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. A Reno 911!-themed maxi-challenge reshuffles our top eight — and sends someone who looked to be riding high packing.
8. Plastique Tiara (last week: 3) — ELIMINATED
Plastique has nothing to worry about. She’s at one million followers on Instagram — the first queen ever to hit that landmark during her original season — and by far has the biggest fanbase of any Season 11 queen. She’ll be fine; she’s destined to be a superstar.
That said: Plastique shares a ton in common with Season 9’s Valentina. She has the biggest fanbase, much like the Latinx legend, but also went out while being called phony by some of her fellow queens. I don’t know what to make of the accent issue, personally, just as I didn’t when people accused Valentina of faking hers. I fully don’t believe Plastique’s exaggerated Vietnamese voice is her natural tone, and I’m not sure why she claimed that both last week and this week. I’m not sure if she’s misstating what she means — perhaps that she used to have a thicker accent, thus making that her “real” voice? It’s unclear.
Moreover, two weeks ago, when Ra’Jah Davenport O’Hara challenged the authenticity of Plastique’s family story, I came down firmly on Plastique’s side. But when A’keria C. Davenport mentioned the inconsistencies in Untucked last week, Plastique continued to offer a murky narrative. Ultimately, Plastique owes no one her story — and her fanbase is so large, it doesn’t really matter. But I don’t think we got to know the true Plastique this season, just as we didn’t meet the authentic Valentina until All Stars 4. Perhaps we’ll meet Plastique for real in All Stars 5.
7. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (last week: 8)
I don’t know what else to say at this point. I’m glad Vanjie wore something other than a corset and tights, but Michelle Visage’s criticisms of this new silhouette were nevertheless spot on. My bigger problem with Vanjie is she’s delivering nothing but Vanjie in the challenges. The show clearly wants to hold onto her — and they lucked out that she was legitimately better in the Fantasia lip sync this week — but I wonder if Vanjie’s reputation can withstand getting the same critiques over and over, all while she sends home fan favourites. If she sneaks into the finale ahead of Yvie Oddly or Brooke Lynn Hytes, the screaming will never end.
6. Shuga Cain (last week: 4)
Aw, Shuga, we had a good run there. Last week was such a victory for you. This week, it was back to business as usual. At least you had a great runway! And your little stats nerd moment during the cold open was so cute! Sigh.
I still think Shuga could stick around for longer than we expect, but at this point, her best bet is aiming for fifth or sixth place. A comeback narrative requires momentum, and she lost all of it in one swoop.
5. Yvie Oddly (last week: 7)
Only one of last week’s epic bottom two could get the full redemption narrative, and spoiler, it wasn’t Yvie. I don’t think she’s in terrible shape since she was good in the sketch and looked really vibrant on the runway. But she’s now lagging behind the crowd of frontrunners with just one main challenge win (and a shared win at that — with Scarlet Envy of all people!). She could use a shot in the arm to get her groove back.
4. Nina West (last week: 2)
Petty is an odd look on Nina. She made the choice to give up the sunbather character to Brooke Lynn in the challenge, and her complaints about Brooke Lynn not giving her her cue seemed unfounded. The scene went smoothly regardless. All of Nina’s complaints felt like a child fidgeting because she didn’t get exactly what she wanted, not really criticisms of Brooke Lynn.
I think Nina is just getting frustrated with her performance so far — losing Snatch Game, a challenge seemingly made for Nina-types to win, must’ve been a blow. Still, if Nina’s not going to make top four, I want her to win Miss Congeniality, and throwing shade at a beloved frontrunner is not the way to lock that prize down.
3. Silky Nutmeg Ganache (last week: 1)
Boy, Silky really fucked up the Reading Is Fundamental mini-challenge, huh? That should’ve been hers to win. Plus, the racist joke to Plastique was a record-scratch moment — one, I’d argue, that should’ve been more aggressively called out at the moment.
For as much flak as Vanjie is getting for just playing herself with no real organization or form, Silky probably deserves the same. Where Silky triumphs over Vanjie, at least in the challenges, is that she can add a rise-and-fall of sorts to her performance. She may just be “playing herself,” but she’s still performing in a dynamic way.
Challenge aside, though, I was glad to see Silky get hammered for a really lazy runway effort. Silky talked a big game at the start of the episode about not needing to change anything about herself. But I didn’t think that would include not doing a makeup look. Girl, you saw Valentina’s crusty makeup under the mask in Season 9, you should know better. Michelle clocked her quick, and I think that ding will stick with Silky for longer than she imagines.
2. Brooke Lynn Hytes (last week: 5)
Reading Is Fundamental mini-challenge win? Check. Major comeback narrative after a bottom two appearance? Check. Killer runway that blew everyone else’s looks away? Check. Props from the judges for getting out of her comfort zone? Check. Welcome back to the top echelon, Brooke Lynn. I knew you wouldn’t stay away for long.
1. A’keria Chanel Davenport (last week: 6)
A caveat before I rave: I wish A’keria did well in weeks other than when she won because right now, her record has two wins, one high, and a lot of safes/bottom appearances. America’s Next Drag Superstar is usually someone a bit more consistent.
Okay, nitpicking time over. Congratulations to A’keria for killing it this week! She brought something genuinely interesting to the runway and gave one of my all-time favourite improv performances on this show in the main challenge. This was a triumph week for her and earned her a crucial second win. Again, I think getting and staying on a streak is her main issue; I hope she can get good critiques even if she doesn’t win next week. But if she gets on a roll? Watch out. There might just be a dark horse to win this whole season.