Previously on Drag Race UK 12 new dolls arrived in the UK Werk Room to battle it out for Ru’s love and attention. And when they get it, in the form of four badges, promptly lose the competition for being too good. But before we get there, Ru – and for one tragic week, Michelle – had to make some cuts with Just May sadly becoming the Gothy of the season despite being so damn sweet. She was followed out the door by the fashion queen of the season Starlet.
When the dolls formed duos, poor Copper came up short – rather than say, on top – before Sminty sad-twerked her way out of the competition and straight into our hearts, the history books and likely, an All Stars season. The pressures of the competition became too much for Baby who exited the competition to look after her mental health before Le Fil was too Polite for Snatch Game.
It was at that point that Ru chucked a sickie, leaving Michelle in charge who sadly cut the iconic Dakota for being too on brand. After Peppa and Jonbers both saved themselves from elimination with a killer lip sync, the top five put on a roast where comedy queen Pixie shockingly stumbled and landed in fifth.
The top four faced off in the traditional rumix, kiki and performance combination and while the song was an absolute bop with every queen getting a moment to shine, Ru decreed that only two would be lip syncing for the crown, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa tied in third place.
With that the two four badge queens – begging the question, does the UK just require one person with four wins to lose and this is how they got around the tradition? – lip synced to the iconic Shirley Bassey’s This Is My Life. And like the aforementioned rumix, it was an absolute show. Like their runs on the show, both Cheddar and Danny were perfect from start to finish, leaning into who they are as performers and giving classic Drag Race. And while I feel this would have been the most deserving double crowning of all time, ultimately Ru settled on one, crowning Danny Beard as the UK’s Next Drag Superstar and leaving the iconic Cheddar as the runner-up.
While I would have loved to see a double crowning, that in no way means I am any less excited about Danny’s victory. From start to finish she ran a near perfect race, never really faltering and always being a front runner. Plus, she is so damn charismatic and charming, you just know she is going to take the title and run with it to build an even bigger and better career because honestly, she is a born performer. As such, join me in toasting our newest queen with a piping hot Dannaan Beard.
My favourite thing about Indian food is probably a naan and while Spinach and Cheese – dedicated to another winner, begging the question is this the anti-Pizza – is my fave, there is something so damn perfect about garlic. Soft, pillowy and lightly flavoured, it paris perfectly with any curry. Or just as a solo snack, TBH.
Dannaan Beard Serves: 4-8.
Ingredients 450g flour 1 tsp salt 1 cup lukewarm water 1 tsp raw caster sugar 7g dried yeast ⅓ cup lukewarm milk 2 tbsp yoghurt 3 tbsp vegetable oil 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp nigella seeds garlic butter, to serve (optional)
Method Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and let it set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast and leave to get all foamy and glorious for 10 minutes or so. Once it smells like a brewery, whisk in the milk, yoghurt and oil.
Using the hook attachment, fold in the flour, garlic and seeds by hand until combined. Pop the attachment into the mixer and knead for a couple of minutes, or until smooth. Remove and transfer to a greased bowl to rest for a couple of hours, or until doubled in size. Punch back the dough and divide into 8 balls. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Pop a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, oil each ball and using a rolling pin, roll out to form a nice thin naan shape. Place in the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and repeat the process. Brush with a little garlic butter – optional, but advised – and then devour, victoriously!
Previously on Survivor – as you have already heard me gush – we were graced with the presence of one of the greatest personalities to take out the game, arguably since Sandra 2.0. Or maybeTyson. Maryanne was funny, emotional and oh so charming, and watching her work her way to victory was downright delightful. Sadly though, we’ve got to drop the 2 as 43 kicked off – see what I did there, Probst – with three speedboats jetting through the water with 18 new castaways. And let’s just say, they aren’t the only things that are new – the editors have some tricks! There were drones, there were joke chyrons and even an intro for one. And it was fun.
But that isn’t what we’re here to discuss, though you know I’d gladly dedicate 2000 words to it. Survivor 43 is here and we first met Ryan, who looks like a total zaddy and I will already follow him to the ends of the earth. Nneka is cute and Morriah, for some reason, is here for RuPaul’s Best Friend Race. Sami meanwhile is my hair twin and makes up words, Lindsay is an adorable, iconic frontline hero and I stan her already, no wait, Karla is even more up my alley. Lindsay and Karla final two, please. Cody looks like a potential day 4 zaddy, Elie is going to see if she can use her psychology background better than Tori, and Owen is perfect, he is hair goals, he is THE moment.
The boats eventually made it to shore where Jeffrey proudly welcomed them to the Survivor family which immediately made Elie overwhelmed and a little shocked that it was actually happening. We first spoke with Jeanine who called Survivor a total dream for her and her immigrant father and well, I guess there needs to be more room on my stan card because I love her too. Sweet James was hoping to follow in his hero Earl’s footsteps while Gabler is the right kind of kookie to win my heart, while Paralympian Noelle spoke about how losing her leg was the best thing that ever happened to her and, gag of the season, she actually applied before she lost it. And the fact that she wants to make some leg jokes along the way makes me love her even more.
After a quick recap of the design of the game, Jeff announced they would be forming the Vesi, Baka and Coco – literally, coco – tribes. And would immediately be competing together in the first reward challenge where duos would run off one pair at a time to retrieve crates before the final duo build a cube and retrieve a key, with the first to finish earning a flint, a pot and a machete. Baka got out to the earliest of leads while Vesi nipped at the heels before they started to overtake in the water. It was then that Coco powered ahead out of nowhere, building their cube and working on retrieving their key way ahead of the others. Sadly, that proved super difficult which allowed for everyone to catch up before Dwight was given some good advice and able to jag victory for Vesi.
We first checked in with the victorious Vesi where Cody was all energy and on cloud nine about their victory. He shared that he binged Survivor during the pandemic and upon decided he had what it takes to win, was ready to live it for real. As the tribe introduced themselves, I immediately fell in love with Nneka and Justine – who is stunning – while Dwight got the clown music as he struggled to build the shelter which I hope is only the beginning of an underdog edit. Over at Baka, Gabler was nervous to already be at a disadvantage, given he is so much older than his fellow castaways, before they discovered their two options to earn their supplies, one a mental puzzle and the other to isolate two people to work hard. While Sami offered to sweat, the tribe chose to do the puzzle which required them to move two bones from a shape to create the largest number possible.
While they battled their wits, over at Coco Ryan and Geo offered to dig for four hours and while it seems like a stupid move, Ryan stripped down to his undies and as such, I’m moister than an oyster. Specifically the ones that spat on Kimmi and Monica in Second Chances. Ryan then opened up about his cerebral palsy and well, I love him even more and want him to win so bad. And that was before he even heroically dug out their reward in less than half an hour. Back at Baka the tribe continued to struggle over the puzzle, until Sami gamed the system out of nowhere and solved it for them at the exact moment I was smugly proclaiming how obvious the answer was. Which proved to be incorrect. While I sulked, Sami opened up about how proud he was to solve the puzzle despite being the youngest on the tribe and shared with us that because he is 19, he is totally planning to lie about his age to his tribe.
We returned to Vesi where Noelle was living her best life, glad to have not needed to go through another challenge to get their supplies and to have quickly aligned with Justine given they were vibing so well. Sadly for them, Nneka, Cody and Jesse noticed how tight they had become, immediately locking in their own alliance and well, Justine girl, you’re in danger. And no, please don’t make her the Jessie Camacho of the modern era because I can’t take that kind of pain again. Oh and Cody was busy targeting her for being in sales, despite being in sales himself which will totally come back to bite him, right? Right on queue, Jesse admitted he isn’t exactly sold on the alliance and as such, is willing to work with the girls, begging the question, what about Dwight?
Over at Baka as the tribe tried to build shelter, Owen was focused on building alliances. And by alliances, I mean assuring anyone in sight that he would let them know if he heard their name come up at all. Which is a great non-promise, but could still come back to bite you if people start talking. Meanwhile Elie and Morriah were bonding over their families with the former opening up about her older sister dying of an overdose during 2020 and ugh, it is heartbreaking to hear but seeing how it rallied the women together, I live. Because, duh, I always root for the all female alliances.
Coco’s shelter building meanwhile was looking to be going ok, but like Owen before her, Cassidy was more focused on building alliances. Hearing my call, those alliances were specifically with the women on her tribe and the fact that they know how difficult the game is for women, I live for it. Sadly for my love Ryan, though, they wanted to bring in James to take control over the tribe and ice out my zaddy. Baka meanwhile had changed their focus as the men started working on building a fire as Sami explained that cremating pets is not murder, but disposing of their bodies. Which I thought was obvious, but great! In any event, he made fire while Gabler wandered off to try and form a bond with Elie over heavy metal bands and do I ship this? Probably. Do I ship it as much as the two all female alliances? God no.
The next day Coco were living their best lives, getting camp set up while Karla and Geo bonded over being queer, married members of the Latinx community and fuck me dead, THIS is the final two I want now, please and thank you. Despite the fact it kinda means my love Ryan is screwed. Well, unless Karla sides with the boys, given she clearly holds all the damn power in the tribe. We pivoted to Vesi where Jesse was opening up about growing up in gangs as a teen before he turned his life around while in juvenile detention. He now had a PHD with two adorable kids and is proud to be a hope for other people and ugh, he is the sweetest. Oh and while Jesse formerly had gang tattoos, Cody had LIVIN tattooed on his butt.
After the tatt talk dissipated, Justine focused on trying to get fire started for their tribe and while she was struggling, she was happy the shelter was doing good at least. At that exact moment, the shelter collapsed before she sparked a flame. Which sadly then went out, which gives off big retrograde energy. Thankfully they were distracted by the arrival of a speedboat directing them – and the two other tribes at the same time – to select one person to get on said boat for a little adventure. While Lindsay wanted to bounce at Coco, they drew numbers with Karla winning out, Gabler won Baka’s random draw while Dwight was just allowed to go, rather than any game of chance.
The trio met up at the famed quest island – formerly the Edge of Extinction – where they were thrilled to discover they didn’t need to walk up to the top of the island, instead wading through the shallows to a large rock. Shallows that were riddled with moss and oysters, so actually more dangerous than a stroll up a hill. Eventually they made it, learning that instead of a ship wheel, they now get to openly announce whether they want to risk their votes at the first tribal council, with them each selecting their fate out of a bag corresponding with how many people chose to risk it. Ultimately Gabler and Dwight opted to risk, while Karla was wise to play it safe. And more importantly to her, avoid painting a target on her back.
Back at Vesi the tribe were still heartbroken to not have fire before Justine once again managed to get flame, and this time managed to keep it alight. As Dwight returned to camp he opted to keep things truthful, knowing that everyone knows what those journeys are all about anyway. And while he was totally honest, Cody was not buying any of it and as such started sowing seeds of doubt about him amongst the tribe. At Baka, Gabler also told the tribe the truth before going for a walk and discovering he had jagged an idol for the next two tribal councils and while everyone else celebrated with him, they seem to be ignoring the fact it means he is safe and they are not. Which is never good.
Speaking of safety, Jeffrey returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would have to race through obstacles to release three balls, dig under a log, climb up a ramp, cross a balance beam and solve one of three table mazes. With them getting to choose which one, based on the order they arrive. Oh and sticking around from last season, the losers not only go to tribal council but have to forfeit their flint. Coco got out to an early lead while Vesi and Baka struggled to get under their logs. Specifically the latter as Jeanine got straight up stuck. As Vesi and Baka tried to close the gap, Coco landed all their balls and jagged immunity leaving the other tribes to desperately fight for the second win. Which eventually went to Vesi after they got their eye in, sending a defeated Baka to tribal council.
Back at camp the tribe quickly pivoted from disappointment to scrambling, with Sami in particular looking forward to getting their games started. Knowing he was kind of responsible, Gabler knew the target would be on his back and as such, mentioned he will not be playing his idol and instead, decided he would play his Shot in the Dark instead. Which Elie obviously thought was a terrible idea, instead telling him that they can’t afford for him to lose his vote and that he needs to pull his head in. With that out of the way, Elie, Jeanine and Owen went off and locked in the vote against Morriah, while Morriah and Sami were locking in their votes against Owen instead. Mainly because Gabler is too unpredictable to be able to trust or target. When the duo caught up with Jeanine and Elie, Elie assured us that while saying she wants to keep women strong, she wanted to focus on tribe strength. And just like that, this female alliance is already looking to be DOA.
At tribal council Sami spoke about how wonderful the vibe was at camp before losing the immunity challenge, ready to ride it out until the final 6 together. Owen agreed things were great, though suggested it instead had more to do with the fact nobody wanted to paint a target on their back. Gabler admitted that while not scrambling earlier could put them at a disadvantage, he is still glad they bonded as a tribe. Oh and then Morriah suggested they were all winners, because they tried. Sami rightly pointed out moral victories don’t keep you in the game, while Elie agreed but suggested they still need to form the right bonds too. Talk then turned to some sort of text analogies – don’t tell Teresa Giudice – before Sami reminded everyone that while they are friends, someone is about to have regrets.
Which obviously meant it was time to vote where Gabler surprisingly kept hold of his Shot in the Dark before Morriah was surprisingly chill to discover that she had become the latest member of the Sonja Christopher club. Or in Drag Race terms, the Porkchop.
As soon as she arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled Morriah in for a massive hug and assured her that while Survivor may not be the best place to make friends, I will always be proud of the positive, kind, spirit that she brought into the game. Within a small tribe situation, it is even harder to navigate the pre-merge section of the game and when everyone is getting along and contributing like the tribe were, it almost becomes a game of lucky dip. And let’s just say, after that little peptalk and a Morriahti Young or two, she was feeling 100 again.
Despite how the kinda clunky name makes it sound, these roti – not raita – are completely delicious. Fresh, fluffy and melt in your mouth, once you’ve tried a roti from scratch, you’ll never go back to pre-bought. Particularly since they are so damn easy!
Morriahti Young Serves: 4.
Ingredients 300g flour ½ tsp kosher salt ¼ tsp black pepper, ground 250ml chilled water 30g butter, melted vegetable oil
Method Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Stir in the water until it all comes together, before transferring to a floured surface and kneading for about 5 minutes.
Split the dough into 8 equal portions and form into balls. Working one at a time, roll a ball to form a 20cm wide disc and brush with some melted butter. Roll into a cigar, then roll parallel to form into a small scroll, kind of like Inception of rolling or a quick laminate of croissants. Now flatten the scroll into a disc and roll back out to form a disc. Repeat the process with the remaining portions.
To cook, pop a heavy skillet over medium heat and brush with the oil. Add the roti and cook for a minute or two, before flipping and cooking for another minute or until golden on both sides and nicely puffed. Repeat with the remaining bread then, obvi, devour.
Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls starred in our first acting challenge and while it paid homage to Prisoner, I still wish they went with Homo & A-gay or Gaybours. But when life gives you lemons, it is generally a Drag Race acting challenge or something. Which coincidentally was the plot, as Bev was given the death penalty for writing the franchise’s past acting challenges. While Aubrey and Kween struggled, Spankie was demented and gorgeous, while Minnie and Hannah gave the best criminal duo since Home Alone. Alas, there could only be one winner as Spankie took out her first victory of the season, before Kween destroyed the lip sync and poor Aubrey sashayed away.
Backstage Kween was still feeling disappointed in herself, feeling broken and picking the performance apart. On top of that, she felt bad for poor Aubrey. Thankfully everyone rallied around and gave her a glorious pep talk and she was soon feeling far better. She then congratulated Spankie on her first victory, while Spankie in turn praised Minnie and Hannah for doing so well in the challenge. Hannah then lamented the fact that she has been a bridesmaid in the first two episodes and best believe she was ready to step into the spotlight and take out a victory. Otherwise, why did they invite her to this wedding?
Oh and Minnie offered to suck off and then bottom for Kween – um, get in line lady – and Hannah suggested finding Ru’s trailer and sucking her off for a win. So yeah, maybe this is why Ru called us all ratchet?
The next day Yuri was feeling good, particularly since her outfit saved her last week and this week, she vowed to get out of her head and get back into the top. Ru dropped by before Yuri could top, though thankfully brought the Pit Crew with him and well, my basement was flooded. There was something about a tool stuffed in their pants and the queens had to pick who was packing what. As is oft the case, we all won as the menseses dropped trou over and over. But apparently, in whatever way Ru was keeping score, Molly Poppinz took out the actual victory.
And as the victor, she was able to pair up the queens for this week’s Maxi Challenge, where they would be hosting a 5-minute drag brunch set. She obviously paired up with Hannah, before getting Minnie and Kween together and putting Bev with Pomara, leaving Spankie and Yuri as the final duo. And while Spankie felt like Molly was trying to do a little bit of sabo(tage), I have a feeling in my waters that Spankie and Yuri will shine.
After Ru departed, the pairs split up to workshop their sets with Molly wanting to be natural rather than scripting anything and well, is this a good idea? Spankie then asked Molly if she was trying to be strategic with her pairings, admitting that yes she did, wanting to put a strong queen with a weaker girl. Before basically admitting she was just trying to bring Spankie down. Speaking of Spankie, she was pissed by the decision while Yuri was feeling ready to bring herself up to Spankie’s level and yes Yuri, I love you. Beverly and Pomara meanwhile learnt they are polar opposites with their performance styles, with Bev wanting to script everything and Pomara focused on being off the cuff. Minnie and Kween meanwhile were leaning into the fact they have completely different backgrounds, focusing on racism and privilege.
Oh and they told Hannah about it so Hannah could address her Scarlett Adams-esque background with cultural appropriation and the hurt that it did, has and will cause. And fuck, Kween is so mature and wise, giving Hannah space to apologise and address the scandal while firmly explaining why it is such a problem and how addressing it in a non-performative way proves she is willing to grow.
Spankie and Yuri were first to workshop with Rhys and Chris Parker – who is wearing a super cute shirt – and were very fun with their scripted roast of the queens. Rhys encouraged them to make it a little more Drag Race, while Chris wanted them to take advantage of the fact they are a Kiwi only duo. Molly and Hannah started out with a dry script about Hobbiton, before the mentors told them to make things personal. Where we then learnt Hannah wanted to be a priest, which is a story we all need to hear. Minnie’s energy meanwhile took all the rehearsal space, with Kween encouraged to come up a little while Minnie was told to tone it down a little. While Bev and Pomara just couldn’t figure out where the script was going and who was saying what, while Rhys and Chris reminded them to lift each other up.
Elimination Day rolled around with Yuri MIA with an eye infection, though ugh, Pomara suggested they could all help paint her face when she comes back and maybe they listened when Ru said, everyone say love.
Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined by the iconic Urzila Carlson on the judges panel as Beverly and Pomara opened the show looking absolutely stunning and going well, until Yuri’s absence appeared to really throw them off because things then became stilted. Backstage, Yuri returned with half vision and a cream and quickly beat her mug while Molly and Hannah took the stage and were so energetic, fun and personable and well, I love it. I mean, “the only balloon I can blow up is when I’m farting in my foreskin in my meaty tuck” is a line that came out of Molly’s mouth. What could you not love? Kween meanwhile was charming and sparkled while Minnie dropped in and brought all the energy, which proved to be a formidable combination as they slayed. Yuri then gagged the dolls as she made her triumphant return with Spankie to close out the show. And I don’t know if she got drugged up at A&E, but Yuri was hilarious and so much fun despite Spankie giving an absolute hosting masterclass.
I mean, they nailed it.
On the Red for Filth runway, Beverly was a stunning goth ready for the boudoir, complete with a chandelier headpiece. Pomara served red earth glamour and looked so damn stunning, Hannah Conda gave Carmen Sandieg-ho does Dallas, Molly was a blooming rose bud with a perfect mug. Kween gave sexy volcano realness while Minnie wore a stunning red dress that just could not stay up and then Spankie looked perfect in a poppy gown in honour of the Anzacs, while Yrui was iconic as a bloody red devil and fuck I love her. But also, is she high?
Ultimately Spankie and Yuri took out victory and sent to untuck before Beverly was praised for giving a stunning runway though read for not really vibing with Pomara while they were on stage. Pomara too received universal praise for her look, but yeah, that vibe wasn’t great. Hannah and Molly were praised for such killer energy and how they bounced off each other, despite not having much of a script. Though their looks were both praised, despite Ru deeming Molly’s trashy. Kween meanwhile received wall-to-wall praise and thanked for bringing the energy she had in lip sync to the challenge and stamping her place in the contest, while Minnie was praised for her energy and despite the dress not fitting, they loved the dedication to the sisters she lost to HIV/AIDS.
Backstage Spankie and Yuri were overjoyed to take out victory, particularly after everything Yuri had to go through this week. And Molly’s sabo attempts. The rest of the girls arrived and congratulated them on their victory, while Pomara and Beverly both started to sob given they were clearly in the bottom. While their sisters tried to rally around them, Bev brokedown over her fears and how she was terrified of failing herself and the greater Brisbane area. Which thankful doesn’t include Logan for the record, but I digress. Kween then gave her and Pomara an epic peptalk and well, I’ve loved Kween because she is so damn hot, but damn, she has such a beautiful soul too. Begging the question, did Jesse McCartney write it about her? Because he should have.
Ru didn’t beat around the bush this week, telling Bev and Pomara they were in the bottom before sweeping the rest of the girls off stage. Despite the fear and emotion they were showing backstage, they both went off as Years & Years feat. Kylie’s Starstruck kicked off. Both of the dolls hit every damn lyric and gave all the energy but when Bev started splitting and slipping and nearly sliding off stage, it was over. Until Pomara hilariously switched into mocking her opponent. I mean, if ever there was a time for a double shantay, it was this. But alas, they didn’t even have enough time to edit Ru’s stumble on the runway out, so tragically, we had to say goodbye to the iconic Pomara. Who rightly summed up her feelings with a simple, bye cunts.
Backstage poor Pomara was still feeling disappointed in her performance, so I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her how charming and talented she is. I then went on a very long-winded rant how this was far and away the strongest challenge of the series, with everyone kinda doing well. Add into that the fact they both slayed the lip sync and well, if there ever was a time to go out, it was when you all did well. Which appeared to do the trick as we slipped back into being silly and joyful as we smashed a fresh batch of Arepomare Fifth.
These gorgeously flavorful South American pita-esque breads are the perfect accompaniment. Or even with a thick layer of butter on their own. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they are so damn good. And more importantly, v. easy to make.
Arepomare Fifth Serves: 2 dear friends.
Ingredients 1 tbsp raw caster sugar 1 tsp kosher salt ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper 2 ½ cups lukewarm water 2 cups white corn flour ¼ cup sunflower oil (or corn, if you can find it)
Method Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Combine the sugar, salt, pepper and water in a jug of water until only the pepper is visible. Meanwhile, pop the corn flour in a large bowl. Slowly add the sweet and salty water into the bowl, stirring constantly, until it all comes together.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Pop on a lined plate, cover and leave to rest for about half an hour.
When you’re ready to cook, divide the dough into ¼ cup(ish) sized balls and flatten into 2cm discs. Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add a couple of arepas to the pan. Flatten with a spatula and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for another few. Repeat the process until done.
Place them on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until they sound hollow on the inside. Then devour, either with some eggs or leftover birria, not that either are traditional but they are great.
Previously on Drag Race France as the dolls edged closer to the end, they were tasked with naming a signature fragrance and starring in the commercial. So aka, French versions of Delusion by Jinkx. While Paloma, Soa and Grand Dame definitely erred closer to Jinkx, Bertha and Lolita gave off more Coco Montrese. Ultimately Paloma shone just that little bit brighter, taking out her second win of the season. Bertha and Lolita meanwhile lip synced for their lives, with Bertha showing skin and Lolita straight up shaving her head. Which proved to be the winning move, saving herself and sending Bertha out of the competition.
Backstage the dolls were shell shocked by Bertha’s departure, as she willed Soa to make it to the end and jag the win in her message. Everyone gathered around to toast her performance and praised Lolita for demolishing the lip sync. The next day the dolls were once again fired up and ready to slay, as Lolita unveiled her fully shaved head. Talk turned to how Paloma killed the challenge, before everyone ran through their track records with Lolita feeling the pinch. Nicky arrived and after shading them by asking where the top four were, she gagged them by announcing that this week’s Maxi Challenge they would have to makeover one of their besties. Grand Dame, Soa and Paloma would be making over their female besties, while Lolita got her best friend slash fellow dancer that looked like his twin.
Everyone split up to kiki with Nicky hanging out with Grand Dame and her friend, who we learnt is a make-up artist and well, they are going to be good. Soa and Jackie would be going with matching energies, Paolma and Camelia were going to go with a vintage theatre look. Which made Nicky nervous, given it sounds so simple.
With Nicky exiting stage left, the dolls started to get their new sisters prepped, with Lolita nervous about her friend walking in heels. But once he got them on, he was living his best life and ready to shine. Paloma’s friend meanwhile, was not as confident given she never wears heels. Soa obviously delighted the other girls, talking about drag being all about personality and to not fear their debuts. Antonio then pivoted and grew nervous about his drag birth, though was focused on making his wife and daughter proud, and to get Lolita to the top. Paloma and Soa then asked if he was going to be tucked and well, that definitely made him nervous. Camelia looked delighted with her Paloma mug, while Kiki lived for Soa’s warrior mug and Antonio was gagged by how beautiful she looked.
Nicky, Daphne and Kiddy were joined by Raya Martigny et Loic Prigent on the panel as Paloma introduced Columbina and well, they were living their best lives giving vintage theatre camp. Lolita and Paquita were delightfully vibrant Mexicanas, with confetti, synchronised dancing and gags and well, I live for them. Soa and Kiki were so good, giving harpy chic and all the drama. While La Grand and Ma Petite Dame were silly and delightful as living dolls and well, to quote Trinity, I LIVE.
Paloma received universal praise for her Irma Vep inspired runway with her only critique being that she was so focused on making sure her new sister was doing ok. And Kiddy being triggered by the matching outfits. Columbina opened up about how proud of her friend she is and well, it was so sweet to watch. Lolita’s friend also gushed about how proud he was of his friend, with them receiving universal praise for the look, despite it erring on the side of gimmicky. Soa opened up about how proud she is to have made it so close to the end, while the judges lived for the theatricality and heart of their runway. Despite it not screaming drag. While La Grand and Ma Petite were beloved for liberating Barbie and looking a million bucks and giving big Paris and Nicole vibes.
Backstage the dolls welcomed their new sisters to the family, with everyone grateful to have a reminder from home to calm their nerves. Talk turned to their fallen sisters, with Soa praising all of them for making it such a fun season. Talk turned to who would be in the bottom with everyone releasing that all the critiques were on the same level and as such, something may be up.
Ultimately there was no winner this week, nor bottoms, as everyone would be competing in a lip sync Lalaparuza to make it to the end. With the winners of the first round of lip syncs jagging a little gift – a new outfit – while the second round would send someone home. First up were Lolita and Soa to Dieu m’a donné la foi. And well, it was an absolute battle as both of the girls came to flight. Soa made the most of her feathers while Lolita revealed a bejewelled bodysuit and a little banana to snack on. Lolita gave acrobatics and attitude, while Soa was in the pocket from start to finish, giving comedy and being an all around star and well, it was only right she made it through to the finale. Particularly since she had her cakes out.
Paloma and La Grande Dame took their place on the stage to lip sync to Le Banana Split, which was a missed op for Lolita, if you ask me. Both the dolls were energetic and having the best time, using every corner of the stage but TBH, I couldn’t take my eyes off Paloma. Botched split be damned. Which rightly earned her a spot in the finale alongside Soa. Oh and a new outfit.
Lolita joined La Grande Dame – well, after an outfit change – to lip sync for the last spot in the finale to La Grenade and well, I’m most shocked about the fact they could afford the rights to three songs in a single episode. While Lolita was brimming with power and fight, La Grande Dame gave glamour and all the attitude. It turned out to be a tight lip sync, but when Grande Dame started giving sass to Lolita, it was clear that she had booked her spot in the finale as poor Lolita was eliminated in fourth place.
Despite falling so close to the end, Lolita rightly felt proud of herself for making it to the top four. Particularly given how strong the season has been. As she rounded the corner to the Werk Room, I pulled her in for a hug and thanked her for bringing so much joy and energy to the season. While at times she felt like an outsider, her bravery in sharing those feelings and building relationships with her sisters was truly beautiful. And well, very deserving of a big, fat Lolita Cubanana.
Do you really need multiple versions of pork on the same sandwich? No. But do I find that question offensive and stupid? You betcha, because a cuban is damn near perfect – from the ham to the roast pork, mingling with the nuttiness of the cheese and the tang of the pickles, this is heaven on bread.
Lolita Cubanana Serves: 2.
Ingredients 4 slices sourdough 1 tbsp American mustard 4-6 slices leg ham 4-6 slices roast pork 6 slices Swiss cheese 3 pickles, thinly sliced 1 tbsp butter
Method Spread the bread with mustard before piling the ham, pork, cheese and pickles on two of the slices. Use the empty slices to close the sandwich and butter the top.
Pop a skillet over medium heat and once hot, place the sandwiches buttered side down. Spread the butter on top of the remaining butter. Once the sandie is nice and golden, flip and cook for another couple of minutes, or until it is also nice and golden.
Then devour, victoriously. Despite being eliminated just before the end.
Previously on Survivor South Africa the two tribes competed as individuals for the chance to be the hero that secures immunity for their entire tribe. After Toni managed to wheel and deal across both tribes to get Dino and Phil to step out of the challenge and give Masu immunity, Marian jumped ship with her diplomatic immunity to give herself a little bit of safety. Felix meanwhile was torn between voting out previous season ally Dante and current season ally Dino, while Toni tried to consolidate her power. Both tribes attended tribal council and despite planning to target a myriad of people, the iconic Palesa was booted. And then the tribes merged at tribal.
The newly formed Salan tribe arrived at their new camp, gagged for the night time surprise and by the fact they had a new shelter and bowls. Felix and Dante meanwhile only had eyes for each other, overjoyed to be reunited. Though given Marian could see how thrilled they were, the question really is, how long until the icon splits them up? Oh and all Steffi wanted is a little feast.
The next day Shane ventured to check treemail and found a little breakfast treat for each of them, in the form of protein shakes and a couple of bananas. Which obviously upset everyone, given they were expecting a feast. As they sat down to sadly eat their breakfast, Tejan accidentally took Steffi’s bowl. And let’s just say, there were a few fireworks.
The tribe quickly ventured to meet Nico for a little reward challenge to earn their merge feast. With everyone having to use marbles and slingshots to break plates. With everyone getting to jag a meal once they’d busted all of their plates. Felix quickly earnt a plate of ribs, Steffi opted for a covered item which tragically ended up being a bowl of rice, Shane knocked out his plates but stuck around to help Marian as Phil jagged rice and spices for the tribe. Shane got his burger while Marian ate breakfast, while Dino got a guaranteed visit to the Outpost on Day 32, while Tejan got spag bol and wine. Dante got beer and biltong – yuck – before everyone came in to help the remaining trio, with Killarney getting donuts, Meryl getting a bag and Toni left with a single egg. Which TBH, is better than rice. Oh and Meryl’s bag gave her the chance to invite herself on a future reward. And we learnt that Phil’s tribe reward also came with a key to a chest that was waiting for them back at camp.
With that, they headed home and learnt that Phil’s other reward was a chest full of beers and soft drinks and well, everyone was thrilled. Dante was feeling confident of his place in the tribe, given he has the Breakfast Club alliance and Felix, who he wants to take to the end. He pulled Felix aside and floated the idea of getting rid of Toni first, given it neutralises a lot of counter alliances and maintains his power. Marian meanwhile caught up with Steffi, complaining about Toni having no interest in playing with her though was grateful to be getting intel from her via Steffi. That night Steffi and Toni caught up, with the former assuring Toni that they are a tight alliance but that she needs to keep playing both sides so that nobody thinks she is about to defect to her side of the tribe.
The next day Dino grew worried about Felix defecting from their alliance with Phil, with the trio going for a walk to catch-up. Felix quickly assured them he is true to them, rather than Dante and that he is simply trying to gather intel to protect all of them. Toni joined them, with her assuring them they also have Steffi and Tejan, which made Dino nervous given they clearly weren’t on board at the previous tribal council.
The tribe rejoined Nico for their first individual challenge of the season where they each had to stand on a small tilted platform leaning over the water and hold on to a rope, with the last person standing winning immunity. As soon as the challenge kicked off, Phil pissed his pants before Felix dropped out of nowhere. After transitioning to the second rope, Dino and Killarney dropped out, quickly joined by Dante, Meryl, Marian, Toni and Tejan, leaving only Steffi and Phil to battle it out for immunity. Well, until Steffi dropped out of nowhere and handed piss-pants individual immunity. Which makes it all worth it, right? I mean, Fabio pissed in a challenge and won the season, so maybe it is luck?
Back at camp everyone congratulated Phil on his hard-fought win before Dino and Toni caught up about the vote ahead. And while Toni was sure she had Steffi and Killarney, Dino wasn’t so sure and as such, planned to catch up with Steffi. Tejan meanwhile was feeling nervous about everything, so excused himself to go hunting for a hidden immunity idol. Which he promptly found, completely unnoticed by the rest of the tribe. Dino caught up with Steffi and assured her that he is happy to vote for whoever she wants to to build trust. Which obviously meant she wanted to get rid of Toni or Tejan, given that is where Toni’s loyalty lies. Toni meanwhile was catching up with Shane to see what his plans were, pitching that the tribe bands together to get rid of Dante, while Shane suggested to us he was just planning to get rid of the person that poses the biggest threat to derailing his plan to the end.
Toni then caught up with Phil, Tejan and Felix to suggest a split vote between Dante and Meryl to guarantee that if an idol is played, Dante is weakened. Steffi, Marian and Meryl meanwhile caught up to discuss plans, with them locking their votes against Toni. Which made Marian thrilled, given she felt the skin plotting was unnecessary pre-merge. The broader Breakfast Club then caught up and locked in their plan against Toni. While Dino, Felix and Phil then caught up, sharing that Toni wants to split votes while Dino tried to direct them in the direction of their surest bet. Whatever that may be.
At tribal council Felix spoke about how excited he was to finally make it to the merge, while Phil was thrilled to be at tribal council with immunity. Shane spoke about how his former decisions could impact his post-merge game while Tejan was sure this tribal council would establish the balance of power. Steffi spoke about everyone just trying to look out for themselves until the power becomes obvious, while Shane wanted to take out someone that will disrupt his game. Meryl meanwhile was booted at the merge on her season and as such, was just trying to lay low and let other people make the decisions tonight. While Dante spoke about everyone also having to navigate egos this season, while Toni wanted to focus on trust.
With that the tribe voted and feeling paranoid, Tejan needlessly played his hidden immunity idol as majority or the tribe banded together to get rid of Toni to become the Queen of the Jury. Which is important. While she was obviously heartbroken to be out of the game despite fighting so hard to get out of the minority, she was proud to be the one to set the tone of the jury. Oh and since burgers are almost as cursed around here, she could kinda sorta blame my Poutoni Tebburger for her downfall.
There is nothing better than a little bit of poutine action and since I have a passion for making foods into burgers or pizzas, you know this moment was kind of inevitable. I mean, how could you not love a little cheeseburger covered in some gravy? Exactly!
Method Combine the beef mince with a good whack of salt and pepper, and scrunch with your hands until it all comes together. Form into two equal discs and pop in the freezer while you prep the rest of the stuff.
When you’re ready to go, pop a skillet over medium heat and once scorching, pop the patties on and flatten with a spatula. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until nice and charred on the base before flipping over. Place a slice of cheese on both of the patties and cook for a further couple of minutes or until cooked through.
To assemble, split the buns and lightly toast. Smear mayo on the base of each, followed by the pickles, the pattie, lettuce, fries, curds and a good drizzle of the gravy before closing the burger. And smashing, gloriously!
Previously on Survivor South Africa the original Yontau members had their backs against the wall on each of the post-swap tribes. At new Yontau, Dante was busy targeting Dino who was quickly winning everyone else on the tribe over, while his only ally Phil worried about becoming collateral damage. On Masu, Toni took the chance to take control of the tribe, forming bonds with Steffi and Tejan, and pulling in Killarney to get revenge on her Yontaus. Which tragically cost Thoriso the game, despite the fact she knew being loyal to Felix would lead to her demise.
The next day things were very very awkward for Felix at Masu, given he was all alone. And while he desperately wanted to seek revenge, he knew he had to bide his time to really achieve his goals. Toni and Tejan meanwhile were locking in a vote against Killarney should they return to tribal council, with her assuring Felix that she will be protecting him. Despite the fact he is a number for Dante and Co. meaning it may not be in her best interests, given she is so well connected outside of Dante. Tejan meanwhile caught up with Felix and assured him that he will (also) be protecting him throughout the game and while he was super friendly to his face, Felix was ready to smack him and desperate to stop having to be nice to those in power.
Over at Yontau Phil and Dino were just desperately waiting for the merge, hoping it can save them from being on the wrong side of the numbers. Dante meanwhile was busy plotting how to get rid of Dino, even though he doesn’t have any numbers or power. His plan was to get Meryl to tell Dino about the (expired) idol and that he would be playing it, though given he was so strong with how he floated the plan with Meryl, Marian and Palesa, it was starting to become clear that he won’t have any allies left come merge. Oh and Marian was planning to pass off her diplomatic immunity to Steffi should Masu lose the upcoming challenge.
The tribes reassembled with Nico for the latest immunity challenge, this time played as individuals with everyone standing on a perch over the water holding a ball above their head. Last one standing winning tribal immunity, before both tribes attend tribal council and vote someone out of the losing tribe. Oh and the last one standing from each tribe will venture to the Outpost. Everyone was still standing after 15 minutes, leading to Nico upping the ante and forcing them to hold the ball over their heads, rather than balancing it on them. Almost immediately it cost Felix his place, quickly followed by Dante. They obviously started gossiping about their respective tribes and who they should target at the upcoming vote, which could be good news for Dino, given he and Felix are tight.
Shane was next to drop who suggested they vote out Dante, wait no, Dino. Palesa dropped out of nowhere and added to the Dino pile on before the pain became too much for Marian and she joined the pile on. After struggling for what felt like eternity, Killarney finally dropped leaving three per tribe to fight for immunity. Well, until Meryl dropped out of nowhere, leaving Phil and Dino to fight for their safety. While Toni started assuring Dino that he can drop and the Masu tribe will look after him and Phil, and help them take out someone. Dino eventually fell out of the challenge, handing Phil the trip to the Outpost. Marian meanwhile started floating the idea of using diplomatic immunity and guaranteeing another one of their numbers are safe. And while Dante was very against it, Meryl was all for it and suggested they band together to get rid of Palesa, given how close she is becoming with Dante. Out of nowhere, Phil dropped handing Masu immunity before Tejan, Steffi and Toni debated who should go, giving it to Toni as the only one yet to visit.
After Nico handed immunity off to Masu, Marian pulled out her Diplomatic Immunity and used it to join the Masu tribe and save herself at the vote ahead. As Toni and Phil headed off to the Outpost, Dino was feeling nervous again while Palesa admitted both tribes attending tribal council truly changes things as their fates are no longer just in their tribe’s hands.
Back at Yontau Palesa was growing more and more nervous about the vote, feeling like she had to pledge her allegiance to an alliance ASAP. She caught up with Meryl and Dino about Marian playing the Diplomatic Immunity with Dino concerned about her influencing things at Masu. Which was making Meryl super excited. Speaking of Marian and Masu, everyone was quite sombre which was confusing to Tejan given they are all likely to have made it to the merge. Steffi opened up to us about being disappointed by Marian’s arrival, wanting to have used the swap to build her resume on her own. Which is something Marian picked up on, given everyone was pretty damn frosty since she arrived.
Over at Yontau Dante and Shane were worried about two tribes reconvening at tribal council, particularly given they have no idea what is happening over at the Outpost. Shane suggested they go hunting for another idol, given Dante is unlikely to play the idol for anyone other than himself. Completely unaware Dante’s idol is dead. Felix and Marian were catching up at Masu, with Felix worried about which side to go with between his current ride or die Dino and Dante, his ride or die from their OG season. Steffi meanwhile was disappointed to have let Toni go to the Outpost, with Marian catching up with her to see if she was ok. Which put a target on Steffi’s back, just as she feared, as Felix, Tejan and Killarney speculated why Marian came over and what her agenda could be. Particularly focused on her potentially just being there to gather intel ahead of the suspected merge. With Marian just trying to assure Steffi their OG alliance is still solid, despite Steffi warning her that should there be another tribal immunity, there is no guarantee Marian will be safe.
Bouncing back to Yontau, Meryl shared her fears about Marian leaving to Dino, opening up about how difficult it is to be aligned with Dante given he is volatile and takes a lot of her energy. Thinking Dante is immune, she then floated the idea of getting rid of Palesa and while Dino was obviously keen for anyone else to be a target, he argued that Palesa is far nicer to him than Shane and would rather get rid of him. Meryl then shared that eventually, sooner rather than later, she will turn on Dante, but right now, she would rather target his potential number Palesa. Speaking of Palesa, she caught up with Dino and the duo put everything on the table, outlining their numbers on either tribe and how they can navigate the merge. With Palesa obviously doubling down on getting rid of Shane in the hope of getting in with Toni’s post merge numbers.
We finally arrived at the Outpost where Phil was desperate for a little bit of safety. Sadly for him, the advantage on offer was for two half idols should they correctly guess who will be voted out at the next tribal council. Which are huge stakes, but could screw over one of them should their alliance not last long. As such, the duo sat down to talk about the upcoming vote and spilled the tea on the rumours floating around each tribe. Their initial plan was to split the vote between Dante and Shane, while Phil suggested getting rid of Meryl to really make Dante feel isolated. Ultimately switching back to Shane at the last minute, while hyping up the hatred for Dante to make him play the idol.
Sadly for their idol chances, it was at that moment that Shane found a hidden immunity idol. Wait, no, it was Diplomatic Immunity and since Marian had already used it, it was null and void.
The mood around camp in general was very tense, with Shane sharing his Diplomatic Immunity find with Meryl and suggesting that while it is expired, he can use it to create a little chaos. Concerned about everyone being kinda safe based with their idols or the assumptions of people having one, Meryl was considering playing her tribal council pass, given it is likely going to come down between her and Palesa as the safe options.
Phil returned from the Outpost and told a little half-truth story about the half-idol, before he pulled Dino aside and suggested they get rid of Shane. Though he didn’t give all the truth. Palesa meanwhile was concerned about working with Dino and Phil, though knew she had to make a decision and felt they were safe given they were connected with Toni. As such, they were all planning to load all their votes on Shane.
Toni returned to Masu and filled them in, kinda, on the Outpost and suggested they all vote out Dante. Marian felt she was shifty and Killarney could tell she was lying, while she disappeared to fill Steffi in on the true plan to get rid of Shane instead. Sadly for her, Steffi didn’t love the idea and as such, was planning to mix things up herself. She pulled Killarney aside and suggested they join with Marian and Shane, and along with Felix, can take control of the game.
Over at Yontau Dante was still pushing for the vote against Phil, while Meryl quietly pulled him aside and suggested they team up to get rid of Palesa without Dante knowing. Not only does it keep them both safe, it weakens whatever Dante is planning moving forward and as such, they were both on board. Phil and Dino caught up about Meryl and debated whether they can trust her, with the latter concerned about what she can do moving forward and feeling like she is the far smarter move than the already abrasive Shane. Phil took that suggestion to Palesa, agreeing that she is totally more dangerous come merge and as such, was locked in on taking out Meryl. Shane then caught up with Phil to float the idea of getting rid of Palesa and assured him that he has never lied to him. He then spoke about Dante saying he has an idol, though admitted he is yet to see it. Oh but he has one. Which pushed Phil over the edge, given so many people are claiming to have an idol now.
Back at Masu Marian caught up with Steffi and Felix, worried about the perceived abundance of advantages and suggested maybe they vote for Palesa instead. Particularly since it weakens Shane. They rejoined the rest of their tribe and suggested the idea, which annoyed Toni given she was desperate to get rid of Shane. Steffi made sure that Toni was very vocal about her plan coming out on top, in the hope it would make everyone concerned about navigating around her throughout the season.
Meryl and Dante meanwhile caught up with the latter very nervous about going home, debating who would be best to target to keep them safe, given Marian would be annoyed if Shane goes, while Meryl ws nervous about how dangerous Palesa is. Particularly since she has been playing such a social game this season.
At tribal council Palesa was nervous about preemptively playing a merge game, as Marian mouthed to Dino to play his idol for Shane. Dante was concerned about the previous relationships coming into play and muddying the waters, while Shane suggested the increased prize money would make things more complicated. Relationships be damned. Phil spoke about being a free agent coming in and glad to build new bonds to push ahead, while Dino was nervous about navigating through the future merge phase.
After everyone started whispering amongst themselves, Nico grew sick of it and suggested everyone get up to gossip. Marian rallied her former allies to join the Palesa vote, while Meryl was worried about the votes being split between her and Shane. There were whispers of Shane, Palesa and Meryl and well, it was all confusing. While everyone was just nervous, as Tejan questioned why they are now planning on turning on one of their own. He then blew things up and asked people to clarify the plan, with Shane pulling out his pouch and suggesting he has an idol, while Steffi begged for them to just damn vote already. Tejan talking about being annoyed but feeling like his hands are tied and as such, he was fine to just get it over with.
With that the tribe voted, Dante outed his idol had expired, as did Shane and his expired pass while Dino held on firm to his real one. As Nico read the votes, much to Tejan and to my horror, they piled up on Queen Palesa and tragically booted her from the game. Just before the merge, which officially went down at tribal council.
Palesa didn’t need a map to find me hiding in Loser Lodge, following the sound of my screaming tears, heartbroken she missed out on the chance to take out a well deserved victory. Despite playing a very strong game her first go, she came in and completely changed the way she played, learning from her mistakes and changing strategy to keep everyone on their toes. And without a twist, I firmly believe she would have made it through the week unscathed. But alas, twists twisted and as such, we had to drown our sorrows with a Palesar Taulad.
While I experienced a slight trauma upon the discovery on the abundance of anchovies washing through a caesar salad, I quickly moved on after realising it tastes good. Creamy, salty and oh so crunchy, this salad is a sensory delight.
Palesar Taulad Serves: 2 icons feeling the blues.
Ingredients 4 streaky bacon rashers, diced 2 eggs 20g butter 2 garlic clove, minced 3 slices sourdough, cut into a 1cm dice 1 cos lettuce, washed, dried and roughly chopped ½ cup parmesan cheese, shaved ¼ cup Caesharonne Salad Dressing
Method Pop a skillet over medium heat and get a pot of water on another hob and bring to the boil. Once the skillet is hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring, until nice and crispy. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Once the pot of water is boiling, gently add the eggs and hard boil.
Moving back to the skillet, add the butter and garlic and saute for a minute. Add the bread and cook, agitating frequently, until they become golden brown – or in my case, brown brown – and crisp.
Combine the lettuce, parmesan, bacon and croutons in a bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Remove the eggs from the pot, peel and cut into quarters and toss over the salad. Then devour, joyously.
Previously on Drag Race España the dolls popped on a roast, which is apparently not something that is done in Spain. Which TBH, makes sense, since everyone just seems loving and passionate, rather than the kind to shit talk. Despite this, Marina was shockingly dominant in the challenge while Sharonne and Estrella were their usual brand of solid. Sadly that left Juriji y Venedita as the bottom by default and despite both turning one hell of a show in the lip sync, we finally suffered the tragic loss of losing Juriji.
Backstage the dolls were shocked that Juriji had finally left the competition, though given Venedita was her only one that was close with her, the rest of the dolls couldn’t relate to her pain. Though they did agree that the duo put on an epic show in the lip sync and that had everyone gagged. They turned their attention to Marina, congratulating her on finally jagging a win. Before moving on just as quickly to de-drag.
The next day the dolls were focused on celebrating the fact they made it to the top four, aka the semi-finals. Though Estrella had already put herself and Sharonne in the final, telling Venedita and Marina one of them will likely be eliminated. Essentially. Supremme dropped to also congratulate them on making it so far, before smacking them back down to earth and forcing them into a five minute quick drag. While Estrella hurled abuse at her like an icon. After getting into the quickest drag, the dolls were tasked with sticking their hands inside a big old box and guessing what was inside. And well, since the Pit Crew was there, I know I would have preferred to feel what they were up to. But I digress.
Estrella was up first and was immediately disgusted by the scent of her box, though correctly guessed they were pickled eggs. Venedita was lucky enough to get a dildo and a merkin and well, got it immediately. Marina got jelly, while Sharonne was lucky enough to rub one of the zaddy Pit Crew’s heads. The one up top, sadly. Apparently they were competing and Estrella won. And not just any prize, but a magazine shoot.
Supremme cleared out the Pit Crew – boo – before announcing that for this week’s challenge the dolls would be doing makeovers. For members of the Fundación 26 de Diciembre and ugh, this is going to be so sweet. I mean, if one of them announced they may have killed Judy Garland, I would be even happier, but older queer people getting in drag always makes me happy. But side bar, the charity supports old queer people in Spain who experienced persecution under the Franco regime and provide them with supports to live visibly, so I love them all already.
As the winner of the mini challenge, Estrella also got to pair everyone up going rather fair, matching everyone up with someone with a similar vibe. Though poor Sharonne did get paired with fashion designer Petro Valverde as her drag mother, which should make sewing any outfits a very stressful experience.
Everyone split up to get to know their new drag family members with Venedita’s partner Consuelo opening up about struggling more with his sexuality as he got older as it was harder to be accepted and find queer spaces. Marina’s partner Antonia was adorably excited to be with a no-binary queen and ugh, watching her correct herself when Marina calmly glazed over it was so cute. As was watching Marina’s heart break for Antonia having to live such a colourless life to fit in. Petro meanwhile was giving Sharonne a history lesson and explained that in addition to dressing Infanta Elena, he also dressed a drag queen when she was starting out. While Estrella just told her partner how they would be performing on the mainstage and then made her practice walking in her heels.
After everyone did a bit of a practice in their heels, Venedita straight up got to work sewing her look and well, it looked good. Really good. Marina meanwhile was busy trying to squeeze her new mother into her own costumes, before Supremme returned with Ana to deliver a giant birthday cake for Estrella and Petro. They then checked in on all the girls, reminding Estrella to focus on nailing the silhouette and telling a story. Ana and Sharonne gushed over their love for Petro while their runway story will focus on talking shit about each other, which I love. Venedita and Consuelo were clearly vibing and ready to take out victory, while Marina and Frederico would be playing with all the colour.
Dia de elimination arrived with everyone quickly getting into their pairs with Marina and Venedita’s partners opening up about their marriage and how both their parents lived with them for a time and ugh, they are so adorable and full of love. But the dolls had work to do, so we all dried our tears as they split up to shave, pluck and glue down their brows. Petro and Sharonne meanwhile had a little heart-to-heart with Sharonne opening up about how difficult it was for her family to accept her and ugh, I love this duo so much.
Supremme, Ana y los Javis were joined by Alexis Mateo – BAM – on the judges panel where Estrella y Teresa opened the show giving neon space fighters and well, they looked similar and were oh so charming. Sharonne and Sharinne gave us old Hollywood glamour and it was perfect. Marina and Antonia looked like Natalie Portman in Closer’s aunts, though made it Disney villain before Venedita shut it down with Vinagreta, wearing matching comic trenches in black and white and colour, looking stunning and giving us all the personality.
Estrella and Teresa were praised for having such killer chemistry, despite the outfits being a bit basic. Sharonne once again received universal praise, particularly for how much effort she put into her new sister. Marina and Antonia were praised for bringing all the fun and silliness, though they were read for being a little sloppy with the details. And then Venedita and Vinagreta rightly received all the damn praise. Because it was perfection.
Backstage Estrella was nervous about lip syncing so close to the end, knowing it is definitely her and Marina in the bottom two. Given they knew each other before the competition, they were particularly disappointed to be battling it out, while Vinagreta toasted to Venedita and Sharonne for doing such a good job. While Sharonne justly panicked that they might to a bottom three again to get into the final.
The top four were brought back to the stage where they had to talk to their younger selves with Estrella reminding her baby self to focus on all that is good in the world and to believe in herself. Sharonne told little Cristobal to take everything in his stride and to invest in the ones he loves while Marina told little Juan to prepare for a wonderful life, living large and being free. And to value how loving and supportive her parents are. Before Venedita told a grumpy looking Borja to learn from the negative moments, embrace the positive and be herself.
Ultimately Venedita took out her second win of the season and earned her place in the finale, before Sharonne learnt that her fears were unfounded as she was sent through to the finale while Estrella and Marina lip synced for the final slot. Or so they thought, as after they both killed the lip sync to J-Lo’s El Anillo, Supremme had no other choice than to put them both through to the final, giving España their first top four. Well, not until after a little fake-out that poor Estrella was actually eliminated, which was awkward because upon hearing Marina was making it to the finale, I quickly whipped up some comfort for Estrella.
Despite giddily dancing off stage on the way to compete for the crown, I yanked Estrella aside and explained that we new vibe is to celebrate some finalists prior to the finale to avoid wading through more non-eliminations. Since, you know, Ru traumatised me with Season 14. Since All Winners is getting the reverse alphabetical order, I’ve opted to flip back to alphabetical order which could be problematic, since I am confident the crown is between Sharonne and Estrella. And when she heard that explanation, she was thrilled to embrace the celebration and split some Estrella Garlixtravagaanza.
There is nothing better than a garlic naan. Well, aside from spinach and cheese, but if they are excluded, garlic is where it’s at. Packing a punch, these little babies are the perfect pairing for a curry, or just snacking on when you’re in need. Because, carbs.
Estrella Garlixtravagaanza Serves: 4-8.
Ingredients 7g dry yeast 1 tbsp raw caster sugar 2 cup flour, plus more for rolling 6 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper, to taste 3 tbsp butter, melted 1 tsp parsley, roughly chopped
Method To make the dough, combine ½ cup of warm water in a jug with the sugar and yeast. Give a quick stir and leave to rest for about 10 minutes, or until foamy and smelling like a brewery.
Place the flour and half the garlic in a large bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the yeasty water, oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and knead with a dough hook for five minutes, or until combined to make a smooth, elastic dough. Transfer to a large, oiled bowl and leave to prove for an hour, or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has proven itself, transfer the to a bench, punch back and split into 8 chunks.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat, roll out a chunk of dough and then sprinkle some water on the naan and place on the pan. Cook for a few minutes, flip and cook for a further couple of minutes. You want it to be golden and crisp but still soft on the edges. Remove from the pan and repeat the process.
Combine melted butter in a bowl with the remaining garlic and the parsley. Brush each naan generously with the garlic butter (which I forgot to do before taking photos, sorry) and then devour. Gloriously
Previously on Australian Survivor 24 people were dumped in the middle of the Australian bush, with a single loved one. Who they were immediately separated from and forced to compete against for 47 days. After battling it out on the edge of a cliff for final immunity, Shay took out the challenge leading to Josh’s demise before Chrissy, Shay and Mark argued their case in front of the jury. Despite all playing markedly different, deserving games, the jury weren’t a massive fan of Shay’s challenge beasting her way out of the bottom and she was left without receiving a single vote and finishing as the co-runner-up of the season.
Alongside queen, icon, legend Chrissy Zaremba.
Despite not knowing anything of the game before landing in the bush, Chrissy’s personality overcame every obstacle, winning hearts until she found her feet and became an absolute power player.
While I would have loved her to flip on alliances sooner, that only would have made for exciting TV, rather than really serving her game and as such, I was shocked to see her miss out on picking up any votes at tribal council. I mean, she routinely was making decisions on who to vote out, set herself up well with everyone and eliminated people that were threats to her game.
And more importantly, she articulated it perfectly at final tribal council. As such, I pulled her in for a massive hug, apologised she didn’t get the respect put on her name that she deserves and toasted her success with a piping hot Chipsy Zarembutty.
There is nothing I love more than a hot-chip sandwich. I mean, fresh soft bread, butter dripping down your fingers and gorgeously seasoned chips are the ultimate combination. Add in a little smokiness – thanks, Masterchef! – and you’re in heaven.
Chipsy Zarembutty Serves: 2.
Ingredients 4 slices bread 200g butter, softened 50ml buttermilk smoking gun and smoking chips, to taste 2 cups thick-cut Jud Beerza Battered Fries, still nice and warm and heavily salted
Method Preheat the oven to 60C.
Combine the butter and buttermilk in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until soft and fluffy. Cover with cling and fill the bowl with smoke from the smoking gun. Set aside for five minutes to infuse before repeating the process again, twice if required, depending on desired taste.
Cook the chips as per Jud’s recipe, though thicker.
To serve, smear the bread with the smokey butter and generously heap the chips on the bottoms. Close the sandwiches with the remaining, thickly butter bread, and devour. Like a queen.
Previously on Drag Race España we were introduced to a cast of talented queens, alongside a charming as hell host in the form of my dear friend Supremme de Luxe and two-thirds of my throuple, the Javiers. There was drama, laughs and scandalos before the iconic Carmen Farala washed the competition and took out victory. Oh and did I mention, los Javiers? But now, doce nueva queens are ready to battle for the next crown and well, I am ready.
First up was Samantha Ballentines who gave rocker vamp and well, her excitement over being the first in the room was just so damn precious. And she is also bonkers, so I love her. She was joined by Onyx who gave us the sexiest alien to ever grace any Drag Race ever. And just like that, my basement is flooded. And while the dolls shaded each other, eventually they became the best of friends by groping each others’ boobs. Venedita Von Dash was stunning in a zebra gown and given she entered ringing a cowbell, I’m confused in all the right ways. Drag Sethlas was a perfect priestess in drag and a delightful twink out of drag. And most importantly, what is with the platforms on all the Canary Islands queens. It is iconic, but my ankle hurts just looking at them because you know I’d fall off.
And my onkle would go cleek.
Estrella Extravaganza arrived as a sexy latex laden clown Carmen Dan Diego. The dolls then decided to hide from their next sister, Ariel Rec who was serving futuristic Pebbles and thrilled to be the first queen to enter. And while she was bitterly disappointed when she discovered she wasn’t, I didn’t mind because she floods my basement. They were then joined by nautical queen Marina, serving full fashion and well, I love navy and white stripes so she is currently my fave. Next up was Jota Carajota who gave flamenco Tiger Queen realness, Marisa Prisa served slutty milkmaid before Diamante Merybrown gave body-ody-ody and we learnt she had beef with not one but two queens. Juriji Der Klee arrived, giving demented, camp icon that is off tits and ugh, I love her. And am a little concerned, depending on whether this is a killer performance rather than her just being bonkers. Before we got definitive answers, Sharonne arrived showing Baga what an Oscars look should be and ugh, I love her too.
Sirens went off signalling not just the start of the competition but also the arrival of my dear Supremme and ugh, she is the best. Hopefully she isn’t screwed out of the win in Down Under vs the World! After welcoming the queens to the competition, they were immediately put through their paces in una poca classica photoshoot alongside the zaddy Pit Crew. Fully nude (illusion). As soon as Supremme exited, the dolls got to work glamming up their bodies before Ariel ventured to set serving mermaid realness in all the, well, ways. But again, the Pit Crew are hot. Sethlas swallowed a banana, Marina was legit naked like the second coming – emphasis on coming – of Raven, before Estrella gave us a hilarious mess and ugh, she is adorable.
Jota was a sexy, skanky Eve complete with a tiger eating her out. Juriji gave shimmering silver sexpot, Diamante was a demented showgirl while Onyx looked a dream as she art directed the Pit Crew to make out with her. Venedita straight up had her cakes out so earned a win in my eyes while Marisa was a mess. But oh, so charming. Samantha was a spotted, puffy camp delight, again, making the most of the Pit Crew, while Sharonne was perfection as she used her body like the wall of a public toilet, covered in marker. Ultimately though it was Estrella’s saggy tits that took out victory, much to the simmering rage of Venedita.
Before departing, Supreme announced that for their first runway they would serve two looks, one inspired by their hometowns and one that pays homage to the symbol of their hometowns. Which seems a bit same-same, but we know my Spanish is not the best.
Dia de eliminacion arrived with the queens quickly sitting down to identify the trade, surprisingly not picking the right answers of Ariel and Onyx. But whatever. As they split up to get ready, Marisa Prisa opened up about having to move home during the pandemic and seeing the growth in her town. Marina opened up about the concept of gender, sharing that she identifies as non-binary. This led to Jurihi opening up about her journey coming out as a trans girl, with her sisters thrilled that she has such a supportive family. Jota opened up about growing up in the gypsy community and shared that she is bisexual and has a girlfiriend waiting for her at home. Talk turned back to Juriji who shared that she is constantly asked whether she had had surgery yet, which obviously enraged Sharonne and her other sisters.
Supremme, Ana and my loves, the Javiers, were joined on the judging panel by the iconic Gloria Trevi. And while I had never heard of her before, I live for how delightful she is. Opening the Queen of your City runway, Venedita was a glorious golden goddess, Jota was a shimmering delight in a light-blue flapper number, Samantha was a showgirl (though would have upset Michelle by not being synched) while Ariel Rec gave likeable Daya Betty realness. Marina was a gorgeous floral dame and then straight up flashed the judges, making Javier Calvo blush. Diamante served everything in a tartan corset complete with titty canons, Juriji was stunning in a tailored red and white star bedazzled gown. Marisa Prisa was inspired by the breast cancer awareness ribbon, which was invented in her hometown, while Sharonne was a camp Montserrat delight and Estrella gave camp comedy in a puffy red gown. And even recovered from tripping on her dress. Drag Sethlas then served an icon reveal from Mask to Cats, before Onyx stole the show in an ode to Isabel II. And water.
On the Symbol of your Hometown Venedita gave the sexiest Sideshow Bob in honour of palm trees. Jota Carajota was a glamorous bullfighter despite the awkward reveal, Samantha was serving mollusk realness while Ariel Rec was inspired by Aletico Madrid, though the pants gave Cynthia Lee Fontaine realness with their fit. Marina was a gorgeous map of Barcelona while Diamante showed how to do a sports runway right in a baseball player look. Juriji served sexy mussel, complete with a sexy pussy of the seas reveal. Her words. Marisa Prisa served mediaeval quest realness and Shronne gave a glamorous silhouette, despite a sea of pigeons on her gown. Estrella was a sexy horse while serving high-fashion coat of arms before, again, Onyx stole the damn show as the fallen angel of Madrid.
Ultimately Diamante, Juriji, Venedita, Ariel, Sethlas and Estrella were deemed safe and sent backstage to untuck before Marisa was read for not getting the details or telling the judges anything about her. Jota Carajota was praised for her references through read for not selling them on the runway. Onyx rightly received universal praise for both runways, particularly for leaving everyone speechless in the second look. Samantha was read for being basic, despite being charming as hell. Sharonne received universal praise for her two distinct looks and being so damn polished while Marina too received universal praise, particularly for giving so much heart on the runway. And giving us unblurred peen in the judging. I mean, crown her now!
Backstage the safe girls were busy stretching out, glad to be able to battle another day before Drag suggested she would save Marina and put Venedita in the bottom instead. The tops and bottoms joined them with them sharing Marisa and Samantha would clearly be lip syncing. Jota meanwhile was terrified about lip syncing against her girl Samantha, who was worried about having inherited a first-episode lip sync curse from sister Macarena.
Ultimately Marina was sent to safety before Onyx took out a very well deserved victory. Obviously Sharonne was also safe before Jota narrowly avoided lip syncing, as Marisa and Smanatha took the stage to fight for their lives. To Gloria Trevi’s Todos Mi Moron no less, and yeah, I do love Gloria because this is a damn camp bop! While Marisa served a classically fierce lip sync, Samantha was absolutely bonkers, ripping a shell off her wig, picking her nose and flashing her knickers. Before the dolls started straight up stage fighting and well, it was wild, hilarious and ugh, I’ve missed España! Sadly though, one of them had to go – this isn’t Italia, after all – as Samantha saved herself, leaving Marisa to become the Porkchop of the season.
While it always sucks to be the first one to go – I imagine – Marisa continued to be a charming delight backstage. I obviously reminded her that she is still a supremely talented queen and while she may not have made it far, that time was enough for her to win my heart. As such, I served up an Elvisa Prisandwich each and all was right in the world.
I can never remember if the Elvis sandwich killed him or not – I mean, ham sandwiches have been known to murder – but either way, this sandwich is worth it. Creamy peanut butter, sweet bananas and the saltiness of bacon work together in harmony to create true perfection.
Elvisa Prisandwich Serves: 2.
Ingredients 6 rashers streaky bacon 4 slices bread ½ cup crunchy peanut butter 1 banana, sliced butter, for smearing
Method Cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium high heat until crispy. Remove to cool on some paper towel and wipe out the frying pan.
To assemble, smear each slice of bread with peanut butter. Layer banana on two slices, followed by the bacon and then closing up with the remaining slices of bread. Butter the top of the sandwiches.
Transfer the sandwiches to a frying pan over medium heat and cook until golden brown. Smear the tops with butter, flip and cook until browned. Then serve and devour immediately, while the peanut butter is nice and gloopy.
Previously on Australian Survivor Sophie was feeling her oats as the cockroach of the season, despite the fact she only miraculously dodged the boot twice in a row due to a twist and Alex quitting rather than skill or gameplay. Identifying Khanh as a big threat, she realised aligning with him could be mutually beneficial and approached him about aligning. Which he sadly had zero interest in. With Sophie gone from the tribe, the alphas were outnumbered on Blood, though after losing the immunity challenge miraculously were able to make some new friends. After Amy found an idol, she was ready to make a strike on Sandra and take control, however the Queen had already sadly scooped them up as they banded together to boot Amy’s bestie Jay.
The next day things were very zen over at the Water tribe as Nina shared how well positioned she was in the tribe and how she was excelling at the game. While I would have loved to hear more from Nina, I was just as distracted as the cameraperson was when her ally Jordie started to repeatedly flash his bum. And just like that, I was back to stanning our overall king. Despite the excitement and the joy of hearing how well Nina is playing, I couldn’t help but become filled with dread as she opened up about being confident in her chances of making it to the end.
The two tribes reconvened with Jonathan where Sam spoke about how united their tribe was, which perfectly cued up JLP to tell them to drop their buffs. Yep, it’s tribe swap time! Given there were 19 people remaining, Sandra, Amy, Dave and Jordan were joined by Shay, Nina, Jordie, Josh and Mel on Blood, while Khanh, Chrissy, KJ and Sophie welcomed Sam, Michelle, Croc, Ben and Jesse on Water, leaving poor Mark tribeless. Well, for a moment, as he was given the right to choose which tribe to join, ultimately selecting to join Blood. Much to the absolute rage of his wife Sam, who was SO ready to play with him. Not wanting to play with their loved one however was Nina, who was heartbroken to be on a tribe with her mother given she now has a huge target on her back. And once again, dread.
Before we could enjoy any drama, Jonathan explained that to take out the reward four people at a time from each tribe would battle in a boat tug-o-war competition to capture a flag, with the first new tribe to three scoring a reward of hot dogs and soda, so you know I would have died to win if I was out there. First up Ben, Croc, Chrissy and Sophie faced off against Mark, Jordan, Mel and Sandra, with the new Water tribe quickly scoring the first point. Josh, Mark, David and Jordie methodically then worked together to tie things up over Croc, Khanh, Jesse and Ben. Sandra, Mel, Shay and Nina worked hard on the third round though were eventually overpowered by Sophie, Sam, KJ and Michelle who scored the second point. Oh and then Ben, Sophie, Croc and Chrissy blitzed through the next round, jagging reward for their tribe. And most importantly, we got to see Ben cheering in his speedo, so everyone is truly a winner.
Back at camp the new Water tribe were delighted to find their hot dog cart, quickly getting to work smashing their snacks and soft drinks. While Sam was thrilled they proved themselves as a new tribe, Chrissy was just thrilled to finally have Croc by her side before talk turned to the fact that Mark was given a choice to join the tribe with Sam and instead opted to keep themselves separated a little longer. Which Sam admitted was a strong strategic decision, despite it hurting. After Croc spoke about feeling bad for those that couldn’t reunite with their pair, Sam and Sophie went for a walk to clear the air and while Sophie promised there were no hard feelings, Sam was very sure that she couldn’t be trusted.
Chrissy interrupted the calm celebrations when she noticed a clue hidden in the side of the cart, quickly rushing to it to snatch it without anyone noticing as she shoved it up her pants. Successfully managing to keep it there, unlike Sharn. Well, until she and Croc awkwardly hugged and she handed it off to him. Back at camp, they went for a walk together where they read their clue and upon Chrissy figuring out where their idol would be, darted off to the river to jag it without anyone noticing. With Croc planning to keep it secret, given that is the advice Sandra gave him and ugh, I now love Croc.
We finally checked in on the new Blood tribe where Jordie was thrilled by how the swap played out for him, keeping him with all of his closest allies and in the majority on the new tribe. And well, to say he was confident is an understatement. Jordie immediately identified Sandra as the biggest threat and vowed to get rid of her ASAP. Essentially. Mark opened up about deciding to stay away from Sam, knowing it was the safest option for them, despite it not being what he truly wanted. As everyone washed off in the water and formed quick bonds, poor Sandra was left alone with Dave back at camp and attempted to try and start over with him, given it is her only option. While she was hopeful Nina’s strong bonds and likability would be able to help her out, she was still very nervous.
Speaking of Nina, she was thrilled to still be on a tribe with all of her allies but sadly – though wisely for her – she approached them to assure them that should they want to vote out her mum, she will be ok with it. While she quietly wondered to us whether she could really bring herself to break her mum’s trust, she also felt it would be hard to cross her allies too.
The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Jonathan explained they would chop through a rope to release a net, climb said net to cross a tower, collect some boxes on balance beams, climb up another tower where they would drop the boxes over the side in an attempt to release a ball. And then use said ball to solve a table maze. Josh got Blood out to the earliest of leads, though they were quickly overtaken by Water who whipped up the nets. After Michelle fell on the balance beams, Blood managed to pull ahead again. Well until they struggled to smash their boxes, giving Water a huge lead while solving their table maze. Sadly, they couldn’t get it together as Nina started to talk her tribe through the puzzle. Though not quickly enough, as Water narrowly took out immunity.
And left Sandra to contend with her Day 16 curse. Much to my mildly simmering rage.
Back at camp Nina quickly apologised for choking while calling the challenge while the rest of the tribe tried to rally and raise her up. Sandra meanwhile stressed about having to go to tribal council on Day 16, though she was hopeful Nina’s connections may be able to keep around for another few days and break said curse. Not wanting to rest on her laurels though, Sandra caught up with Mark and pointed out she has issues with Dave should they be looking for a target, while Dave, Jordie and the cousins hung out to lock in the vote for Mel. Nina went for a walk with Shay and Josh with them filling Nina in on the plan to get rid of Mel, given she is clumsy and may be a liability in future challenges. Which was music to Nina’s, and importantly my ears.
Sandra meanwhile was back in the water with Jordan, Dave and Amy, with them shocked by the fact Water are willing to get rid of one of their own despite being in the minority. Sadly it was at that moment that Jordie decided they really should have some fun with the vote and instead take out one of the weaker OG Blood women in the form of Sandra, and then at a whisper, Amy.
Jordie, Josh and Mark giddily locked in the vote for Sandra given she is not only weaker and from the rival tribe but most importantly, a massive threat. While Jordie and Josh wanted to give Nina a heads up, Mark assured them it was too dangerous given she could get Shay to play her idol to save her mother and ruin not only their plans but their alliance. Speaking of which, Nina, Sandra and Shay were catching up and well, this better end with an idol play otherwise I’ll be heartbroken. While the trio felt the vote was still going Mel’s way, Sandra worried about what would happen after that given there is nowhere else for her to hide. Even though she isn’t even hiding anymore.
Mark, Jordie and Josh caught up with the other former OG Blood members and Mel to float the Sandra plan and tragically everyone seemed thrilled to jump on board. Thankfully though Nina could tell that Mark and Mel were acting weird with her and as such, felt like something was up. While Jordie caught up with Sandra and assured him the plan was still on Mel, desperate to claim the scalp of Sandra in a blindside.
At tribal council Sandra spoke about being happy with the new tribe, reiterating how proud she is to still be in the game. Mel opened up about being nervous about the upcoming vote, while Mark tried to downplay the fact the original Water tribe hold the majority in this new tribe. Which Jordie reiterated, though far less eloquently. Shay mentioned that she would be voting on strength, given she is desperate for some food and to get another win. This got Sandra fired up, announcing that is not how Survivor works or how it is played, given one person is not a deciding factor in losing a challenge. Sandra then doubled down and pointed out that alliances are more important because come merge, the weak will outnumber the strong and once the strong people start losing immunity, they are immediately booted. Unless they have allies willing to protect them.
This speech spooked Shay, given she thought she knew what would be playing out while Jordie spoke about every season being a clean slate and kinda pretending like Sandra isn’t a damn icon that could wash each and every one of them any day of the week. And well, he better moon us tomorrow if he gets his way tonight because I am growing tired. Nina admitted she is nervous about the upcoming vote, with Jordie pretty much saying he isn’t looking forward to facing a loved one back at camp which narrows down the boot to one of four people, but really only Sandra. Speaking of the Queen, she admitted that she is definitely expecting to receive a couple of votes at tribal council, though continued to speak strongly, reiterating that being a pair is strong and as such, made Josh and Jordan nervous about potentially being the only pair left in the tribe.
Jonathan then asked Nina whether she felt being a pair was important and when Sandra tried to look her in the eye, she told her to look at Jonathan instead as her eyes welled up. This well and truly got Sandra nervous as she spoke about knowing what she signed up for, though she still looked gutted. Before reminding us that the queen stays queen.
With that the tribe voted and tragically, there were no miracles as Shay played her idol for herself – not sure why, though – and Queen Sandra was unanimously booted from the tribe. Once again swap-screwed on Day 16. Which is why I threw the most epic tantrum Charters Towers had ever seen when I got word that Sandra’s curse had completed its hat trick before she claimed her triple crown.
My tantrum wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t cute, though I would argue it was completely justified.
Sandra is a complete and utter icon and if her new tribes would only stop losing the first challenge after a swap, she should be a lock for the merge after enough time to endear herself with her new people. Instead, we’re left with the brutal tragedy that one again, Sandra is not on a jury at the worst but more ideally addressing one.
While I was heartbroken by her placement on paper, her run on Australian Survivor has only managed to cement her status as the best to ever play the game. Her strategy is simple and logical, but one that not many people could pull off season after season with her finesse.
As soon as I saw her enter the Pre-Jury Villa – no Loser Lodge for MY queen – I immediately started sobbing and ran into her arms. While she wasn’t receptive to my ideas for her to disown Nina and adopt me in her place, or to find Jonathan and production and force them to re-shoot tribal council, or even add a new version of Redemption Rock where Sandra is automatically given the win; she was grateful for my enduring love and support and glad that I was once again by her side on Day 16 to eat our feelings, this time with a Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine. A meal I had tragically thought would manifest the third win, rather than enacting her curse for a third time.
Now I can not take ownership of this recipe – that is Jock Zonfrillo, with some minor tweaks for my preferences – I knew Sandra’s return from retirement needed to be marked with something decadent and regal, worthy of her legacy. This very baconny, very cheesy number is near perfection – smokey and umami, sweet and salty, it is the only glorious meal worthy of someone as glorious as the Survivor GOAT.
Ingredients 50g thinly sliced smoked pancetta 25g smoked salt 25g dark muscovado sugar 10g ground black pepper, to season 10g hot smoked paprika 10g ground star anise 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1.2kg pork belly 1 cup cloudy apple juice 150g sourdough, blitzed to form crumbs 230g sharp aged smoked cheddar, coarsely grated ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped 120g unsalted butter, diced 60g flour 2 ½ cups milk 130g blue cheese, diced 130g Fontina, coarsely grated 130g Talleggio, coarsely grated salt and white pepper, to taste 400g smoked bacon lardons 1 bunch shallots, thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, minced 5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed 3 x 400g cans sweetcorn, drained ¼ cup sour cream
Method Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Start by working on your bacon rub by placing the pancetta on a lined baking sheet and cooking in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to remove grease and allow it to cool. Once chill, combine the pancetta with the smoked salt, muscovado sugar, black pepper, paprika and star anise in a food processor or blender and blitz until crumbed.
Next, score the skin of your pork belly and rub it with oil followed by all but 2 tbsp of the bacon rub, getting it on the meat and skin until it is gorgeously marooned. Pop the pork belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and pour the apple juice into the dish. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, before reducing the heat to 180C and cooking for a further hour. Keeping an eye on the apple juice in the pan and topping up with more, or water, should it run dry. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.
While the pork is getting gorgeously browned, combine the bread crumbs, 100g of the smoked cheddar, parsley and the remaining bacon rub in a bowl until combined.
Next step – FYI, there are a lot of steps and it is what Sandra deserves, so deal – melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the flour, whisk and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk to combine before returning to the heat and bringing to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining cheeses and cooking for a further couple of minutes, or until well combined. Season and keep warm.
In another saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and cook the lardons for five minutes or until starting to caramelise. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook for further five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the corn and stir until warmed through.
When the smells have you more than ready to eat, cut the pork belly into a dice, reserving the crackling for a side or to top. Combine the corn and lardon mixture with the cheese sauce, before folding through the pork belly and sour cream.
Transfer to a baking dish, top with the crumb and pop in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve immediately and devour, eating all your feelings away before the next episode.
And remember, the Queen will always stay Queen. Day 16 curse be damned!