UK vs The World is an all-star competition, but with an international flair: contestants are from Drag Race shows from around the world, will are brought together to compete on the Drag Race UK stage in London. The nine contestants will battle it out for a grand prize of…nothing, because the show is part of BBC and they have to follow laws in the UK against giving cash prizes for shows like this. But the winner does get bragging rights.
Since the original RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on LogoTV back in 2009, shot in an old warehouse in Los Angeles with a production budget of approximately a dollar, the show has turned into a wildly successful franchise that spread to Thailand, and several countries in Europe, then Drag Race Canada popped up and it is really good, and there was a rough season in New Zealand called Drag Race Down Under but let’s not talk about that show, and now there is a South American drag TV competition called The Switch in Chile.
Drag Race is everywhere, especially for anyone who pays for a VPN to watch it (perhaps illegally but whatever) online.
The UK vs The World cast can be categorized by their respective home countries. The UK queens Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, and Cheryl Hole are confident, occasionally crass, and reliably funny; from Holland, Janey Jacké is a fine example of Amsterdam queens who serve unbelievable looks; the US queens, Jujubee and Mo (formerly Monique) Heart, are charming and loveable and know how to speak in sound bytes, perfect for reality-TV.
As for the Canadian queens, Lemon is a bitchy twink with a razor-sharp wit, who can get away with murder simply because she is so beautiful both in and out of drag. Lovely Lemon is joined by Jimbo, a quirky performance artist “drag clown” with legions of fans who refuse to accept the fact that Jimbo did not win Canada’s Drag Race Season 1, and they will not let it go. So expect some toxicity online from Jimbo fans, if anybody other than Jimbo wins anything. That will be lots of fun.
The 9th contestant, Pangina Heals, is from Drag Race Thailand, although she was a judge for that show, not a contestant. Videos abound online of Pangina performing live and dominating the stage, so she has the goods to fight it out on UK vs The World. But how will Pangina cope with receiving critiques, instead of giving them? We’ll have to wait and see.
Overall, this cast of all-stars is fantastic, but it perpetuates a frustrating flaw in the Drag Race empire: the disappearance of past winners. Once a queen wins, she is sent out to pasture to revel in her glory, never to compete on a Drag Race again. Why can’t we have an all-star show with a few of the powerhouse winners, like The Vivienne from the UK Season 1, or Yvie Oddly from the US Season 11? They won because they are great! Let’s see them again.
Meanwhile, Jujubee will be brought back for, what is this, her sixth time on a RuPaul show? Perhaps it’s because she was just on Queen of the World, which was also filmed in London (her fifth drag TV competition), so she already had her work visa.
Jujubee is fun, but six times, really? There are so many other queens to be given a chance. Old-school contestant Dida Ritz is tired of waiting to be asked to return, as is evident from this Twitter post from yesteryear:
Somtimes I think ? what have I done to @RuPaulsDragRace & @WorldOfWonder to not be treated fairly. I mean life’s not fair! But I know I’m not a nightmare compared to some of the others who have gotten opportunities handed to them & I’m a hard worker so…….what did I do?
— TheRealDiDaSwag aka DiDaRitz (@TheRealDiDaSwag) April 20, 2021