(Editor’s Note: VH1 and World of Wonder have disqualified Sherry Pie over serious catfishing allegations involving five men. A spokesperson for VH1 and World of Wonder said the season will air as planned “out of respect for the hard work of the other queens.” In keeping with this decision, we will omit Sherry Pie from this season’s rankings.)
Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Sunday, we’ll debrief this week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. Snatch Game comes a bit earlier this season, as 10 queens battle it out in a round of celebrity impressions. Who leaves the biggest beauty mark on the competition?
9. Aiden Zhane (last week: 7) — ELIMINATED
And thus the epic saga of Aiden Zhane comes to an end. I hate that she was taken out by someone who had been so aggressive to her all season, but man, she really flopped in that lip sync. And the less said about her totally misjudged Snatch Game, the better. I wound up liking Aiden more this season than I anticipated I would; her performance in last week’s Untucked suggested that fire that Heidi and Ru saw in her. But she was not polished or impressive enough for this competition, and I’m glad she’s leaving before we get into the later rounds of this season.
8. Brita (last week: 8)
Here’s what I’ll say in Brita’s defence: I do believe she’s a better queen at home than she is on the show. I can’t say the same for Aiden, who just seems underbaked as an artist. Brita (who I’ve seen live, but not nearly extensively enough to speak as an expert on her) is a queen with a lot of natural talent and a well-developed drag persona. Drag Race is just proving to be an exceedingly bad outlet for her, from falling prey to all her worst habits (and being edited brutally for them) to suddenly getting stage anxiety every time a performance begins. Her lip sync to “Let It Go” was probably her best moment of the competition so far, but that’s not saying much. She’s just not long for this season.
7. Crystal Methyd (last week: 5)
My notes on Crystal haven’t really changed: She’s clearly unpolished, and maybe not even right for the competition, but RuPaul is invested in her. Ru’s going to keep Crystal in until she shows up on the runway in El DeBarge drag. Especially now that Aiden’s gone, Crystal’s gonna get all of Ru’s motherly attention: She’s a pet project. Ru loves a project! I appreciated that Gigi spoke up in the workroom that Crystal’s Poppy was technically on point, because she was! She just should’ve known better than to do a character Ru doesn’t know. The point of Snatch Game is to make Ru laugh, and that’s it. And Crystal failed at that task.
6. Widow Von’Du (last week: 2)
I was pretty put off by Widow’s choice to do both Ike and Tina Turner. I get what Widow was saying in the workroom about being in an abusive relationship herself, so it’s possible this choice was designed to help her laugh through that pain. Still, the “eat the cake” scene from What’s Love Got to Do With It? that Widow did in character is a dark depiction of abuse, and using it as a joke (complete with prop!) feels pretty insensitive. Additionally, on a technical level, I hate when queens do two characters in Snatch Game. I didn’t like it with Bob the Drag Queen, I didn’t like it with Nina West, and I don’t like it now. Pick one character and do them well. Widow’s Tina barely got off the ground because she switched to Ike so quickly. Moreover, Widow felt isolated from the crowd dynamic—she had no banter with the rest of the group.
Widow’s edit is making it hard to fully get on board with her. Even when she’s doing well, she has a negative energy (see: Her excuse-making in this week’s Untucked). She’s revealed a lot about herself and her story in the workroom; I appreciate where she comes from and how it might influence her decision-making on the show. I just wish the edit were making it easier to love Widow as a character and competitor.
5. Jan (last week: 4)
The fandom seems furious that Jan hasn’t been properly recognized this season, and I…cannot quite stand with them! Okay, so yes, she should’ve been top two with Jaida in the premiere. But since then, she did just fine in the improv challenge and was in the top group last week. (I will not harp on her runway looks any further, because I’ve said my piece on them, but suffice it to say I don’t think she did great in the ball, either.) I’m guessing she would’ve been singled out last week if there had been a clear top three, but there wasn’t. And this week, she turned in a pretty standard Bernadette Peters in Snatch Game.
My theory on why Jan is resonating with fans: She’s a fan herself. It’s a kick to see her burst into the workroom and say “We’re on Drag Race! How fun!” Because it would be fun! But so far, I couldn’t tell you who Jan really is as a drag queen. She’s playing Drag Race like it’s a board game, and while the show is a game to win, that doesn’t change the fact that not enough of Jan is coming through. This invisible edit is rough, too; I have a feeling the first time she’s critiqued, Jan will be in trouble.
4. Heidi N. Closet (last week: 9)
A good recovery from Heidi after last week’s misstep. Although Ru tried to talk her out of it, Leslie Jones was the right kind of choice for Heidi. She’s a brash and funny personality like Heidi, so it’s not much of a stretch, but it’s enough that Leslie comes across as a different character. Unrelated: Heidi was in a lot of this week’s episode! That’s a lot of confessionals for safe! I think Heidi is officially this season’s narrator, which is very good news for both her longevity on the show and her odds of Miss Congeniality/All Stars.
3. Jaida Essence Hall (last week: 6)
If third place feels way too high for Jaida, you’re right! This is what happens when we can’t talk about a certain dessert-based competitor who keeps doing very well!
Anyway, Jaida was solid in the Snatch Game, nailing Cardi’s look and getting a lot of her mannerisms. I’d compare her performance to Shea Coulée’s Naomi Campbell in Season 9, or Violet Chacki’s Alyssa Edwards in Season 7: They’re not the best impressions, but they get at a lot of what’s funny about the character and serve solid entertainment throughout. This week, that’s good enough for a high spot on this list.
2. Jackie Cox (last week: 3)
Robbed queen. Okay, maybe only in my heart. I objectively know that Gigi smashed it this week, and I’d have given it to her as well if I were Ru. But my god, if you’ve watched Lisa Rinna at all on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, you know just how amazing Jackie’s Rinna was. She got every joke, from the Depends diapers to the obsession with Harry Hamlin to the iconic fight in Amsterdam. And she made it all funny! This was an impression right up my alley, and I was bowled over. Consider me 100 percent aboard the Jackie train.
1. Gigi Goode (last week: 1)
If Sherry was going to be Gigi’s main competition, editing her out of the season has left us with, well, a steamroll. And as I said last week, I really don’t like steamrolls. But…how can you deny what she’s doing? Gigi took a choice that was objectively “incorrect”—a knock-off of Sophia the Robot, who is not a person (and, I’m assuming thanks to copyright, called “Maria the Robot”) and Ru doesn’t know her—and knocked Snatch Game out of the park. Her comic timing was impeccable, both in verbal jokes and physical comedy. She used profanity, not as a crutch, but something organic to the jokes she was telling. And she kept pace with Ru like nobody’s business. Hers is a terrific win, and a sign that this steamroll isn’t stopping any time soon.