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RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S7E12

A dull final challenge did nothing to shake up our ranks, though it did eject Kennedy from what looked like a surefire trip to number three. Here’s where we wind up, with the odds for each girl to take the win.

Here’s where I get to crow a bit – aside Fame’s strong showing in week one and brief Max insurgency, I’ve had Violet and Ginger pegged for the finals all season long, including last week. Furthermore, I’ve been obsessed with Violet since her nude walk of confidence down the runway on week one.

Now that they’ve reached their goals, what are the odds for their wins?

#1 Violet Chachki (avg 1.66, was #1, 1, 3, 1, 3, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1)
Her odds? 8:5

I think everything will be coming up Violet in the finale. She is like an Adore Act / Courtney Delano mashup in many ways (except singing) – young and a little dumb but growing every week, plus fishy and high fashion yet not afraid to make a fool of herself. That’s a pretty compelling combo for Ru the starmaker, and Violet makes for a different kind of winner than we’ve had recently. When it comes down to it, she never left a detail unfinished this entire season – even her arguably weakest moment in the John Waters performance was controlled down to the thrusting choreography.

Why isn’t she a lock? This girl will go down as one of the most dominant queens in the history of the show, but so were the non-lip syncers Alaska and Courtney Act – and neither of them got the win. Sometimes dominant can be boring, and detailed runway looks aren’t everything. More than that, Violet showed a certain lack of imagination as a performer that doesn’t bode well for a champion. Also, there is the specter of Tyra Sanchez still haunting Ru – another fashion-forward and generally flawless young queen who fizzled after taking the crown.

#2 Ginger Minj (avg 1.9, was #2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4)
Her odds? 2:1

No one has ever walked in the Drag Race door as equipped for the win as Ginger except for perhaps the past two winners, Jinx Monsoon and Bianca Del Rio. Therein lies the problem. Ginger’s no Jinx – a magnetic star of Broadway caliber – and there’s a real risk is that she’s just Bianca Del Rio 2.0 – southern, red-headed, comfortable acting and proficient enough in dancing and singing, and wickedly funny. She might not be an insult comic, but that does sound a heck of a lot like The Return of Hurricane Bianca.

However, Ginger also has the big queen angle working for her as well as her unique “Glamour Toad” look, which was never same-y but always consistent. Its hard to imagine a big queen who will ever be a more beautiful woman and viable winner than Ginger.

Why isn’t she a lock? Ginger has some self-defeating tendencies when faced with a challenge. Her pagaent-centric vision of drag could be a little small-minded for Ru, as evidenced by the final boot of Kennedy. Plus, now that RuPaul has had the chance to see the entire series and fan reaction to it, this might not be the lady she wants to represent her brand for an entire year.

#3 Pearl (avg 6.33, was #4, 5, 6, 6, 5, 7, 8, 10, 9, 7, 6)
Her odds? 8:1

True to her namesake, Pearl is a rare jewel worked up from just a little piece of grit. The problem with that narrative is that Pearl isn’t all that rare or shiny. No final three queen has ever presented fashion as boring, repetitive, and just-plain-busted as Pearl, and finalists have seldom been so weak all across the board when it comes to talent. Yet, there’s no denying Pearl has a certain it factor, and it’s that factor that Mama Ru is so drawn to.

Can she really win? I can imagine some contexts where RuPaul decides neither of the other ladies represent the future of drag, but that involves a major roll of the dice that Pearl keeps growing and pushing the envelope. What’s the risk for Ru taking a chance on a queen on a positive trajectory and beloved by much of the audience? Potentially losing credibility with the hardcore fans of this show, who keep the buzz alive for the looky-loos who arrive each season. Yet, nothing could be worse for the show than this dud season as a whole, so why not end it on a cavalier note?

 

RuPaul’s Drag Race, S7E12 Recap: And The Rest Is Drag

Last week on Drag Race, Katya crushed Pearl and Kennedy and went home anyway, ending the show. This week’s episode is just an overlong epilogue, like in Return of the King.

After the Elimination

All four girls are clearly crushed about Katya’s exit, and Kennedy is maybe limping from her energetic lip sync? Ginger cries about it in her interview, while Kennedy takes all of half a second to congratulate Violet on her win before “NEXTing” her. Bold move coming from someone on the precipice of dismissal about two minutes prior. Pearl defends Violet, “Kennedy Davenport, your Hello Kitty was a Hell No, Kitty,” to which Kennedy responds, “This is not a sewing competition.”

What now?

Any time any of the girls utter the phrase, “this is not an XYZ competition,” you know they are high on their own fumes and headed for dismissal. It’s an everything competition – sewing, dancing, acting, being funny, being beautiful. It is clearly labelled as all of those things. The only time I have seen something on the show where it was straight up not that kind of competition is when the girls had to play basketball in All Stars, and they all thought that was hilarious.

Violet, appropriately, comes for Kennedy and Ginger and their hesitance to sew, and Ginger says, “I’m not a seamstress, I don’t know how to sew, but no other bitch on this show has been able to sing like me or act like me.”

What now?!

Did she miss the season with Jinx? Or the one with Courtney and Adore? Or the one with Latrice and Willam? The past three seasons have been lousy with amazing singers and actors. Did she see Darienne’s spectacular meltdown in the acting finale? Hell, even Sharon and Phi Phi turned out to be good singers when they were paired against each other. I can concede that Ginger ranks in the top group of actors on the show of all time alongside Jinx, but it’s not like she’s the obvious theatrical all-time champion. It’s just more huffing her own fumes. (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S7E11

This week’s Hello, Kitty challenge only served to solidify last week’s ranking as we head into the penultimate episode, and gave Katya the unfortunate early exit I’d been predicting for weeks. Will this rank hold up next week as we see one last queen depart? We shall soon see.

#1 Violet Chachki (avg 1.7, was #1, 3, 1, 3, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1)
With a second win in a row, seven of eleven weeks ranked #1, long-deserved adulation from the judges panel, and nary a weak spot in sight, Violet appears to have locked up her trip to the finals. She just needs to evade one more week of elimination, which she can likely do even if she gets handed a lip sync. Anyhow, at this stage the only challenge that can slay her would be writing her own comedy and I can’t imagine there’s going to be more of that. She’ll do just fine in the typical “make a Ru video” gauntlet.

#2 Ginger Minj (avg 1.9, was #2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4)
Ginger has now spent nine consecutive weeks entrenched in my top two. If we’ve been reminded of anything this season, it’s that Ginger is one of the best strategists in the history of the game. She came with all the right skills, and when she’s feeling weak she reduces expectations right up until she hits the runway. What could keep this queen from the top three? Perhaps another dancing challenge, but Pearl would also be felled by that. However, the real question is if she can fairly defeat Violet or Kennedy in a lip sync if it comes down to a Jinx v. Detox style shocker.

#3 Kennedy Davenport (avg 3.2, was #3, 2, 3, 2, 5, 3, 4, 6, 2, 2)
Kennedy maintains her solid #3 spot after a trip to the bottom two and a harsh read from the judges about her unwillingness to change up her style. Why am I so sure she’s going to live through next week? Because she’s going to come out swinging after a trip to the bottom, and after that lip sync she’s now willing to show all of her cards. The only way she could depart is if Ru is forced to have her sync against Violet, who Ru might want to see in the finals just a bit more. However, the editing narrative and the averages both make clear this is going to be a Violet v. Ginger game at the finish-line, with the third girl just there for flavor.

From the start I was sure Katya wasn’t going to be Ru’s idea of a final three girl, and she did have a 4.8 average. Yet, I’m sad to see her exit on schedule this week instead of squeaking into next – it just didn’t feel like her time to go.

#4 Pearl (avg 6.6, was #5, 6, 6, 5, 7, 8, 10, 9, 7, 6)
It was (yet again) Pearl’s turn to go home this week due to a pair of underwhelming looks, but Ru insisted on keeping her in the game. I like Pearl – she’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s fashionable, and she’s growing every week. However, her weak Hello Pearl should have had her facing off against Kennedy with a noble exit. She’s in a harder situation now – she needs to win next week’s challenge or else she is a sure lip sync candidate, and she doesn’t stand a chance against these other girls.

RuPaul’s Drag Race, S7E11 Recap: Hello, Kitty Girls!

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: we had another busted runway concept and the somewhat unfair dismissal of Trixie.

After the Elimination

Ginger is appropriately both sad about Trixie and congratulatory about Katya and Violet, but then brings up the elephant in the room – now that Miss Fame is gone, Violet is the only girl who has yet to lip sync!

Ginger claims she “just wants to see it,” but it’s hard not to react as if someone is saying they want to see you sent home. Violet fires back, “Ginger, how does it feel to have a weakness? I feel like you’ve been really strong this entire competition – but I felt that I really got to see this week.”

MROWR.

Ginger says she does all her crying after they head home from the work room, and then comes back with her game face on – which Pearl and Kennedy agree to. Nice show of solidarity and strategy there. Ginger does a lot of whining in the work room, but she doesn’t let us see her truly upset.

This was the best intro chat of the season. I think we’re going to see some great interactions in this final five that we probably wouldn’t have had if some of my other favorites like Trixie and Max made it this far. Plus, much as with last season, there are really no under-accomplishing villains – even Pearl on the weaker side has fought for her spot. (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S7E10

This week’s challenge changed up our top spot compared to last week, eliminated a dark horse, and seemed to emphasize the futility of rooting for a certain fan favorite. The fight for the top has become so tight we’re going to start using decimal places in our average scores this week – only .1 separates our top two, but the gap gets much wider after that.

#1 Violet Chachki (avg 1.8, was #3, 1, 3, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1)
Violet is back in the top spot with a second challenge win, a humanizing performance, and still no trip to the bottom two. If you put any stock in the editing forming the story of a queen, she is the one with the most momentum – we’ve seen her personality change and her abilities grow. With next week sure to be a solo challenge, it will be the true test of if she has what it takes to go all the way. It could also be a safe chance for Ru to put her in the bottom two against Pearl, which would be an equalizer heading into the top four.

#2 Ginger Minj (avg 1.9, was #1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4)
Ginger’s run has an air of inevitability after being saved again after a dreadful performance, but the shine is definitely off of this big queen at this point in the game. We’ve seen her fail, make excuses, and attempt to throw other queens under the bus. That’s not a great look on a potential winner, especially after a pair of very kind and gracious superstars. Ginger will be on stage at the finalé, but really needs to play to her strengths and likability in the next two episodes if she wants the crown.

#3 Kennedy Davenport (avg 3.2, was #2, 3, 2, 5, 3, 4, 6, 2, 2)
Kennedy is finally willing to show off some of her strengths with a bold dance performance, and she truly might have what it takes in both fashion and performance to knock off any of the remaining queens in a head-to-head performance. Yet, despite how much the judges enjoy her, there’s very little excitement about her run – it feels like just another pageant. Her one risk of not making the final three is simply lacking a convincing argument for Ru as we go down to the wire. We’ve already seen her go for inexperience over safety once with Sharon over Chad Michaels – and Chad was one of the most impeccable queens in the history of the show. Kennedy can’t claim that.

#4 Katya (avg 4.8, was #5, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6)
Katya gets another win, but does it mean anything? Despite being the breakout star of the season, RuPaul has never shown a shred of excitement around Katya aside from telling her she’s addicted to anxiety. It’s as if Ru was expecting a gimmick queen due to Katya’s Russian theme, and when she didn’t show up with it Ru just gave up on crafting another narrative. Every single fan of the show would tell you Katya should be in the final three, but Ru didn’t know that when she made her decision last summer. If she truly goes out at the fourth spot the fan backlash will be impressive.

Here lies Trixie with her average of five. She absolutely deserved another week to play compared to Pearl.

#5 Pearl (avg 6.9, was #6, 6, 5, 7, 8, 10, 9, 7, 6)
It’s time to go home, Pearl. While this lady is super likeable, she has one of the weakest fashion senses of a top five queen. Ru is pushing hard for a caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation here, but Pearl is more like a snake that molts – we’ve seen her grow, but she hasn’t fundamentally changed into a new thing.

RuPaul’s Drag Race, S7E10 Recap: Prancing Queens

Last week on drag race: the queens had to do their best Divine-inspired performances for John Waters, and Fame just wasn’t the right kind of terrible – which meant Trixie is still in the competition and the ranks got shuffled.

After the Elimination

The girls are all giggles as they head back into the workroom fresh from the runway and Miss Fame’s elimination. Violet seems to have grown some genuine, Real Girl TM emotions and will miss Miss Fame, and Katya’s eyes tell the same story. Violet unintentionally calls back to the best Untucked of last season, interviewing, “Fame probably felt really attacked.”

Well, we all know how that can go, right Laganja?

Violet also feels how close her brush with the bottom was as the only remaining non-lip-syncing contestant – which maybe leads Katya to declare war on her? It’d be smart; Violet is the Top-3-bound lady who Katya is most likely to knock off head-to-head.

The rest of the queens seem to be over the elimination (and Miss Fame, in general), which isn’t a big surprise. Despite not being a villain in the slightest, Fame had a lot to say and never quite put her talent where her mouth was. Pearl, particularly, takes exception with Fame calling her out in the “Who should go?” quiz in front of the judges panel. She claims that the ire will only inspire her to greater heights.

A New Day!

The ladies return to their stations to discover Miss Fame left them all brief individual notes, because she is that thoughtful. Everyone is rude about it (Kennedy slightly less so, maybe because her note was so glowing, calling her a “class act”), because outta sight outta mind! They don’t want to be reminded of the girl they just left behind the day before. (Continued)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Power Rankings, S7E09

This week we got another funny challenge, and while the challenge itself didn’t shake things up too much compared to last week, Ru’s judging decisions did. What queens performed well but worsened their outlook?

#1 Ginger Minj (avg 2, was #2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4)
As she hits the three-win mark we have Ginger back in the pole position and guaranteed for the final I was an early fan of her fashion, but I’m noticing a distinct lack of willingness for the judges to tag her on anything at all! Is this a free pass for a bigger girl who finally brought a closet full of silhouettes that can compete? Or, is that when she’s performing live her personality actually the biggest thing in the room?

#2 Kennedy Davenport (avg 3, was #3, 2, 5, 3, 4, 6, 2, 2)
Kennedy flew under the radar again this week, but much like Ginger the judges are seeing something special about her that isn’t shining through on this side of the screen. What fascinates me is the SHEER NERVE of her playing it coy this far into the competition. Any subtle performance or runway could easily yield another lip sync! I don’t think we’ve ever seen another competitor as unflappable, and none of the other queens are coming for her at all. (Continued)