The 2nd season of Drag Race UK started its engines this week and our one to watch from the 1st episode is Tayce (pictured above).
- Read on for reasons including the best bits from episode 1 but no spoilers
The 26-year-old from Newport served Naomi Campbell realness as her LGBTQ+ hero/ally in one of two catwalk challenges and sported horns for her hometown look.
We’ve singled her out for special praise because of her engaging personality and for the well-made point about the dearth of people of colour to aspire to be in the LGBTQ+ space.
We thought she shaded this debut episode ahead of east London’s Asttina Mandella (self-confessed ‘infinity gauntlet of dancing’) who also dressed as supermodel Campbell but drew criticism for her shop-bought hometown look.
RuPaul seemed to be enjoying deploying a Scottish accent to pronounce Lawrence Cheney’s name but it was she who boasted the show’s most engaging moment when she explained how make-up made her feel invincible and why she was reluctant to take it off.
Fellow Scot Ellie Diamond drew praise for both her make-up and outfit-making skills, particularly the Dennis The Menace ensemble, which will no doubt stand her in good stead as she undoubtedly progresses throughout the show.
We saw the West End’s first drag pantomime in 2019 and, although we didn’t mention her then, that was the 1st time we encountered Veronica Green who boasts a sharp self-deprecating sense of humour best shown when she described herself as going ‘from Gollum to gorgeous in 3 hours’.
We’re already living for her Twitter comments.
We also recognised Portsmouth’s Joe Black and agreed with the judges that his Brighton hometown look shrieked of overthinking.
It’s always entertaining when 2 queens go to war and there seems to be little love lost between Clapham’s Tia Kofi and Nottingham’s A’Whora. Funniest show line from Kofi to the Brit Crew as they attempted to lift her: ‘I didn’t like the sound of struggling.’
Full marks to Liverpool’s quirky Sister Sister for providing some emotional support to Cheney (we also loved what we think was a Titanic reference in her opening remark) and Norwich’s Bimini Bon-Boulash proved how supple and flexible she could be.
The queen we most warmed to in the clip above was Ginny Lemon, perfecting a Timmy Mallett-does-Su-Pollard look, and whose ‘Fancy a slice?’ catchphrase risks wearing a little thin very quickly.
Last, and by no means least, drag queen/mental health nurse/beautician Cherry Valentine struggled to get through the werkroom entrance such was the size of her headgear and that laugh is difficult to forget.
We loved season 1 of Drag Race UK not least because it’s entertaining to hear both RuPaul and Michelle Visage put on British accents but also because the UK sense of humour seems particularly well-suited to the franchise in a way that the sometimes over-earnest American sensibility sometimes isn’t.
Next week’s episode features one of our musical theatre favourites, Sheridan Smith, and an Andrew Lloyd Webber-inspired rusical.
Watch episode 1 on BBC iPlayer and let us know your 1st impressions of season 2’s cast in the comments below.