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 5 power ranking: A challenge winner falls

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. Snatch Game of Love leaves the queens pining for the guest judges’ hearts and votes. But which queen found herself on the wrong side of the drama during deliberations, tumbling to the bottom of the rankings as a result?

6. India Ferrah (last week: 6) — ELIMINATED

India Ferrah
Credit: Courtesy VH1

As I said in the recap, I’m honestly not sure who I believe in the questions about the campaign against Shea Coulée two episodes ago! Here’s my case for India: As Jujubee said when she was voting, India’s not that great of an actor. She might’ve waited to come forward with this to keep her allegiances secret, and use it as a weapon when it would be most beneficial to her. And she seemed genuinely emotional while voting Alexis out, saying “The truth shall set you free, girl. Stop acting a fool.” (An absolutely amazing callback to Alexis’ line in the first Untucked of All Stars 1.)

Now, here’s the case against India: In the opening narration of Untucked, she clearly saw the opportunity to turn the vote on its head since everyone was in the bottom, meaning she may have cooked up a plan. She also couldn’t answer basic questions that the other queens brought up, like why Mariah voted against India. Ultimately, Shea chose to send home the queen who deserved to leave based on merit, and after her fourth trip to the bottom, that was India. While I’m glad she left for that reason, I will truly miss her penchant for drama. No one has ever played as hard in deliberations as India has this season: She took this new format and ran with it.

5. Alexis Mateo (last week: 4)

Alexis Mateo
Credit: Courtesy VH1

The case against Alexis is a pretty simple one: She’s proven herself to be a shit-stirrer this season. Be it her poking at Miz Cracker in the workroom, or insinuating that Blair St. Clair and Mayhem Miller were trying to get Cracker out, she’s let very few opportunities to start drama pass her by. And while we as viewers have loved the entertainment, it does make Alexis look guilty: Why wouldn’t she try to get Shea out? Especially when her reason for doing so—she just didn’t want Mariah to feel bad—is pretty thin?

That said, there is a pretty substantial case for Alexis as well. India didn’t mention this campaign before, and Alexis’ political math is correct: three votes wouldn’t have been enough to eliminate Shea. Regarding the other drama Alexis has stirred up, we’ve yet to see Blair actually deny her plot against Cracker in a confessional. While Blair is still insisting she made no such plan to Cracker’s face, until we hear it from Blair away from the other girls, I’m not sure I totally believe her. So if Alexis was being honest about that, it naturally makes her look less suspicious. And like India, in her confessionals and while casting her vote, Alexis continued to insist she was innocent.

Whatever the case, I am glad Alexis didn’t go home this week. Her Walter Mercado was a terrific, dominant presence in Snatch Game of Love. She turned everything into a chance to land a punchline and had both RuPaul and guest judge Tommy Dorfman howling. Her prom runway was also stunning. No, it would’ve been unfair had Alexis gone this week. And her performance in the challenge and runway alone should’ve placed her in the top three of this ranking. But because the campaign against her was so close to being effective, I have to rank her this low. All Stars is a strategic game, and she almost lost it.

4. Blair St. Clair (last week: 5)

Blair St. Clair
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Michelle Visage was perhaps a little generous when she called Blair’s Ellen DeGeneres “really good, it just wasn’t that funny,” but I get what she meant. Snatch Game is about celebrity impersonations, yes, but it’s more about being funny. That’s how performances like Alexis’ Alicia Keys have landed at the top in the past: for their comedy, not their accuracy. Blair treated this too much like an acting exercise, and not enough like the improv challenge that it actually is.

I think Blair has run out of time to make a comeback. She only has two weeks left to score a win, and it seems unlikely that she’ll manage one with so many heavy-hitters left in the race. I don’t see her making the finale without a main challenge win, either. She’s definitely shown growth on the runway, but she just doesn’t stand out enough in the challenges in comparison to this excellent crop of competitors.

3. Miz Cracker (last week: 1)

Miz Cracker
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Through absolutely incredible fortune, Cracker didn’t even have to break a sweat during a week when she otherwise would’ve been in the bottom two. Her Lady Gaga was a collection of catchphrases and references, but there was no harmony to it all. She didn’t perform so much as recite jokes she planned ahead of time. (That “100 people in a room” joke from last week’s challenge feels a bit less impressive now that we know she already had Gaga material planned for Snatch Game.) The look was spot-on, though. It may be one of the most detail-perfect renderings of a character we’ve ever seen on Snatch Game. Unfortunately for Cracker, Snatch Game is not really a look challenge.

She’s this high-up because she’s still got a great record, and what should’ve been a tough blow to her report card was softened by the wild deliberations and the everyone’s-in-the-bottom twist. I’d say she’s still firmly lodged in the top three of the season, especially now that Alexis’ credibility and confidence have been damaged by India’s accusation.

2. Jujubee (last week: 2)

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Slowly but surely, Juju is racking up the most impressive track record of the season. Sure, she just has the one win, and she didn’t win her lip sync. But she’s impressed in the challenges repeatedly, and her runways earn more and more kudos every week. She also remains easily the most entertaining television presence of the season, once again talking about her cats in her confessional this week and trying to get all the tea about Alexis and India’s drama. Juju can take a tiny, throwaway moment, like picking up Cracker’s lipstick and pretending she’s gonna throw a hinky vote, and turn it into a huge laugh line.

Do I think Jujubee has the narrative heat to win this season? Maybe not. Do I think she’s in much better shape report card-wise than I expected her to be? Absolutely. This is easily Juju’s most impressive season competitively, and I’m proud to see her racking up the kudos from the judges.

1. Shea Coulée (last week: 3)

Shea Coulee
Credit: Courtesy VH1

And it’s another grand slam from The Lady Coulée-dy. Shea dominated Snatch Game with an unconventional choice in Flavor Flav. While I get Michelle’s dislike for cisgender, heterosexual characters, Shea was exactly right in her confessional: “Flavor Flav is drag. Flavor Flav is camp.” And anyone who doubts that after Shea’s performance is kidding themselves. Every punchline was twisted just enough to surprise you: Instead of talking about keeping his bed warm with six different women, the “bitches” he mentioned were dogs. Because they’re so furry and cute! The expected “Do you know what time it is?” joke gets an added layer because, oops, his clock is set at 4:20!

Shea’s Flavor Flav instantly enters the canon of iconic Snatch Game performances. Hers was a deserved win, and while I wouldn’t have blamed her had she chosen to give us the gag of the season by eliminating Alexis, I’m glad she instead chose to send out India. Now she’s the queen who saved Alexis when Alexis wasn’t willing to show the same grace. She’s the bigger person, and that kind of charitable nature—plus a genuinely touching moment on the runway this week (loved her rose petals reference in her look)—makes for one hell of a winner’s edit.