‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ Season 5, Episode 9 power ranking: Who will win?

What looked like an open-and-shut finale got a little more interesting this week

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. It’s time to take a closer look at our final three and place our bets on who is going to win this thing.

4. DeDeLicious (last week: 4)—ELIMINATED

DeDe genuinely did everything she could to stay this week. She used the power of performance order to correctly handicap her opponents. She overperformed expectations and gave a solid roast—the kind that would absolutely keep her safe in previous seasons. She had the best look on the runway (although I would’ve subbed out those shoes), and got her best critiques in weeks. And then, when she landed in the bottom two, she performed her ass off. Genuinely, this week was out of her control; she needed one of the two frontrunners to underwhelm. If she hit the bottom with anyone else, she could give the best performance we’ve ever seen and she’d still go home.

I’ve gotten the sense in conversations with friends about the show that DeDe has outstayed her welcome for a lot of fans. I don’t disagree that she probably should’ve gone home over Kate Butch last week. But I’ve enjoyed DeDe’s tenacity—she’s been a scrappy fighter all season long, and it’s a bummer to see her go. If the Lip Sync Assassin format ever returns on an All Stars season, I’d put her first in line to be called.

3. Tomara Thomas (last week: 3)

My patience has worn thin for the judges giving Tomara Thomas a pass on everything. This week, to her face, they have nothing but compliments for her challenge performance. The second she leaves to Mini-Untucked, their notes grow distinctly more negative. Why not actually help her grow as a queen and as a performer by giving her helpful notes? Especially when she’s just going to land in the bottom two anyway!

There’s no question in my mind that Tomara was the worst this week, but of course, the bottom two format is designed to allow even the worst performer in a challenge to fight her way back. And Tomara did keep pace with DeDe, so I understand why she stayed. At the end of the day, neither she nor DeDe really had a chance of winning against the top two of the season. So I’m glad for Tomara that she gets to show her skills in the grand finale.

2. Ginger Johnson (last week: 2)

Man, Ginger got close this week. I honestly think the judges were ready to give her her fourth win, but her reliance on the cards when Michael Marouli fully threw hers away was too decisive. But even without a last RuPeter Badge, Ginger still finishes the season having never landed in the bottom three—much less in the Lip Sync for Your Life. Ginger was a contender to win seven of the nine challenges this season, and actually won three of them. The only times she didn’t get positive critiques were in the design challenge and the girl groups task (the latter of which she just wasn’t on the winning team for). It’s a remarkable résumé, and demonstrates just how dominant Ginger has been all season long.

 

Will she win? I do still think so, but I’ll admit it’s closer than I thought it would be. Michael having three badges of her own means the track record argument isn’t fully there, although Michael did have to lip sync once. But I think we can look back at UK Season 2 as a guide here: Lawrence Chaney dominated most of the early season, while Bimini won nearly every challenge in the back half. If that pattern holds, Ginger’s earlier dominance should be what earns her the crown at season’s end.

1. Michael Marouli (last week: 1)

If this were American Drag Race, I actually think I would be arguing for Michael’s victory here. Momentum matters on that show in a way it doesn’t really for UK; think of Jaida Essence Hall’s late-game run beating out Gigi Goode’s earlier dominance, or Violet Chachki winning the last two challenges of her season to ace out the previous better performer, Ginger Minj. Even just last season, while Anetra certainly had a strong last few weeks of the season, Sasha Colby’s fourth win for the Rumix meant she had the momentum on her side going into the finale.

But again, as we saw with Lawrence—not to mention Krystal Versace over Ella Vaday and Kitty Scott-Claus—it’s the early game that matters most. And that’s why, though she’s been my pick for the win all season long, I’m betting against Michael. She’s had a hell of a run, and I hope we see her back someday, but I don’t think this is her time to snatch the crown.

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Culture, Drag Race, Analysis, Drag

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