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. The first design challenge of the season asked queens to make garments from pet shop items. Whose design was best in show, and whose left them in the doghouse?
10. Alexis Saint-Pete (last week: 5)—ELIMINATED
Alexis technically scored in the top last week, but her positioning clearly wasn’t strong enough to avoid being sent out the door the very next episode. The issue with Alexis’s goldfish funeral look—which in some ways embraced the concept of the challenge best of the whole cast—is that she cut a drastically high slit in her skirt that revealed her, as she put it, “cucu.” Yasmin Finney may not have minded the length, but she was the only one. And while Alexis did a solid job of keeping up with Miss Naomi Carter in the lip sync, her energy flagged as the performance went on. A shame to see Alexis go this soon, but it was an understandable decision on Ru’s part.
9. Miss Naomi Carter (last week: 6)
Had the other option for the bottom two not been Cara Melle, who had just been in the top two last week, I think Naomi might’ve been safe. Her outfit was obviously all wrong, but there was a “so wrong it’s right” quality that Ru often responds to. Certainly, the judges’ critiques, while negative, weren’t such that it felt she was in any real danger. They seemed to really enjoy Naomi’s explanation and runway banter, and the jokes about her absurdly tiny thong brought them more joy than consternation. That, I think, is what made saving her after she hit the bottom two an easy decision. She just needed to keep up in the lip sync, and she undoubtedly did that.
8. Cara Melle (last week: 2)
A bit of a hard fall for Cara after nearly winning last week. It seems she let the drama with her housemate, Tomara Thomas, really distract her from finishing her garment. Moreover, because the drama was explicitly about Cara’s dressmaking skills, it leaves Cara with some egg on her face that she failed on this challenge in particular. (Adding insult to injury, Tomara was in the top—but I’ll get to my feelings on that decision in her write-up.) Cara was spared the bottom two, but I gotta say, I don’t like the trajectory of her storyline here.
7. Kate Butch (last week: 7)
Kate is quietly turning herself into one of the most prominent characters of the season despite two safe performances so far. She gets a good joke in when Ru wonders who all the queens are out of drag by pretending to be Vicki, and later has a funny moment while repeating Cara and Tomara’s drama to Banksie. These kinds of little bits matter if you’re not going to get storyline focus in the challenges, because it gives the editors ways to build you up in viewers’ minds. In terms of her look this week, I wasn’t the biggest fan. She did a pattern-mixing dress in animal prints and furs, but unlike another queen’s very successful pattern-mixing efforts, Kate’s just looked a bit too chaotic. Perhaps the girl groups challenge will be Kate’s time to shine?
6. Vicki Vivacious (last week: 1)
I’m surprised Vicki, our Episode 1 winner, seemed so invisible in the edit this week. Granted, Cara and Tomara took up a lot of the werk room time, and we at least got a segment in which Vicki explained her idea for her garment. But the look itself was just okay; it was a pink beach look that I’d call cute at best. Edits for Episode 1 queens do typically give you a sense of how far a queen will go in the competition—but not always! Anetra pivoted straight from a win to an invisible edit in Season 15, and she came in second place. I would be wary of drawing too many conclusions just yet.
5. Ginger Johnson (last week: 4)
I really like Ginger. I like that she was willing to call out DeDeLicious for “misjudging” Alexis the previous week, but only did it when prompted by a question so as not to look like a purposeful shit-stirrer. She gives good confessional, deadpanning during Cara and Tomara’s fight, “Imagine what they’re like when they can’t decide whose turn it is to take the bins out.” And I like her design sensibility between last week’s ’70s-inspired look and her take this week on Jem and the Holograms in trench-dress form. It was a bit simple, but rendering a look like that in pink snakeskin is a risk that mostly worked. I’ve got my eye on Ginger to go quite far in this competition.
4. Michael Marouli (last week: 3)
I gotta say, I think Michael was fully robbed of a top placement this week. Her “dark lady” look was surprisingly stunning, and she constructed it to fit her body beautifully. My only guess as to why she didn’t land in the top is that Tomara being there would be more dramatically interesting, and Michael wasn’t going to beat DeDe or Banksie anyway. But on my personal scorecard, she was a close #3.
3. Tomara Thomas (last week: 8)
Listen, I enjoy Tomara as a presence on this show immensely, but come on now. A top three placement for this look? A look that was somehow too short on both the top and bottom? I liked her showgirl aesthetic for it, and can admit the construction, had she properly proportioned it, could’ve made for a great garment. But as Michelle Visage noted on the runway, you could see her ass, and not in a way that felt purposeful. Still, her mug and wig were once again incredibly strong, so there’s that. But again, Michael was pretty robbed here.
2. DeDeLicious (last week: 10)
When Michelle complimented DeDe’s mug this week, I found myself completely torn. Yes, I agree that she has world-class makeup skills … but I don’t understand why the face she’s chosen to paint on herself ages her up so much. I guess Krystal Versace also made herself look older in her mug, but her paint always seemed to match and elevate her own face. With DeDe, it’s surprising how much she transforms away from being young and fresh-faced to this older character—“rich bitch,” as Graham Norton put it this week. I may be the only one who feels this way, though, since DeDe got close to the win this week. And at least for the outfit, that placement is well deserved; she did wonders with her material and churned out a real character-focused look. But I’m ultimately glad the win went a different direction.
1. Banksie (last week: 9)
Hell of a comeback from a low-key introduction last week, no? Banksie’s look was fantastic, using the kind of pattern-mixing that I personally adore. She was wise to keep to black and white as her palette, because it allowed the work she did making these prints come together really shine. I love that Banksie cited Dakota Schiffer, Lady Bunny and Trixie Mattel as inspirations this week—I appreciate that most fashion queens look to designers as their guiding lights, but it’s fun to see Banksie incorporating elements of other drag artists in her work. This was a clear win in my book, and I’m excited to see if Banksie can build on it in non-design challenges, too. Congrats to the seven-foot supermodel!