Welcome to Canada’s Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Friday, 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. We’re down to the final four after a makeover challenge. As we head into the ball, we’re bracing ourselves to see one more queen go home. Who will just miss out on the finale?
5. Lemon (last week: 1) — ELIMINATED
I don’t think Lemon’s makeover was bad, just one of the less solid of the lot. She made her partner look older, which is a capital crime in these challenges. Had someone who’s so far done worse in the competition flopped, though, I think Lemon could’ve skated to safety. Unfortunately for her, the most likely eliminees—Scarlett Bobo and Priyanka—both delivered, leaving her vulnerable to be placed in the bottom and eliminated. Which, of course, is exactly what happened.
On last week’s power ranking Facebook post, a commenter raised the point that a New York queen winning Canada’s Drag Race’s in its first season would be an odd look for the show. While I’m a big Lemon fan, and think she did more than enough to earn the crown this season, I take the point. Bring Lemon back for an American All Stars and let her run the table there. Her elimination guarantees that a Canadian resident will win this season.
4. Rita Baga (last week: 4)
I don’t think it’ll be a surprise when I say I’d have preferred to see Rita go home. You can argue the merits of her more emotional lip-syncing style versus Lemon’s dance-focused performance, but I don’t think either definitively won or lost. And, in general, I’m less high on Rita than I was on Lemon. But Rita has been a frontrunner all season long; eliminating her at this stage was unlikely. Frankly, I’m surprised they made her lip sync at all, considering how the judges have protected her from even bottom three placements this season. But Rita was by far the worst this week.
Gazing into my crystal ball of production predictions, I could see one of two paths for Rita. She could easily win next week’s ball, bouncing her back up the charts and gliding into an easy victory in the finale. Lip-syncing the week before the last possible moment gives a queen some recovery time. Alternately, she could fail to impress in the ball despite two design challenge wins already, and thus walk into the finale an underdog—even with her impressive record. She could go home, but Canada’s Drag Race not having a Québécoise queen in the final three—especially one with the best track record so far—seems unlikely. I’m less confident about Rita’s win than I was just two weeks ago, but I still think she’s making the finale.
3. Jimbo (last week: 3)
This is the third time Jimbo has gotten largely positive critiques, only to be placed in the bottom three by strange circumstances. It happened on the recycling design challenge, last week in the pageant, and again in this episode. I don’t know why she’s been subject to this so frequently, but I do think the judges’ treatment of Jimbo is a good case to study as they plan to improve for next season. It’s not just a snotty comment or two from Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman; it’s that their critiques and ranking of Jimbo have often not made any sense.
That said, things were tight, particularly this week: Priyanka and Scarlett were the clear top two, and Lemon and Rita were the clear bottom two. In order to keep any sense of drama, Jimbo had to be considered for elimination, but it never seemed serious. Unfortunately, it does make Jimbo’s overall record much spottier than it should be, meaning her likelihood of taking the crown is low. I think she could make it to the final three with Rita and Priyanka, but it all depends on one queen…
2. Scarlett Bobo (last week: 2)
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Scarlett Bobo has five high placements to her record this season, plus one strong Snatch Game performance that was nonetheless ruled safe (owing to tough competition). She’s never placed so much as low. Scarlett could, theoretically, be the first queen since Bianca Del Rio to enter the finale without a single bottom three placement. And considering the underdog narrative we’ve been served this season, I very much see a world where Scarlett wins next week and springboards into the finale with all the momentum.
But, even as someone who’s rooting for Scarlett, I have to admit that’s unlikely. The much likelier path is that she’s eliminated next week, leaving us Rita, Jimbo and Priyanka as the final three. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Scarlett, but I’m quietly making peace with her potential elimination next week. I will say, I think it’s a win-or-be-eliminated situation for her next episode, with no middle ground—I don’t think we’ll see a finalist without any wins this season.
1. Priyanka (last week: 5)
A strong win for Priyanka, who has been struggling in the competition as of late (save for her stellar lip syncs). She figured out what is often the key in these makeover challenges: similar outfits, different colours or treatments, but beats and hair that pull the looks together. The judges typically want you to look similar, but not like clones. Making her partner’s look a mini-skirted piece while hers was a bodysuit was very smart. It’s not the best makeover we’ve ever seen on Drag Race, but Priyanka handled the challenge like a problem to be solved. And she got exactly the right answer, showing her work along the way.
Last week, I compared Priyanka to Adore Delano’s in Season 6: A rough-around-the-edges but incredibly charismatic queen who’s only been doing drag for a couple of years, impresses early in a performance challenge, but has to lip sync twice mid-season during a struggle arc. This win at final five only further extends the comparison, though Adore’s win was in the ball, not the makeover. (Adore actually had to lip sync after her makeover.)
Unlike Adore, however, Priyanka is not going up against anyone with one of the best track records in Drag Race herstory. Sure, Scarlett might pull off a no-lows record, but she’ll have at max one win to her name, not three. If Rita continues to wane, I think Priyanka could sneak in and win the season. But it’s worth noting that she’d be the first non-All Stars winner in Drag Race herstory to win after being in the bottom two twice. (Drag Race Thailand Season 2 winner Angele Anang did lip sync twice, but was in the bottom three only one.)
Track records are made to be disregarded in the modern era of Drag Race, so I don’t think this will hold Priyanka back. But if the judges decide they want to split hairs, it is a mark against her. She’ll need to really turn it out in these last two episodes to seal the deal and claim her crown.