Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! For the last time this season, we’re here to debrief the full arc of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 to determine which queens rode high in this competition, and which fell short of queen-sized expectations. Who are the real winners and losers of the season?
LOSER: Kahanna Montrese (14th place)
I spent most of this season forgetting Kahanna was on it, and when she finally reminded me, it was through that tragic “feud” with Mercedes Iman Diamond in the reunion. “You don’t own everything by being shady, and being shady doesn’t make you opulent”? GIRL. Coco Montrese’s legacy deserves more.
LOSER: Ariel Versace (11th place)
Truthfully, I’d probably have put Ariel higher around the time of her elimination — she was making something of a rally in the couple of weeks before she finally went home. Unfortunately, she became the mascot of the utter time suck that was Wig-Gate, and for that, she earns herself a cushy spot on the losers side of the fence. If you’re gonna make drama, you gotta make it interesting.
LOSER: Honey Davenport (13th place)
I love Honey, and think she brought out two killer looks at the finale and the reunion, so I won’t dwell on this. But to be basically invisible in the three episodes you’re in, then go home on a tragic jump off the stage in a lip sync? No way to describe that other than losing. I wish her well, though!
LOSER: Soju (15th place)
Begrudgingly, I will admit the “cyst” meme worked, if not quite on a “Miss Vanjie” level. Still, Soju looked absolutely terrible in her two runway appearances this season, and has been involved in all sorts of petty drama off the show as it’s aired. Relatively high among the losers is the best she could hope for.
LOSER: Ra’Jah Davenport O’Hara (9th place)
You know what? Ra’Jah kind of did something at the reunion! It wasn’t enough, largely because the reunion as a whole was just so dull, but she managed to be fairly entertaining in an otherwise tepid crop of queens. Throwing the wig was a delightful kick. I still think her behaviour all season was far too toxic, and not fun enough to make her any sort of memorable character, which is why I firmly think she was one of the season’s losers. But a couple of weeks ago, she’d probably have been dead-last — or close to it. So this is an improvement!
EVEN: Mercedes Iman Diamond (12th place)
Similarly, Mercedes had a pretty strong reunion, coming off the clear winner in that dumb non-drama with Kahanna. She also got a featured spot in the finale to make a joke about one of the biggest memes of the season. I quote “oppalens” more than anything else that came out of this season, so good for Mercedes! That said, her performance in the season can’t support anything better than just breaking even.
EVEN: Silky Nutmeg Ganache (3rd/4th place)
Silky had a terrible season. She was utterly reviled by the fanbase, several of her fellow queens, and ultimately, the show’s edit. RuPaul was her only powerful ally for the majority of this spring (not a bad one to have, though). She breaks even because she’ll still get incredible opportunities as a member of the top four. Don’t cry for her bookings, because she will be plenty busy. But I can’t imagine her reputation with the fans improving any time soon.
EVEN: Shuga Cain (7th place)
In my heart, Shuga Cain is far and away the winner of the season. In reality, she had a mediocre challenge performance, but good faith and attitude make her a likable queen. She’s like a Joslyn Fox or a Dida Ritz. No one’s gonna lobby that hard for her to come back for All Stars or anything. But honestly? She’d probably be just as delightful if she did.
EVEN: A’keria Chanel Davenport (3rd/4th place)
That sudden villain edit in the finale really destabilized A’keria’s arc this season. I still think she’s winning in a lot of ways, from making the top four to having a generally strong performance record throughout. And she does have plenty of fans who will keep her booked and busy. But a lot of folks who were Team A’keria pretty quickly jumped ship to Team Yvie — myself included — and it feels like that was too easy a transition for us. I’m excited to see what she does off the show, but she’s walking out of the season in a weaker position than I expected.
WINNER: Scarlet Envy (10th place)
Colour me floored on this one. Scarlet has been embraced by a huge part of the fanbase, and while I came around to her by the end, I don’t totally understand the high praise. But the show clearly does, and they gave her a full feature segment in the reunion. Expect her to be on an All Stars season sooner versus later.
WINNER: Brooke Lynn Hytes (runner-up)
She’s walking out of this season with scores of new fans and one of the best track records Drag Race has ever seen. Win or lose, Brooke Lynn has nothing to be ashamed of. I’ll be interested to see how she navigates life in a post-Branjie world, though. A lot of more casual fans were heartbroken over the split, and during the reunion, Brooke Lynn came across as the less emotional party. Of greater note to me is that she was selling “Branjie” merch of the couple up until recently, which was long after the two stopped dating in the real world. For those who question the authenticity of the relationship, this fact certainly does not help.
Still, I have no doubt Brooke Lynn will continue winning off the show.
WINNER: Plastique Tiara (8th place)
Over a million followers on Instagram — which no queen had ever hit in the course of just one season before — means Plastique is walking out with one of the most tangible metrics of success this season. (I realize “Instagram followers” and “tangible” feel counterintuitive, but in the world of drag, every follower is a potential fan for buying meet-and-greet tickets, merch, etc.) Combined with the show’s glowing treatment of her at the reunion, and I think Plastique is set up for a long run in the Drag Race world and beyond.
WINNER: Yvie Oddly (winner)
I’m putting Yvie this high largely out of sheer awe for what she pulled in the endgame this season. After struggling post-Snatch Game, she pulled out an incredible final episode performance, got one of the most sterling reunion edits I can remember and owned the finale — which, having been present, I can tell you no queen got even half of the rapturous applause that Yvie did. She’s both a fan and production favourite, and that’s a very good place to be.
WINNER: Nina West (6th place)
With fans like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rihanna and $10,000 from winning Miss Congeniality, what else could Nina West want? The crown, perhaps, but there’s always All Stars for that. Nina is walking out of this season with a metric ton of goodwill and love. She has every reason to say she was the robbed queen this season — though I’d personally make more of an argument for Shuga, just on the circumstances of their eliminations. But over time, her rough “No Scrubs” lip sync will fade into the recesses of memory, and the joy and heart she brought to the Drag Race stage will remain. Not since Latrice Royale in Season 4 has such a kind legend emerged from this series.
WINNER: Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (5th place)
I mean, come on. Vanjie is walking out of this season with a million followers on Instagram (though she took more time to get there than Plastique), scores of fans lamenting her elimination and a production infrastructure in VH1 and World of Wonder that will be lining up every possible opportunity for her to return to TV. Vanjie’s greatest challenge walking into this season was to avoid being pigeonholed as “just a meme.” She accomplished that and then some. Forget Brooke Lynn; the only person Vanjie needs to succeed is herself.