Welcome to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Power Rankings! Every week, we’ve debriefed the week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 5 to determine which queens were riding high, and which needed she-mergency care. And now, it’s time again to close out a season by giving our final three one last look.
3RD: Tomara Thomas (last week: 3)
Her elimination was somewhat unceremonious—beyond Alan Carr’s comment that her drag wasn’t “dynamic,” she didn’t really get any critiques—but I ultimately think third place is the right one for Tomara. Reviewing her track record for this week’s edition of Wig! reminded me that, especially in the middle part of the competition, Tomara really was a force to be reckoned with. But around Snatch Game, when she got high praise for her deeply un-Robin Williams take on Robin Williams, it seems like she shifted into autopilot for a bit. Ru was smitten, and anything Tomara said would get a huge laugh out of him. What’s the point of doing more if you’re getting that kind of encouragement from the ultimate decider?
Well, like Alyssa Edwards and Jonbers Blonde before her, Tomara has gotten taken out by the very queen who was hanging on her every word. Ru does pick his favourites as the season goes on, but simply entertaining him usually isn’t enough to get over the finish line. And Tomara, facing down two titans with three RuPeter Badges apiece, was outmatched. Still, I’d expect a return for Tomara at some point. Ru doesn’t forget the ones who make him laugh, even if they don’t wind up with a crown at season’s end.
RUNNER-UP: Michael Marouli (last week: 1)
Michael genuinely surprised me this season. I didn’t know what I could expect from her based on her Meet the Queens video, but from the jump she was entertaining, loving and presented one hell of a runway portfolio. Truly, in a season other than this one, I think we’re talking about Michael as the queen who dominated all competition long. It speaks to how incredible this cast was that Michael was a dark horse coming into the finale. I felt like I was hoping against hope to still think she had a chance to win it all.
Alas, in the end, the story went as expected, and Ginger Johnson won out. I can’t fault Ru’s decision one bit, considering how dominant Ginger was this season, but I’m still a little sad for Michael. I hope that, at some point, when she’s had a chance to rest, Michael finds her way back onto Drag Race. She strikes me as someone who could easily win an All Stars or vs. The World season, and I would absolutely love to watch her compete again. I don’t think her Drag Race journey will truly be complete without a crown on her head.
WINNER: Ginger Johnson (last week: 2)
As I’ve said before, Ginger was simply better prepared for all parts of the Drag Race process than anyone we’ve seen in a very long time. I’m talking about challenges and runways in that, of course, but also about Drag Race as a production. Ginger had jokes to tell in the confessional chair, stories to share in the werk room, and knew how to nail the interview with RuPaul and Michelle Visage at season’s end. She was a consummate professional all season long, and though the term “professional” has in the past been used to put a queen in a box, there was no putting Ginger in a box. She was too busy being a Jacqueline of all trades.
So it’s not surprising to see her come out the other side as the UK’s Next Drag Race Superstar. She may not have been my personal pick to win, but how could I argue with how she did this season? Her achievement was titanic. And when Ben, Ginger’s partner, implored her not to do the show again, I figured this was in the bag. Michael seems like she’ll come back and fight the good fight once more; if Ginger was truly a one-and-done competitor, best to reward her now for her dominance. Congratulations to our new crowned queen—long may she reign!