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 feisty and fun premiere leaves some queens soaring above the crowd, while others are floundering already. How do they stack up against each other?
10. Derrick Barry — ELIMINATED
The more I think about Derrick’s performance, the more I like it as unintentional comedy. She was going for humour one way, and we got it in another. Still, the end result was our entertainment! But I do think she offered the least of this cast, and was thus the right choice to go home first. One note: All of Derrick’s confessionals felt really low-energy. Is it possible they were all shot after she was eliminated? It’s a bummer to see Derrick so off her game in this episode. She’s never been my favourite, but we know she’s capable of much more than this.
Like I said in my recap, I love Ongina, so I’m glad she’s sticking around. But man, she really needs to get it together. Her performance in the Reading Challenge was abysmal, and she didn’t improve much in the talent show. It seems that, after all these years of trying to get on All Stars, she doesn’t actually know what to do now that she’s on. Being on the show was seemingly her goal, not winning it. I hope for her sake that she shifts her goals real quick.
8. Mayhem Miller
For “Mariah Angelou” alone, Mayhem deserved the world this week. Unfortunately, this is not RuPaul’s Best Confessionals Race, although I would welcome that as a WOW Presents Plus spinoff. Choosing to replicate her iconic “Drama” performance from Micky’s Showgirls show wasn’t a bad call at all, especially considering the performances that did well in Ru’s eyes were largely based on some particularly notable part of the queens’ brands. I do think she should’ve stuck with the eyes as a gag and not progressed into the full performance, though. Doing live vocals was also an ill-advised choice. Not a terrible week for Mayhem, but not a great one.
7. Blair St. Clair
I’ll be honest: I think Blair’s performance all episode was a bit overpraised. While I liked her reads in the mini-challenge, her delivery was nowhere near Jujubee’s. I’d have awarded Juju the solo win. Meanwhile, though she was judged safe for her singing performance, her vocals were pitchy enough that I would’ve understood a bottom-placing citation. Love where Blair’s drag has gone in the years since, and I am excited to see what else she brings this season, but I’m not sold yet.
6. Miz Cracker
I’ll give Cracker major points for upending expectations with her performance. I would have never expected a full dance number from her. Still, her performance was the definition of safe for me. She didn’t deserve to be anywhere near the bottom, but she also didn’t deserve the high praise. She benefitted from following the rubric of previous talent show winners (especially Monique Heart and Trinity the Tuck last season), which is to her credit. She’s thinking about the competition in a strategic way.
5. Alexis Mateo
I’d also have marked Alexis safe, but I understood why she was at the top. Her performance was the most emblematic of being a true Werq the World performance, and she gets extra props for starting the show on such a high note. I’m glad to see Alexis has really brought her A-game this season. She’s a fierce competitor, and she deserves this third shot at the crown.
4. Mariah Balenciaga
Mariah can and should take comfort in that special shout-out from Ricky Martin, because she absolutely should have been in the top for her performance. Doing something so message-oriented clearly resonated for Ricky. I loved both the message and the spoken word performance itself. It was dramatic, stark and unusual for Drag Race. I know a performance like this, with fake blood and heavy themes, isn’t as fun as some of the others. But not everything in a talent or variety show needs to be fun! This was drag as political art, and I loved it.
3. India Ferrah
I do get the India win, considering the focus on the Werq the World format and the narrative throughout the episode. She wouldn’t have been my pick, but her performance was impressive on a purely physical level. If this is the kind of work we’re going to see every week from India, colour me intrigued. That said, I do have to deduct points for how thoroughly she got beat in the lip-sync. She did fine enough on “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” but Yvie Oddly was doing next-level work.
Juju’s just so damn fun, isn’t she? She brings such easy, breezy delight to Drag Race, and I’m so excited to see how she does without Raven this time around. Loved the two best friends, but Juju is a great queen standing on her own as well. Her vocal performance in the talent show was classic and gorgeous. She really proved all these years after Season 2’s rocker challenge that she can sing! That, plus her work stirring the Derrick/India pot all episode and her well-deserved reading challenge win, keep her at the top of the pack.
1. Shea Coulée
I’d have been elated with a Mariah or Jujubee win in the talent show, as I thought their dramatic performances were aces. But in terms of both delivering something fresh as well as adhering to the Werq the World format best, I think Shea deserved the W on this one. Her pole-dancing routine was sexy, sensual and showed impressive strength. Moreover, Shea felt like a winner all episode. She held court impressively after she was the first queen in the door (“I’m Blaaaack” is a god-tier entrance line), she looked flawless throughout and she was the highlight of Untucked as well. Shea is best when she’s confident but still on her game, and that’s what we’re getting so far. I hope the judges take notice quickly.