‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ Season 5, Episode 5 power ranking: Camp classics

Panto is the name of the game this week, as the queens shine in the Rusical

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. Panto is the name of the game this week, as our queens shine in this season’s Rusical. But whose performance really sang, and who hit too many bum notes?

8. Banksie (last week: 6)—ELIMINATED

I didn’t anticipate seeing Banksie as the third out this season, but how can one deny this result based on the episode? She was genuinely one of the two … not even worst, but least-good performers this week, and she clearly lost the lip sync to DeDeLicious. I admired her sincere take on “I Dreamed a Dream,” but I don’t think she hit the ethereal heights we saw from Tayce on “Memory,” another musical theatre ballad. As such, DeDe’s more dramatic lip sync won out. I’ll miss seeing Banksie’s runways this season—they really have been a cut above—but I have a feeling we’ll see her for a future All Stars or vs. The World season one day.

7. DeDeLicious (last week: 5)

DeDe was really drawing dead heading into that lip sync. I thought she was the clear worst in the challenge, her runway was cool but not spectacular (except for the collar, which was really a stunner), and unlike Banksie, she didn’t have a RuPeter Badge to her name. Credit to her for knowing exactly what a lip sync of Susan Boyle’s Les Miserables cover needs: a dash of sincerity, but a lot of dramatics. I couldn’t stop watching her during the performance. It feels like DeDe’s first big moment of the season, and if she can deliver more like it moving forward, I foresee a bright future in this competition for the Kent queen.

6. Cara Melle (last week: 8)

I worry Cara’s momentum has stalled in this competition. Her edit in the cold open this week was just that—cold—as she was depicted as delusional about her performance in last week’s challenge. Her contribution in the reading challenge was disastrous, and was edited as such. And the edit zeroed in on her strategic error in giving up the Cow role, even though she and Tomara Thomas did well in the more dance-focused parts. Maybe I’m overreacting, but after a smashing start to the season for the American-born queen, it feels like the headwinds are no longer with her.

5. Tomara Thomas (last week: 1)

Tomara, on the other hand, feels like she has momentum fully on her side. She’s getting a ton of confessional time, and though she and Cara are still being positioned as a duo, she’s not suffering from the same downturn in her edit. Despite her just placing safe this week, I think she’s in really good shape moving forward. The one note I have is that her runways are getting a bit repetitive—she loves body-focused looks, but I’d love to see her in something drastically different. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michelle Visage pulls the same criticism out at this point, too.


4. Kate Butch (last week: 4)

When is a Kate Butch maxi-challenge win coming? She’s such a star, and the audience is recognizing it week in and week out. It seems like the judges are, too, but her runways are holding her back from a moment of triumph. She actually reminds me of Jinkx Monsoon in that way: someone obviously incredibly talented who’s made for Drag Race, except for the look categories. If she can pull out one look that feels like a match of her own aesthetic and the category—think of Jinkx’s Dia de los Muertos look for inspiration—then I think she’s got it. But I’m not sure Ru will let her into the winners’ circle unless she shows some growth in that regard.

3. Vicki Vivacious (last week: 7)

I was surprised to hear Graham Norton call out Vicki as his favourite this week, if only because her role felt less substantial to me in comparison to Michael Marouli’s and Kate’s. But ultimately all of the top four did well—it really came down to personal preferences and, as Ru himself said, splitting hairs. I gotta say, though … hearing Tomara call out Vicki for being too serious in the werk room and needing to “chill” was quite validating. I’m glad it’s not just an edit thing, and that it’s clearly coming across in the room. Vicki’s clearly talented, but though she was certain that she or Michael would be winning this week (not quite, Vicki!), there was just something overly serious about it all. It’s not that grave! It’s drag!

2. Michael Marouli (last week: 2)

Surprising no one, since my stan card for Michael is fully stamped this season, I think I’d personally have given her the win. She and Kate stole the show from the very outset for me, and considering her runway look was considerably better than Kate’s, I’d have given her the top slot. A second RuPeter Badge would be fitting, considering Michael’s dominance of this season so far. Alas, it was not to be—and I understand why Ginger Johnson won. But you’ll forgive me if I keep waving my little Michael Marouli flag over here in the corner. I hope she gets a second win herself soon, because she deserves it.

1. Ginger Johnson (last week: 3)

I’ve been waiting for the kind of breakout episode Ginger had this week, and boy, she got it. Not only did she get a meaty showcase part in the Rusical, and not only did she get a bunch of spotlight focus in the werk room, but she also had the most-discussed look of the week on the runway. Consider me solidly in the pro column on this one: the armless look was deeply unusual, but it was fashionable as hell and started all kinds of conversation. What more could one want from a Drag Race look? Though I personally would’ve gone a different way this week, I’m happy Ginger got the win. And now she’s got the frontrunner status! How long can she hold onto it? We’ll just have to watch to find out!

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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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