Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Friday, we’ll debrief the previous night’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. The post-Snatch Game double save keeps us at the top eight for another week, but there’s plenty of shifts on the ranking.
8. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (last week: 5)
While Vanjie didn’t fall into the bottom two after her flat Bhad Bhabie impression in Snatch Game, this is the rare week where simply being low was actually a bad thing. Not only did Vanjie get absolutely hammered on the runway for wearing the same silhouette again, head judge Michelle Visage actually went further in deliberations, knocking the returning queen’s tendency to just play herself to get laughs. Worse, Vanjie didn’t get to participate in the most epic lip sync since Tatianna and Alyssa Edwards shut up and drove, so she doesn’t get any residual points from that.
To put it bluntly, Vanjie is drawing dead. She may not be sent home for a few weeks — I can see her surviving some lip syncs if necessary — but she has no argument for the win if she gets to the finale. Since no queen has ever won the show without winning a challenge in the first six weeks, it would be a statistically unprecedented feat. And I just don’t see Vanjie ever being able to get over her limitations on the runway. She’s simply waiting for her elimination at this point, and it’s only a matter of time.
7. Yvie Oddly (last week: 3)
Oh, Yvie, this was not your week. The clownery from last week’s Untucked came back to bite, with her enemy Silky Ganache slaying the challenge and quickly proving Yvie’s claim that she’s “talentless” was off-base. In contrast, Yvie was just terrible as Whoopi Goldberg, simultaneously unfunny, disrespectful and gross. (I will never get the dark image of Yvie’s dirty foot out of my head.) Her runway, while cute, wasn’t nearly enough to salvage her terrible challenge performance.
All credit to her for turning it in the lip sync, because her performance was astonishingly great. But I think if this had been our bottom two with a real elimination, Yvie would’ve been the one sashaying away.
6. A’keria Chanel Davenport (last week: 6)
I do think A’keria’s Tiffany Haddish was strong — I’d have personally put her in fourth — but I also think it didn’t quite match up to the hype she was bestowing upon herself. Her runway was not up to the standard we expect from Miss ACD. Honestly, in a noisy episode, A’keria just blended into the background. This was a bad week to be called safe amid all the chaos.
5. Brooke Lynn Hytes (last week: 1)
The frontrunner takes a hard tumble from her perch at the top, but Brooke Lynn had a lot going for her that Yvie didn’t. Yes, her Celine Dion was a total misfire, but the way the judges critiqued it was with more humour (“Canada called, and they’re pissed”). That kind of playful banter indicates that, while disappointed, they don’t really have any intention of sending you home. I’m honestly surprised she even landed in the bottom two instead of Vanjie after her jaw-dropping runway reveal. That was a true moment, in a season that’s been somewhat lacking in the fashion department.
Then, of course, there was the lip sync, which was an unabashed triumph for Brooke Lynn. We’ve seen and heard plenty about her dance experience this season, but this was a whole new expression of it. I’d be worried for whoever will potentially face Brooke Lynn in the Lip Sync for the Crown tournament at the end of the season because she demonstrated she can do just about anything in a lip sync this week.
(Also, just a week-late note because I hadn’t seen Untucked last week when I wrote my ranking: Brooke Lynn was perfect in her reactions to the fighting in Untucked, and I fully stan her now.)
4. Shuga Cain (last week: 7)
Finally, Shuga gets in the game! I’d been waiting for her to pull it together because she was so damn likable. Her Charo was fun, if a clear third place contender in this crop. Still, considering her performance so far, that’s no small feat. Where I was especially thrilled with Shuga was on the runway. Her mauve gown was a total serve, and she moved elegantly in it. She paired it with the perfect hair and makeup, too. Maybe Shuga’s got a bit more life in her than I expected!
3. Plastique Tiara (last week: 2)
Big props to Plastique for finding a way around a week that she was clearly not the most comfortable in. I don’t think her Lovely Mimi impersonation was great by any measure, but it was a good solution to the “problem” of Snatch Game for her. This was never going to be a challenge Plastique could win, so better to come up with a way to survive.
That said, there’s clearly something going on with Plastique. Between Ra’Jah Davenport O’Hara calling her emotional story phony, Ra’Jah calling out their unequal treatment from production in last week’s Untucked, and now Silky and A’keria calling Plastique a “pathological” liar, the edit seems to be setting Plastique up for a big moment. The question is: Will it be a triumph above her doubters or her downfall?
2. Nina West (last week: 8)
Big rebound for Nina this week. Though Snatch Game was so perfectly set up for her to win, the fact that she didn’t can’t help but be disappointing. I think she’d have been in a better spot to win if she had chosen one of her characters; I’m not a fan of queens doing two in one game. (I hated it when Bob the Drag Queen did it, too.) Funny enough, though I expected her Harvey Fierstein to be my favourite, I actually preferred her Jo Anne Worley. Given more time to build up the character, I really think this could have been Nina’s week.
Regarding her runways: I’ve heard quite a few people arguing that Nina’s camp value on the main stage is going underrated by the judges. While I do appreciate the very specific thing Nina brings, I think there’s a definite difference between polished camp and what she’s presenting. In particular, I hate the shape of her skirts; she presented a skirt of similar length in the Monster Ball, for the Little Shop of Horrors look. It hits her leg at an awkward place, and paired with some terrible shoes (seriously, the blue sequin shoes this week were not it), it takes away the value of a terrific jacket and top. And I love the sequin/sea queen pun! With just a bit of adjusting, I’d call Nina underrated on the runway; as it stands now, I think her critiques are fair.
1. Silky Nutmeg Ganache (last week: 4)
She killed Snatch Game, served an elevated look on the runway, proved her nemesis wrong, saw that nemesis fall into the bottom two and earned herself the best track record in the competition so far. Silky Ganache smashed this week, and I feel confident saying she is our new frontrunner. Will she keep that status? Unclear. But for the moment, she’s the queen of the crop.