‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ Episode 2 power ranking: Upstairs, downstairs

Welcome to Drag Race UK Power Rankings! Every Saturday, we’ll debrief this week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. The first acting challenge of the season, ‘Downton Draggy,’ leaves one fan favourite out in the cold, while a controversial queen storms the gates at the top.

9. Scaredy Kat (last week: 6) — ELIMINATED

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

I assumed last week that fans would dislike Scaredy Kat, and I’m very happy to report that I was very wrong! Her aesthetic went over well, and a large portion of fans enjoyed her personality. Combined that with her sexuality being clarified this week (she’s bisexual), and Scaredy was primed for a big leap up the cat ladder this week. Unfortunately, she didn’t take Michelle Visage’s direction in the acting challenge—the kiss of death—while almost everyone else was at least decent in the task. Her lip-sync was a mess, but in the best possible way. She was so funny! She seemed to have a good attitude on her way out the door. I like her, and wish her nothing but success as she ventures into performing.

8. Cheryl Hole (last week: 7)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

Two low placements right out the gate is what we call the full Carmen Carrera. One more flirtation with the bottom (as can be seen in West Hollywood on Friday nights) and she’s likely to be in massive danger. On top of that, her fellow contestants are clocking her for being fake. Vinegar saying she felt like Alyssa Edwards meets Gemma Collins is exactly right; I cringe every time Cheryl pops her tongue. But the judges do respond to her personality, and Ru’s saved her from having to lip-sync twice. So who knows! Maybe this Hole can achieve her goals.

7. Blu Hydrangea (last week: 3)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

Blu is the last twink standing after just two episodes, which leads me to believe she’ll be sticking around for a while. Drag Race likes younger queens to last—see: Phi Phi O’Hara in Season 4, Adore Delano in Season 6, Pearl in Season 7, Naomi Smalls in Season 8, and so on—so the idea that the three youngest will be sent out back-to-back feels incorrect. Still, her performance this week indicates that, when she’s not on the runway, Blu will have a rough time of it. I was sad to hear she feels alone in the competition, but I think Crystal’s note to her in Mini-Untucked was right: They’re all “different” in one sense or another, and only have each other for support.


6. Vinegar Strokes (last week: 9)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

Even though her ranking is way up this week, I’m actually less optimistic about Vinegar going forward. She couldn’t quite stand out in the acting challenge, with both Baga Chipz and The Vivienne turning in better performances. And her runway was a major miss, ill-fitting and barely fitting the Bond Girl character prompt. She’s still a ton of fun, and she’d be a shoo-in for my Miss Congeniality vote if UK were doing such a title (which, they may, but considering they can’t give out cash I’ve no idea what the prize would even be). But I don’t think she’s long for this competition, especially with a design challenge next week.

5. Sum Ting Wong (last week: 1)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

Sum Ting thriving in a runway challenge and flopping in an acting challenge isn’t what I was expecting from her. I hope she spent the first 20 minutes backstage thanking Baga and Vivienne for carrying her to safety this week. If Ru decided not to judge in teams, I think Sum Ting would absolutely have been in the bottom two (though I do think she’d have out-performed Scaredy). She needs to nail the design task coming up, else I worry she’ll get pegged as a one-hit wonder.

4. Crystal (last week: 8)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

I underestimated Crystal last week, largely because the edit didn’t give me a ton to work with. But she proved herself this week with a genuinely funny performance in a character that could’ve faded into the background. I’m not sure what the business with her voice was about — she speaks in a North American accent, and her character was designed as an American. Simple, right? Feels like she over thought it. Anyway, she figured it out, and impressed the judges with her homemade latex dominatrix look. She’ll likely do well next week.

3. Divina de Campo (last week: 5)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

I’m weighing the judges’ effusive praise for Divina’s very good performance this week against her strange, Nina Bo’nina Brown-esque meltdown over doing well. I get being self-critical; it’s one of the things I praised her for just last week. But she was clearly the second-best in the challenge, and only didn’t get a placement befitting that because her team as a whole lost. Her tears felt inappropriate when other members of her team were facing elimination. And I truly cannot believe she was practising the lip-sync song after hearing her critiques. Be prepared, I guess, but right now she’s giving me Thorgy Thor self-delusion teas. I hope she snaps out of it quick and realizes the judges very much enjoy her.

2. The Vivienne (last week: 2)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

Apologies to The Vivienne for not just giving her the #1 last week; I do still think Sum Ting was better, but Vivienne proved she’s consistent this week. I don’t really enjoy watching her, though. I think this goes back to the performer vs. technician debate I’ve mentioned before in my Drag Race coverage. Like Trinity “Quoth the Taylor Nevermore” the Tuck and Brooke Lynn Hytes before her, Vivienne comes off as professional to the point of chilly in interviews. (This being UK, “chilly” is more “brash,” but it’s the same idea.) That said, I like this week’s top performer even less than I do Vivienne, so maybe it’s just about these two in particular.

1. Baga Chipz (last week: 4)

Credit: Courtesy World of Wonder

Objectively, Baga was absolutely the best performer of the week, and deserved her win. She was funny in exactly the way these challenges call for, and followed it up with a very fun Liza Minelli-meets-Oddjob Bond Girl runway. I don’t dispute her win in the slightest. What I will say, subjectively, is that Baga is not my type of queen. She reminds me of Eureka or Silky Nutmeg Ganache: A workhorse queen who can be funny, but isn’t subtle in the slightest. Like I said, that worked for this episode. Acting challenges are not about being subtle. I can see her doing well in Snatch Game, too, based on the same idea. But it would take a lot for me to root for her over Divina, Blu, or even Crystal at this point.

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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