‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ S3 Finale Recap: Oh! Okay!
And the winner is...
Um, so Krystal Versace won! Please ignore all the times in my recaps I said there was no way they’d crown her, as the show was ‘clearly’ creating a storyline where she needs to mature and find herself before coming back and sweeping an All Stars. I was, uh, wrong — but (and pardon the Taurean energy here) I should be right.
I like Krystal a lot, and maybe it’s not that surprising she won: three for three, UK has crowned a queen I wouldn’t have picked (in my universe, it’s DDC, Bimini, Kitty). But it does feel slightly… ungratifying that the winner is the least well-rounded of the top three and has done …fine… through a majority of challenges, having not honed in on her specific voice yet.
I still feel like I don’t really know Krystal, and again, that comes down to age. Other fashion queen winners like Aquaria and Violet faced similar criticisms of being robotic, but both of them had a lot of personality and a strong artistic vision that I don’t see here, yet. Yet!!! I am certain it will happen, and that she’ll grow into the crown. I don’t have a problem with Krystal winning though, it’s more that it wasn’t a satisfying end for the show as a constructed narrative. The edit didn’t sell it.
Sure, all season long Ru’s told Krystal she’s “born to be a drag queen”, but those comments always landed a little overblown, as if we were watching a different show to the one Ru judges. Were the producers at odds with the winner Ru wanted, and so we got a weird compromise — the show they wanted, the winner Ru picked? Even that final lip-sync seemed like it was gearing Kitty up to win: she completely stole the show. But I also knew she couldn’t win from the TicTac-free chat, as Kitty’s was too lighthearted compared to Ella’s and Krystal’s. I don’t know! This season was off, is all: loved the cast, but found production decisions (double elims, double saves, arbitrary wins) very frustrating.
UK has largely avoided those pitfalls, but S3 had almost as many stunts and twists as a recent US season — a Guardian op-ed sums it up where Michael Chakraverty argues that the UK series is so special because it, until S3, felt fresh. Now, it’s lost its “cheeky charm”: “The producer meddling has felt overt, and unnecessary. The success of Drag Race UK’s first two series shows that the format works well in its simplest form, and there was no need to fix what wasn’t broken.”
Having said all that, this was actually one of the better finales in a while. For their last challenge, the queens jumped on a remix of Ru’s ‘Hey Sis, It’s Christmas’, and the holiday theme gave them all something fun to play with — okay, it was still a lot of ‘give me the crown/all these other ho ho hos bow down’, but I enjoyed it!
‘Kissy Christmas, Ru!’
The finale starts off with the eliminated queens heading backstage to
cause drama politely reminiscing about their time on the show. I do wish there was a bit more time for a mini-reunion but still appreciated seeing all the girls come back: Elektra really used her two seconds to great effect, as I’d forgotten how charming/funny she is when she’s not breakdancing. The queens return again during the Xmas number as backup dancers, then for a little Untucked moment and for a runway. Here are their looks!
The show never addresses the undead pterodactyl in the room — I imagine Charity expected a bit more comment on her outfit, but the editors are committed to showing her dust. While I love Charity and think she was overlooked on the show, I’m happy for her to get minimal screen time here, as I am, as respectfully as I can be, completely repulsed by this look.
Before that though, there’s the performance. It is good. I’m tired.
Then the top three give some ‘top three extravaganza’. I guess the judges aren’t going to really criticise them at this stage, but Ella looks… a little rough. Kitty and Krystal are radiant.
The judges say nice things and then the three lip-sync to Dusty Springfield: it’s absolutely Kitty’s moment, but then Krystal wins. I look forward to her WoW Presents+ show I’ll definitely watch.
In the meantime, there’s Canada and Italy to watch, or, if you’re now in the mood for a holiday drag spectacular, Ben DeLaCreme and Jinkx’s own special is really sweet, especially if you don’t really care for this time of year. Thank you for reading my recaps, this should be the last of the year!
Appreciate your comments, and I’m sure I’ll be back to spew thousands of words about fart jokes in S14, too. Until then — unless you’re coming to this queer reading event I’m putting on next weekend in Sydney! Shameless promo, I learnt from Ru.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK streams on Stan.
Jared Richards is Junkee’s Drag Race recapper, and a freelance critic who writes for NME, The Guardian, The Monthly and more. He’s across the internet as @jrdjms.