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 6 power ranking: The Backyardigans

Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Sunday, we’ll debrief the newest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. A backyard ball tasks the queens with both character and couture creation. Which queens find themselves in the strongest spot heading into the final four?

5. Alexis Mateo (last week: 5) — ELIMINATED

Alexis Mateo
Credit: Courtesy VH1

India Ferrah’s plan may not have saved her, but it did ultimately pay off in Alexis’ elimination. Miz Cracker losing the lip sync meant her fate was in Jujubee and Shea Coulée’s hands. Ultimately, as we saw in Untucked, the two just didn’t feel that they could trust her. Since both Alexis and India continue to insist their story is true, I’m not sure we’ll actually find out the truth. Perhaps Drag Race will unveil some unseen footage for the finale?

It is a bummer to see Alexis go before Blair St. Clair; their track records may have been equivalent, but I’ve enjoyed more of what Alexis has brought to this season. Her talent show performance, “I’m in Love!” verse, and Snatch Game performance as Walter Mercado were all season highlights. Her backyard eleganza this week was my favourite on a pure design level, although the execution of the mermaid tale did leave something to be desired. And while I liked her play cousin character, her monologue wasn’t the funniest, and the look was pretty basic.

Did Alexis have an argument for the crown? Maybe not. She just never got that winner’s edit treatment. But I do think the top 4 is weaker without her in it.

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

Blair St. Clair
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Blair has been a somewhat divisive presence on All Stars 5, despite her minimal airtime and lack of wins. Some have found her lacklustre, while others lament the one-winner-a-week structure of this season that has limited her chances to take home wins. Personally, I think Blair has been better than her detractors say, but not as great as her biggest cheerleaders say. She’s had some killer moments on the runway—her camo look, her prom look—and showed a level of comfort with herself that proves she has grown as a queen since Season 10.

I’m not sure she’s demonstrably better as a Drag Race competitor, though. She was already a solid performer in challenges in her season, but has yet to be phenomenal this season. I’d say the closest she got was her “I’m in Love!” verse about Hannibal Lecter, but she still wasn’t my favourite that week. This week revealed a lot of her flaws at once. She turned out a too-complicated eleganza look that failed to impress, and while her play cousin look was better, the monologue she came up with wasn’t very funny. That’s a trend in her performances: it’s never quite all there with Blair.

Moreover, Blair has been a low-key reality TV presence in both of her seasons, with a deficit of confessionals and little in the way of story. I’m not sure if that’s on her or the editors, but the end result is the same: She’s just not much of a character. Seeing her fight to stay as hard as she did in Untucked was maybe the most story focus she’s gotten all season. I don’t particularly like or dislike Blair’s arc this season—I just don’t think much of it. And when I reflect on this season in retrospect, I can’t imagine she will be top of mind.

3. Jujubee (last week: 2)

Jujubee
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Jujubee, on the other hand, will immediately be top of mind when I remember this season. She has been such a fun presence, openly flouting the conventions of the show (her cat monologue while voting! openly declaring she hated this challenge!) and taking every opportunity as a chance to make jokes and entertain. She’s had us laughing, she’s had Ru laughing, and she’s even kept herself laughing!

Based on just the play cousin character looks and monologues, I’d have given Jujubee the win this week. Her monologue was the funniest—“Sorry I’m late, I didn’t wanna come”—and her giant hat took what would otherwise have been a standard look to the next level. Unfortunately, the construction errors on her eleganza dress (as well as the simplicity of the silhouette) likely took her out of the running for the win. Next week will be her chance to level the playing field and take a second win, assuming she, Shea, and Cracker all proceed to the finale (as I would expect is certain to happen, unless Blair can surprise in a stand-up challenge).

I came into this season a giant Jujubee fan, and have only become a greater one. I think a crown on her head would make for a terrific, decade-long story, one that saw her fail to win any challenges across her first two seasons. How epic would it be, after all that time and personal growth on Juju’s part, if this was her win? I’m not sure she has the edit to take the title, but I would love to be wrong. It would make for one of Drag Race’s greatest multi-year, multi-season sagas ever.

2. Shea Coulée (last week: 1)

Shea Coulee
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Despite my love for Jujubee, I am personally rooting for Shea to win, and I think she will win. Her edit absolutely screams winner’s edit. She’s given the production team so much emotional story, from talking about her post-”So Emotional” lip sync difficulties last week to opening up to Ru about the deaths of her father and sister in the workroom this week. She’s also played the game thrillingly, from milking the Alexis/India saga for all the drama it’s worth to absolutely slaying both of her lip syncs. Winners of All Stars seasons are often the ones who do the best with a particular twist—think how Alaska dominated the Lip Syncs for Your Legacy in All Stars 2, or how Trixie Mattel excelled with the jury in All Stars 3. I don’t think anyone has done as much with the Lip Sync Assassin twist as Shea has.

Shea did well this week, turning out a detailed eleganza look (one that I liked more for its details than its overall impression) and referencing her “9021-HO!” character from Season 9 in her play cousin character. Her monologue wasn’t the funniest, but she did a nice job of fully fleshing out the character. And while I’d personally have preferred to see Blair go, I think Shea taking out Alexis is the right call for her. Had Alexis won next week, she easily could’ve taken Shea out for being her biggest competition.

If you’re looking for a concrete example of just how good Shea’s edit is, look at the focus on how she helped Cracker and Juju with their outfits, complete with the other two queens shouting her out on the runway. That’s the kind of sign that you’re in this for the crown: Even when you don’t win, you get credit for helping the winner. I really think Shea has this in the bag.

1. Miz Cracker (last week: 3)

Miz Cracker
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Yes, this is Cracker’s second win, tying her with Shea. Yes, she did very well in both parts of the challenge, coming up with a terrific monologue for her play cousin (both humorous and character-building) and executing a sharp look out of unconventional materials. I could argue both of her looks were pretty simple, but her highs were high enough to stand out in a competitive field. Yes, she turned out a much better lip sync than her first, although it apparently wasn’t enough to beat Roxxxy Andrews. And yes, any traces of Cracker’s “difficult” edit earlier in the season have all but evaporated. She’s actually refreshingly drama-free these days, even eschewing the everyone-in-the-bottom twist to personally declare bottom twos the last two weeks (herself and India last week, Alexis and Blair this week).

But I don’t ultimately think this adds up to a winner’s edit. Both of her wins came for challenges that were close—Juju could’ve won SheMZ or this week’s task—and she hasn’t outright won a lip sync yet, losing one and tying the other. Compare that to Shea, who definitively won “I’m in Love!” and impressed in Snatch Game (though many fans would’ve given the win to Juju; notice a trend here?). She also clearly won both of her lip syncs. Multiple queens can get winners’ edits—I’d argue both Crystal Methyd and Jaida Essence Hall did in Season 12. Yet there seems to be a gulf between how production has treated Shea’s wins and how they’ve treated Cracker’s.

If she pulls out a third win next week, I could see more of an argument for her taking the crown, but Drag Race has notably shied away from caring about track records in recent seasons. No, I think Cracker’s prize will be a top 3 spot, a solid chunk of Lip Sync for Your Legacy change, and redemption from Season 10. And that would be more than enough.