(Editor’s Note: VH1 and World of Wonder have disqualified Sherry Pie over serious catfishing allegations involving five men. A spokesperson for VH1 and World of Wonder said the season will air as planned “out of respect for the hard work of the other queens.” In keeping with this decision, we will omit Sherry Pie from this season’s rankings.)
Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Sunday, we’ll unpack the newest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. The makeovers of Drag Race superfans yield mixed results, but a double shantay keeps everyone safe for one more week. Who will benefit most from this change in the game?
5. Heidi N. Closet (last week: 3)
Heidi managed what is typically impossible this week, surviving her third lip sync of the season (and in a double shantay, no less!). Only a handful of queens have been able to accomplish this—some because their lip syncs were undeniable (Jujubee, Coco Montrese), some that won at least one dubious or otherwise extraordinary lip sync (Alexis Mateo, Ra’Jah Davenport O’Hara) and some that benefitted from a double shantay on at least one of their lip syncs. Heidi joins Kameron Michaels in the latter club, and what connects them both is that it feels like they were saved because the schedule called for a double shantay.
Of course, I love Heidi to the moon and back, so I’m thrilled she sticks around for at least one more week. But I do worry we’re delaying the inevitable here. Heidi really underperformed this week, and what’s worse, she admitted she just didn’t use her time correctly. That kind of sloppiness this late in the season is unacceptable; if she winds up in the bottom again, especially next to a Ru favourite like Crystal Methyd or Gigi Goode, she’s toast. She needs to focus up next week and deliver, or else it’ll be curtains for this Closet.
4. Jackie Cox (last week: 5)
Jackie had the misfortune of being fifth-best this week, not second-worst. Her looks weren’t that impressive, and she talked a little too much smack in the workroom to produce what she did, but she was nowhere near Heidi’s level of performance. But someone else had to fill out the bottom two, and luckily for her, she had a terrific lip sync to “Kill the Lights” in her back pocket.
I think it’s pretty clear we’re losing Jackie or Heidi next week—in fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a repeat pairing of them in the lip sync. They’re just not performing at the same level as the other girls, and Jackie’s even worse off with her lack of win. (Yes, Crystal also doesn’t have a win, but Crystal’s trajectory is markedly better than Jackie’s.) Unless she can really turn things around, I think the writing’s on the wall for Jackie.
3. Gigi Goode (last week: 4)
With the caveat that she could always pull something impressive off in the next couple of weeks and win everybody over, I am starting to think Gigi’s lost this. She had so much momentum, racking up wins left and right like we’ve never seen before. But she had two weeks dwelling in the bottom rungs, although she never really felt like she was under threat of a lip sync, and even her high score this week felt like a “meh” from the judges. It’s still possible this is part of an underdog edit, but she’d have to ratchet up fast to match Jaida’s momentum at this point. Hell, even Crystal has more momentum!
I do believe in being honest and declaring my biases, so I’ll be frank with you all: I don’t think Gigi would be a particularly remarkable winner. I asked weeks ago (in the premiere!) if we’d find out this season what would set her apart from Aquaria and Violet Chachki in the winners’ circle, and I don’t really think we’re any closer to an answer on that. Jaida, Crystal and Heidi would all bring something new to the circle. If Gigi’s going to make her argument for the win—and I mean an argument other than track record—we need to hear it pretty quickly.
2. Crystal Methyd (last week: 2)
The second Crystal gets a main challenge win, I will start taking her seriously as a threat to win the crown. As it stands, I can still only put her mentally behind Gigi and Jaida, even as Crystal does better in the later weeks of the competition than Gigi is. Her arc really gives me underdog winner vibes, and I could see World of Wonder/VH1 wanting to replicate what they did with Yvie Oddly last season. But even Yvie had one win.
If Crystal won, I could see some arguments that she’s just another quirky girl winning, like Jinkx Monsoon, Sasha Velour and Yvie before her. But I think lumping those four together does a disservice to each of their individual talents and crafts. Crystal’s energy is unlike any of them, and I’d be happy to see her at the top. That said, she’s not my winner pick.
1. Jaida Essence Hall (last week: 1)
Call her butter, because Jaida is officially on a roll. My winner pick for the season—and as of this week, my winner prediction for the season—utterly tore up the week, winning a highly competitive challenge and getting her best edit so far this season. You look at this episode, and you see a winner in Jaida. Point blank, period. Coming off another terrific performance last week, she has tons of momentum that’s to ignore.
That said, I do wonder if she’s peaked just a minute too early. There are still two weeks for Jaida to fall, and she’s got two hungry competitors nipping at her heels. And I can’t just cite track record at the end in support of Jaida’s win, because Gigi has her matched. No, Jaida needs to keep up the momentum, or if she loses it next week, she needs to snatch it right back up heading into the finale. Something tells me this season is going to be a photo finish, and I want my girl to extend her gorgeous face over the finish line first.