One queen has already been chopped from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three, and viewers are… divided.

Although fans like to claim they’re experiencing ‘Drag Race fatigue’ due to the influx of international spin-offs on our screens this year – UK season two, Down Under, Espana, Holland etc – the stans were out in full force on the social medias tonight to welcome the brand new crop of British queens to the series. Admittedly, the premiere had some big mothertucking boots to fill, what with the second season becoming one of the most well-received instalments in the show’s entire 13-year herstory (we’re gonna go ahead and plug our ranking of all RuPaul seasons here, why not?) thanks to the eclectic mix of queens, bonkers maxi-challenges and, of course, the Grammy-nominated pop anthem UK Hun?. 

WELL, GREAT NEWS DRAG RACERS: the premiere was an absolute triumph. Victoria Scone entering the Drag Race werkroom as the franchise’s first ever cis female – and lesbian – competitor was everything and more. It felt… euphoric? Her sisters welcoming her with open arms, as well as the judging panel, shows how far the series has come in recent years when it comes to representation and inclusivity. And whew, Charity Kase? The British Horror Story we need and deserve. We don’t mean to single out these two queens in particular, but the breath of fresh air they’ve just inserted into the franchise is monumental. Needed. This year alone, we’ve also had Gottmik making history as the first trans male competitor, and Kylie Sonique Love winning the All Stars 6 crown – becoming the first trans contestant to win a season of Drag Race hosted by RuPaul. Despite the lack of racial diversity this season, the inclusion of the aforementioned queens, and the celebration of them, proves that the series is more committed than ever to casting talent that aren’t just cis gay men. 

For their first maxi-challenge, the contestants stomped down the runway in two high-fashion ensembles. Like the past two seasons, a look inspired by their hometown, and – new category alert! – a look inspired by their favourite things. There wasn’t a lack of fierce looks on that runway, particularly from Victoria and Krystal Versace, who were deemed the top two contestants of the week. The former supplied us with all the camp energy she promised in our interview as she dressed as a giant daffodil, the national flower of Wales, and an afternoon tea cake stand. Krystal cemented her status as the fashun queen of the season with a thorn-inspired runway and a leather catsuit – the face was giving us Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns realness, and it was a goddamn moment. Other standout runways include Vanity Milan’s ode to South London and Jamaica, Choriza May’s art extravaganza and River Medway’s tribute to Medway’s iconic statue of Thomas Waghorn.

While the latter made RuPaul unleash her signature cackle with her Waghorn, she ultimately fell in the bottom three alongside Elektra Fence, who failed to impress with her Burnley and birthday runways, as well as Anubis, whose campy appreciation of Brighton Pier’s Helter Skelter and sea creatures garnered mixed reviews. Victoria and Krystal’s rave responses from the panel didn’t come as a shock, but the shock came later: RuPaul revealing that, not only will the bottom two queens lip-sync, but the top two will also battle it out on the stage for the win. It marked a first. Yes, it’s a twist that has been introduced in the past – on the 12th and 13th seasons of the US original – but it’s always taken the place of the lip-sync for your life format. There hasn’t been an episode, until now, that has featured both.

To the beat of Bonnie Tyler’s classic Total Eclipse of the Heart, Victoria and Krystal served face and – thanks to the former’s costume – cake, with a few dramatic falls to the ground for extra measure. Victoria’s costume might’ve have actually hindered her, however, as Ru announced Krystal as the maxi-challenge winner and, of course, the first recipient of a coveted RuPeter badge. Anubis and Elektra then competed to defend their place in the competition to Little Mix’s Sweet Melody. While both entertainted the hell out of viewers, Elektra’s gymnastic-heavy routine won her another week, and Anubis was forced to sashay away. This made her the second queen from Brighton, after Joe Black, to leave Drag Race UK in last place. 


Anubis even referenced Joe’s controversial elimination as she wrote on the werkroom mirror: “Camp as fuck darling! The curse of Brighton lives on. Love you all, Anubis.” Her exit, like Joe’s, was met with a mixed response online. As one of the contestants with the most screentime (she was charismatic as fuck in each confessional) and most unique aesthetic (she proudly displayed her Egyptian heritage) it was disappointing to see her leave so soon.

Check out the reactions from Drag Race viewers on Twitter below.

On next week’s episode, Strictly Come Dancing champion Oti Mabuse will coach the 11 remaining contestants as they compete in a high-energy workout in Dragoton. Oti will also join RuPaul, Michelle Visage and Alan Carr on the judging panel.

The first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.