‘Canada’s Drag Race’ Season 4, Episode 7 power ranking: Stage fright

We’ve got just five queens left in the race to succeed Gisèle Lullaby

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. Though we still believe there’s a frontrunner out of our newly determined final five, this week’s maxi-challenge winner makes things a bit more interesting.

6. Kiki Coe (last week: 6)—ELIMINATED

Aw, I’m really sad to see Kiki go. The runway queen of the season needed to demonstrate that she could thrive in a non-look challenge, especially after being saved by the Golden Beaver twice and just barely surviving last week’s lip sync smackdown. And ironically, had she taken the opera role instead of trying to switch things up, she might have survived! Her “I Will Love Again” lip sync last week demonstrated that she can be really captivating on a dramatic song. But the cabaret number highlighted all of her weaknesses as a performer, despite her best efforts. A gorgeous runway look couldn’t keep her out of the bottom two.

As I said in the recap, I fully believe Kiki won this lip sync against Denim, but I’m not sure her staying would have been narratively the correct call. Kiki has struggled in the competition, and Denim’s arc seems to still have some juice in it. Frankly, neither of them is likely to win Canada’s Drag Race Season 4 regardless, so I can’t protest this decision too much. But if nothing else, Kiki went out on one of her best performances.

5. Denim (last week: 5)

It’s been frustrating to see Denim, consistently one of the most dynamic runway queens this season who has proven she can back it up in a performance, bear the brunt of so much backlash online this season. The reaction to Nearah Nuff saving her with the Golden Beaver last week was extreme. I’ll admit, I have other queens I’m rooting for more in the race for the crown, but I’ve enjoyed much of what Denim has brought to the table. And though I do think Kiki beat her in the lip sync, I think she put up a good fight—and still has more to show.

Unfortunately, she seemed to really get in her own head for the Rusical. I think the twin demons of her own winless record and the idea of playing Brooke Lynn Hytes at the absolute height of her powers proved daunting for Denim, and she got lost in the shuffle. (Particularly when the other queens joined her on the stage at performance’s end.) Still, her garter runway was incredibly cute and thoughtful, and I’m excited to see how her distinctive mug translates to next week’s makeover challenge. I may not think Denim is going to win this season, but I wouldn’t count her out of the race just yet.

 

4. Melinda Verga (last week: 4)

Love her to death, but I giggled when Melinda said that she was now taking the note about her challenge performances carrying her runways. Girl, that’s been the critique all season long! Last time the judges tried to tell her that, it resulted in her Mini-Untucked breakdown! Never change, Melinda. I thought her judging was entirely fair this week: she wasn’t one of the top performers in the Rusical, but she didn’t really deserve a bottom placement. Had the Golden Beaver not expired, she might’ve had to fight for her life after Aurora Matrix saved fellow Love Bug Denim, so I’m glad things went as they did.

I am, of course, very worried about Melinda in the makeover, and think her bottom two placement is all but certain. If she’s down there with a frontrunner like Aurora or Venus, I think it’s curtains for her; if she’s there with Denim or Nearah, I could see her putting up enough of a fight to stay. I just fully believe that, after the season we’ve had with her, a Season 4 finale without Melinda won’t feel complete.

3. Nearah Nuff (last week: 1)

I was actually ready to call Nearah my winner this week … until we got to judges’ critiques. Kudos to the editors for setting up the storyline that Nearah wasn’t pushing herself effectively, because it made the impact of watching her do the exact same moves as she did last week all the more notable. I question how much of that is Nearah’s fault, considering the routine was choreographed, but still. Nearah actively chose not to challenge herself, and after being explicitly told by the judges that said lack of challenge was an issue, she doubled down in confessional and said she’d have done the same thing.

It’s that, more than anything, that indicates why Nearah is not going to win this season. Drag Race is, for better or worse, as much about storytelling as it is about the competition. (I would argue it’s more about storytelling, actually.) The production needs to see you grow—Kylie Sonique Love, Jinkx Monsoon—or at least pretend you’re growing—hello, Violet Chachki—in order to invest in you as a champion. If Nearah is being edited as someone who actively chooses not to take opportunities to grow, you can pencil in either an elimination next week or in the finale before the final lip sync.

2. Venus (last week: 3)

I’ve been saying for weeks that this is Venus’ competition to lose, and that’s still true … but it is notable that Aurora was the first to two maxi-challenge wins. Venus must win next week, or else go into the finale with just one challenge win—when every single Canada’s Drag Race champion (not Canada vs. The World, just the main series) has had two wins. Moreover, they’ve all had at least one bottom two placement, while Venus has none. Literally no matter how next week goes, Venus cannot get both another win and a bottom placement. All of a sudden, despite her dominance, Venus is looking remarkably off-trend for a winner.

In the end, I’m not sure it matters much; Venus’ edit has just been so dominant. And to the point I just brought up re: Nearah, Venus leaned into a challenge this week and was praised for doing so, indicating both a willingness and capability for growth. (Granted, I think both in “Uninvited” and this week, Venus was too emotive—but my stan brain is willing me to let that slide.) I still would put my chips on her, particularly as she continues to elevate on the runway (that flower look!), but I think we’ve got a bit more of a race on our hands than we did last week.

1. Aurora Matrix (last week: 2)

Congrats to Aurora on being the first queen to two wins! Depending on how the cast fares in the makeover, she may be the only queen to two wins. That makes her track record look quite impressive, and makes her a real threat to take it all. I’m a little surprised she won the Rusical with a non-lyrical number, but her sudden ballet prowess clearly really impressed Brooke Lynn. Ballet is a cornerstone of Brooke Lynn’s identity both in and out of drag, and to see someone not trained formally be able to pick up the steps as well as Aurora did is impressive.

Her runway was also a very smartly timed departure from what we’d expect of Aurora. Her makeup was, for lack of better terminology, really cool: she was able to radically change her face and still produce something striking and gorgeous. Again, I do still think Venus is taking this, but I think Aurora’s putting up one hell of a fight. Depending on how next week’s episode goes, this may really come down to the wire.

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