Welcome to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Power Rankings! Every week, we’ll debrief the week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 5 to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. Drag Race UK finally deflated the RuPeter badge economy this week, as only one queen won the girl groups challenge. Who came out on top?
9. Banksie (last week: 1)
This looks like a much worse fall for Banksie than it actually is, considering she was safe this week. But considering the confines of this strange judging, I do think Banksie benefited most from there being no elimination. She was just a bit awkward through her performance in the girl group challenge, and her verse wasn’t memorable. She looked great in a draggy take on David Bowie for the runway, though. I suspect she’ll continue to stun fashion-wise, but I’m not sure her hope to win all the maxi-challenges is going to bear fruit.
8. Miss Naomi Carter (last week: 9)
While I think Naomi did well considering her physical limitations this week, I just can’t imagine that she’s got much time left in this competition. We’ve seen queens with leg injuries removed too many times (Eureka!, Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, Victoria Scone) for me to believe she’ll be kept around. It becomes a liability for the show to keep an injured queen in, because it might exacerbate her injury. If she does stick around, I think this week showed she’s not to be underestimated. I just can’t advise investing too much into Naomi until we know what the show’s plan for her is.
7. Ginger Johnson (last week: 5)
I’m intrigued by what’s happening with Ginger: she’s in so many confessionals every episode, but we’ve yet to see her truly stand out in the competition. (Yes, she was one of the high-scoring five in Episode 1, but she clearly wasn’t in close contention for the win.) When, if ever, is her breakout moment coming? I’m having a similar issue with Kate Butch, but unlike Ginger, I’m seeing star-making moments from Kate that the judges just aren’t grabbing on to. Ginger could use a real solo triumph, and soon. Stuff like playing Naomi’s foot like a sax are fun, but Ginger should show that she’s a star all on her own.
6. Kate Butch (last week: 7)
Kate was absolutely robbed this week, I gotta say. If we weren’t going to do a winning team, and the results were as good as they were, I think one from each side should’ve been placed in the top two, and it should’ve been Kate competing for the M-52s. Not only was her rap terrific in the song, with a couple of delightful Kate Bush references, but she also absolutely devoured her runway presentation. Her Shania Twain look may not have been the most polished, but it was a clear reference to the “That Don’t Impress Me Much” video, and the bit with her pulling out all the things that don’t impress Shania was incredible—even before Sophie Ellis-Bextor got involved in the banter. No, this was a tremendous week for Kate, and it’s a shame she didn’t even get her proper kudos from the judges for it.
5. Vicki Vivacious (last week: 6)
Vicki technically having a high-scoring placement on her track record for this week’s performance is indicative of the flaws with this judging system. Props to her for singing her verse so well despite being deaf in one ear—Michelle Visage was clearly impressed—but she missed several lyrics in her lip sync. And as the judges noted, her energy lagged compared to her teammates’. Moreover, while I admire the take on Freddie Mercury, it doesn’t help that Lady Camden’s Freddie look from Season 14 was so iconic. Had this been a traditional week, with non-team judging, I’d have felt pretty safe putting Vicki in the bottom.
4. DeDeLicious (last week: 2)
Okay, what’s happening with DeDe’s edit? She’s not quite getting Valentina-level delusional framing, but it’s a lighter version—Scarlet Envy-esque. She certainly wasn’t the best this week, but she did get compliments from the judges. So why did her retelling of her critiques get a bunch of shady sound effects and cutaways to other queens in Mini-Untucked? So strange. Anyway, this was my favourite week of DeDe so far, as she leaned into a more youthful look with her mug—although I preferred it in the challenge to her Nicki MInaj-inspired runway look. Her verse was solid, too. Weird week for DeDe’s edit to not be complimentary, especially for a character who feels like she’ll be with us for a while.
3. Michael Marouli (last week: 4)
I said earlier that Kate would’ve been in my top two if the judging weren’t in teams, but since it was, I will instead argue that Michael should’ve been in the top. For the second week in a row, here I am, calling Michael robbed! Her verse wasn’t the best, but it was memorable for its focus on fashion faux pas, and Michael performed the hell out of it. Moreover, her “Frankenspice” runway, both in concept and execution, was the clear best of the week. I appreciate how thoughtful Michael is about her drag, that she’s not simply doing a reference but interpreting it into something that makes sense for her. She’s the one I’m most excited to see what she brings out week after week.
2. Tomara Thomas (last week: 3)
This was a big week for Tomara, as she proved that she can more than keep up in a dance challenge and served a great verse to boot. While her Demi Moore-meets-Elvis Presley runway was underwhelming—and I’d have kept her out of the top for it in favour of Michael or Kate instead—the judges decided it didn’t outweigh her challenge performance. Unfortunately, she couldn’t quite get the win in the lip sync, but she put up one hell of a fight. Tomara continues to emerge as one of the main characters of the season; her future in this competition is looking quite bright.
1. Cara Melle (last week: 8)
A huge rebound for Cara Melle after nearly falling into the bottom two last week. She was the star of the show in the Fierce Force Five’s group performance, and she pulled out an eye-grabbing, opulent take on Beyoncé for the pop icons runway. If UK were judged by old All Stars rules, Cara would have two wins by now in three episodes. She’ll sadly have to settle for just one RuPeter Badge—but it was hard-won, as she battled fiercely with Tomara in the lip sync. Still, one has to imagine this is only the beginning for Cara’s journey in this competition.