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. With most of the cast now having a RuPeter Badge, the competition is tighter than ever. Who’s in the lead in the race for the crown?
9. Miss Naomi Carter (last week: 8)—ELIMINATED
Not much more to be said here than what I wrote in my recap: sad to see Naomi go, because she’s clearly talented, but even prior to the knee injury it just didn’t feel like she had the confidence to go the distance. With some time and experience, I think she’ll get there, and could be a real force on a future season. But especially with her injury considered, this was probably the right moment for her journey to end this season. We’ll always have her so-bad-it’s-amazing design challenge look.
8. Cara Melle (last week: 1)
Cara’s trajectory is all over the place. She’s always either right up at the top or near the bottom, with no in-between. And of the four lip syncs we’ve seen this season, she’s been in three of them. In some ways, this can be beneficial, because staying in the judges’ minds is a good way to not have your journey forgotten. But I’m inclined to say this is actually bad for Cara long-term, because she’s having to burn through too many tricks (especially regarding lip syncing) too early. At this point, I could see her just missing out on the finale because of a lip sync that just feels too familiar.
7. Vicki Vivacious (last week: 5)
I really do think Vicki got off scot-free in the whole situation with her, Banksie and Cara. Banksie got too involved arguing with Cara when Vicki was pretty clearly the one who threw her under the bus on the main stage. And as guest judge Suranne Jones noted, it was another instance of Vicki caring disproportionately about what others think of her. She needs to relax a bit, because even her reaction to Ru wondering why there was no reveal was too staid. Have some fun with it! Riff with the judges! That was what was so charming about Vicki back in the premiere: her banter about serving the armed forces. But too often, Vicki defaults to seriousness, and that’s not a great fit in a competition like this.
6. Banksie (last week: 9)
Kudos to Banksie for giving us the first honest-to-goodness fight in Mini-Untucked since Scarlett Harlett; that was a lot of fun. That said, she was wise to come to a resolution relatively quickly, because lingering on a petty argument is an easy way to lose support. I’m really liking Banksie this season, especially for her runway looks. The all-animal-print winter look this week was a stunner. But I do think she’s having some trouble translating her dry, laid-back sense of humour to the challenges. I’m concerned for her when we hit a pure comedy task, or even Snatch Game. She could stand out as someone who can’t hit the broad comedy heights that Drag Race often requires.
5. DeDeLicious (last week: 4)
Conversely, I’m actually getting less worried about DeDe as we go along, despite her not having a badge. The edit is still finding lots of time for her, and the judges seemingly go out of their way to be complimentary even when DeDe is technically on the lower-scoring side of the board. And while Michelle Visage came for her nose contour this week, Ru seems to like it! Plus, her mug is generally getting softer and is aging her up less. She was perfectly safe this week, but I don’t mind her having a few safe weeks as she builds some momentum in the competition.
4. Kate Butch (last week: 6)
Kate, however, I would like to see move out of the safe zone soon. She’s clearly a talented queen, though I admit her looks leave a bit to be desired. But even then, she’s had some very clever runway presentations (the Shania Twain look last week!) that help her there even when she’s not the most stylish. This week, Kate got the judges’ attention with her performance, and was just unfortunately in a tough spot because of how the challenge was judged. Next week is her chance to break out big.
3. Ginger Johnson (last week: 7)
I have Ginger the lowest of this week’s badge winners because, though she was just as funny as her partners in the challenge, the edit of the episode didn’t really focus on her. And as we’ve seen in other situations—Jujubee and Trinity K. Bonet’s first-ever wins on their All Stars seasons—when a queen wins without getting critiques, it can make that victory feel a bit muted. Combined with a “retro futurism” runway look that I thought was quite far from the Slaycation runway prompt, and there’s enough for me to consider Ginger the clear third of the top three. But she was still excellent in the challenge, and I still have very high hopes for her trajectory in this competition.
2. Michael Marouli (last week: 3)
At this point, if I had to pick a winner of this whole thing, I’m going with Michael. That might just be the stan in me talking—and it’s true, I am most into what Michael is doing this season—but she’s got the narrative focus, the challenge performances and the runways to take her far. I particularly loved her postcard look this week: it takes a simple pinup girl look and elevates it into something super memorable. Again, I think Michael would have benefitted from some critiques to justify this win, but she still is coming out of this smelling like a rose.
1. Tomara Thomas (last week: 2)
For now—who knows if it’ll last, but certainly for this moment—this is the Tomara show. She is a confessional expert who entertains every time we cut to her talking heads. She’s figured out how to really sell her brand of sexy drag on the runway. And her challenge performances have been, across the board, incredibly strong. The reason I’m not sure this will last is because I think it might be unsustainable. In particular, I can foresee a world where the judges (in particular Michelle) start to turn on her for serving the same brand on the runway every single week. And I worry about Tomara in something like Snatch Game, where she can’t just lean into her own charm the same way. But that’s a problem for tomorrow; for now, the northerner is riding high. And if she wins at season’s end, I’ll regret having ever doubted her for a second.