Welcome to Canada’s Drag Race Power Rankings! For the last time this season, we’ll debrief the week’s new episode of Canada’s Drag Race to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. Our winner has been crowned, so let’s take a look at how the final three fared in the finale.
RUNNER-UP: Rita Baga (last week: 3)
To crown Rita would be to crown an established veteran, like Bebe Zahara Benet or The Vivienne. It’s a crown for a stable leader for a new franchise. She may not be the most exciting or innovative choice, but she would have been a strong first step for a nascent series. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel; the wheel’s fabulous as it is.
But I am personally satisfied the crown went to another queen. As I have freely and fully admitted over the last few weeks, Rita was my third-of-three choices to win this season. That’s no slight on her, though. On the contrary, she brought a professionalism and polish to this whole season that made her a stand-out even when she wasn’t winning challenges. Her “You Oughta Know” lip sync proved she has what it takes to fight back when she’s up against the wall, and her confessionals showed off a quirky, funny side to her personality.
Had she won, Rita would have been one of the most well-rounded winners we’ve ever seen in the franchise. That showed in this finale, in which she wrote and sang very clever lyrics, turned out two very distinctive looks in the performance and on the runway and moved well both in the choreographed section and the final lip sync. She proved herself a triple threat, and I’ve no doubt she’ll continue to do so long after this season ends.
RUNNER-UP: Scarlett Bobo (last week: 1)
To crown Scarlett would be to return to the era of track records trumping all—and I’m not just talking wins. Without so much as a dash of pink on her Wikipedia chart to represent a “LOW” score, Scarlett has one of the most sterling performances in franchise herstory. Shouldn’t that count for something?
The argument against track records is that they’re only a reflection of the judges’ preferences, which can be influenced by other factors (production, arbitrary judging, etc.). But if you look back at Scarlett’s whole run in the competition, her report card is actually a fair reflection of her performance. She never made a real misstep—though I know I was higher on her makeover than most—and slowly revealed more and more of herself as the competition went on. I liked her at the start, but didn’t fully commit to wanting her to win until near the end of the season. Her consistency appealed to me at a time when other performers were faltering.
But I do think Scarlett’s arc peaked just a week too early. Her victory was her win in the Snow Ball; the narrative for her to take home the crown never felt strong enough. Of the three, she’d have been the one I was most surprised to see win (albeit, delighted nonetheless). I’m very glad she got a chance to really unleash in the final lip sync, and her dancing in the final performance was by far the best of the lot. I also loved her final runway, which both felt appropriate for a crowning and also distinctly Scarlett. She’s a star, no argument—she just wasn’t meant to be Canada’s Next Drag Superstar.
WINNER: Priyanka (last week: 2)
To crown Priyanka would be to decide a winner in line with the modern Drag Race thinking: With a focus on fan response and who stands to be the biggest star off the show. Whether she won or not, I was sure Priyanka would go on to amazing things. She will be an amazing ambassador for Canada’s Drag Race as its first winner.
I would have been a little stunned, after watching the finale, if Priyanka did not win. Narratively, it truly felt like the cards fell into place for her victory. She had the most emotional final speech, the best final runway and stellar performances in both the Rumix and the final lip sync. Granted, Rita and Scarlett both did well, too, but something felt different with Priyanka. She was the narrator of this first season of Canada’s Drag Race, and while narrators don’t always get the crown, theirs often feel like the most satisfying wins. Whether or not Jinkx Monsoon was your favourite of Season 5, for instance, there’s no doubt that season felt like her telling the story all along.
It was absolutely correct from a storytelling perspective that Priyanka won. The whole top three was fabulous, but Pri was the one whose story we followed all season long; she had the whole fandom saying her name. Her win is herstoric for a couple of reasons: First, she is the only non-All Stars winner to be in the bottom two twice and win the season. (She is not the only to lip sync twice and win, however; Angele Anang from Drag Race Thailand season 2 once lip-synced in a bottom three.) More significantly, Priyanka is one of only two Asian winners on a North American season of the show after Season 3 winner Raja. Priyanka is also the first South Asian winner across the entire franchise. Like Fashion Photo Ruview host Raja, I’m dying to see Priyanka in more projects on WOW Presents Plus. Give her and best friend Lemon a show à la The Vivienne and Baga Chipz! Give her a solo children’s show to tie in her prior hosting experience! Give her both! Give her the world, honestly.
Priyanka is incredibly talented, she has the audience behind her—and now she has the crown.