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 travelled through the worlds of Get Out and Black Panther to learn who’s the best at overacting.
14. Kahanna Montrese — ELIMINATED (last week: 13)
Kahanna went out on a bad performance in the challenge, a bad look on the runway and a bad lip sync. This was as good a reminder as any that we are no longer in All Stars — some queens just aren’t cut out for this show, and will be eliminated accordingly.
13. Ariel Versace (last week: 12)
The judges raved about Ariel’s Aries look, but I thought it was kind of a mess. The skirt was an absolute disaster. I wouldn’t care about this, except RuPaul implied the runway is what kept Ariel out of the bottom two after her truly terrible challenge performance. I remain deeply unimpressed by Ariel — and putting Silky on blast in front of Ru only made me roll my eyes at her more.
12. Mercedes Iman Diamond (last week: 14)
Mercedes gets a few points for waking up during the lip sync (“Work Bitch” allows for a lot of dancing, which seems to be her strong suit), and I’ll admit her story of coming back from a stroke was affecting. I still don’t think she’s long for this show.
11. Ra’jah Davenport O’Hara (last week: 9)
Not only was Ra’jah a mess in the challenge, but she also badly bungled the fight with Yvie Oddly in the workroom. Ra’jah lacked confidence in her reads (which, fair, they were badly written) and over-explained herself in her confessionals. She looked like someone trying for screen time, which she almost certainly was. A bad week for Davenport #3.
10. Honey Davenport (last week: 10)
I remain unsure if Honey Davenport is actually in this competition. Presumably, because she competed both in the challenge and on the runway! I cannot tell you this for certain, because I have no memory of either. We’ve had filler girls on Drag Race before — Honey Mahogany, anyone? — but it’s been a minute since we’ve had one this forgettable.
9. Nina West (last week: 11)
Nina does okay in the acting challenge, enough to shake off some of the stinks from her performance last week. I will admit, I burst out laughing when Brooke Lynn Hytes had the first choice of any queen for a Black cinema acting challenge, and she chose Nina. What a thrill!
8. Shuga Cain (last week: 7)
It actually doesn’t seem fair to knock Shuga down a slot after a week in which she hit the top with a pretty strong performance. But the judges decided they just had to give Scarlet Envy a win, so, here we are. Nonetheless, I like Shuga’s chances in the long run more.
7. A’keria Chanel Davenport (last week: 3)
A quiet week for A’keria, who nonetheless figures out how to skate by during a mess of a challenge and executes her plan perfectly. Part of winning Drag Race is surviving, as much as RuPaul may claim he doesn’t like when queens play it safe. A’keria remains my favourite for sheer focus and professionalism.
6. Scarlet Envy (last week: 8)
I’m honestly mad I have to put Scarlet this high. Sure, she was pretty good in the challenge, and her runway was, at least, striking. But a double-win? Seriously? I find Scarlet obnoxious for a couple of different reasons, not the least of which is this odd space she occupies between sincere and joking in her persona. I want to know who Scarlet is and see some great drag out of her. Right now, I don’t think we’re getting either.
5. Silky Nutmeg Ganache (last week: 2)
I think Silky handled the situation with Ariel throwing her under the bus to Ru well. In front of Ru, she gave a strong answer about being herself no matter what and made Ru crack up in the process. See, it doesn’t actually matter if Silky is obnoxious. She just needs one fan in the world: RuPaul. Right now, she has him. However, mini-challenge wins aren’t going to cut it; she needs to start delivering in the main challenges, too.
4. Brooke Lynn Hytes (last week: 1)
Brooke hit the bottom four, yes, but clearly seemed like the highest-placing of the four there. (If we were in previous seasons, with top and bottom threes, Brooke would have been safe.) She also picked up a mini-challenge win and somehow got more screen time this week than she did in the episode she won. She’s not leading the pack anymore, but she’s far from being in danger.
3. Plastique Tiara (last week: 4)
I didn’t personally find anything Plastique did in the main challenge very funny, but I will admit she committed to it in an impressive way. The top half of her runway was excellent; the bottom half was a throwaway. But the judges clearly really like Plastique, and she’s the only queen to hit the top, two weeks in a row. That counts for a lot at this shaky stage of the game.
2. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (last week: 5)
Vanessa has the powerful ability to be incredibly entertaining even when she’s fucking up. She’s a riot in the challenge with Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews, both working with their critiques and also being a mess. It’s very Alyssa Edwardian of her. She may not have won anything on the show yet, but Miss Vanjie is absolutely winning me over.
1. Yvie Oddly (last week: 6)
An incredibly strong week all-around for Yvie. She killed it in the challenge (well, insofar as anyone could really be “good” at that challenge), got raves for her runway, and aptly navigated workroom drama. It’s the last part that impressed me most: Yvie stood up for Silky, got lots of good digs in at Ra’jah, and still had time to be a comforting shoulder for an emotional Mercedes. Drag Race requires queens to play every angle they can, and Yvie proved this week she can pass that test with flying colours.