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Drag Race UK gave me everything I wanted, except my favourite as winner

So my favourite queen was robbed of the crown, but Drag Race UK exceeded my expectations of a British spin-off

This article contains spoilers about Drag Race UK

The scream of the season came in the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK when the contestants had to say why they deserved to win. The Vivienne, who was subsequently crowned, said “I bring a humbleness, relatability and likability to this craft” in a bold divestment of self-awareness. She also described herself as “common” which – let’s face it – is a LOL when one remembers she attended Rydal Penrhos School: an independent day and boarding school in north Wales where fees start at £5k a term.

Look, I think The Vivienne technically ‘deserved’ to win as much as Divina, who has been my personal favourite throughout. She’s talented, funny and her mainstage make-up was often very beautiful. I also thought it was brave of her to talk about her recovery from ketamine addiction. I have done cabaret and stand up on the queer scene alongside drag queens myself and I know how easily that world lends itself to self-medication and dependence. I think The Vivienne being at the top of her game after getting clean is an important example to others in that world whose lives and lows rarely get discussed in the mainstream. But come on – “common”? There’s some mythmaking and, erm, poetic licence here that deserves to be probed.

It wasn’t just that the show’s arc seemed to be lazily building to a win for The Vivienne, it was that it seemed to be trying to push all of the final three into boxes that the audience didn’t recognise. I feel like I was regularly being gaslighted into believing Baga’s runway looks needed none of the robust critique given to other queens despite the fact she often was wearing something Charity Shop Sue would bin. She was compared to Dolly Parton last night... I mean COME ON.

Divina, on the other hand, was bizarrely represented as boastful and possibly a bit cocky by Michelle and Ru when, to viewers, she seemed to be the people’s favourite, having regularly to fight to not be eclipsed by her louder rivals. I think Alan Carr’s jibe about expecting Divina to explain why she should be crowned with a PowerPoint presentation was a hilarious and accurate summation of the slightly anal approach she has to her performance but otherwise the judges panel seemed to be high.

Michelle, whose judgement I normally trust, said Divina had made some “questionable” runway choices when, in fact, I actually think Divina had the most consistently good sartorial taste of the season. I struggle to think of a time where she looked bad. And again EVERYONE IS PRETENDING BAGA’S LOOKS ARE BEYOND REPROACH. God bless Divina, my personal queen, for her looks, laugh, and lectures to straight audiences on the shit they needed to hear about being LGBTQ+ in Britain today.

“One queen contacted me privately half way through the series to tell me she thought this column was too harsh”

The ever-so slightly massaged results aside, this season was a riot. It breathed new life into a tired format and – as The Vivienne said – it subverted the worst expectations that the cast would be a bunch of irritating insta-twinks mimicking American ball slang (in the end that was only Scaredy-Kat). 

RuPaul's Drag Race UK was truly a celebration of British drag and I have to say that my occasional tart comments aside (one queen contacted me privately half way through the series to tell me she thought this column was too harsh but let’s not go there…) I think the final three all thoroughly deserve the careers they will now go on to have. I hope the success of this series  will encourage a greater diversity of queens to apply next year. Roll on series two!