‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 12, Episode 3 power ranking: The first queen falls

(Editor’s Note: VH1 and World of Wonder have disqualified Sherry Pie over serious catfishing allegations involving five men. A spokesperson for VH1 and World of Wonder said the season will air as planned “out of respect for the hard work of the other queens.” In keeping with this decision, we will omit Sherry Pie from this season’s rankings.)

Welcome to Drag Race Power Rankings! Every Sunday, we’ll debrief this week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. Finally, a queen goes home on this first elimination episode of the season. Which of the 12 eligible dolls is the first to fall? And who is riding high after the season’s improv challenge?

12. Dahlia Sin (last placement: 5 in Week 2) — ELIMINATED

Dahlia Sin Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

I think Dahlia’s repeated insistence on being beautiful and sexy this week is a good indication of her limitations in this competition. RuPaul likes his girls to be able to get dirty and funny, and Dahlia was just never going to be able to deliver that. A bummer for her, but I don’t think a tremendous loss for the season.

11. Nicky Doll (last placement: 7 in Week 1)

Nicky Doll Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

That lip sync didn’t give me a lot of hope in Nicky, and that’s a shame. I’d actually kinda grown to like her upon rewatching her premiere. But it’s clear that anything she says about being a performer in addition to being a look queen is just hype, and she’s not going to be able to deliver when the chips are down. She’s out the next time she hits the bottom 2, I think.

10. Crystal Methyd (last placement: 6 in Week 1)

Crystal Methyd Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

The judges are pretty clearly invested in “fixing” Crystal, whatever that means. Their overtures about her changing up her makeup this week were heavy-handed, if not entirely incorrect. (however, Michelle Visage’s point that Rock M. Sakura did change her makeup is fair—) While I do think it’ll be a bummer to watch, since Crystal’s style is unique and individual, I also think it bodes well for her in this competition. She may have to bump up against the bottom two a few times, but I do think she’ll stay in so the judges can wait for her breakthrough.


9. Aiden Zhane (last placement: 4 in Week 2)

Aiden Zhane Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

I didn’t talk about it much in the recap, since it was a very strange edit without getting Sherry’s confessionals to fill it out, but Brita and Sherry seemed very anti-Aiden this week without a lot of evidence in the episode to fill it out. Aiden seems lovely, if a little reliant on that one wig, but nothing about her strikes me as offensive or difficult. But the fact that this storyline was kept in despite Sherry otherwise being edited out indicates to me that Aiden’s being set up either for a triumphant surprise or a fall.

8. Rock M. Sakura (last placement: 3 in Week 2)

Rock M Sakura Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

I have Rock above Crystal this week, but I do believe Rock will get eliminated before Crystal. Of the two queens with distinctive makeup styles, Ru seems much less interested in Rock. And that’s a shame! I think she’s a fun queen with a lot to offer! I wanted to hug her when she was picked last for the teams. She’s so adorably relatable. But I will admit that her skills don’t seem like the best fit for this competition, and she strikes me as a little fragile for reality TV.

7. Brita (last placement: 5 in Week 1)

Brita Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

A quiet week for Brita, once again owing to being on a team with someone who was almost entirely edited out of the episode. I will say I just don’t think she’s shining yet, and her repeated overtures about New York City queens being the best are really getting on my last nerve. I get that you’re from New York, Brita! What else do you have to offer that’s not about your geographical location.

6. Jan (last placement: 2 in Week 2)

Jan Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Like her non-copyright-infringing New York sister, Jan didn’t have much to do this week but did well enough in the challenge to be safe. I do want to talk a little about her runways, which so far have been very diverse—but ultimately haven’t amounted to a cohesive drag aesthetic. I worry that Jan is turning out looks for the sake of turning out looks on Drag Race, instead of really expressing who she is in her fashion. Look for the judges to clock her eventually—she’s ripe for a “we don’t know who you are” critique.

5. Jaida Essence Hall (last placement: 1 in Week 2)

Jaida Essence Hall Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Jaida got the meatiest part in the fruits’ sketch, camping it up with her big entrance and revealing the other girls to be frauds. It was a fun part, and she did what she needed to do with it. Honestly, I’d probably have put her in the top three over Jackie, and definitely over Sherry, but I do think this would’ve been a fair challenge to judge in teams. In that case as well, Jaida still would’ve been safe. A fine week for her.

4. Jackie Cox (last placement: 3 in Week 1)

Jackie Cox Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Despite her strong performance this week, I’m not quite vibing with Jackie yet, as she still strikes me as a bit too performative in critiques and confessionals. I could see her getting the Chad Michaels or BenDeLaCreme-esque “hiding behind a character” note. I am glad she didn’t continue to push being a Persian queen above all else—not because her heritage isn’t important, but because I think she has a wide range of looks and concepts to offer in her drag, and it felt like she was pigeonholing herself as one “brand” in the premiere.

3. Widow Von’Du (last placement: 1 in Week 1)

Widow Von Du Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Widow killed it in the challenge in a group that was otherwise pretty mediocre, camping it up as the drunk member. She also commanded a lot of screen time throughout the episode, which is a sign of a queen who will continue to be a major character in the season. I am still a little worried about her getting a villainous edit, but so far the show’s doing a nice job portraying her as more complex than just one facet of her personality. I’m most excited to see what she presents every week.

2. Gigi Goode (last placement: 2 in Week 1)

Gigi Goode Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

If anyone was truly robbed of a top placement this week, it was Gigi. She killed the physical comedy in her group’s sketch, acting as the anchor that the other two played off of. I don’t think she deserved the win by any stretch, but it felt weird for her to just be called safe—especially after seeing her all-buttons runway! Hers was the one truly impressive use of the otherwise lame “buttons and bows” theme! It’s hard to argue Gigi is underrated, since she was top two the first episode and has clearly piqued the judges’ interest, but it does feel like she deserved more this week.

1. Heidi N. Closet (last placement: 4 in Week 1)

Heidi N Closet Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

In my opinion, Heidi should’ve won this week. (And I’d say that with or without the circumstances surrounding the actual winner.) She smashed the challenge dead, presented a runway that was both fun and flattering, and dominated the narrative of the episode otherwise. She’s easily the best “character” of this year’s cast, and this week proved she can be just as capable a competitor, too. Welcome to the top of the ranking, Heidi—you may not be here much this season, but I’ll be rooting for you no matter where you land every week.

Kevin O’Keeffe is a writer, host, instructor, and RuPaul’s Drag Race herstorian living in Los Angeles, California. His favourite pastime is watching a perfect lip sync.

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