If you’re not already flustered at the thought of who’ll win RuPaul’s All Star Drag Race, we have nothing in common. The brigade of competing queens is varied and tough, and there are plenty of competitors who deserved to place higher in their respective seasons. But that’s just the problem: Some amazing runner-up or third-place finisher is bound to come in ninth here. Hunty, I’m quakin’.
Since there are only six episodes of this extravaganza, it’s hard to assume that the queens will be eliminated in the traditional, one-at-a-time fashion. But in case they are, here are predictions for the chosen 12’s final rankings.
This is purely a strategic guess: It’s my opinion that one of the better-performing queens from an early season has to lose first. Face it, it’d be kind of anticlimactic and lame if Mimi or Tammie lost first. A second chance is a second chance, and if those two early evictees don’t outperform any of these divas, I’d be pretty perplexed. However, Shannel just fits the bill for a rightful first elimination this time around: She performed admirably in her season, but you wouldn’t be devastated to see her leave early. It’s a perfect storm of bad timing.
11. Tammie Brown
I’ll give Tammie this: She has style. And her look is very distinct, in its warped, Valerie Harper-as-Tallulah Bankhead-possesses-Pandora Boxx weirdness. But her eighth place finish in season one proved she didn’t have a lot of fight in her, and I have to wonder: How far can a hokey, overly smiley quaintness really take you? Still love how Akashia’s lip-sync against Tammie brought Michelle Williams to tears. Such a sweet moment.
10. Mimi Imfurst
I really don’t want to contribute to the wave of Imfurst-bashing that has surfaced n the wake of her casting, but the painful image of Mimi’s losing lip-sync against India Ferrah is too cringe-inducing and colossally bad to forgive. In terms of Drag Race, it may be my Vietnam. No doubt about it, Mimi learned her lesson afterward, but I don’t have enough reason to rank her more highly here — other than she has to be scared to go out like that again.
Allow me to admit that I am underestimating Juju here. If this queen has anything, it’s tenacity — and the image of her full-throttle, seismic “Black Velvet” lip-sync will neeeeever be forgotten. Neeeeever. I’m only wondering if, within the phalanx of all-stars at play here, she is generally matched in the tenacity department.
8. Alexis Mateo
The plucky and lovable Alexis may be fab, but I don’t think she’ll top her finest moment: spelling “DUSH” instead of “douche” during Snatch Game as Alicia Keys. Still slapping my knee and the knees of everyone around me.
7. Yara Sofia
The feminine and comely Yara is certainly a Crayola-blasted pillar of realness, but do we suspect she’ll bring a world of new to the running?
We have to assume that a couple of top contenders will come up short in the All Star tournament. Raven has a real backbone and a conversational savoir-faire, but I’m a sucker for the hilarious and effervescent queens, and I don’t know if her somewhat jaded sensibility will be as powerful this time around. Make no mistake: Nothing could be more criminal than Tyra Sanchez’s season-two victory. Raven deserved better than whatever that final judgment was all about.
5. Pandora Boxx
Crazy to rank Ms. Boxx so loftily? Full disclosure: Pandora is my personal favorite queen in the history of the show. Love her attitude, her standout brand of kooky humor (complete with a heartstopping Carol Channing takeoff), and her cool self-possession as one of the elder queens in the running. I’d pay to see her. If Santino’s badgering has compelled her to upgrade some of her fashions, I think she could really soar here. But she needs to have the nerve too, and I hope she’s slightly steelier than her last run on the show.
4. Latrice Royale
If anyone’s elimination ever filled the Drag Race viewership with a renewed, sustained fanaticism, it was Latrice Royale’s. Who can forget that devastatingly sincere speech to RuPaul after strong Phi Phi O’Hara beat her to the top three? And her little proclamation afterwards? “She is large, in charge, chunky, yet funky. The bold and beautiful, I am Latrice Royale!” The girl is a caramel-voiced, ultra-fab quote machine. I jackknife in painful laughter thinking of even her simplest lines like, “If you don’t mind your Ps and Qs, you’re gonna be Xed.”
3. Nina Flowers
Fieeeeerce. Nina was the first queen I ever rooted for, and not only because of the unmistakably loca way she pronounces words like “Denver, Colorado”: She had the confidence of a few million queens, and that energy is an undeniable treat. Plus: Don’t you remember how crestfallen you felt the minute you learned that Bebe Zahara Benet outplayed this rightful winner? A top 3 placer this time, at least.
2. Manila Luzon
Man, this season is going to be tough to watch in certain ways — we have to assume Manila’s undeniable, often nasty hilarity (“There’s a void in the workroom today — that used to be taken up by Carmen’s giant ass.”) and cross-eyed Imelda Marcos insanity will carry her to the heights of All Star glory, but the death of her love Sahara Davenport is so unthinkably sad. Ugh! Ugh! It is so awful! I’d root for Manila anyway, but the sympathy pangs are destroying me and trickling through my rankings. Would a top two featuring two runners-up be satisfying? Maybe not, but how could my #1 not make the final cut?
1. Chad Michaels
There are three things that vault Chad to the top of my list: 1) an astounding commitment to creating character, 2) fabulous intelligence, and 3) the definitive Cher impersonation for the next 5,000 years. I also sense that although he’s a seasoned and fierce queen, he’s deeply compassionate. I have to just throw my arms up and admit I love everything about him. As much as I want to give the win to a queen from an earlier season — perhaps because that’d be a more satisfying underdog story — I can’t deny the gravitas Chad brings. Gregg Allman, please present this queen with a championship wedding ring.
What are your rankings, kids? School me.