Veronica Green and Joe Black spill the tea


(C) World of Wonder – Photographer: Ray Burmiston

Brimming with twists and turns, the fifth episode of BBC Three’s hit RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, currently streaming on BBC iPlayer, picks up after a seven month production pause. But, sadly without Veronica Green, who unfortunately tested positive for Coronavirus just before production was due to resume.

(C) World of Wonder – Photographer: Ray Burmiston

Veronica’s absence created an opportunity for an eliminated queen to return to the competition and so Joe Black was voted in by the remaining queens.

However, after an explosive episode, Joe found himself  in the bottom two again, losing out to Tia Kofi in the lip-sync battle to ” Don’t Leave Me This Way” by The Communards.

In the episode that bridged the seven month gap in filming across the Coronavirus pandemic, RuPaul re-opened the competition with a shock announcement: Veronica Green would not be returning to the competition due to a positive Coronavirus test. There is however an open invitation for Veronica to return to the next series.

This left one space open in the competition… Disguised as the Brit Crew, previously eliminated queens Joe Black, Cherry Valentine and Asttina Mandella returned to set and pitched their claim for why they deserved to take back their place in the race.

After a vote, the majority of the seven remaining queens chose Joe Black, 31, from Brighton, to continue competing alongside them in the Olympics of Drag.

(C) World of Wonder – Photographer: Guy Levy

In the maxi challenge, The RuRuvision Song Contest,  the Queens were asked to form two groups for a Europop battle. With Joe as team leader of Bananadrama, and Lawrence Chaney as team leader of the United Kingdolls, they paid glorious homage to Eurovision, performing the same catchy song “ UK Hun? “

Chart-topper MNEK helped to vocal coach before joining Michelle Visage and Graham Norton on the judging panel.

The winners of the challenge was the United Kingdolls, and so RuPaul declared that Joe Black and Tia Kofi as members of the losing girl band were up for elimination.  On this occasion, Tia survived her second lip sync and Joe Black  was asked to sashay away.

On Joe’s performance, Michelle said: “Tonight on the runway… I loved it. It was magical. But it was in the challenge that the conundrum happened.”

Graham Norton said: “I was so happy you were back Joe, because I wanted to see more. In the challenge, you seemed like the most deliberately not in that group. That is probably not the thing to do when it’s a group challenge… But your runway look was genius. It’s one thing to have a funny idea, but you executed it SO well.”

(C) World of Wonder – Photographer: Guy Levy

MNEK said: “When we were recording there was some timing issues – I think that could slightly be applied to the dancing too… But the runway, I loved the imagination that came with it.”

RuPaul, as ultimate judge, chose Joe to leave the competition: “Joe Black. Thank you for serving us another cup of Joe. Now, sashay away.” 

Joe Black said: “I’m back again and in the spirit of Eurovision… nil points! I was less of a wallflower than I thought I was last time and I got to show people a bit of me because I got to show this silly bloody costume. There were only eight people left and to that crown I was Glenn Close… but no cigar!”

Joe left a note in lipstick on the mirror in the werk room: I can’t be bothered writing another message… I am only so capable of so many mirror messages and goodbyes. Bye. (AGAIN!)”

The remaining seven queens go forward to next week as they continue to battle it out to be crowned the UK’s Next Drag Race Superstar when RuPaul’s Drag Race UK returns on Thursday 18th February from 7pm exclusively on BBC Three via iPlayer.

Joe Black Q&A

(C) World of Wonder – Photographer: Guy Levy

What was it like returning to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK?

SURPRISING! I’m sort of glad I didn’t have the whole of lockdown to worry and stew over it. It came as quite the surprise to me to suddenly get that call before filming went back and to not know what was gonna happen when I walked back in that ominous pink room… while dressed as an elephant.

It did also kind of feel like I’d never left? It felt very ‘ah yes, here we are again’ in a familiar way, despite the huge gap.

Didn’t miss the on set food though…!

Was there anything you would change?

Not at all. As I’ve said before, everything plays out like it does for a reason. This was my particular journey and i can’t stand the idea of going ‘well what if i had just…?’ ya know? That would eat you up wouldn’t it? I’d wear that H&M dress again in a heartbeat. I thought it was cute. Clearly it’s an emotional piece! Very moving. I didn’t realise pink velvet could evoke such drama!

What’s your new favourite memory from the show?

Well I’m not sure I would say my favourite…but I’ve been in a pop group now. Which I’m glad to say won’t be happening again! I’ll stick to my gin martini’s and seedy back alley cabaret show vibes from here on out. Much more me! ha.

Though working in a group was new for me, so I’m pleased I got to do that, despite the result. 

I am such a fan of Tia and I think she has the most wonderful energy as a general human being. We’ve become very close and I would say that is my favourite part perhaps!

(C) World of Wonder – Photographer: Ray Burmiston

Veronica Green Q&A

 How was it leaving the competition when you found out?

When I found out I was not allowed back on set and had been withdrawn from the competition I cried. I was upset for about 3 days. All the hard work I’d put into the show and the effort I’d made preparing to return felt like it was all for nothing…

Q) What have you learned from the experience?

I learned that not everyone gets my sense of humour and that’s ok. I’ve also learned that I need to be quicker getting into drag as I was always one of the last queens ready for the runway!

Q) What’s the one thing you’ll never forgot about your time on the series?

I’ll never forget winning my first RuPeter badge! I was so thrilled to excel on the musical theatre challenge so it’s a real highlight I’ll never forget.

Notes:

Veronica Green has since made a full recovery from Coronavirus and wishes her sisters well for the remainder of the competition.

BBC Three exclusively brings the award-winning global phenomenon RuPaul’s Drag Race UK to British screens for the second time. Twelve of the country’s most fabulous drag queens are competing in the Olympics of drag, in the hope that RuPaul, Queen of Queens, will crown them as the UK’s Next Drag Race Superstar.

Each week the queens will face challenges designed to fully test their drag expertise to the max. Watch them slay, werk the runway, sashay away and lip sync for their lives as they compete for the most prestigious title in drag.

New episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK land on BBC Three from 7pm every Thursday, exclusively available on BBC iPlayer.

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