We are officially in the endgame of Season 12. In this special edition of Drag Race Power Rankings we will determine who will win based on their performance this season? And who deserves to?
Average Power Ranking: 4.18
Weeks at #1: 1
Worst Week: “World’s Worst,” Episode 3
With an average power ranking score of 4.18 and only one week atop the chart, Crystal obviously has the worst track record of the three queens left. Ordinarily, that would have me ruling her out of the competition. But her underdog arc has just been so strong that I think she’s still got a case. She’s got tremendous fan support on both Twitter and Instagram, and she’s got quite a few alumni in her corner as well. Her arc, in many ways, mirrors that of last year’s winner, Yvie Oddly, and her drag is in that same tradition of the quirky winners of seasons’ past. If you want to make the argument for Crystal’s win, it’s absolutely doable.
That said, I do think her status as a contender for the win got tighter with her appearance in the bottom two in the final week. After weeks of nothing but positive feedback and an upward trajectory, the last note of Crystal’s Drag Race journey was a down one. Her momentum took a hit, and if we’re meant to compare track records like the judges did in the last episode, that’s a losing battle for Crystal. She strikes me as a potential All Stars legend (maybe even a winner!), but I would be surprised if she wins this season. She’s far from out of the game, though—I think this is the first finale in years where it’s truly anyone’s title for the taking.
Average Power Ranking: 2.18
Weeks at #1: 4
Worst Week: “Droop,” Episode 8
Conversely to Crystal, after weeks of faltering, Gigi’s final note on the show was a win. Was it enough to change the tide? Maybe! There is a significant argument for Gigi’s win, and it comes from her track record—which just so happened to be the major topic of conversation during the final episode. Four weeks at the top of the power rankings, three of them in a row? That’s not exactly typical. Gigi also won four main challenge wins. An average power ranking that is not only the best of the top three, but one of the best in show herstory. You could say Gigi dominated this competition.
I don’t know if I’d personally say that, though. Yes, she racked up quite a few wins, but those weren’t always clear-cut victories. Ru and production seemingly showed Gigi favour a few times this season, so the strength of her report card seems subjective. Additionally, since Drag Race came to VH1, production has demonstrated a clear preference for the most popular queen of the season winning. Crystal and Jaida only grew in popularity with fans and alumni as the season progressed, while Gigi lost the crowd. Despite ending her run on a high note, the fan vote turned against her fast. She barely leads Jaida in Instagram likes, despite having nearly double her followers on that platform, and is getting out-retweeted by both of her fellow finalists on Twitter. Drag Race would effectively be flying in the face of fan desire to give Gigi the win. They still could, of course! But it would be a deviation from the recent trend if they did.
Jaida Essence Hall
Average Power Ranking: 2.64
Weeks at #1: 4
Worst Week: “Gay’s Anatomy,” Episode 5
My preference at this point would be for Jaida to win RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12. And I think she can win! She has the track record—not quite as strong as Gigi’s, but still very strong—as well as a significant share of fan and alumni support and an edit that rapidly ramped up to support her win in the last few weeks. There are other touches to her performance all season that make me think she’d be a great winner, too, like how she turns her missteps into wins. Unlike other queens who let mistakes cause them doubt, Jaida kept things rolling, killing her “1999” lip sync two weeks ago and making a joke of her season-worst acting challenge performance (“terrible actress from Gay’s Anatomy!”). She’s got the goods to take this home.
If she doesn’t, it won’t be the worst robbery in show herstory by any measure, but it would be a bummer. We haven’t had a queen like Jaida in the winners’ circle in a very long time, whereas we’ve had plenty of lovable weirdos like Crystal and multiple young fashion girls like Gigi. Jaida recalls the earliest days of the show, when pageant polish and impressive illusion gave queens like Bebe Zahara Benet and Tyra Sanchez the wins. I have great love for the earliest seasons of the show, so a win for Jaida would feel like a real celebration of where it’s been, and how it’s evolved now.
Still, I know my herstory enough to know looking forward usually beats looking back on this show. But who’s to say the queen of the future can’t be someone who both hearkens back to a more classic time while elevating it and pushing it forward? Violet Chachki once won Drag Race by declaring herself the past, present, and future of drag. When I look at Jaida now, I see the same. And I hope Ru can see it, too.