Every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK ranked from worst to best
As season five of Drag Race UK draws to a close, it’s time for a look back at how the British edition of the franchise has fared since its long-awaited debut back in 2019.
In four short years, we’ve met some of the world’s best drag talent, and it’s safe to say that our lives are “Much Betta” for it.
There’s been plenty of meme-able drama (“Red wig and a silver dress?”), high – and sometimes low – fashion (“I am serving you an adequate dress”), comedy gold (“I let her out eventually”), and lyrical genius (“If you can’t love yourself, go to therapy”).
Now, prepare to find out where find out which season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK has come out on top.
6. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World season one (2022)
As the very first season in the Drag Race universe to feature international fan favourite queens from across the franchise, the expectations were high. Very high. So high, in fact, that the end product just couldn’t match the hype.
It wasn’t just high hopes that made RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World a bit of a let-down, though. A combination of odd judging and traditional tricky All Stars rules – where contestants could choose who they wanted to eliminate – meant that fan favourites including Jimbo, Pangina Heals and Lemon were sent home in the first few episodes.
Considering Jimbo and Pangina were the early frontrunners by quite some way, after their elimination, the rest of the season just felt a bit… tepid.
Still, it’s not all bad: there were some iconic looks from Mo Heart and Pangina, Snatch Game magic from Baga Chipz, and Blu Hydrangea was a worthy winner in the end.
Best lip-sync: Pangina Heals vs. Janey Jacké – “We Like To Party”, The Vengaboys
Best look: Pangina Heals’ “Kitty Girl”
Best moment: Pangina Heals’ gagworthy elimination
5. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three (2021)
Drag Race UK season three started off strongly but as it went on, every chance of it being a great one was extinguished.
Victoria Scone thrilled fans by becoming the first cis lesbian woman to ever appear on Drag Race, but was sent home after two episodes, having suffered an injury.
River Medway and Choriza May were the personalities of the season, until their time on the show was cut brutally short in a double elimination.
Charity Kase brought a fresh and unique take on drag, but was overlooked throughout before being told to sashay away in eighth place.
Ella Vaday appeared to be a clear frontrunner, having won four challenges – but she seemingly lost the title thanks to one poorly constructed look in the final episode.
Basically, it was pure, unfiltered chaos. There were a lot of highlights: Vanity Milan gave killer lip-syncs, Scarlett Harlett brought brilliant drama, Kitty Scott-Claus served endless pop culture references. But, overall, the season went too far south.
Best lip-sync: Vanity Milan vs. Scarlett Harlett – “Scandalous”, Mis-Teeq
Best look: Krystal Versace’s “Oh My Goddess: Ethereal, Mythical Glamour”
Best moment: Alesha Dixon’s reaction to Vanity Milan during the “Scandalous” lip-sync
4. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season four (2022)
Season four was crammed full of talented queens, and Danny Beard is one of the best Drag Race winners across all franchises.
Dakota Schiffer became the first trans contestant to appear in a UK edition, and was loved by fans. Sminty Drop sad-twerked her way into our hearts with a franchise-best exit. Black Peppa and Cheddar Gorgeous were the season’s undisputed look queens.
There were also some franchise-best challenges, namely the Lairy Poppins Rusical. But still, something felt off as a whole.
Perhaps it was the odd judging choices (Dakota Schiffer – you should have been high in the Snatch Game), or Black Peppa’s fall from grace after episode one.
Most likely, it was down to the fact that it was clear that Cheddar Gorgeous and Danny Beard would be the top two from the moment the season started, making some episodes and eliminations feel like more of a formality.
Or, maybe, it was Ella Henderson’s song being used as a lip-sync the week she performed at the Tory Party conference.
Best lip-sync: Baby vs. Dakota Schiffer – “No way”, The Cast of Six ft. Renée Lamb
Best look: Danny Beard’s “West End Wonders”
Best moment: Baby putting her mental health first and self-eliminating herself
3. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season five (2023)
The only problem with putting a cast together that is as pitch-perfect as season five’s is that the queens have to go home. If anything, that was the fandom’s biggest gripe with the recently wrapped season: almost every queen’s elimination felt like it happened well before their time.
The best bit about casting such an incredible line-up? Each and every episode felt like a season highlight. Kate Butch became one of the best-ever confessional queens, while Ginger Johnson and Michael Marouli served us a scorching hot roast – widely seen as one of the best across all seasons.
Banksie was the season’s fashion queen, while DeDeLicious DeDeLivered lip-sync glory (plus, we finally got a Rina Sawayama lip-sync). Cara Melle and Vicki Vivacious gave drama, Alexis Saint-Pete and Miss Naomi Carter were the season’s heart, and Tomara Thomas was just there to make RuPaul howl at every turn.
Season five had all the right ingredients.
Best lip-sync: Cara Melle vs. Tomara Thomas – “Remember”, Becky Hill
Best look: Banksie’s “Night of a Thousand Pop Icons”
Best moment: Ginger Johnson and Michael Marouli slaying the roast challenge
2. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season one (2019)
We knew Drag Race UK was going to be pure gold the moment Baga Chipz walked into the werk room looking like Danniella Westbrook while proclaiming: “I love gin and tonic, Coronation Street and a good old shag.”
It took a hell of a long time for Britain’s version of Drag Race to come to fruition, but the season one cast made it well worth the wait. There has never been a UK season that has more expertly shown the diversity of drag talent in the country: there were comedy queens, thespian queens, alternative queens, look queens, performance queens, all-rounder queens – a buffet of drag excellence.
The Vivienne’s Donald Trump is one of the top five Snatch Game performances of all time, while “Break Up (Bye Bye)” remains a crucial part of Drag Race lore several years on. Honestly, season one is that b*tch.
Best lip-sync: Cheryl Hole vs. Blu Hydrangea – “Call My Name”, Cheryl
Best look: Crystal’s “Posh On A Penny”
Best moment: Frock Destroyers perform “Break Up (Bye Bye)”. In the words of The Vivienne: “It was good.”
1. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two (2020/2021)
The very thing that looked set to break Drag Race UK season two, COVID-19, actually made it, thanks to the domino effect. The way the UK’s LGBTQ+ community came together to find some respite in the show during that third and final winter lockdown was actually, on reflection, quite beautiful to be a part of.
It wasn’t just the fact that it brought such joy during such a dark time, either. The pandemic brought drama to the season two set, forcing the queens back home at the height of the season.
Veronica Green couldn’t return, after testing positive for the virus, which meant Joe Black – ultimately – giving us RuPaul’s famous H&M rant.
Bimini Bon Boulash seemingly went home and worked out how to up their anti 100 times over, returning to the competition, slaying every challenge, and becoming the people’s princess (some of the others seemed to work out how to get those All Stars lips, above anything else), and A’Whora made a stunning garment inspired by the NHS, which she probably wouldn’t have created were it not for Covid.
However, despite how the pandemic might have inadvertently benefitted the season, it was great to begin with. The late, great Cherry Valentine’s laugh, Ginny Lemon’s legendary exit and Lawrence Chaney being, well, Lawrence Chaney. This group of 12 queens took every challenge by the tucked balls, and hit every single note.
Not only is season two the best season in Drag Race UK herstory, it’s one of the best seasons in Drag Race herstory, period.
Best lip-sync: Tayce vs. Cherry Valentine – “Memory”, Elaine Page
Best look: Joe Black’s Grand Finale
Best moment: It’s almost too difficult to call, but the United Kingdolls version of “UK Hun?” changed lives.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK seasons 1-5 are available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.
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