The cast of Canada's Drag Race
The cast of ‘Canada’s Drag Race’ Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media; Francesca Roh/Xtra
Canada's Drag Race
7 min

‘Canada’s Drag Race’ Episode 1 power ranking: Finding your Roots

Welcome to Canada’s Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Friday, we’ll debrief this week’s new episode of Canada’s Drag Race to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. It’s a whole new game as 12 queens fight to become the new Queen of the North. Who is already climbing to the top of the competition after a design challenge?

12. Juice Boxx — ELIMINATED

Juice Boxx
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

The writing was on the wall from the word go with Juice, as she got herself stuck in her tights during her entrance. Instantly iconic! But a sign of bad things to come. Juice strikes me as a ton of fun, and a very talented queen (love her Instagram), but her nerves quickly revealed themselves in her main stage panic attack. Drag Race is a damn tough show, and it’s not the right fit for every queen. If Juice struggled this much in week one, I’m not sure she’d have held up well several weeks in. Sad to see her go, but the right choice by the judges.

11. Kyne

Kyne
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

This absolutely kills me, because Kyne was far and away my favourite coming into this competition. I love her math lesson Tik Toks, not just because I learn from them—which I do! I’m math-challenged!—but because they feel like a real innovation in how queens can do drag online. Drag as a way to teach things unrelated to drag is such a fun concept.

Unfortunately, Kyne’s introduction on Canada’s Drag Race was the opposite of fun. She did fare well in the mini-challenge—wouldn’t have been my pick for the win, but I totally got it—yet she quickly let that go to her head. Confidence is vital on Drag Race; cockiness can be deadly if you can’t back it up. Her defence of her look on the runway came across as bratty, and her tantrum over being beat out by BOA in Mini-Untucked was a terrible look. She’s lucky she didn’t have to lip sync and got away with just a warning from Brooke Lynn Hytes and the panel. She needs to adjust how she presents herself to the judges and fast, because I doubt they’ll give her another pass.

10. Lemon

Lemon
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

The judges favourably compared Lemon to Kyne in terms of how they took critiques, which is a good sign for Lemon moving forward. It seems simple, but on a show like this, listening to and respecting the panel goes such a long way. Everything about Lemon this week was a hit for me besides her challenge outfit. I loved her entrance look, appreciated the backstory we got from her about working in New York City, and even liked the lemons on her shirt in her confessional. She’s a thoughtful queen! Unfortunately, her look on the runway was bad enough to drag down the average. She threw too many ideas into it, and the overall effect was cute-but-cheap. Points for winning the lip sync, but I do think Lemon touted her dance ability too much (one of the best in Drag Race herstory?) for what she delivered.

9. Kiara

Kiara
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

It feels strange to rank Kiara this low, since basically everything about her first episode performance was solid. Her entrance look was colourful and memorable, her photo in the mini-challenge shoot was good, and her runway look was one of the better concepts, although there was a lot going on with it. This is just a very strong group across the board, and so far Kiara’s fading into the background a bit. It’s early, and not every queen stands out in a premiere. But with a fairly small cast, it’s worrisome when you aren’t getting edit and narrative attention from the jump.

8. Tynomi Banks

Tynomi Banks
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

Truthfully, everything I said about Kiara could be applied to Tynomi, but with one crucial difference: Tynomi was one of the queens hailed as a legend by her fellow cast members during her entrance. That automatically puts her a bit ahead, even if she largely faded into the background for the rest of the episode. Her challenge outfit was fine, but not particularly memorable. I much preferred her entrance look, which served body-ody-ody. I hope she sticks around and shows off what else she has to offer.

7. Ilona Verley

Ilona Verley
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

We’re getting a self-aware villain edit with Ilona, which is fun! Queens on the American series come in so nervous about how they’ll be received by fans that we don’t see such arch personalities these days. Impressively, she wasn’t reduced to being just a villain, though. She got space to speak about being Two-Spirit and embracing her Indigenous identity. That’s a good sign that Ilona’s arc won’t be as one-dimensional as villain edits can sometimes be. She may have come in declaring herself a bitch, but we’re already getting to know her as more than that.

Her runway look was not one of my favourites—I think she needed to go farther with her dug-out-of-the-grave concept, considering her wig was mighty clean for being fresh out of the ground. But I like that she tried something different. I’m eager to see how she does in a performance challenge, and if she can work well with a team.

6. Priyanka

Priyanka
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

Priyanka is a screamer! Priyanka makes Peppermint’s Season 9 run look quiet by comparison! There was very little this episode that didn’t inspire a primal yell from Priyanka: her entrance, the mini-challenge, the judges’ entrance, Jimbo taking her makeup off… Priyanka is a lot! But so far, it’s a fun kind of lot. Her mini-challenge photo was arguably the worst of the set, and at first, I thought her runway was similarly underwhelming. The bathing suit silhouette is just never going to win a design challenge on Drag Race. But a closer look at the outfit revealed a lot of details: a net placed perfectly on the side, the crab legs on her shoes, and so on. Priyanka’s surprisingly thoughtful in her presentation. She’s a sleeper queen, but don’t sleep on her. (The screams will wake you up anyway.)

5. Scarlett Bobo

Scarlett Bobo
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

I’m very into Scarlett, and I can’t totally explain why. Her photoshoot was very good—I’d probably have given her the win—but her runway look was a bunch of elements we’ve seen before. It was exactly good enough to land her in the safe group. Still, what I like about Scarlett isn’t tied to her performance so much as her natural charisma. She’s entertaining basically every moment she’s on camera, whether she’s gagging over BOA’s entrance or wondering what Jimbo will really look like. (“There could’ve been anybody under there! My mom could’ve been under there!”) She may just be a confessional queen this season, but I do have a soft spot for the confessional queens.

4. BOA

Boa
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

Okay, so first things first: Kyne was rude in how she went about it, but I do think her confusion over BOA’s top placement was justified. Even when accounting for the judges gushing over the Bitch On Arrival’s personality, the look was still not worthy of being in contention for the win. Guest host Elisha Cuthbert got the closest to actually critiquing the outfit in deliberations, noting what a mishmash of concepts it was, but even she ultimately still liked it. What I will give BOA props for, though, is how she handled Kyne’s outburst in Mini-Untucked. She didn’t let Kyne undermine her moment, and their little exchange made me cheer: “BOA beat us,” Kyne exclaimed. “Well, I’m amazing, bitch!” BOA replied. That’s how you stand up for yourself.

3. Anastarzia Anaquway

Anastarzia
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

It’s wild Anastarzia wasn’t in the top three this episode. She sewed a ribbed red cape jacket, complete with zipper. It was easily the most impactful single garment on the runway. Sure, the red bodysuit under it wasn’t quite as impressive, but the look wasn’t about the bodysuit. She went all-in on the cape, and she delivered. Anastarzia actually delivered all episode, from her strong entrance look and line to reading Kyne during her tantrum. Give this pageant queen her due, Canada’s Drag Race! She and her stack of titles deserved to be on top this week.

2. Rita Baga

Rita Baga
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

Rita took the win this week, and I totally get why. Her performance all episode came across as very polished—you can see why the younger queens think of her as a legend. (“The new generation, they do call me a legend sometimes, and I’m always like, I’m not that old, bitch!”) She also proved herself motherly, sharing some of her cape with Juice Boxx during her panic attack. I’m getting major long-term threat vibes from Rita. But while I liked her runway look, especially the snow-covered bootie heels, I wouldn’t personally have given her the win. The dress under her coat looked a little too cheap for how long she wore it on the runway. Had she kept the coat on throughout, I might’ve felt differently. A very strong runner-up performance, but not quite win-worthy in my books.

1. Jimbo

Jimbo
Credit: Courtesy of Bell Media

I am all in on Jimbo. She’s weird as fuck, and I love it. Drag Race has seen its share of self-described weirdos, and the fanbase has grown weary of them. But what I like so much about Jimbo is that her strangeness is entirely built into her character. She doesn’t need to repeatedly proclaim her oddball nature; in fact, in confessionals, she’s remarkably calm and collected. She was hilarious during the mini-challenge: Screaming like a madwoman wasn’t going to get her the win, but she still made the biggest impact.

Had she come out in something self-consciously quirky for the main challenge, I’d have doubts, but Jimbo wisely took the opportunity to deliver something exceptionally polished. Her rainbow zipper skirt was a design marvel; Elisha was right when she pointed out how meticulously Jimbo layered the different colours of zippers together. Her choice of wig really pulled the look together, too. Jimbo’s the real deal. She has me genuinely excited to see how she’ll approach every challenge this season, and that’s a great place to be post-premiere.