RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 Episode 9
The cast of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 12 Credit: Courtesy VH1; Francesca Roh/Xtra
RuPaul's Drag Race
5 min

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 12, Episode 9 power ranking: Approval ratings

(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 debrief this week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. This 2020 election-themed season has been gearing up for a political challenge all season long. But when it actually came time to head to the debate stage, which queen found herself polling highest with the judges?

6. Widow Von’Du (last week: 6) — ELIMINATED

Widow Von Du Drag Race 12
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Unfortunately, Widow’s story firmly came to an end this week. Although I acknowledge she’s not the strongest on the runway, I’ve been consistently impressed by her this season, more so than the judges have been.). But in terms of her narrative, she was indeed flatlining. There just wasn’t any room left for her to grow in the competition; if the judges didn’t like what she was serving this week, they were never going to come around. She deserved better than her run this season, but I do think her performance in that first week set an impossibly high standard in the judges’ eyes. She was just never going to match that promise.

5. Jackie Cox (last week: 4)

Jackie Cox Drag Race 12
Credit: Courtesy VH1

I’ll give her this: Jackie was more clever by half than I expected of her in that lip sync. She knows she’s not the strongest dancer, but has a very particular, quirky performance style that helps her stand out. Despite Widow’s emotional performance, I thought Jackie was the clear winner of the lip sync, for making “Firework” her own and genuinely surprising us. That said, I do think her own acknowledgement that her humour can be “esoteric” is what’s holding her back here. She had one joke heading into the debate, and lots of ways to interpret it, but the judges were clearly looking for more than just riffs on being Canadian.

I have complicated feelings about what happened on the runway, as I expressed in this week’s recap, but I’ll admit I’m growing wary of Jackie consistently pivoting to tears when she underperforms in the challenges. She’s clearly a sensitive soul, but Drag Race takes fortitude. Nina Bo’Nina Brown got a similar note from Ross Mathews back in Season 9: You’ve gotta be tough to survive in this competition. I worry Jackie’s not got thick enough skin for it.

4. Gigi Goode (last week: 5)

Gigi Goode Drag Race 12
Credit: Courtesy VH1

It’s weird, you’d think Gigi was really fucking up based on her edit the past two weeks. She’s been mediocre, sure, but nowhere near that bad. I actually thought she had some moments this week, though I agree she wasn’t top-worthy. (Her commercial last week was worse, IMO, which is why I was surprised to see so many fans defending it.) She seems to be very critical of herself—it’s like she expected to pull a Bianca del Rio and never come even close to the bottom two. That kind of run is legendary for a reason because not everyone can do it.

Gigi fans shouldn’t fret, though: This downturn is a chance for the prodigy to get the relatable underdog edit, a fabricated come-from-behind narrative that propelled queens like Jinkx Monsoon and Yvie Oddly to wins in their seasons. Ru and Michelle Visage both love to see vulnerability in the queens, and this minor stumble just might be enough for Gigi to forge a “comeback.” One question, though: Will Ru want to crown a queen who admits she’s not much into politics after such a politically focused season? Gigi may need to prove her political bona fides somehow if she wants to clinch the title.

3. Heidi N. Closet (last week: 1)

Heidi N Closet Drag Race 12
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Though I love the continued surge of my favourite Ramseur queen, I’ll admit this week’s high placement for Heidi left me a little confused. She was fine in the challenge, and I do think she managed some standout moments despite all the chaos (“Oh, the slander!”). But I didn’t think her runway was nearly as polished as the judges thought it was, and to me, the top two were far ahead of Heidi. Listen, as I said, I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I’m hopeful this stretch of good fortune gives Heidi the confidence she needs to continue thriving through the endgame. But I do hope the next time she scores high, it’ll be for stronger work.

2. Crystal Methyd (last week: 2)

Crystal Methyd Drag Race 12
Credit: Courtesy VH1

With the caveat that the winner this week was miles ahead of the others, I totally get why Crystal was second this week. She continues to show more of her authentic self in the challenges, and she’s learned how to angle her drag into a form that’s Ru-friendly. I may roll my eyes at the DeBarge of it all, but Crystal has keyed in on how she can play with that to please Ru. (Even if, as was noted in the debate, she still doesn’t really know who DeBarge is.) I was surprised that Carson Kressley didn’t like her outfit on the runway—I thought it was a fun mix of textiles that worked in a very Crystal-specific way.

Is Crystal Methyd going to win this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race? Probably not. But at this point, I’d be flabbergasted if she’s not at least one of the top four queens. She’s got a lot of natural charm and charisma, and Ru’s seeing his investment in her pay off. That’s a recipe for success.

1. Jaida Essence Hall (last week: 3) 

Jaida Essence Hall Drag Race 12
Credit: Courtesy VH1

Finally, Jaida finds herself back on top! Though she’s done some good work in recent weeks, she hasn’t found a way to get the judges excited about her in a while. This week, she really knocked the ball out of the park—there’s no way Ru could ignore her this week. She managed the pretty impressive trick of being funny in the challenge (very off-the-cuff funny, too!) while also making a point about the general idiocracy of politics. It was remarkable, honestly, and Ru sat up and noticed it.

The best thing Jaida can do to make a case for her win this season is to keep winning and take advantage of Gigi’s downturn. If Ru can walk out of this season thinking more about Jaida than about Gigi, she’s got a real chance. I still do think Gigi’s win is likely inevitable, but hey! Around this time last season, I said Yvie Oddly was down and out. Wild things happen on Drag Race sometimes.