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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ Season 4, Episode 2 power ranking: See my name in neon lights

Welcome to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Power Rankings! Every Saturday, we’ll debrief the week’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 4 to determine which queens are riding high, and which need she-mergency care. With some unusually generous judging throwing the state of the game into a frenzy, it’s up to us to make some sense of the rankings.

11. Starlet (last week: 3)—ELIMINATED

Truly stunned to see Starlet out second based on Ru’s praise of her in the premiere. But as I alluded in my recap, I actually think that’s probably a good thing in the long run. Drag Race UK had become predictable after Season 3, and Ru’s seeming chosen one getting an early exit frees up the field for other kinds of queens to thrive. This was absolutely the right call for Ru to make, too: there was no fun in either Starlet’s too-cautious challenge performance or her too-serious delivery of her neon demon runway. Sorry for Starlet, but I do think we’re in for a more compelling season because of this elimination.

10. Jonbers Blonde (last week: 7)

I think Ru’s new habit of shortening Jonbers’s name is hilarious, and I hope it becomes a recurring bit to the point where she actually has to explain the name. I’m sure there’s a great explanation! But hearing Ru process it is the stuff of great comedic potential. There was no question Jonbers deserved to be in the bottom two this week, based on the performance alone. Good for her that she was able to turn things around in the lip sync, but she’s gonna need more than that to go the distance in this competition.

9. Sminty Drop (last week: 2)

Drop Sminty did indeed, crashing at #9 after nearly winning last week. To her credit, she knew she had fucked up, and owned accountability for it to Baby and the rest of her team. And at least her issue was one born of ambition, not timidity. But the bigger concern I have for Sminty is that the judges are already nailing her for repetitive silhouettes. She needs to pull something out of her bag and fast, or Michelle Visage is going to make a point of bringing it up every single time she wears a similar kind of outfit.

8. Copper Topp (last week: 10)

There was a whole build-up of this being a redemption for Copper after last week’s bottom three appearance, but it went nowhere thanks to the team-judging format. Yes, Copper got a win, but so did five other queens. And more than that, I thought she was the weakest among her group, meaning she benefited most from the structure of the challenge. On the positive side of things, though, I really enjoyed her “New Romantic era meets pantomime” look. I enjoyed it even more when FKA twigs called it “the Marge Simpson spring collection.”

7. Pixie Polite (last week: 8)

Of anyone on the winning team, Pixie got the most storyline fuel out of her victory, seeing it as a culmination of her drag career. My one concern is: is that culmination coming too soon? You’ve got a whole rest of the season to play out, Pixie! Regardless, I do find myself enjoying Pixie a lot, and I thought her hand-painted coat this week was a stunner. That she matched it with an accompanying hat and shoes only made the look even better. She’s on the rise for me; we’ll see how far she goes.

6. Danny Beard (last week: 5)

Danny’s taking up a lot of storyline as a character on the show—she’s getting a ton of confessionals, and she seems to be the person most ready to talk a little smack to the camera. That is undoubtedly a good quality in a reality TV contestant, but I’m not sure if it’s something Drag Race UK in particular is looking for in winners. Still, as Starlet’s elimination this week suggests, the criteria for a champion may be changing! And if Danny can vary up her runways a bit and keep her performance level high, she’ll likely be in this fight for a while.

5. Black Peppa (last week: 1)

A good sign for a frontrunner is when you get critiques shortly after your initial victory, but they’re mostly couched in positivity. There’s a world in which, as team leader, Peppa could’ve been held much more responsible for his team’s loss. (Just ask Synthia Kiss.) However, the judges glossed over that role, and instead focused on how much they enjoyed her verse and Diana Ross-inspired runway. Moreover, when they did critique her dancing in the challenge as being too much, it was couched in praise for her talent—only suggesting some light editing to make them shine more brightly. That’s a very good signal that Peppa is in the judges’ long-term plans for the season.

4. Cheddar Gorgeous (last week: 4)

I grow more and more intrigued by Cheddar, who is leaning pretty hard into the alien queen angle, but in interesting ways. She went with a kind of haunting, lilting flow to her verse in “Come Alive,” which helped her stand out from the rest of her group. And on the runway, she floated down the catwalk in a gorgeous, mushroom-inspired look. Really terrific work all around from Cheddar this week, and if she were getting just a bit more story focus, I’d feel comfortable putting her in the top echelon of this ranking. Alas, she sits just outside of it at #4.

3. Baby (last week: 6)

A few things are contributing to me putting Baby this high despite her not winning the week. For one, the episode’s narrative largely revolved around her, from her connection to guest judge FKA twigs to her disappointment in her team’s performance. For another, the judges raved about her own performance, and even the small critiques they had of her runway look were laughed off. It felt like a moment of disappointment for Baby that would be redeemed in a later episode. We’ll see! For now, I’m high on Baby’s fortunes.

2. Dakota Schiffer (last week: 11)

This was one hell of a comeback for Dakota. She did a great job assembling her team, and she wisely delegated choreography duties to Le Fil. Her verse wasn’t my favourite of the lot, writing-wise, but she sounded great, and she looked stunning in an Elesa from Pokémon Black and White-inspired runway look. I’m inclined to believe, like Bimini before her, that Dakota just suffered an early setback by being in the bottom in the premiere. She’s got nowhere to go but up, and she’s quickly rising to the challenge.

1. Le Fil (last week: 9)

If there were only one win to be given out this week, I absolutely believe it should’ve gone to Le Fil. His verse in the challenge was terrific (“Le Fil-osophical”!), and his “Naomi Campbell doing community service” neon runway look was absolutely perfect. It was witty, irreverent and yet so deeply drag. I was really excited that he got a win this week—particularly after putting in the work with the choreography—but the fact that he got his RuPeter Badge as part of a group diminishes the effect. Still, I have no doubt that Le Fil is going to find his way into the top once again. Call me a Le Fillion, because I’m a fan.

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