The cast of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5’
The cast of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5’ Credit: Courtesy VH1; Francesca Roh/Xtra
RuPaul's Drag Race
6 min

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5’ Episode 2 power ranking: Verse-atility

Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Sunday, we’ll debrief the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. The queens split up into girl groups and record their own verses, which is a brand new Drag Race challenge for most. Who rises to the occasion, and who got axed from the group?

9. Ongina (last week: 9 — ELIMINATED)

Credit: Courtesy VH1

How crushing it must be to spend years trying to get onto All Stars, only to fall apart when you finally get there. Ongina’s voice was not her friend this week; the judges mostly ignored it in their critiques, but she just sounded so low-energy in her recording. I did like her performance on the main stage, and I loved her runway look, but I can see why it wasn’t enough coming off her performance last week. Ongina’s number was called, and it was her time to go.

To her credit, she knew it, although I’m with Alexis Mateo: I wish Ongina hadn’t given up this early. Had she taken a breath and given herself a second, I’m confident she could’ve pulled it together and turned her arc around. But Ongina tapped out, and there was likely nothing that could’ve changed her mind once she made her speech to the group.

8. India Ferrah (last week: 3)

India Ferrah
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Ah yes, the Fall From Grace All Stars storyline. This happens nearly every season: a top performer from the first week falls into the bottom the very next, and sometimes even gets eliminated. Tatianna and Roxxxy Andrews in All Stars 2. Monique Heart in All Stars 4. And now, India Ferrah in All Stars 5. There’s no real common thread as to why this happens—Tati and Roxxxy genuinely disappointed in Snatch Game, while Monique’s appearance in the bottom was more about an off day when everyone else did well. I’d say India’s Fall From Grace is a mix of those two circumstances, with the added element that India had an anchor around her neck after losing the lip sync to Yvie Oddly last week.

I don’t believe there was any real chance of India going home, as she wasn’t bad in the performance, but this should serve as a wake-up call to her and the cast. All Stars does not allow as many escapes from the bottom for high-performing queens as the main seasons do. If you trip up, you could easily wind up fighting for your life. And with the new voting format, being at risk is even more of a danger than before.

7. Mariah Balenciaga (last week: 4)

Mariah Balenciaga
Credit: Courtesy VH1

I’m very worried about Mariah’s longevity in this competition. I don’t get why she was put in the bottom this week—her performance wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t elimination-worthy, and neither Shea nor the other queens seemed to seriously consider chopping her. But the fact that she was in the bottom at all (and a bottom three at that! despite last week’s bottom two!) indicates the producers are not invested in her. This makes her safe placement for her excellent spoken word performance last week make more sense in retrospect. It feels like Drag Race is underestimating her potential. I hope I’m proven wrong and the show wakes up to what a talent she is right quick, because she deserves!

6. Mayhem Miller (last week: 8)

Mayhem Miller
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Mayhem was haunted by her experience being overshadowed by Cracker in Season 10’s “Bossy Rossy” challenge—which is understandable, since it led to her elimination. Unfortunately, she got distracted, and thus didn’t do as well as she could have this week. Especially with such a funny idea as writing a love song verse about Mr. Rogers! I probably would’ve placed her in the bottom three instead of Mariah, although I wouldn’t have actually put her up for elimination. There should’ve just been a bottom two this week, and it should’ve been India and Ongina. Good confessionals from Mayhem this week, though; she’s one of the major narrators of the season right now.

5. Miz Cracker (last week: 6)

Miz Cracker
Credit: Courtesy VH1

I was taken aback by Cracker’s storyline this week. She has an inability to understand what makes her “difficult,” and the other queens are united in that opinion. They don’t like working with her, and as Alexis and Mayhem note in Untucked, that unanimity of opinion means Cracker is the one who needs to change. (As Cracker herself notes, it’s pretty rough to have your fellow queens against you when your survival in the competition is dependent on them!) I think calling Cracker’s edit a “villain edit” isn’t quite accurate, but I do think it’s jarring coming off the everybody-say-love vibes of Season 12.

What Cracker’s dealing with goes beyond what Ru loves to call an “inner saboteur”—she needs to reevaluate how she interacts with the world, and with her fellow queens especially. Ongina calling Cracker out in her Instagram post on Friday night indicates their moment in Untucked didn’t come close to making amends for Cracker needlessly antagonizing Ongina in the cold open. Cracker’s undoubtedly talented, but I do worry about the kind of growth she needs to go through will be tough on a show like this. Her drag is great; it’s what’s in her head that needs attention. And while her performances have been solid so far, I’m not quite seeing a fire to win yet.

4. Jujubee (last week: 2)

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Perhaps blasphemous to say about my fave this season, but I actually would’ve put Alexis in the top three over Jujubee. (That said, I’d have put Juju in the top three over Alexis last week, so it all evens out.) While her lyrics were funny—the “fill my house” joke for John Stamos was excellent—her dancing was a little lower energy than I expected from Jujubee. She wouldn’t have been near the bottom for me or anything, but I was surprised to see her in contention for the win. She looked great on the runway, though. Juju isn’t typically a fashion girl, but her silhouette, face and hair this week were all aces. (I get what the safe girls said about her gown not touching the floor in Untucked, but I didn’t mind it.)

3. Alexis Mateo (last week: 5)

Alexis Mateo
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Alexis got the short shrift this week! Her performance was high-energy, and her lyrics were very fun. Singing about Daddy Yankee was a good call; the judges lit up the second she exclaimed his name. Some of the others’ choices of celebrity crushes felt a little too generic, like India picking Justin Timberlake. I believed every damn word out of Alexis’ lips in her verse. She did a great job with her group’s choreography, too. Moreover, to my surprise and delight, Alexis is really becoming the superior confessional queen this season! I hollered at “This bitch is into eating people? And she’s that skinny?” I need Alexis to last as long as possible—I would deeply miss her talking heads if she went home too soon.

2. Blair St. Clair (last week: 7)

Blair St. Clair
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Okay, that’s more like it! Blair’s singing was pitchy last week, and it looked like we might be heading down the same road this week when she started in rehearsal. Then she kept ignoring Leland’s advice to breathe, which had me really worried. But finally, she got it together and delivered a solid vocal and an even better performance. Watching “I’m in Love” back and focusing on Blair, you can see just how on she is at every moment of the performance. Only Shea matched her in terms of sheer professionalism, but Shea also had the superior verse and choreography.

I admire that Blair went outside the box when it came to her runway, but it is worth noting that Michelle Visage didn’t vibe with it. While RuPaul does make all the ultimate decisions, he tends to look to Michelle most when it comes time for critiques. If Michelle decides to make Blair her bugaboo this season, that might make life tough for the Season 10 returnee.

1. Shea Coulée (last week: 1)

Shea Coulee
Credit: Courtesy VH1

My #1 ranking of Shea last week was conditional on a few things: her edit, her entrance look, her talent show performance being the best mixture of something unique and the Werq the World format. This week, there are no conditions needed. Shea tore up her “I’m in Love” verse, and both her choreography and execution were excellent. She also brought it on the runway in her self-described “Nubian goddess realness,” and served up her Drag Race career-best lip sync to the Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance.” It’s tough to beat Alyssa Edwards in a lip sync! Only Coco Montrese managed it before Shea, and Coco is one of the best lip syncers in Drag Race herstory. Shea earned that $20,000 cash tip.

Shea is clearly the frontrunner so far, especially with India falling into the bottom three after her win last week (and, notably, lip sync loss). It’s not breaking new ground to say it, but it’s nonetheless true: Shea is very good at Drag Race! She won four challenges for a reason. So I would be surprised to see her suddenly falter—she’s got the goods to impress all season long.