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. After a farm-fresh runway challenge, the top nine shuffle around — though the top and bottom stay the same.
9. Ra’Jah Davenport O’Hara (last week: 9) — ELIMINATED
There’s not much more I can say that I didn’t say in this week’s recap. Ra’Jah was a dead woman dancing, and I’d be lying if I said I was sorry to see her go. With her elimination, and assuming Shuga Cain goes next week, we’ll have finally cleared the chaff for a truly competitive final seven.
8. Nina West (last week: 6)
Nina is such a lovable queen that it’s hard to see her receive any criticism, much less give her any. Last week, I thought her brush with the bottom three was unfair; this week, I think she was lucky to avoid the lip sync. No one wants to be better and improve more than Nina does, which is why I want her to stay in this competition for as long as possible. Snatch Game should provide her ample opportunity to rise to the occasion; if she doesn’t, I worry she’ll be next out the door.
7. Shuga Cain (last week: 7)
Was Shuga in this episode? Ah, yes, I remember her popping up for approximately five seconds during Alyssa Edwards’ tutorial segment, and I vaguely remember seeing her walk her mess of a garment down the runway. Oh, and I guess she won an arbitrary mini-challenge. Still should’ve been in the bottom, easily.
6. A’keria Chanel Davenport (last week: 2)
Just as quickly as the phoenix rises, she falls back down to earth. We’ve seen plenty of queens in recent seasons struggle with not having enough high-end garments on the runway — think Chi Chi DeVayne or Monique Heart. A’keria’s is the rare case of being too high-end on the runway, to the point that when she had to design something with unconventional materials, she faltered.
I don’t think she was in any legitimate danger of going home, facing off against Ra’Jah in her fellow Davenport’s fourth lip sync. But she turned in a strong lip sync performance anyway. That’s called securing the bag, and I admire it.
5. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (last week: 8)
Sorry, but Vanjie’s outfit was terrible, and it’s only because she finally served a different silhouette that she didn’t land right back in the bottom. Vanessa better turn it out during Snatch Game, because I’m just about out of my affection for her. I wanted her to win just four weeks ago, and now I’m wondering if she’ll even make it to the top six.
4. Silky Nutmeg Ganache (last week: 4)
I think Silky stands to benefit more from this feud with Yvie than Yvie does. Unlike her previous fight with Ariel Versace, in which Ariel talked shit and RuPaul quickly took Silky’s side, this is a bit more of an even match. In this case, both queens are sniping at each other, and it’s about their drag instead of a personal battle. Plus, Ru loves both Silky and Yvie, and seems to be growing tired of Silky’s reliance on personality. This kind of give-and-take rivalry builds in a natural arc for Silky, which should take her deep into the game.
Additionally, and this is anecdotal, so take it with a grain of salt, but I’ve seen a lot of Silky skeptics coming around on her in recent weeks. Maybe her claim that America will love her wasn’t as far-fetched as it seemed.
3. Yvie Oddly (last week: 3)
Conversely, I think Yvie has a tendency to come off like a teacher’s pet in conflicts — exclaiming to Alyssa during rehearsal that she pushed through her ankle pain to show “the other girls” how to do it was obnoxious — and that’ll come back to bite her in the ass with the fans. Like it or not, fan response has a good bit to do with how Ru crowns a winner (in that she’s not chosen an out-and-out villain since Tyra Sanchez in Season 2).
I worry that Yvie’s instigations only seek to weaken her position. If it was just a rivalry with Silky, that’d be one thing. But Yvie has multiple girls in the room targeting her. If she’s not careful, one of them just might take her out.
2. Plastique Tiara (last week: 5)
I did have a few Valentina circa All Stars 4 flashbacks during this episode since it feels like Plastique burnt through a lot of her storyline (connection to Alyssa! Difficult home life! Blossoming on the runway!) in one episode. But I think what separates the youngest member of the Haus of Edwards from her stunning Latina counterpart is that Plastique has had a fuller arc. We’re getting this kind of level-up in episode 7 instead of episode 2. She still has room to grow. If she can kill it in a performance challenge like Snatch Game, I could easily see Plastique going all the way.
1. Brooke Lynn Hytes (last week: 1)
I know. I know I’ve said repeatedly that Brooke Lynn isn’t my cup of tea, and that she didn’t deserve the Monster Ball win. I get it. I realize she’s not the most personable off-stage, and that her technical perfection can be boring to watch.
But she absolutely should have won this week, and the only reason she didn’t was because she had the Monster Ball win. Narratively, it made for a more satisfying conclusion that Plastique would finally beat Brooke Lynn in a design challenge since they’ve been rivals. And giving Brooke Lynn a third win this early would have been demoralizing to the other queens. Yet there was no garment on that runway that compared to Brooke Lynn’s and no runway presentation that could hold a candle. (That ass flash!)
We may just need to accept the inevitable: Brooke Lynn could easily steamroll her way to the end. However, Ross Mathews noting that she has a high bar to clear is a red flag. Acid Betty got a similar note in Season 8 before being eliminated on Snatch Game. Could Brooke Lynn face the same fate? Probably not, since she’s a skilled performer. But hey, crazier things have happened.