Mid-Term Report: Rating the Top Eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11

Hello everyone and welcome to another post on The Blogging DJ. Today we will be shifting away from Eurovision and moving onto another Television show that I love. The eleventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race kicked off seven weeks ago. Now that we are past the half-way point in this competition, it is time to give my thoughts on how the remaining eight queens are doing in this competition. Who can go all the way and who needs to step up their game to avoid being told to “Sashay Away”?

*Warning: contains some spoilers*

8th – Shuga Cain

Wins – 0
High – 2 (1 as part of team)
Low – 0
Bottom – 2

Even since I saw her being interviewed after the cast was announced, I loved this Queen’s infectious enthusiasm, especially given that she has only been doing drag professionally for a couple of years. I had high hopes after she was a real scene stealer in Why it gotta be Black, Panther? as Aunty Maxine. But since then she has been given the what-I-call “Dita Ritz treatment”, where she vanishes for a couple of weeks, only to be brought back into focus for her inconsistent runways (even though a couple were brilliant). When she lipsyncs for her life, she is perfectly decent and fun to watch, but both times a competitor made a grave error next to her. Snatch Game will be her make or break moment.

7th – Nina West

Wins – 1
High – 0
Low – 3
Bottom – 0

With much of the emphasis of Drag Race put on runway presentation, I am not surprised that this Queen hasn’t had more success. The big personalities in the talking heads often find it harder to translate that into the competition, and vice versa. I almost wish that she was put into the Bottom Two once in the previous two weeks, so she could smash the song and inject belief and strength for the weeks to come. But this seasoned performer hasn’t been one to dismiss constructive criticism to better her drag, which I applaud. Again, I think Snatch Game will be a big moment for her in this competition, but I’m more optimistic about her chances than Shuga.

6th – Vanessa Vanjie Mateo

Wins – 0
High – 2
Low – 1
Bottom – 0

When the cast was announced (and even before that, thanks to Reddit), everyone was talking about Miss Vaaaaanjie. After her entrance, where she brilliantly hid behind a changing screen to spy on her fellow competitors, I had high hopes for her. Like Nina though, her talking heads have outshined her performances in the challenges and runways and it’s slowly feeling like the pressure to impress the second time around is getting to her. She needs a very good result (hopefully a win) in the next couple of weeks to bring that confidence back, otherwise she is gone.

5th – A’Keria C. Davenport

Wins – 0
High – 1
Low – 0
Bottom – 2

A’Keria has the potential to win the entire competition, but is wildly inconsistent, not least on the runways. She brings some exquisite gowns and costumes from home, and we know she can sew decently from what she brought out in week one. But the Monster Ball looks were a whole lot of meh and that denim shoulder pad situation last week was a massive miss. She has the confidence to succeed and has the respect of her fellow competitors from being a big deal in the drag pageant world. When she brings all of the elements together, she is a massive threat and I am sure that she will be back to dominate the challenges in the next couple of weeks.

4th – Plastique Tiara

Wins – 1
High – 3
Low – 0
Bottom – 1

Until this week, Plastique was in real danger of going down the Max or Acid Betty route, where they would initially impress with their runway presentations, only for judges to become bored with the repetition and get the boot after one bad week. She has consistently been beautiful on the runway throughout, but it doesn’t create much excitement to see what she comes out with. Her gorgeous costume and focus through this episode at least guarantees that she will be sticking around for another couple of weeks, though there are still questions over whether she has the versatility to win America’s Next Drag Superstar. Hopefully she can perform well in upcoming performance challenges to silence the critics on that part.

3rd – Silky Nutmeg Ganache

Wins – 1
High – 1 (as part of team)
Low – 1
Bottom – 0

Easily the biggest personality on this season, Silky has the ability to divide audiences who love and dislike her unashamedly loud nature – even in just a single episode of Untucked. But she is a smart queen, knowing full well that her wit and presence will help her to keep front in centre on cameras, thus almost ensuring her journey to the Top 5. Similar to a few other queens on this thread, her personality doesn’t always fully come out on the challenges, especially where her sense of style isn’t mind-blowingly different. This is why her report card reads as “SAFE” for the majority of the weeks so far. She needs at least one more win, maybe even two, to be known as a fierce competitor as well as a big personality.

2nd – Yvie Oddly

Wins – 1
High – 4 (1 as part of team)
Low – 0
Bottom – 0

From her brilliant entrance, involving an RC car dragging a feather boa attached to her dress, I knew that Yvie had more substance than just an edgy style. She is very smart and has been able to adapt to the challenges more than most – even giving a more glamorous look in this week’s episode. She is unashamed of her style and her ability to distance herself from the vast majority of Drag Race contestants, in a way that I haven’t seen since Sharon Needles way back in Season 4. On the other hand, she can be abrasive when giving her fellow competitors tough love, which is needed, but producers are seeming to join these together into a villain edit, which would be the only thing getting in the way of her winning this season.

1st – Brooke Lynn Hytes

Wins – 2
High – 3 (1 as part of team)
Low – 1
Bottom – 0

The powerhouse of this season, especially on the runways, is this Canadian native queen. For someone who is known as a dancer rather than a sewer, she has produced some amazing looks from scratch, from her neon superhero to her denim and orange farm produce look. She has also been working hard to show more personality in the challenges after a shaky start in Why it gotta be Black, Panther? From her entrance and promo look, she has been headlined as the one to beat, which makes me unsure that she will indeed take the crown. In recent years, especially after Shea Coulee and Shangela had the title snatched away from them, being a front-runner can almost work against a finalist. We will see if she can keep up the momentum.

What are your thoughts on the final eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11? Who can win the competition, and who is just taking up space? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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