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. A former frontrunner heads home this week, while one queen proves herself to be a Lip Sync Assassin.
7. Vicki Vivacious (last week: 3)—ELIMINATED
It’s a shame that Vicki finally seemed to be realizing her need to relax in the challenges just as the judges decided to ding her for it. I really value a queen who can understand their shortcomings on Drag Race and work on them, and I actually think, with some time and focus, she could’ve gotten there. But alas, Vicki was too tense and rigid during Snatch Game, resulting in her bottom two placement—and sending her right into the buzzsaw that is DeDeLicious in a lip sync. Though she wasn’t my pick to win, I will say that Vicki placing seventh out of 10 queens would’ve struck me as unfathomable when the season began. This crop is competitive, and they’re not letting up on the gas.
6. DeDeLicious (last week: 7)
DeDe’s confidence once she hit the bottom two tickled me, honestly. I don’t know if it’s because she knew she had a plan for the lip sync song, or she just felt like she could beat Vicki easily. Whatever the case, she actually was in a better mood after critiques than she was going into them, despite negative remarks about both her Lady Colin Campbell Snatch Game and her Heart On runway. Of course, the confidence turned out to be richly earned, as DeDe ate up the lip sync. The one concern for her going forward is that since we’ve now seen her in both an uptempo song and a ballad, she’s had to burn through a lot of her tricks. Will she be able to entertain quite as much if she falls into the bottom two again?
5. Cara Melle (last week: 6)
Unfortunately, the gas just seems to be out of Cara’s tank in this competition. As she pointed out in Mini-Untucked, her runways are not typically the problem (although I have some questions about how unresolved most of her looks are on the bottom half). It’s that in the challenges, she’s doing okay-not-great. Moreover, the structure of Drag Race likely means neither of the challenges she excelled in (the ball, the girl groups) will have a similar replicant coming up any time soon. We’re much more likely to see an acting challenge and a makeover than we are another verse-writing task or another looks-from-home challenge. As a result, despite ranking higher than DeDe, I would sadly not be surprised to see Cara sashay away next—unless it’s the two of them in a lip sync and Cara just clearly wins out.
4. Kate Butch (last week: 4)
For the second week in a row, Kate got kind of a dubious placement in the judging: not up for elimination, but also not really in contention for the win. And while her critiques were great on her Snatch Game, and the judges weren’t as harsh on her runway as they could’ve been (though I loved Michelle Visage’s note about her reveals into mediocrity), things got significantly more sour in deliberations. Ru’s critique that Kate’s Kate Bush didn’t show them anything new about her struck me as particularly alarming. If Ru’s growing bored with what he’s seeing from Kate, then that’s the ball game. Kate needs to pull out a shocking victory fast, else I think she’s as much in danger as Cara and DeDe.
3. Michael Marouli (last week: 2)
While I’m not usually fond of queens merely taking Ru’s werk rroom notes as gospel in Snatch Game—and we’ll talk about Tomara Thomas in a second—I do think Michael missed the boat by not switching off of Catherine Tate. Ru all but told her that doing someone else’s comedic material would lock her into a certain set of choices, and that’s effectively exactly what happened. Even when Michael changed characters halfway through, Ru just seemed annoyed at the nearly scripted lines coming from her. Ultimately, Ru loves Snatch Game because it’s his chance to go back-and-forth with the queens; bringing in too much prepared material just locks Ru out, and it’s never going to be what Ru likes in this format. Still, for her stunning chained heart look alone, I’d have kept Michael on the stage for some critiques.
2. Tomara Thomas (last week: 5)
Okay, let’s get into this: I am of several minds at once when it comes to Tomara’s Snatch Game. On the one hand, I agree with the judges that simply doing Mrs. Doubtfire wouldn’t have worked for Tomara’s take on Robin Williams. It would have been as limiting as Michael’s Catherine Tate characters, if not moreso. On the other hand, the changing accents made absolutely no sense for playing Mrs. Doubtfire—though, strangely, Alan is right that it worked as Robin Williams, but not deployed in this way. On a secret third hand I’ve been hiding behind me, I always say that what I look for in a great Snatch Game is an idea of the character, and Tomara definitely had a surreal idea. But on my fourth hand that I just grew because I’m running out of hands, I hate that for the second season in a row (after Jonbers Blonde last year), Ru handed a queen a character choice that they didn’t come up with, and that was specifically the reason they were praised. Ultimately, I don’t mind Tomara scoring high this week, but I’m glad she didn’t win this one.
1. Ginger Johnson (last week: 1)
Ginger won it instead, making this her third victory in a row! Before anyone else even gets a second win! Call her Ginger Colby, because she is dominating. In contrast to Sasha, however, who came in as the clear frontrunner from the word “go,” Ginger’s rise has been a steadier one. The middle act of this season has been largely about her, but she was basically absent from any real discussion of the win for the first several weeks. Do I think she’s a lock to take this crown home? Not exactly—both Tomara and Michael still seem like real threats to win the title. But it’s hard to argue with Ginger’s success, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her sauntering down the runway with scepter in hand at season’s end.