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. Faced with writing and performing rap verses, most of the queens spilled plenty of tea. But when it came to dancing and lip-syncing, some found themselves struggling to keep up. Who can boast that they won this rap battle?
10. Anastarzia Anaquway (last week: 5) — ELIMINATED
Look, I’m not going to argue that Anastarzia was that good in the challenge this week, or even that she shouldn’t have gone home. Her verse was solid, but she seemingly didn’t even attempt to lip sync the group portions of the song, and she fell out of step with the choreography. Drag Race is about being able to deliver on the day, and Anastarzia couldn’t do that. But I will say that some of her critiques, like so many this season, were frustrating. She tried to have fun with the Cousin It-into-Chun-Li look on the runway, but was told it was confusing. Then, she was told she wasn’t having enough fun in the main challenge, and needed to let her poised pageant exterior melt away. I’d be incredibly frustrated with the mixed messages if I were her. Add to it that her fantastic work in the premiere design challenge got ignored, and you can’t help but feel like Anastarzia didn’t get an entirely fair shake.
9. Tynomi Banks (last week: 9)
Tynomi is this season’s first lip sync assassin, capable of both interpreting the song in her sync while also keeping herself moving. A strong dance should not be a substitute for great lip sync, but Tynomi delivers both. That only makes it more baffling when she fell apart in the challenge. She was stellar learning the choreography and in the recording session, yet her lip sync was a mess. There were whole sections of the song she didn’t lip sync—including in her own verse—which makes me think she knew she wasn’t getting the words right, and preferred to not even try rather than continue struggling. That perfectionistic side she mentioned last week comes back up once again.
I actually liked Tynomi’s runway more than the judges did, but I’m not sure it would’ve been enough to save her from the bottom two even if they did like it. I hope Tynomi can pull it together and deliver on the level of a legend such as she, because I really like her! I’m rooting for her! I’m just worried she’s disappointed the judges too many times to save herself at this point.
8. Ilona Verley (last week: 8)
Much as I’d like to argue Ilona should’ve been bottom two for her incredibly out-of-sync challenge performance, if I’m judging the way the panel is and factoring in runway… then yeah, Ilona deserved to skate to safety. I’m not much on powder blue being her “brand” (can a colour really be a brand?), but the poodle look was a very clever interpretation of both her signature colour and the runway category. Ilona is struggling in this competition, though. Unless she can really impress in the paper design challenge next week, I’m not sure how long she’ll stick around.
7. Kiara (last week: 2)
Like I said in the recap, I was flummoxed when Kiara was in the bottom this week, not the top. She wrote a great verse and performed it well—she hit all of her words and nailed the dancing, unlike several others. Yes, her performance outfit was a little simple, but it’s a performance outfit! And it was coordinated with her team! The one note I’d give there is that the wig was flat, but the team was clearly going for a multicolour thing, so that may well have been her only choice. Then on the runway, I wouldn’t have given her top marks, but I certainly wouldn’t have derided her Studio 54 fantasy the way the panel did. She sold the hell out of it in her runway presentation, which is enough for other queens to skate by, but not Kiara. Unfortunately, the judges coming down so hard on Kiara gives me the sense that she’s fodder, and isn’t a priority for the show. I want the most for Kiara, and I’m officially concerned after her critiques this week.
6. Jimbo (last week: 4)
I’m still on the Jimbo train, but I’ll admit I’m looking at making a connecting train soon. Her runways continue to impress (all the wigs this week!), and will likely keep her out of the bottom for the foreseeable future. But she got an undeserved top placement last week, and escaped critique this week despite an unenthusiastic dancing performance (not to mention one of the weaker verses, although “RuPaul’s Disgrace” was a great turn of phrase). Jimbo is best when she’s creating characters—as she does with her Nancy Grace in the news anchor mini-challenge—so I think she’ll do best in Snatch Game. Here, expected to perform as herself in a group, she couldn’t get the hang of it. Again, I’m still in her corner, but I’m getting nervous about her longevity.
5. BOA (last week: 10)
The judges have repeatedly framed their love of BOA as something inexplicable (“It shouldn’t work, but it does!”), like she has this unreal charisma you can’t resist. I don’t totally get that, but I’ll chalk it up to her presence translating differently on TV than it does in person. What they’re overlooking, though, is BOA’s lack of refinement. Her verse was well-written and recorded, but her dancing wasn’t sharp enough to merit a top slot. I’m also shocked the judges are responding as positively as they are to her runways, which, yes, are fun and campy (this week’s bush moment in particular). But other queens are getting far worse critiques for going similarly campy, like Anastarzia did this week.
BOA seems game and fun, and that can get you far on Drag Race. And the judges are clearly obsessed with her, which is why she’s this high on the power ranking. I just hope she eventually gets the same kinds of critiques as other queens—to give her a real opportunity to grow.
4. Rita Baga (last week: 6)
Of the veteran queens (a group I’m using for Tynomi, Anastarzia, Jimbo, and Rita, although you could argue BOA and/or Scarlett belongs in this category too), Rita managed the dancing the best, and used her vocal ability to deliver something different than the other girls. She also once again turned a fully conceptualized look on the runway, complete with a massive wig. As I mentioned last week, what’s keeping Rita afloat week after week is how high a standard she consistently hits. However, as the other girls turn in flashier performances, I wonder if Rita might look a little staid in comparison. She needs another trip to the top soon to keep her in both the judges’ and audience’s minds.
3. Lemon (last week: 1)
Lemon kept her roll going by winning the news anchor mini-challenge alongside Priyanka. Where Lemon really excels is in her delivery: She’s so natural and smooth in reading lines that, when it comes to any type of acting challenge, I’d put best odds on her to take the win. She was slightly less successful in the rap battle challenge, although I’d personally have given her a top spot over BOA (but not over Kiara). She really is remarkable as a dancer, picking up the choreography in no time, and unlike her fellow dancer Tynomi, she didn’t give up in the lip-syncing department. I didn’t love her repeatedly declaring herself a “rapstress” over and over —it felt like trying to force a meme through—but I’m not going to let one minor irritation with her cloud how I feel about her performance otherwise this week. She’s still clearly a frontrunner.
2. Scarlett Bobo (last week: 7)
Aesthetically they’re quite different, but in attitude, Scarlett reminds me a lot of Detox. They’re both very intelligent queens, and bring a very easy, steady polish to their drag—you can tell they don’t have to try that hard to look and act professional. But that polish can sometimes feel like coasting; like if they put in their maximum effort, the results would be jaw-dropping.
Scarlett gave us a peek into what that could look like this week with her performance. She’s clearly a titan of a performer, pulling out gymnastic tricks in her verse, and working hard on the runway to elevate what could’ve been considered just a bodysuit with hair. But there were still enough dropped words here and there (that she admittedly covered well) that you can tell she wasn’t fully committed. While she did well, I’m glad she didn’t take the win this week. Another queen was better, and this will push her to dial up the volume even further moving forward.
1. Priyanka (last week: 3)
I was thrilled to see Priyanka shine throughout this episode, both as a performer in the challenges and as a character on the show. Last week I hoped we would get to see more of her as a person, since we’d largely gotten max-energy fun vibes from her so far. Hearing her talk about her fears of coming out to her dad—worrying that, after everyone in her life was so supportive, the one who wouldn’t be would be someone who means so much to her—was quite touching. These kinds of personal moments can get a lot of criticism from the fans (largely because Drag Race tends to milk them for maximum impact), but as we saw with Shea Coulée and Jujubee on All Stars 5 last week, they can be beautiful when done correctly and tastefully. And giving us a window into the person behind the drag often increases our investment in their journey on the show.
I’m all-in on Priyanka now, and hope she can keep delivering at the level she brought this week. She’s got the potential to run the board on performance challenges, and has the personal style to ace the fashion challenges as well. If she plays her cards right, she could really give the veteran queens a run for their money this season.