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. This week, we’re throwing a Monster Mash to see which queens are graveyard smashes — and which are simply drawing dead.
11. Ariel Versace (last week: 6) — ELIMINATED
I am in the uniquely strange position of having to defend a queen I truly dislike, and I hate it. Ariel is an unpleasant queen with one look (big hair, don’t care), and was probably going to lose that lip sync anyway. I have no qualms about her elimination. What I do have qualms about is the slo-mo, dramatic reaction treatment that her fall got. Did the fall look bad? Sure! Is it the greatest disaster the Drag Race main stage has ever seen? Hell no! Yara Sofia once had a meltdown on the main stage. Valentina once adamantly refused to remove her mask. Robbie Turner once skated off the stage!
Ariel’s fall sucked for her, but to treat it like this massive failure on her part is disingenuous. And now I feel bad that my least favourite queen of the season is going home. Damn you, Drag Race!
10. Shuga Cain (last week: 10)
I really don’t know what to say here. Shuga just isn’t shining, no matter how many times she insists to herself that this is the week that changes. She’s lucky Ariel tripped in the lip sync, because she really wasn’t doing much to save herself.
9. A’keria Chanel Davenport (last week: 8)
I’ve been told A’keria was in this episode, but I can find no remarkable footage verifying that fact. Girlfriend really needs to find a way to shine, because she’s a nonentity right now.
8. Ra’Jah Davenport O’Hara (last week: 11)
Good for her for finding her way out of the bottom this week. Ra’Jah was on a bad trajectory this season. If she keeps giving these pseudo-villainous talking heads to the producers, no matter how inorganic and forced they sound, they’ll have the incentive to keep her around. For what it’s worth, though, I didn’t like any of her looks.
7. Silky Nutmeg Ganache (last week: 3)
A hard fall into the bottom three for Silky, though the judges really went out of their way to make excuses for her poor performance. Like Vanjie dropping into the bottom last week, I think this is a sign that Silky is going the distance, but they want to give her some arc going there. Unlike with Vanjie, though, I think Silky’s work very much deserved bottom three. I might even have put her in the bottom two over Shuga — at least Shuga had one great look.
6. Scarlet Envy (last week: 7)
Another week, another chance for me to begrudgingly admit Scarlet did better than I expected she would. I’m mostly being kind to Scarlet this week because I think the “Scarlet is delusional” edit in the episode was too heavy-handed and not steeped in any real evidence. She’ll never be my favourite, but I do think she deserves better than that edit.
5. Nina West (last week: 4)
A quiet week for Nina, which makes sense after the show’s narrative focused on her for the last two weeks. Her looks aren’t strong enough for her to excel in a ball challenge, so safe is about the best she could expect.
4. Plastique Tiara (last week: 9)
With three appearances in the group of top-scoring queens of the week, there’s no way I can argue Plastique doesn’t deserve a high placement on this list. She tends to rely on bodysuits just as much as some other girls and not get clocked, but that’s to her credit; she figures out ways to modify them that keep her from getting the samey-samey criticism.
That said, I am going to continue to argue that Plastique is not showing enough personality on the show, as Michelle Visage noted this week. She may very well just not have a personality for reality TV, which is fine. That doesn’t make her a bad drag queen — quite the opposite, she is obviously a terrific drag queen. But it does make her a tough fit for Drag Race, and I’m not sure how I feel about another season of a quiet queen sailing to the top four. Call it Post-Kameron Michaels Stress Disorder, PKMSD.
3. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (last week: 5)
I believe two things: that Vanessa and Brooke Lynn are legitimately into each other, and that they know the fans will eat it up and are playing into it for their own benefit. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it makes them both very savvy businesswomen. There’s a reason the other queens talked about Branjie merch this week. These two have the potential to be Drag Race’s first power couple since Sharon Needles and Alaska. Who cares if it requires a couple of shots in the workroom of them both shirtless? Whatever gets those cookies, so to speak.
The emphasis on them in the edit is what puts Vanjie in the third-place slot this week, despite some very standard runways. At least she finally wore colours outside of the red spectrum.
2. Yvie Oddly (last week: 1)
I really wanted to keep Yvie at number one this week, on the strength of her record so far (one win, two highs, never in the bottom) and a general feeling that she’s getting so close to the win every week. But I actually didn’t like Yvie’s looks that much this week, even though I respect the balls of the dinosaur outfit. My favourite of hers was the witch look, which admittedly was the most basic of the three. But I appreciated her showing that she could tone it down when necessary.
Yvie is still my personal favourite, and who I’m very much rooting for to win. But I think she’s gonna have troubles with the judges ever-so-subtly discounting her due to a lack of polish — especially when compared to her biggest rival in the game.
1. Brooke Lynn Hytes (last week: 2)
Last week, I somewhat negatively referred to Brooke Lynn as a technician first and foremost. I’m going to walk that back a bit. Brooke Lynn isn’t the technician this season; Plastique is. Brooke Lynn understands performance in presentation far better than any technician usually does. Coming out en pointe in the mummy look instantly elevated what could otherwise have been knocked as basic. I have to tip my cap to her, even if her work isn’t exactly what I’m drawn to most naturally.
Considering they’ve both been in the top multiple times, and how drastically their styles differ, I could easily see this season becoming a Brooke Lynn vs. Yvie battle. With how high-level their work has been so far, the true winners of a rivalry like that would be us, viewers. Finally, Season 11 seems to have its stars firmly cast; now it’s time to watch them shine.