‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 12, Episode 5 power ranking: Dr. Goode, Medicine Woman

(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. A medical drama-themed acting challenge turns out surprisingly strong performances across the board. But whose charts show the most positive prognoses—and who is DOA in this competition?

10. Nicky Doll (last week: 4) — ELIMINATED

Nicky Doll Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

I can’t tell you the last time I came around on a queen so positively. I do agree it was her time to go, but I have such tremendous respect for the way Nicky recognized her own limitations and owned up to them without throwing a pity party. She knew this was not her competition, and nevertheless tried her hardest and fought to stay. Her encouragement of the other queens and lifting up of Heidi in Untucked only endeared her to me more. One of the gentlest and sweetest souls to ever grace the Drag Race main stage; Season 12 was better for Nicky’s casting. I’m gonna miss her way more than I expected I would.

9. Heidi N. Closet (last week: 5)

Heidi N Closet Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

I hope Heidi doesn’t let this week flatten her too much, because she really wasn’t bad in the challenge. This was the rare case where just about everybody did well, and the runway had to be used as a tiebreaker. On that front, Heidi was clearly the worst, and it’s where she’ll have to make up the most ground this season. However, runway very rarely comes into play, as the challenges are usually more cut-and-dry in terms of who’s in the top and bottom. I could see runways not becoming an issue for her again for a while, if she doesn’t let this first trip to the bottom throw her off too much.


8. Brita (last week: 10)

Brita Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Feelings about her performances aside, I really cannot stand Brita’s attitude. (And judging by how she’s acting on Twitter these days, it looks like said attitude hasn’t improved.) She admitted when she hit the bottom two last week that she’d been arrogant, and said at the top of this week’s episode that lip-syncing kicked her ass into shape. And to her credit, she was probably criticized too harshly for her challenge performance, which was pretty solid. But taking all of her frustrations out on Aiden is not the move. Aiden can’t help where the judges place her! It’s not like Aiden was throwing Brita under the bus! Her aggression was entirely misplaced; she needed to keep her eyes on her own paper. I’m not exactly breaking news when I say Brita’s edit is terrible. She’s very obviously going back to New York City soon.

7. Aiden Zhane (last week: 9)

Aiden Zhane Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Yes, Aiden deserved to be in the bottom this week, if not quite the bottom two. Yes, she’s out of her depth and should’ve gone home last week. I won’t argue with a word of that. But, since she’s here, I’ll admit I’m kinda loving how pressed she has the other girls. It was great to see her finally stand up for herself in Untucked and call out the ways the other queens have been preternaturally fixed on Aiden. I don’t want this Georgian queen anywhere near the crown, but I don’t mind her sticking around a week more to fuck with queens like Brita. For what it’s worth: Her runway this week was my favourite of hers yet. Even with the same damn wig.

6. Jaida Essence Hall (last week: 1)

Jaida Essence Hall Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Not a great week for Jaida! She fumbled in the challenge, and honestly got too much of a pass from the judges for it. Her line deliveries were quite stilted, and her look in the challenge was kinda busted too. Then, she unnecessarily got into it with Aiden in Untucked, becoming one of the bigger aggressors in that conflict without any real reason to get involved. She still stunned on the runway, and I think the judges’ kid-gloves treatment indicates they’re still very much vibing with Jaida. But this week proved she’s not invincible.

5. Crystal Methyd (last week: 3)

Crystal Methyd Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Anyone else confused as to why Crystal was in the bottom when there was nothing but enthusiastic praise for her performance? I’m guessing the judges just wanted to compliment Crystal’s face makeup before it got to be too late, but it feels weird to give her a low-placing credit just for that. Honestly, the entire scoring system was kind of fucked up this week. But regardless, Crystal impressed, and seems to be on a major upswing with the judges. Now if only Ru could stop talking about her damn mullet and focus on her drag.

4. Jan (last week: 8)

Jan Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

I’m still pretty meh on Jan, but her runway was the most naturally Jan she’s looked all season, and she was a lot of fun in Untucked as the woman manning the “Shade” button. So I’ll give her props for being entertaining. Still, as Jackie noted, she kinda ruined the joke by asking to be cast as Meredith Gay #2 in the skit. The joke was that Meredith looked completely different after the surgery, and Jan and Jackie…do not look different! That makes me question her comic instincts, which is a bad sign for a queen who considers herself a performer.

3. Jackie Cox (last week: 6)

Jackie Cox Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

There’s still something slightly stick-in-the-mud about Jackie (the performative shock that Aiden didn’t know much about Mae West made me roll my eyes), but I will admit, she’s really coming around for me in the performances and on the runway. I get her aesthetic and persona now, after struggling to reconcile her personal style with how she was branding herself in the first episode or two. She seemed frustrated about not winning in Untucked, but I actually think she’s set up for a nice, long run here: No one can accuse her of peaking too early.

2. Widow Von’Du (last week: 7)

Widow Von Du Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

In a world without Sherry Pie, I think Widow would’ve won this week. She once again channelled every bit of comedy prowess she had in the challenge, and actually was a bit more focused this week than she was in the improv task. (Her off-the-cuff comedy skills, on the other hand, remain on point, as she killed every improvised joke she told.) I didn’t love her watermelon cape runway, but it wouldn’t have mattered for me. Widow’s got the chops in performances, but I worry about her edit—it’s more negative than I’d expect for a frontrunner.

1. Gigi Goode (last week: 2)

Gigi Goode Drag Race 12

Credit: Courtesy VH1

Some readers did not love me putting Gigi below Jaida last week, so consider this my mea culpa! While I do think Gigi was worse than Widow this week, her overall strength in the competition week after week leaves me no choice but to put her up here at #1. She’s getting a terrific edit, one that paints her as a Jacqueline-of-all-trades and a giant threat to the other queens. She performed well in the challenge this week, nailing her punchlines, and absolutely killed it in her Troop Beverly Hills-inspired runway. At this rate, it may well be that we’re marching towards a Gigi sweep of the season.

But I’ll admit, I’d find a sweep somewhat boring. I don’t love seasons where one queen demolishes the rest, like Season 6 with Bianca Del Rio and Season 8 with Bob the Drag Queen. I especially won’t like it if it happens with as impressive a crop as this one. I want to see Heidi thrive, to see Jaida thrive, to see Crystal thrive, to see Widow thrive, to see Jackie thrive! If Gigi flattens the competition and truly deserves it, I’ll tip my cap to her, but I hope the others give her a run for her money.

While we’re all social distancing, come kiki with me! I’m hosting an afternoon of questions, comments and discuss all things Drag Race! Sashay over to Xtra’s Facebook page on Friday at 4 p.m. EST to join the fun. Here’s what happened in yesterday’s stream:

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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