While Ru has expanded his reach across the globe, jetting Down Under and across the pond to the UK for local versions of Drag Race, that world domination is not enough. No, no – this time, Ru is taking it to the world, assembling a cast of iconic All Stars from across the globe in sunny old England for the chance to become the first Global Drag Race Superstar. Queen of the World, or something of that ilk, you know?
First to return to the UK Mainstage – literally – was one Ms. Baga Chipz, serving people’s princess realness and reminding us how great she did on Season 1 despite how annoying her confidence can come across. She was quickly joined by her fellow Frock Destroyer Blu Hydrangea who was looking like an exploded highlighter and ugh, I loved her Mary Berry Snatch Game so damn much. And in contrast to Baga, I am living for her newfound confidence. Blu congratulated Baga on not looking like a mess this time and while they were thrilled to be in each other’s company, they were soon delighted to be joined by their Essex sister Cheryl Hole. Thankfully vowing to be mediocre through and through.
They briefly started speculating about their international sisters before zaddy Janey Jacké arrived representing Holland and ugh, she is such a damn serve. I love her so much. The UK trio welcomed her with open arms and ugh, this congeniality is so glorious. The quartet were joined by Canada’s drag clown Jimbo, giving the kids a toastie – literally – and just being demented, and well, I’m already in love with this season. Particularly since Jimbo reminded us that Michelle was the guest judge when she went home and she is more than willing to confront her. But enough about that, Lemon is back and well, I look forward to her channeling Jojo Siwa at every opportunity.
Things took a massive turn as Pangina Heals the HOST of Thailand arrived to represent her country and ugh, she is perfection. And more importantly, she is such a damn superfan and looks ready to slay and have the best time. Oh and did we know Thailand lights contestants on fire? Beause slay! While the girls were gagged to be competing against a host, Cheryl was just glad to see someone else that hasn’t won a challenge. Yet. Next up was the ICONIC Monique Heart and well, she was feeling her oats as much as I feel her oats. While Blu shaded her for competing for the third time, Monique quickly mocked her for losing and wearing a glowstick. Before it could descend into chaotic fighting, Jujubee arrived to round out the cast and I don’t care how often they bring her back because she is the best.
I mean, can’t she just be the Tim Gunn/Christian Siriano in every Werk Room globally? Where do I start THAT petition?
After a brief getting to know you, a siren sounded before Ru arrived on a cherry picker to welcome them all into the competition. She then announced that this year, the winner would not only claim the crown but also get to record a duet with her, the one and only Ruple Charles. But first, they would have to show off their talent in a Royal Command Performance and then, Ru warned them, they would be the ones to eliminate their sisters.
With that out of the way, the dolls exited the mainstage and headed back to the Werk Room to claim stations and de-drag. More importantly, Cheryl was adorably showing Pangina her station from Season 1 as Baga and Jimbo were clowning up, breaking the room and claiming a corner together. Meanwhile the US girls were busy reading everyone for filth and ugh, this chaos makes me so happy. Not to be outdone, Blu was talking to Cheryl about how the US girls really changed the vibe of the room while poor Chez just wanted everyone to get along. Thankfully Baga decided to do some diplomacy, brewing tea for her sisters and teaching the international girls all of the local slang and explaining important things like the tube or Prince Andrew and pizza shops.
Elimination Day arrived with the girls quickly splitting up to get ready with Jimbo finding a toastie on her shoulder while Cheryl and Janey were just excited to get things started. Blu meanwhile approached Monique to explain that they met before Blu got famous and she was quite rude to her, with Monique quickly apologising to try and smooth things over. Janey and Pangina were meanwhile worried about being the sole representative of their countries, with Pangina trying to put it out of her mind and just do herself proud. More importantly, she is able to take criticism as well as she takes penis, which is something I’d get put on a T-shirt if I would gracefully take criticism.
Cheryl, Lemon and Juju were bonding in another corner, with the latter explaining this time feels different for her and despite it being her fourth time, she is still nervous. Chez was just grateful to now have them as her friends before talk turned to Jimbo and Lemon’s bond ,with Lemon confessing they aren’t actually close. Chez promised them that despite the competition being hosted in the UK there isn’t a hierarchy. While Juju reminded her she isn’t bothered because it has been UK vs the World for centuries.
And ugh, what. A. Read. Give Juju a damn crown!
Talk turned to the local drag scenes, with everyone pointing out UK is all about comedy while Canada is eclectic and Holland is straight up fierce. Oh and I stopped listening because Pangina’s friend owns a shrimp farm and then she explained that they don’t eat their shrimp on account of it being bad luck. Which is probably the greatest sentence I’ve ever read.
Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined by the one and only Melanie C aka Sporty mother-tucking Spice on the judges panel before Lemon opened the show performing an original song. It was high energy and ridiculous as she kicked and flipped herself around the stage before finishing with a slightly taller version of the ‘is she gonna jump from there moment’. And IT was ICONIC. Monique was serving a red leather clad love child of Tina Turner and Prince and ugh, perfection. She IS the moment, let me tell you. Brown cow, stunning.
Janey gave a lip sync number complete with multiple reveals and while I live for her, the first few looks were not great. The entire performance led to Baga deeming it a glorified strip show. Speaking of Baga she performed her song Much Betta when I think she was actually meant to lip sync, but God was it ridiculous and entertaining despite the fuck-ups. Speaking of ridiculous, Jimbo came out as a pregnant alien ghost with an empty briefcase of talent before birthing slices of devon and throwing them everywhere. It was demented, crazy and completely hilarious, having everyone in stitches. Except Cheryl who was just confused. Which was also an understandable reaction.
Cheryl was classic Chez, slaying as she lip synced to her hilarious song, hitting every moment and serving as she finished with a death drop. Jujubee then sang a ballad and while it was decent, I just kept waiting for an iconic ‘sensible 74’ moment. Pangina meanwhile dominated from start to finish, giving comedy and narrative and the sharpest dancing I’ve ever seen on the mainstage. Blu then did a cheer routine to her original song complete with a duo of mannequin dancers tethered to her arms and legs and it was a totally stupid pop delight. I mean, she offered to blow Ru and read her mannequin sister for stepping on her toes. Perfection!
On the I’m a Winner Baby Runway Lemon was a grown-up version of her baby pageant girl from Canada Season 1, looking as golden as her gown. Monique was gorgeous in a lush green gown while Janey was perfection in a sparkling, red nude illusion. Baga meanwhile was a literal Oscar and while it was scary, she sold it. Speaking of scary, Jimbo was the scariest black and white queen and it was completely stunning. Chez meanwhile popped some gold stars on a white gown and while it was basic, she gave us a perfect mug and an absolutely massive bouffant. Juju gave a generic beaded purple pageant gown while Pangina stole the show in a shimmering white Thai inspired gown. And it. Was. Stunning. Before Blu came out looking like a licorice all sort that she described as a BDSM troll that just fucked a highlighter which is truly the only way to describe it.
Ru then announced that this season, the rules will revert to the All Stars 2-through-4 format where the top 2 will lip sync for the win and the right to eliminate one of the the bottom queens. Monique, Cheryl and Jujubee were quickly sent to safety before the judges praised Lemon for opening the show so strongly, though Mel C would have loved for her to serve more face as she looked bored. With the runway, Michelle wished she had just taken things further. Janey received universal praise for her runway though the judges felt her talent was a bit subpar. The judges lived for Baga’s comedy leading to Mel C serving some epic shade against Vicky B’s vocals and Baga’s terrible lip syncing skills. While they were just all super confused by her runway.
They loved everything Jimbo served, particularly for giving the most bizarre and unique talent of all time. And a perfect runway. Then came Pangina, who rightly had the judges living for everything she did from being vulnerable and open, to showing she is SO damn talented. Blu too received all praise, with the judges thrilled by how filthy she is. That being said, they felt her runway didn’t make sense for the theme, though Mel threw shade at Geri which truly does make me feel much betta!
Ultimately Jimbo and Pangina were deemed the top two before Baga and Blu were sent to safety, leaving Lemon and Janey in danger. Backstage Jimbo and Pangina giddily grabbed a drink before the queens gathered around to congratulate them before Pangina thanked Cheryl for not being as annoying as she thought she was on TV. Lol. While Pangina was thrilled to prove herself, Jimbo was just happy to get to clown in front of Ru and have the time of her life. Chez praised Lemon for killing the performance before Lemon opened up about how disappointed she was to land in the bottom, particularly since she was in the bottom in the first episode of her original season.
While Lemon was heartbroken, Janey was steady and accepted that the competition is so tight that it is truly just nit picking. The dolls split up to plead their case with Jimbo praising Lemon for doing a good job though admitted that she has to hear out Janey and can’t just tell her she is going to save her, even if she wanted to. Pangina and Janey continued to bond and despite Pangina feeling the reveals were quite boring, Janey was confident in the fact she gave something original while Lemon didn’t.
As the rest of the girls jokingly speculated who each winner would send home since the duos were obvious. When Pangina caught up with Lemon, the latter reiterated how much she wants to stay in the competition. Pangina congratulated her for killing her performance and assured her that friendships will not play into her decision making. While Jimbo monologued about her options as poor Janey just desperately tried to get a word in.
After Pangina and Jimbo selected their lipsticks, they made their way to the mainstage to lip sync to Say You Will Be There by the Spice Goils. And damn, Pangina is a star. She hit the lyrics, she gave high energy choreography, comedy and literally saved Jimbo from falling over mid-performance. Multiple times. It was, in a word, amazing. Particularly since Jimbo was hilariously just wandering the stage like a drunk aunt at a wedding, tripping over everywhere. While I lived for Jimbo, it was well and truly clear that Pangina deserved her victory. And while she didn’t want to have to make the decision, heavy is the head that wears the crown and as such, poor Lemon was booted from the competition.
Backstage I reminded Lemon that she is such a damn icon, that when it comes to All Stars it often is better to get eliminated as a robbed-queen before you end up becoming the villain. As such, I tied up my hairwa and pulled her into the kitchen to toast her enduring success – and iconically short run – with a big batch of Lemon Crisps.
While I wouldn’t call Lemon Crisps the most iconic biscuit of the Arnott’s range, they too still have a place in her heart. Packing a zesty punch, these little copycats are the perfect way to work through your sadness and/or eat your feelings.
185g butter, softened
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Cream 125g of the butter with the caster sugar on medium speed, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for a further minute, or until combined. Remove from the stand mixer and fold through the flour, baking powder and lemon zest until a dough forms. Form a rectangular slab, wrap in cling and transfer to the fridge for half an hour.
Once the dough is super chill, get it out and roll into a 5mm rectangular slab. Cut into 10cmx4cm rectangles, prick each rectangle with a fork and transfer them all to a lined baking sheet. Pop the baking sheet/s into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
As they are cooling down, beat the icing sugar and remaining butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and beat until combined, adding extra sugar should it start to split.
Once the biscuits have cooled, pipe the icing on to half the biscuits and use the other half to close. Then devour, ignoring the fact you’re a first boot and remembering you’re an icon.
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