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 pick up the pieces after the six-way lip sync to figure out where the queens stand.
13. Honey Davenport — ELIMINATED (last week: 10)
Well, after two weeks of me not being able to remember who Honey is, she finally did something memorable! Unfortunately, it was for all the wrong reasons. I think Honey was destined to go this week with or without a six-way lip sync, what with her disastrous musical tribute to Mariah Carey. But her flailing about on the ground to the tune of “Waiting For Tonight” did her no favours. The first Davenport falls.
12. Ra’jah Davenport O’Hara (last week: 11)
. . . and I can’t imagine the second Davenport is far behind her. Ra’jah would’ve been my choice for joining Honey in a hypothetical bottom two. Their segment was by far the worst on When You Believe — which is truly saying something — and Ra’jah was also the team leader. Plus, her runway was easily the worst on her team, and she knew it. She should count her blessings she’s still around. If Ru wanted to make it a multi-elimination week, she was an easy pick.
11. Plastique Tiara (last week: 3)
YIKES. Plastique takes a hard fall from the top based on her truly terrible performance in the challenge. Like the judges, I admire that Plastique took some big swings in her portrayal of a Mariah Carey fan, but literally, every single choice is wrong. Also, it would’ve helped if Plastique actually knew anything about Mariah Carey. Don’t get me started on the “I just found out about pop culture three years ago” excuse. A’keria was right in Untucked, Plastique’s had time to learn about gay icons. Plus, Mariah is a huge cultural figure. Someone working in the drag scene the way Plastique is would absorb at least some information about her by osmosis.
Plastique acquitted herself well in the six-way lip sync — showing off some skills she learned from Mama Alyssa Edwards, I’m sure — but she’s no longer the sterling star of the competition. This week is a red mark on her record, one she’ll need to work hard to expunge.
10. Mercedes Iman Diamond (last week: 12)
Well, she didn’t lip sync, so there’s that. But Mercedes really only avoided criticism this week by virtue of being on the team that won. She is not at the same calibre as the other queens — and that’s saying something in a season that’s of lower calibre on the whole anyway. Imagine her in Season 6, or Season 10! At this point, we’re just marking time until her elimination.
9. Scarlet Envy (last week: 6)
See, I knew her momentary hot streak wouldn’t last. Scarlet got rightfully clocked by the judges this week for bringing the same performance to this challenge as she did to “Good God, Girl, Get Out.” Troye Sivan nailed it on the head when he said she was responsible for setting the tone as the host. Her hesitant, halting performance was bizarre to watch and dragged she Shuga Cain down with her. She probably did the best in the six-way lip sync, but even some of her impact there was dulled by her badly hidden wig reveal.
I’ll admit I like Scarlet’s runways more than I expected to based on her entrance and “Meet the Queens” looks, but that’s not enough. Her skills are limited, and she’s going to have an increasing amount of trouble hiding that. I’d guess she’ll be the first maxi challenge winner to be eliminated this season.
8. A’keria Chanel Davenport (last week: 7)
Whoops, did I call this one wrong? A’keria isn’t popping on Drag Race, as rightfully noted by Brooke Lynn Hytes this week. What I was reading as thoughtful focus actually seems like a lack of enthusiasm, and that bit her in the ass during the challenge. Of particular interest was how the judges started off saying she wasn’t bad in When You Believe, but their criticisms got worse as deliberations continued. You want to be in a position where the judges will talk themselves out of their criticisms of you, not the other way around.
Guest judges Troye and Guillermo Diaz did love her outfit, but this season seems to be far more focused on challenge performance than runways, and A’keria’s yet to show she can handle the tasks. She has a small window to turn this around, else we’ll be losing all our Davenports early.
7. Shuga Cain (last week: 8)
Catch me low-key stanning Shuga Cain! Yes, she also flubbed as host of When You Believe, but from what we saw, a lot of that was Scarlet’s fault. (See: Scarlet bungling Shuga’s transition to commercial by adding superfluous talk.) I loved Shuga’s runway, and it was adorable to see Guillermo connecting with her focus on her Native and Latinx heritage. I’m waiting for Shuga to really kill a challenge, I think she has it in her.
6. Ariel Versace (last week: 13)
I will begrudgingly admit Ariel did great this week. Her runway was basic, but it didn’t matter; she brought exactly the right attitude into the main challenge, and her musical performance got well-earned kudos from Ru. She’ll never be my favourite, but I’m a big enough bitch to admit when someone I don’t love does well. This was a strong week for Ariel. Whether it’s the start of an upswing or her only good week remains to be seen.
5. Silky Nutmeg Ganache (last week: 5)
If I’m gonna praise Ariel’s attitude this week, I’m gonna knock Silky for her own. The two were paired for the musical performance on the It’s Britney Bitch Network, and while Ariel came in willing to put their squabble last week behind her for the good of the challenge, Silky came across as bitter. This only got worse in Untucked, where Silky fought with the other queens and stripped (?!) for no reason.
Granted, this didn’t translate in the challenge, where both Ariel and Silky were pros. But it’s the little things that matter, especially when there are still approximately 246 girls left in the race.
4. Brooke Lynn Hytes (last week: 4)
Brooke Lynn definitely let Nina take center stage as co-host of their Britney Spears–centric hour, but I don’t think that was a bad move. She got the credit for being a good team member and didn’t risk becoming a showboat too early. She’s already got her main challenge win, after all. Besides, her big story this week was the fact that she and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo are apparently getting each other’s cookies. Get it, girl.
3. Yvie Oddly (last week: 1)
A killer runway this week from Yvie, although I do have to knock her for the silver shoes. If you’re going to paint your whole body pink, including your dick (which . . . shouldn’t that be tucked anyway?), you should paint the damn shoes, too. Regardless, she was great in her part of the It’s Britney Bitch Network skit and came off far more smoothly from her challenge win last week than Scarlet did.
2. Nina West (last week: 9)
There’s the Nina West I love! This challenge was a pitch down home plate for Nina, and she duly knocked it out of the park. I admit, I didn’t totally anticipate her win, just because there’s been a lot of narrative and edit focus on another queen, but the proof is in the pudding. Her team won because she set the tone, and she kept them together. Plus, she was hilarious throughout her performance. Nina earned this one.
1. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (last week: 2)
I am truly agog at how hard I’m stanning Vanjie right now. She is proving to be so much more than a meme, as adept at being funny in confessionals and the workroom as she is in the challenges. She committed fully to the challenge this week, not just hamming up her own performance, but working to make the skit as a whole better. It’s easy to be a scene-stealer, but channelling that energy into something productive for the whole group? That’s impressive.
I would love to see her wear a colour other than red on the runway, but that’s literally my only Vanjie complaint right now. It’s easy to imagine her taking home a challenge win sooner versus later. If she can get on a roll after that? There may be no stopping her.