Bimini Bon Boulash, Ellie Diamond, Lawrence Chaney, and Tayce will battle it out for the title of Britain’s next drag superstar
Has this been the best season of any iteration of RuPaul’s Drag Race ever? We sure think so. There have been moments that have left us gagged, gooped, and gluttons for gumption. The iconic runway serves – Lawrence Chaney’s latex Mackintosh tribute, Joe Black’s Brighton beach look, A’Whora’s NHS clap, Bimini as a prehistoric bacteria, and Carrie-esque Tayce. There’s been sexual tension, lots of shade, and botoxed surprises. More than anything though, we’ve got the true, expansive range of British drag in all its glory. Tonight, we see Ellie Diamond, Tayce, Bimini Bon Boulash, and Lawrence Chaney battle it out in the finale to be ground Britain’s next drag superstar. Below, four writers go head-to-head and make the case for their fave queens. No jokes, all facts.
RELEASE THE BEAST, BIMINI
How do I love thee, Bimini Bon Boulash? Truly, let me count the ways. From the moment the legendary, soft lentil-loving East London queen stepped into the werkroom in her fetishy, baby-pink harness, the winner was ordained – at least IMHO – with the next nine weeks only serving to hammer home just how deserving she was of Ru’s coveted crown. Wildly talented, confident but never cocky, considered and kind, Bimini has tackled everything from identity and gender to politics with wit, humour, and just the right amount of shade: case in point, her brilliant mini-challenge Brexit buns, her outstanding stand-up – not a joke, just a fact – and the moment she and Tayce put P**rs M*rg*n to shame with their iconic turn as the breakfast TV hosts we need on our screens (make it happen, BBC).
Like pretty much everyone who’s been watching the show, I also can’t understate just how obsessed I am with her lewks (insert Nicki Minaj meme here) – like seriously, this queen’s brain. Whatever Michelle might have thought, Bimini’s iconic turn as London legend Princess Julia had me screaming, and it was a travesty that she was in the bottom two in that inspired, bum-baring ode to Norfolk FC. Fast forward a few weeks and her Iris Van Herpen homage and Acne-ridden crystal suit knocked it out of the park. I can’t wait to see what she brings to the finale tonight – whatever it might be, I know it’s going to look absolutely gorj matched with the crown that’s soon to be perched on her head. (ED)
SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A (ELLIE) DIAMOND
Ding Dong bitches, the Baby Doll of Dundee has arrived! From the moment she strutted into the werk room, Ellie Diamond blew us away with her bubblegum lewks and Scottish charm. While other queens were upgrading their wardrobes (and their faces) over the lockdown break, Ellie traded her diamonds for McDonalds, where she worked at a drivethru to make ends meet. We admire a queen who hustles. At only 21 years old, she proved that you don’t need to riches to succeed, just wave a marshmallow wand and be your own shero, or seagull, depending on the week’s challenge.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, where’s the versatility? But in the words of Vicky Pollard: that is, like, well rude. Besides, you only have to look at her latex-clad Dennis the Menace or her sickening Wizard of Oz reveal to appreciate her DIY efforts. Lover of chaps and all things sweet, in the words of Rihanna: Ellie, shine bright like a diamond. (SM)
THE SUSAN BOYLE OF DRAG
“I’m like the Loch Ness Monster, a legend,” – Lawhhhhrehnce Chehnehhhh came in from the get-go with her hilarious one-liners that had RuPaul wheezing, even when Mama Ru didn’t have a clue what she was saying through that thick Glaswegian twang. Her sharp wit has seen her through, never missing a beat. Always repping home and flying the Scottish flag, the first runway look inspired by queens’ hometowns saw Lawrence give us an incredibly iconic latex interpretation of Charles Rennie Mackintosh architecture – smart, campy, a little sweaty.
Whether neon pink anal bead chic or a gorj panto dame and Braveheart meets tartan tart, Lawrence has turned the polished looks more than most comedy queens before her. Though Snatch Game was a bit of a miss, she pulled it back for Beastenders as the scariest Bitchell family member, showing us her range as Phyllis with the cockney accent and Shirley Cart-esque wig – get oot mah pub!
Her relationship to the other queens has provided stellar entertainment too – the Ellie Diamond comedy line-up drama, heart to hearts with Bimini, and ragging on Tayce and A’Whora’s ‘are they, aren’t they’ sexual tension. Her read of Ellie in the reading challenge gooped everyone too: “You’re so stupid, you studied for your COVID test” – dead.
Some of Lawrence’s best moments though are when she lets her guard down too, and with that vulnerability we’ve got to witness an authentic, interesting narrative arc. It hasn’t been a straight shot to the top, and her issues with self-esteem and worthiness have been relatable and endearing, all while never losing her humour. In the first dance challenge, through tears, she quipped: “I’m gay, I should be able to sing and dance!” It’s this duality that denotes a worthy Drag Race frontrunner. And let’s be honest, Lawrence’s win might give us the mandate for another Scottish Independence vote. People make Glasgow, and Lawrence has made Drag Race UK Season 2 – so come on, Team Scotland, Team Lawrence! (AC)
WELCOME TO RUPAUL’S DRAG TAYCE
Mama Ru would have to have the cheek, the nerve, the gall, the audacity, the gumption to not crown Welsh trade minister and queen of one-liners Tayce as this season’s winner. Over the last nine weeks, the Tasmanian devil Energizer Bunny of drag has proved that she’s so much more than a look queen. Not only has she assassinated not one, not two, not three, but four lip-syncs, Tayce showed off her exceptional comedy skills (I said what I said) in Snatch Game as Kath & Kim’s tightly-permed, shell jacket-wearing Jane Turner, choreographed 2021’s number one hit, the United Kingdolls’ “UK, Hun?”, and led urgent conversations about Black representation in drag – all the while serving look after look after look.
Although she’s landed in the bottom two an eye-watering four times, Dazed has it on good authority (a meme on the internet) that this was more for our viewing pleasure than it was a reflection on her ever-compelling performances. I’m choosing here to ignore episode seven, during which Tayce fell victim to the scourers curse – though, admittedly, she served and survived. If her turn as Beastenders’ banshee Karen Bitchell, her sultry ode to beans on toast, or her prime-time-worthy performance as the co-host of Morning Glory hasn’t got you convinced, Tayce’s effervescent charm will do it. And don’t even get me started on her hilarious, perfectly-timed, and frankly just iconique confessionals – that’s a story for another day. Tayce, shantay you slay… all the way to the top, baby! (BD)