Welcome to Drag Race UK Power Rankings! Every Saturday, we’ll debrief this week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. While the queens were spared having to design an outfit for their first challenge of the season, the sewing needle came back to bite this week. Who turned out the best car boot sale look on the runway?
8. Vinegar Strokes (last week: 6) — ELIMINATED
This just wasn’t the competition for Vinegar. Her looks were indeed “hodgepodge,” and her performances weren’t much better. Her lip sync to “Would I Lie to You?” was manic and sloppy. I like Vinegar’s personality, so I’ll be sad not to have her around anymore. But there was no defending her work any longer.
7. Cheryl Hole (last week: 8)
Season 3’s Carmen Carrera has one of the most infamous statistics on her résumé: She is the only queen in Drag Race’s American herstory to place low—not in the bottom two, but right outside of it—in the first two weeks of the competition. (Adore Delano did it in the first two weeks she was eligible to do so in Season 6, but the split-premiere nature of that season meant Adore did so over three total weeks of the competition.) This is so difficult to accomplish because, on balance, a low-placement the very first week means you’re motivated to do better the next week, or you disappoint the judges again and wind up in the bottom two for it. Considering Drag Race rarely offers two similar types of challenges in a row, it’s also difficult to fail twice; even if you’re not the best at sewing, you’ll usually be able to handle an acting challenge.
I say all this to explain what a true feat it is that Cheryl has now scored low in the first three weeks of the competition. She got Carmen’d and then some. You can quibble with her low-placement this week, and I’d agree with you. But in this case, our opinion doesn’t matter. The judges are consistently disappointed in Cheryl, but not enough to actually make her lip sync. It’s a bizarre situation, and I’ve no clue what it means for Cheryl’s place in the competition. We’re dealing with something actually unprecedented.
6. Sum Ting Wong (last week: 5)
I wouldn’t have put Sum Ting in my personal bottom two, but I also can’t dispute her being there. Her inability (or unwillingness) to listen to RuPaul’s advice and go with a stretchier fabric is such a classic, obvious mistake. Sure, queens have ignored Ru before and gone on to win challenges, even seasons. Violet Chachki was a great example of this in Season 7. But it’s a huge risk, as it automatically raises your threshold for success to the highest, narrowest window. Going to defy Mother? Good luck! He’s got all the motive in the world to critique you harshly now that you’ve disregarded his guidance.
Obviously it’s never an easy thing to lip sync against your best friend in the competition. But props to Sum Ting for realizing she needed to put her emotions to the side and fight for her own spot in the race.
5. Blu Hydrangea (last week: 7)
Feels like this was a bit of a miss, no? Yes, she was safe, and if I had a look at the judges’ scorecards (imaginary though they may be), I’d say she was a clear fourth over Baga Chipz in fifth. But this should’ve been her challenge, no? And when I saw her in that striking pink-and-yellow lip while talking to Divina de Campo in the workroom mirror, I had high hopes. But the result was pretty cheap. It’s appropriate that Ru called her look “Party City.” (Phi Phi O’Hara would be proud, if she didn’t loathe Drag Race with every bone in her body.)
Blu did a nice job carving out a character for herself in this episode, though: She’s the surprisingly shady queen who will even read RuPaul if she feels like it. Before, I don’t know if I could’ve told you who Blu is beyond the surviving twink of the three from the premiere. (Gothy Kendoll and Scaredy Kat, RIP.) But now she’s got her own spot and a storyline reason to stick around for. Even if she can’t win a challenge, I’d be surprised if we lose her before the top five (or even the top four).
4. Baga Chipz (last week: 1)
I give Baga the edge over Blu in the middle of the ranking because, somehow, she didn’t land in the bottom two despite a hideous steel wool outfit. That speaks to the love of Ru and the judges, and that will help her past some big mistakes. Frankly, I’d have put her next to Vinegar in the bottom two for it, although considering her record, I’d have understood just bottom three instead. But safe? Absolutely not.
In regard to her and The Vivienne’s tight friendship: I think Baga is generally coming off the better in that situation. While she’s confident, too, she talks less shit—or at least, starts shit-talking less—than The Vivienne does. If one of them is going to be sacrificed for the sake of a “breaking up the mean girls” storyline, Baga’s target is looking smaller at the moment.
3. The Vivienne (last week: 2)
Michelle’s initial critique, that The Vivienne was presenting something that’s been done before as something new, was right-on. I wish she’d stuck with it instead of detouring into praising The Vivienne for it. I don’t think her look was bad by any measure, but it wasn’t original, and lacked a clear silhouette. The high-neckline choice also threw the look off for me. I’m nitpicking, perhaps, but the judges’ praise was over the top.
Vivienne’s edit turned quite a bit this episode, with multiple queens (most notably Divina and Sum Ting) labeling her too confident and calling for her to be knocked off her pedestal. That’s a bad spot for The Vivienne to already be in circa week three. With only eight episodes this season, production will have a limited time to edit her back into a potential winner—if that’s even where they want to go with her story.
2. Crystal (last week: 4)
I am all in on Crystal. I think she’s funny, talented as hell, and is self-assured without becoming cocky. She had every right to think she would win this week; if Divina hadn’t turned out as stunning a look as she did, Crystal absolutely would’ve taken home top honors. But I worry the loss will get in her head, as she said she didn’t deserve to be in the competition if she couldn’t win this week.
The good news is, I think it’ll take something weird to send Crystal home. She was solid in the acting challenge last week, and has turned out nothing but amazing looks out on the runway. If she can get through Snatch Game next week—which, considering her low-key style of comedy, may prove tough for her—I think she’ll be golden for a bit.
1. Divina de Campo (last week: 3)
The queen of self-doubt breaks through! Really glad Divina got this win so early, because if she’d gone several weeks without full acknowledgment à la Thorgy Thor, she likely would have succumbed to her own insecurities and drowned in them. But now she’s got the validation, and can walk into future weeks of the competition with her head held high.
There’s a Vivienne vs. Divina rivalry being hinted at in the edit, and I’m frankly all for that. Considering Baga feels like she’ll be with us for the long haul no matter what she does, I like the idea of two other titans battling it out through the weeks. To declare my own biases, though, I’m fully Team Divina in that matchup.