does new wave, while Danny was a genuine alien invasion, though coming bubbles. Cheddar then brought out hallucinogenic mushrooms delight – and oh so sexy – Dakota gave Gaga in House of Gucci, skiing at a Pokemon resort, while Le Fil was sexy in honour of Naomi Campbell collecting litter and Pixie was a bright, wet delight. 

Obviously the Queens of the Bone Age took out victory – meaning 7 of the 11 dolls have a win – before they were sent backstage to untuck before the judges read Starlet for absolute filth given she looked so nervous. SO nervous. And while she looked stunning on the runway, she needed to give more in the performance if she wanted to make it to the end. Jonbers was praised for her energy, though read for going Toto with too many syllables in her lyrics. Though they loved her runway. Baby received universal praise for each and every moment this week, though was read for standing out compared to her sisters. Ru then told Twigs how big of a fan she is, leading to some effusive praise from her hero and well, it was lovely. Sminty was read for her struggles on stage, despite the judges loving her confidence and vibe. While Michelle wanted a new silhouette. Oh and then Peppa received all the praise yet again.

Because. She. Is. Perfect.

Backstage the victors were absolutely bouncing off the walls, shocked to have taken out victory but so proud of how hard they worked. Pixie in particular was thrilled to kill it, despite the pressure she put on herself. The bottoms joined them and the mood quickly turned tense, as Peppa and Baby were disappointed to be in the bottom despite slaying. The remaining trio however were bricking it, with Jonbers ready to lip sync after her choke – which breaks my heart – while Sminty was sure it would be her joining Starlet in the bottom. Sminty was worried about serving a new silhouette, given she doesn’t want to serve old maiden, which obviously annoyed Cheddar who wanted her to realise there are more styles than sexy. But whatever. While Starlet was just disappointed that Michelle thought she was uncomfortable. Given she was having fun.

Ultimately it was Sminty that joined Baby and Peppa by being sent to safety, leaving Starlet and Jonbers to lip sync for their lives to Sugababe’s Cathy Dennis penned hit About You Now. And from start to finish, it was the Jonbers show as she served all the emotion and flipped around the stage. While it is Starlet’s vibe to serve muted, she hit every lyric and stayed true to herself. But yeah, Jonbers rightly earned her safety as Starlet sashayed away.

Backstage Starlet asssured me she was feeling ok about her elimination, like Michelle before me, I was honestly feeling like she was disappointed. Or annoyed. I pulled her in for a hug anyway and assured her that despite a short run, she showed off some stunning looks and as such, she will always have a place in my heart. Which, combined with a fierce punch of Za’tarlet, was enough to cheer her up.

Za’atar is one of the best things to add to a dish if you want a quick punch of flavour. Not every dish, obviously – this isn’t my dad and coriander in the ‘90s – but when it is right, it is right. Herby, fresh and packing a zing, it makes lamb in particular sing.

Enjoy!

Za’tarlet
Makes: ½ cup.

Ingredients
1 tbsp​ roasted sesame seeds
¼ cup ground sumac
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp dried marjoram
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp toasted groud cumin
½ tsp chilli

Method
Pop everything in a jar. Shake. Use, or like we did, shot like you’re Jaida and her Tajin.


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