‘Canada’s Drag Race’ Season 4, Episode 1 power ranking: 11 queens stand before us

No one goes home this week, but there is a bottom two

Welcome to Canada’s Drag Race Power Rankings! Every week, we’ll debrief the week’s new episode of Canada’s Drag Race Season 4 to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. Brooke Lynn Hytes and her panel chose not to eliminate anyone in the season premiere, but we do still get a sense of the pecking order thanks to some first impression rosebuds, as well as a top and bottom two.

11. Sisi Superstar

I thought Brooke Lynn Hytes nailed it when she described Sisi’s Me, Myself, and I runway look as more concertgoer than headliner. While I have a lot of respect for Sisi’s underground drag, Drag Race is not about where your drag comes from—it’s about how you elevate it to meet the moment. At this point, considering Sisi’s attitude in Mini-Untucked (how do you deny that you had trouble walking?), I’m not sure she’s going to make the turnaround needed to stay in this competition. I think she would’ve been our first boot had there been an elimination this week, and I still think it will be her next week.

10. Melinda Verga

Conversely, I think we may actually see Melinda stick around for a while. Let’s get it out of the way: her drag is crunchy. Her makeup is giving Season 9 Aja before she pared it down. Brooke Lynn’s note about her lashes was an important one, but there’s a lot more work to be done there before she has a Drag Race-level mug. And yet … there’s something about Melinda I can’t help but love. She’s so genuine, so unvarnished—I don’t get the sense that she’s putting anything on for the cameras. In an age where so many queens come in with every part of their Drag Race experience thought out, it’s refreshing to hear Melinda admit she didn’t want to go home because she didn’t have an exit line planned. I’m rooting for Melinda to surprise us.

9. Nearah Nuff

I was getting some real Eve 6000 energy from Nearah, which is thrilling to me as someone who enjoyed every hairpin turn of the Eve rollercoaster in Season 2. However, I know I was the cheese standing (mostly) alone on that one, so I could see Nearah’s dramatics grating on the average viewer. Regarding her drag: Brad Goreski clocked it best when he noted that all three of her looks involved corsets. The second look was unforgivable, and she knew it, which makes me wonder what happened to this alleged “missing piece” she mentioned. I did really like the jacket on her third look, though. Time will tell if Nearah can get out of her own head and really deliver; I’m interested to see how she does in a performance challenge.

 

8. Luna DuBois

I actually really liked all three of Luna’s looks. Her reveal-heavy Shimmering Showgirls look demonstrated an understanding that, in a performance-based ball category, giving levels is the way to go. (The Girlfriend Experience did this, too, but we’ll talk about her in a second.) And while Luna’s final Mugler look might’ve been a bit expected, it was a stunning silhouette on her—moon fascinator included. However, I got a sense of reserve from Luna throughout the episode. It could just be her self-described shadiness that I’m reading into, or maybe she’s just a bit introverted. But even her confessionals had a sense of remove to them, like she’s not totally invested. I think a lot about when Graham Norton praised Cheddar Gorgeous on UK Season 4 for fully committing to experiencing Drag Race despite her legend status; similar praise was given to Sasha Colby on Season 15 as well. Opinions of this franchise may vary, but I do believe that if you want to succeed in it, you need to commit to it. We’ll see if Luna lets her guard down a bit more in the coming weeks.

7. Kitten Kaboodle

Kitten may be the oldest queen to ever compete on Drag Race, but she sure as hell isn’t showing it. Yes, her vaudeville style of drag could be considered a bit old-fashioned, although I’ll always love a campy queen. But more than that, Kitten is making her style feel as relevant as some of the more progressive queens’ by just doing it really well. The final category look (“You better walk that fucking cat!”) showed a sense of charm and whimsy, but it was also really good drag. And in the confessional chair, Kitten is hilarious: “There’s no trade of the season. Apparently I’m the daddy of the season. But I like to think of myself as the mama.” I’m here for a long Kitten run; can’t wait to see who she does in Snatch Game.

6. Aurora Matrix

Aurora is the queen I would describe as having the highest potential variance in her ultimate placement. She got a lot of screentime, especially in confessionals, and didn’t seem a threat to land anywhere near the bottom. However, I actually didn’t like her overall presentation this week. The dragon look for the final category was certainly the most interesting, but her nude illusion was not much of an illusion, to say the least. And I’m with the girls who were dragging her entrance look: while I understood the inspiration, it was an odd choice for a first impression. I could see Aurora being a surprising early boot, or I could see her in the endgame. Because of that, I’m sticking her smack dab in the middle.

5. The Girlfriend Experience

It’s funny what this show does to you: when TGE was opening up about her coming out experience and the horrifying attacks she’s experienced during her transition, I was both incredibly invested in her journey … and wondering if she was revealing too much of her backstory too early. My brain is broken, I know! But I will never forget Alisa Summers way back in Season 4 opening up about her DUI in the very first episode, and getting sent home at premiere’s end. Drag Race is, at the end of the day, a television show, and producers are looking to build an arc for a queen across the whole season. It’s why queens like Anetra will hold back key parts of their backstory (raised Mormon!), only to reveal them at season’s end. If it all sounds quite mercenary, that is, regrettably, showbiz baby.

Regarding her performance in the episode, I thought TGE was at her best during the Shimmering Showgirls segment. She really thought about every phase of the performance as a new character, revealing a new part of her look as she went. It was enough for me to forgive a far-too-simple final runway look, which was supposedly a very best drag category. TGE’s success in this competition is likely going to come down to her challenge performances, because I could easily see Brooke Lynn coming down hard on her runway looks.

4. Aimee Yonce Shennel

I was thrilled to see Aimee get the first impression rosebud for her entrance look, because it was frankly incredible. It was a gorgeous spectacle that screamed opulence, but had enough interesting details to set it apart from other pageant looks. That said, I think her being the one rosebud holder to not make the top three was the right call. Her carnival-inspired showgirl look was good, but it didn’t stand apart from the various other showgirl looks in that second category. And in the final, runway category, while I loved the colours of her outfit and the headpiece, she was up against tough competition. I see Aimee doing quite well this season on the runway—the next question is how she will do in comedy and performance challenges.

3. Kiki Coe

Kiki snuck past Aimee for the third slot in the top three, largely on the back of her handmade pearl runway for the final category. I mentioned in TGE’s write-up that the final category was supposed to show off their very best drag, and Kiki’s put the “best” in that. It was nothing short of spectacular. Her showgirl look for the second category, positively dripping in jewels, was also a favourite. It all offset what I thought was a good-not-great entrance look, and I think she landed in exactly the right spot in the judging order. I’ve no doubt we’ll see her pick up a maxi-challenge win sooner versus later.

2. Denim

I’d honestly pencil Denim in for the finals right now. She has an X factor, an “it” quality that makes her an obvious pick to go far. She’s charismatic on camera, good at talking about her own story and journey without giving up too much, and looks fantastic on the runway. That final look was chaotic, but in such a precise way that everything flowed together perfectly. I think Denim would’ve won the week if not for the lip sync, but Venus was just a slightly more captivating performer. Still, if I were power ranking on vibes alone, Denim would be top of the list. To flip a phrase once said by RuPaul himself, I think she has the stuff to go all the way.

1. Venus

That said, my personal favourite this season is Venus, and I am thrilled to see her take the first win. She is charisma incarnate, has an interesting philosophy when it comes to her drag (loved her explanation of why she doesn’t tuck), had some great looks this week, and can clearly command a room during a lip sync. What more could you want from a queen? If anything, I’d just worry about Venus getting too much praise too soon. The queens were already side-eyeing her first impression rosebud from Brooke Lynn after her entrance look. But if that rosebud was a bit premature, Venus more than made up for it later. I’m all in on her, and I’m hoping she can keep this up all season long.

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