Even after all these years and franchises, RuPaul’s Drag Race continues to deliver the gags week after week, and that was never more apparent than on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World.
The latest international version pitted queens from Drag Race UK against fan favorites from other Drag Race franchises, like Pangina Heals from Drag Race Thailand, Jimbo from Canada’s Drag Race, and Jujubee and Mo Heart from multiple seasons of U.S. Drag Race. The global glamazons really came to slay, and delivered cutthroat eliminations like Pangina sending Jimbo home and Blu Hydrangea giving Pangina the boot. (The latter elimination left the judges’ panel, including RuPaul herself, shocked.)
In the end, the final four were Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, Jujubee, and Mo Heart. Eventually, Blu and Mo were the two left standing, competing in a lip-sync smackdown for the crown to “Supernova” by Kylie Minogue. Though Mo put up a good fight, Ru crowned Blu the winner.
Blu spoke with Logo about what it was like bringing the crown home to Northern Ireland, being in the recording studio with Ru, and if she has any regrets about sending Pangina packing.
Hi Blu, condragulations on your win! First off, we have to get the Pangina of it all out of the way. Did you think there’d be such a strong reaction from the fans when you sent Pangina home?
Yes. I think I said it the next episode, I hope I still have a career, which is very overdramatic. You know what the fandom is like — they can be crazy, toxic as bitches when they want to be, then there’s obviously this side that’s lovely, which you get to see as well. I knew there was going to be backlash. I said to so many people whenever I came off the show, to all my friends in the industry, I said, “Book Pangina, because she’s going to be a fan favorite. People are going to love her. You need to bring her to the U.K. You need to make sure she has a visa and gets to the country and slays up and down the U.K.” I was right, she just has that charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.
I saw you told Tia Kofi that Jimbo played a part in your decision.
The curse of Jimbo, I like to call it. Yes. Jimbo opened up their [hotel room] door to get their Rice Krispies in the morning, it’s an early start for us RuGirls. I was going off to film the Snatch Game episode, and he looked me dead in the eye and said, “If you win today, send that bitch Pangina home.” I thought, that’s never going to happen, don’t be so silly. Then that’s exactly what happened.
When Pangina was sashaying away and crying, what was that like on set?
No, it was pretty emotional. I believe she crawled off the stage and out of the studio, it did go on for quite a long time. I remember Ru telling us, “Remember ladies, this is a TV show, we will get through this and she will get through this.” I was emotional because of her reaction more so than having had eliminated her. People think that this is some malicious decision that I made. It wasn’t, it was a strategic decision. I loved Pangina and it was like watching a friend’s heartbreak, and that’s why I was so upset, but I couldn’t help it. I feel like whoever won the Snatch Game was being set up to send that bitch packing. No matter who it was, I’m sure even Pangina would’ve self-eliminated, that’s just the way the cards were dealt that day. She was going home in that episode and it just happened to be me who pulled her lipstick.
I haven’t seen Ru gasp like that in a while.
Oh my God, I know. It was worse to watch it in person. I was like, oh shit. If I’ve made this decision and Ru is gagged, then have I made the right one? Watching it back, I stand by it, I would do it again tomorrow.
Let’s talk about your win. Last night, where did you watch the finale? Was there a viewing party?
I watched the episode at home. No, I watched the last five minutes of the episode at home with my mom and my partner, just to make sure that I won before I left the house. I was fully ready to go down to the bar, I went then to do my local bar where I started drag and I sat in a corner and just watched everything pop off around me — blue confetti cannons and Guinness was flying everywhere. It was fabulous. I watched it in my local bar of Maverick in Belfast. I was sat in a wee corner, and hardly anyone even knew I was there and I watched them all. The atmosphere was electric. I’ve seen some people online who maybe disagree with my crying. The thing is that I really saw in that room last night, how much it resonated with people and how many people were excited about it. I think that’s the most important thing. I can’t give any time to the haters dear, you know what I mean?
— phil ⚔️ (@HausOfPhil_) March 9, 2022
Your look…was that a callback to your look when you were eliminated in the first season?
Oh, I didn’t even clock that until people were posting them side by side. The actual callback was my finale eleganza extravaganza, which was a callback to my teal dress that I wore in the finale of our season. They asked us to make it about our hometown, which I think then they scrapped that idea, but I still was pretty happy to be able to represent Northern Ireland on the main stage on the final runway. That was pretty cool. People are saying that I was dressed like Kylie Sonique as well, which is what an iconic winner to be. Although, she can actually lip-sync, not do the hokey pokey like me.
I wanted to ask about the lips-sync because you were really serving it. Was that your goal? To just leave everything on the floor?
Yeah. We were all exhausted, and I was like, at least if I look like I have energy, then that might be a good thing. I think I need to take some dance lessons or something, because those were hokey pokey lips-syncs. I cringe watching them, especially beside Jujubee, who is a very poised and very sensual performer. I’m going like, ah, trying my best, just like, “Ru look at me, look at me.”
I was excited it was “Supernova” by Kylie Minogue.
I love that song. Never heard it before having to learn it for that song. Honestly, one of my favorite songs. I’ve been listening to it for the past year on repeat, it brings me back to that moment of being a potential winner.
Wait, you didn’t listen to the Disco album when it came out?
No, but I’ll tell you this much, I am a massive fan of Kylie Minogue. I love her. I love “Wow,” “All the Lovers.” I absolutely am obsessed with Kylie Minogue.
Speaking of music, your duet with Ru is so cute. What was it like putting that together?
It was amazing. I got to work with Leland, he helped write the Frock Destroyers album, and I worked closely with him. He’s very sweet, such a lovely person. He’s worked with people like Selena Gomez, and then I walk into the studio can barely hold a tune. Ru was in the recording booth with me. It was an amazing experience. That’s the first time I’ve ever touched RuPaul and I had slept the night before in a dodgy hotel room with air conditioning that caught the back of my throat. I thought, damn it, if my version of the song sounds like shit, they will never cry me. I got a message from Gabe Lopez who puts the auto-tune on. He was like, “This is the best you’ve ever sounded.” I think it’s my Phoebe Buffay from Friends moment, when she gets like a cough-y throat and then she’s all sexy. I think that’s what that is.
Was that intimidating to be in the booth with RuPaul?
It was. Ru does scare me a little bit, but it’s also like an idol who has helped me through so many things and helped the world through so many things that Ru can’t even fathom it, I imagine. To be in such an enclosed space was amazing. She was so lovely to me. She said I looked young, she said she loved my hair. It was amazing, imagine me a little boy from Northern Ireland and getting to sing “Covergirl,” that’s iconic. To be on a track with Ru singing “Covergirl.” Wow.
No, it’s a really cute disco song. I want a whole album.
I mean, maybe I would love to. That’s the real winner’s prize there.
You were voted Miss Congeniality on your original season. Who would you vote for Miss Congeniality for UK vs the World?
There are so many candidates — Pangina’s a sweetheart, Jujubee’s like a mother, Janee was completely honest the whole time. If I had to pick one person, it would be my queen Cheryl Hole. She is just absolutely a beautiful, kind, sweet person who is selfless and honest, and caring. The world needs more Cheryl Holes in their life. I could use a few more holes in my life, to be honest.
Any hole’s a goal! I’m excited to watch the Frockumentary series. What’s it been like being back on stage with the Frock Destroyers? You recently played London Palladium, right?
We did, which is apparently a really big deal. I don’t know about these things. I’m a baby, I’m a youngin. Apparently, Liza Minnelli’s performed on that stage and Lady Gaga and Madonna and all these fabulous, inspiring people, and then the Frock Destroyers get a chance to do it. I love working with them. Baga is just a mental. She is a “melter,” as we call it in the U.K., where she melts and fries your brain. I just can’t help but love her. Divina [de Campo] is hard work, highly strung, but always gets the job done. I like to think that I’m the mediator in the Frock Destroyers. I’m the nice middle ground.
So it was good to be back with them?
Yes, of course. I could sing “Break Up Bye Bye” until I die. Everyone is like, “You look like you’re so overperforming that song.” No, I will do “Break Up Bye Bye” in whatever rendition, if I get old and can’t do the dance anymore, let’s do a ballad version. I love it.
RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. vs the World is available now on WOW Presents Plus, and the Frockumentary series premieres March 15.