Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Saturday, we’ll debrief the previous night’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. This week, we accept the painful reality that is Manila Luzon’s elimination, and prepare ourselves for the final four.
6. Manila Luzon (last week: 2) — ELIMINATED
I’m gonna need some time to process this one. I knew something was going to happen with Manila; there was far too much foreshadowing about her being a wild card and unpredictable in her elimination pattern for that particular gun not to go off by Act Five. But seeing her get sixth place despite an unimpeachable record? Despite killer runways all season long? Despite playing the damn game in a way that entertained and thrilled us?
Naomi made the best choice for herself going forward, but it may have been the worst choice for getting a truly deserving winner of All Stars 4.
5. Monique Heart (last week: 5)
If Monique were a legitimate threat to win, we would be seeing so much more excitement from the judges about her right now. At best, she seems like the third- or fourth-placer RuPaul summarily eliminates before the final lip sync. At worst, she could be our next eliminee.
It’s a shame, because I do think Monique has done incredibly well this season, but she’s running into the same wall she did during Season 10: the judges just don’t quite love her.
4. Latrice Royale (last week: 3)
Were I producing this season, I’d be looking at my available cast remaining and say: “Who’s still got story left?” Not necessarily to win the whole season, but to make the final two episodes not feel like an inevitable march to the finish line. Latrice, the returning queen who just made it further than any returning queen has before, just lost her best friend in the competition. That, to me, is the story. And that’s why I think Latrice has a shot of outlasting at least one of these girls.
3. Monét X Change (last week: 4)
I’ll admit I don’t totally get why Monét won this week. Her makeover was not substantially better than her makeover was in Season 10. But, the important thing is, the judges did. They’re responding to Monét in a big way, and have been basically since the roast. Her momentum is high. She just needs to kill it for two more weeks to give herself a real shot at the big win.
2. Naomi Smalls (last week: 6)
I am still incredibly skeptical of a Naomi win — she has a worse track record than anyone else left in the competition and was basically invisible in the edit for the first half of the competition — but I gotta admit, the Season 8 fashion queen has really surprised me. Case in point: I think her “Causing a Commotion” lip sync from Season 8 was one of the all-time worst. Yet both her lip syncs this season — “Adrenaline” and this week’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” — would rank among the all-time best. What did she do to up her skill so heavily?
Regardless of how, the result is that she’s walking into the final two episodes with the most momentum of anyone, even Monét. I think she could easily finish as the season’s runner-up — as long as there’s no damn jury, that is.
1. Trinity the Tuck (last week: 1)
I have no enthusiasm for Trinity, who I think is incredibly technically accomplished and yet is somehow very rarely fun to watch. I actually had a lot more fun watching Trinity in Season 9, when she was an underdog and slowly learning she could be more than just a pageant queen.
It is very rarely satisfying to watch the obvious winner succeed. It’s like watching the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl, as we’ll probably all do tomorrow. Rarely, someone can make technical perfection interesting, as Bianca Del Rio did in Season 6. In that season, which suffered from an utter drought of story, Bianca fashioned herself into a new drag mom for younger queens Adore Delano and Trinity K Bonet. It was so compelling to watch her, you didn’t mind that she was stomping the competition flat.
That has not been the case for Trinity. She started the season winning, and it looks like she’ll be ending the season winning. My sincere hope is that someone else — who is exciting to watch, is qualified in their drag and performance, and has a compelling narrative reason to win — takes home the crown. Otherwise, we’ll just have to be satisfied that the Patriots won again.