Season 9 Episode 7: 9021-HO

Shea Coulee is going to win this thing. But first…

And the winner is… RuPaul! Look who just got 1.13 million views on YouTube last weekend! (I might have watched it 1.05M times.) If you haven’t watched Auto Shop on SNL, then you need to take a break from my blog and watch this beautiful work of art. Good job, SNL. It was smart and didn’t cash in on homophobic jokes.

So we might as well graph it. It’s not SNL’s biggest hit, but it didn’t have Kate McKinnon in it.

Executive Summary

At the moment, the numbers point to Shea winning. Trinity now looks like she could sit in the top 3 spot with Shea and Sasha, ousting Valentina. Valentina’s challenge score (6.5) is slightly lower than Sasha and Trinity’s (7). Valentina is more popular than anyone, which could give her a boost if Ru loves her.

Knowing that the producers sometimes lurk in the rupaulsdragrace subreddit, I know that they pay attention to challenge scores. It seems as if they are distributing wins more evenly to obfuscate the winner. Does anyone else in RPDR Land feel this way?

For example, I kind of thought Sasha Velour was going to win Snatch Game, so I asked all you fishes to weigh in:

Yup. If Sasha had won Snatch Game, she would have a score of 9 (instead of 7) and Alexis would have a score of 3 (instead of 5).

Am I just biased because I like a drag queen who makes fun of Judith Butler? (yes)

Redditor Predictions

The votes are in! Last year, the only data that truly predicted Bob’s win was fans’ predictions. It’s looking like Shea Coulee!

  • We had 580 respondents, and 485 (84%) think that Shea Coulee is going to win.
  • HOWEVER, Sasha is the one that people want to be crowned (192, 33%), followed closely by Valentina (121, 21%) and Shea (111, 19%).
  • Nina and Trinity are kind of popular, but they are not taking home the crown. 

Challenge Score

  • Shea Coulee has the highest Challenge Score (10) due to TWO wins, TWO highs, and no lows.
  • Sasha and Trinity are tied for second place (Safe Sucks Score = 7). Sasha has one win and two highs, and Trinity has 2 wins, 1 high, and a bottom 2 placement.
  • Valentina’s ranking is going down a bit, with a Safe Sucks Score of 6.5. She has 1 win and 2 highs, but tends to be safe (which doesn’t help with her Safe Sucks score).

Instagram

  • Holy Jesus, Valentina is super duper popular. She still ranks first (312K followers) and gained 34K new followers this week.
  • Farrah is still extremely popular (277K followers), and she gained 20K followers this week. With such a low challenge score (-0.5), I can’t imagine her sticking around much longer.
  • Aja is third place (219K), but she didn’t get an elimination spike this week. She gained 12K new followers, which is on par with the last few weeks.
  • Trinity had the highest relative increase in followers (15%) due to her win. She now has 85.2K followers, putting her in 12th place.
  • Sasha still holds 4th place (179K), but Shea is only 1K followers behind (178K). Shea moved up in rank from #6 to #5.
  • Nina Bonina moved down from #5 to #6.

Twitter

  • Farrah Moan is the most popular girl in school. This should feel good, given her high school experience. Grrrl, you are beautiful and really sweet.
  • Valentina is STILL in 2nd place. I kept thinking she would catch up with Farrah any second now. Nopey nope. 2nd place!
  • Sasha Velour is the third most popular (34.8K followers), and Shea Coulee is in 5th place with 29.7K followers.
  • Alexis is in 12th place. She is very talented and sweet, but I don’t see as much Nerve and Uniqueness as a Bob, Bianca, or Jinkx. I don’t understand why my (okay, not my) friends at Alright Mary keep talking about her as if she is going to win.

Season 9, Ep 6: Snatch Game!

There is no original or primary gender a drag imitates, but gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original. –Judith Butler

We finally had the Snatch Game! I’m finally interested in Season 9!

So… go answer this poll and tell me: Who do you think won Snatch Game? Who will win Season 9? Who do YOU want to win Season 9?

My bets for top 3 are still Shea, Sasha, and Valentina.

  • Shea Coulee is the strongest contender at this point. She has 2 wins, 1 high, and 0 lows/btm2s. In terms of popularity, she has moved up in rank, and is now #6 on Instagram and #5 on Twitter.
  • Sasha has a strong challenge score, with 1 win, 2 highs, and 0 low/btm2s. She is more popular than Shea, ranking 4th on Instagram and 3rd on Twitter.
  • Nina, Alexis, and Valentina are all in a mixy-mixy bag of maybe-they’ll-be-top-3-but-maybe-they-won’t. They all have the same AnalRPDR score (4). Nina has a higher Safe Sucks score because she placed low and was oh so close to bottom 2 in episode 5. Valentina appears to be getting the best edit, reflected in her performance on social media. She continually has high relative growth.

Alexis and the Snatch Game

I don’t like to be shady, but it’s kind of my job.

Alexis won Snatch Game, but she didn’t win our hearts. She only gained 6.9K followers on Instagram, whereas Valentina gained 36K, Farrah gained 24K, Shea gained 21K, and Sasha gained 19K. There are similar trends over in Twitterlandia. She won, but I typically see a stronger reaction to a Snatch Game win.

Alexis has such an interesting edit. She is the talkative drag mom, facilitating heartfelt conversations and including all the children. The folks over at Alright Mary think she’s definitely bound for top 3. The numbers just don’t stack up.

Peppermint had a rough time on the Snatch Game, but TURNT IT OUT in her lip sync. There’s a little bump in her Instagram ranking (from #11 to #10).

Cynthia did not get an elimination spike. I think she peaked when she was Miss Congeniality. For example, she had 40K followers on Instagram at the end of last season. When she returned this April, she had 98K followers. Now she has 123K. She’s doing great, but her relative growth has been fairly low this season.

Challenge Score

  • Shea is still in the lead (8.5), with Sasha in 2nd place (6.5) and Nina in 3rd place (5.5). (Last week, it was Shea, Sasha, and Valentina.)
  • Alexis is now in 4th place (5 – tied with Valentina), due to her win in Snatch Game. Last week, she was in 7th place due to being consistently safe.
  • Queens that aren’t doing so well: Aja, Farrah, Peppermint, and Trinity.



Instagram

  • Valentina is still in 1st place, and Farrah has a strong hold on 2nd place. Aja (3rd place) would need 50K more followers to catch up.
  • A few moved up in rank:
    • Sasha moved from #6 to #4.
    • Shea moved from #7 to #6.
    • Peppermint moved from #11 to #10.
  • A couple moved down in rank:
    • Kimora moved from #4 to #7.
    • Alexis moved from #10 to #11.


Twitter

  • Farrah Moan STILL has the most followers (40.2K)! ANNND she has gained the 2nd most number of followers (5.1K)! ANNND she increased followership by 15%! (Which is 3rd place in that category.)
  • I keep thinking Valentina will pass Farrah, but she doesn’t. Still, she gained the most followers this week (5.4K) and has the highest relative growth (17%).
  • Sasha Velour jumped to 3rd place, bumping Cynthia Lee down to 4th place. You can just eyeball Cynthia’s growth and see that it has been pretty flat. No elimination spike for Cynthia. She peaked when she won Miss Congeniality.
  • There has been a lot of shifting. Some queens moved up in rank:
    • Sasha moved from #4 to #3.
    • Shea moved from #6 to #5.
    • Nina Bonina moved from #7 to #6.
    • Aja moved from #9 to #8.
    • Trinity moved from #13 to #12.
    • Eureka moved from #14 to #13.
  • Some moved down:
    • Cynthia Lee moved from #3 to #4.
    • Charlie Hides moved from #5 to #7.
    • Kimora moved from #8 to #9.
    • Jaymes moved from #12 to #14.

Season 9, Episode 5: Kardashians: The Musical

Snatch Game is tonight! After Snatch Game, we’ll have a stronger feeling for the top ranking queens in this competition. As I’ve said in the past, Ru is looking for someone with Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and Intelligence (T.U.N.I.C.) to win this competition. In general, RuPaul’s Delegate of Reigning Queens (DORQ) are quick on their feet and strategic. After next week, I’ll lessen my focus on relative growth, and start fixating on the sheer number of followers.

The challenge scores and social media rankings are not completely consistent with one another, but top 3 is looking more like Valentina, Shea, and Sasha. These three queens have all won at least one challenge, and have not had a low placement. Valentina is #1 or #2 on social media, but Sasha and Shea are still middle of the pack in terms of popularity.

Shea now has the highest challenge score, with two wins. Excluding Naomi Smalls, all contenders for top 3 have had at least two wins, which puts Shea squarely in top 3 category.

Valentina has the second highest challenge score (5 – tied with Sasha), and has consistently gained a ton of followers each week. She is now ranked #1 on Instagram and #2 on Twitter.

This moment is going down in HERstory!

I’m pulling for you, Sasha. Let’s sit on the couch with some tea and listen to NPR together, m’kay? #lesbianfantasy

Eureka has not had a strong elimination spike. She had some sweet moments in rehearsal and the werk room, and she must have been in agony throughout this challenge. Nevertheless, she persisted. This supports my theory that the elimination spike is higher when fans feel betrayed by Ru. (Oh, the injustice! I’m going to show you my ongoing support by following you on Twitter!) Since she gets to come back next year, fans sat back and sipped their fruity cocktails while the queens cried and hugged.

If you’re looking for a thoughtful and in depth analysis on the show, listen to the Alright Mary podcast, available on iTunes. Colin and Johnny dissect the heck out of the show. Based on their analysis, most of this week’s screen time was on Alexis and Nina. However, I don’t see a strong response on social media for either of these queens.

Challenge Score

  • Shea Coulee is now squarely in the lead, having won two competitions. Her Safe Sucks score is 8.5.
  • Sasha Velour and Valentina are tied for second place with one win, one high placement, and no low or bottom two placements (5).
  • Farrah Moan, Aja, and Cynthia Lee have negative scores.
    • Aja and Cynthia Lee have been safe every challenge, and in the bottom two once (-1.5).
    • Farrah has a higher score (-1), but only because she has placed low (instead of safe). Our “Safe Sucks” score gives a low placement a higher ranking than safe, because they can use feedback from the judges to improve. They also get more screen time.

Instagram

  • Valentina has recently passed Farrah Moan for first place. She has 242K followers, compared to Farrah’s 233K.
  • Aja is placing third with 196K followers.
  • Kimora Black is in 4th place, with 150K followers. Elimination will not bring her down! She is performing better than seven queens who are still in the running.
  • Nina (142K), Sasha (141K), and Shea (137K), who all have high challenge scores, are in the middle of the pack on Instagram.
  • Eureka has gone up in ranking to 13th place. She has the highest relative increase in followers (13%) this week. This looks like a wee elimination spike.
  • After Eureka, the queens with the highest relative growth are Valentina (16%), Trinity (16%), Shea (15%), Sasha (15%), and Nina Bonina (14%).
  • Overall, Valentina and Nina have the highest relative growth episode over episode.

Twitter

  • Last week, I predicted that Valentina would trounce Farrah Moan, but Farrah is still in the top position (35K). Valentina has 32.7K followers, and moved up from spot #3 to spot #2, defeating Cynthia Lee.
  • Trinity (17%), Shea (17%) and Valentina (16%) have the highest relative growth this week.
  • Shea moved up in rank from #7 to #6 (23.2K), and Nina moved down from #6 to #7 (22.9K).
  • Valentina and Nina have the highest relative growth over the course of the season.

Season 9, Episode 4: Good Morning, Bitches!

This show is all about Valentina. If numbers can predict the winner this early in the game, then they are ALL pointing to Valentina (Challenge score, fan vote, relative growth on social media). It looks like the Top 5 will be Valentina, Shea, Nina, Sasha and somebody.

Here’s the rationale. A survey of (mostly) Reddit participants points to Valentina, Shea, and Nina as the most likely Top 3 slots. Looking at last year’s numbers, fans’ speculation was the best predictor of the winner (other than Ru’s brain). Valentina, Sasha, and Shea have the highest Challenge Scores. Valentina, Nina, and Sasha have the highest relative growth on Instagram. Valentina, Nina and Aja have the highest relative growth on Twitter. Noticing a trend here? Valentina, Valentina, Valentina.

To summarize:

  • Fan survey: Valentina (1st), Shea (2nd), Nina (3rd)
  • Challenge Score: Valentina, Sasha, Shea (same score)
  • Relative Instagram Growth: Valentina (1st), Nina (2nd), Sasha (3rd)
  • Relative Twitter Growth: Valentina (1st), Nina (2nd), Aja (3rd)

Shea and Nina are both expected to be in the top tier of queens, but people EXPECT Shea to win more than Nina. However, they WANT Nina to win more than Shea. Shea fits the mold. Nina is loved. Hugs all around.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned Farrah. She has the most followers on Twitter and Instagram, and only Valentina is challenging her. Is she the Naomi Smalls of the season, a dark horse in the running? I just don’t think so. I think she’s just fun to look at. And flirt with:

Relative Growth

I made some new charts of overall relative growth this week. Early on, relative growth can be more telling than the overall number of followers. It hints at their progress over the course of the show. By the end of the season, relative growth has less meaning, and it’s more important to look at totals.

Challenge Score

  • Shea, Sasha, and Valentina are all tied for first place on the Safe Sucks challenge score (5). They each have one win, one high placement, and two safe placements.
  • Nina and Trinity are tied for second place (3.5). Nina has gotten one win + 3 safes. Trinity, however, has a more chequered past, with one win, one high, one bottom 2, and one safe. Trinity has received more screen time as a result. Oh the drama!

Votes: Who Will Win?

I posted a survey on Reddit and this blog with two simple questions:

  • Who do you think will win?
  • Who do you want to win? (Should it be whom?)

People rightly did not vote for Jaymes or Kimora. I’m surrounded by augurs!

  • Valentina is winning this by a landslide. She got 53 (34%) votes as the expected winner. A whopping 44 (29%) want her to win.
  • Shea Coulee is a close second with 40 votes (26%). However, a smaller percentage wants her to win (19 votes, 12%).
  • Nina Bonina has 27 votes (17%) as the expected winner, and 35 people (27%) want her to win. Fans don’t think she is a shoo-in by RuPaul’s standards, but they love her.

Instagram

  • Farrah Moan still leads the pack, but Valentina will top her by the next episode. (As I type this, they are tied for first place with 223K followers each.)
  • Valentina has had the highest relative growth over the course of four episodes, with Nina Bonina close behind.
  • Sasha Velour has gone up in rank, from #7 to #6. She gained 17K followers this week (while Valentina gained 35K new followers.)
  • Aja is doing well. She is in third place and will likely stay there, unless Nina, Sasha or Shea give her the bump. I’d like to think her Linda Evangelista read is part of her online success.

Twitter

  • Farrah leads the pack with 31.5K followers.
  • Cynthia Lee is in second place, but it won’t take long for Valentina to surpass her. Her relative increase in followers has been pretty low each week (5%, 4%).
  • While Valentina’s following has a healthy growth curve, she may still trail behind Farrah Moan for awhile.
  • Similar to Instagram, Valentina and Nina Bonina have had the most relative growth over four episodes. If you look at the relative growth graph, 2 and 3 were strongest for Valentina, and episodes 1 and 2 were strongest for Nina Bonina.

Season 9 Episode 3, Draggily Ever After

Right now, Valentina looks like the clear winner. She not only is doing well in the challenges, but is very popular. She ranks 2nd on Instagram and 3rd on Twitter, with a growth rate that will allow her to be in the #1 spot in the next couple of weeks. How do you feel about that, Valentina?

That’s what I thought.

Trinity Taylor has a high challenge score, but is very unpopular (last place on Instagram and Twitter). Perfect villain formula.

EEEEEEE-VIL!

Nina Bonina has a high challenge score, and is moderately popular. She is 5th on Instagram and 6th on Twitter.

Alexis Michelle and Charlie Hides have low challenge scores and low popularity. We haven’t had enough challenges to solidify the rankings, but it doesn’t look good for either of them. Aja and Farrah are popular but have low challenge scores. Also not so good.

We need more challenges to know who’s going to rise up from the middle. Instead of analyzing, I just ended up looking up Eureka’s head pieces. Check out this one:

Eleganza.
And this one!
Like a candle in the wind.
this is my fave
Dr. Seuss Realness!

Challenge Scores

  • Trinity Taylor and Valentina have the highest Challenge scores (5), with 1 win and 1 high placement.
  • Nina Bonina has a score of 3.5, and I really want her to place higher because I love typing “Nina Bonina.”
  • Alexis Michelle and Cynthia Lee Fontaine have only been safe, and have Challenge scores of zero (0).
  • Aja is the only remaining queen with a negative score. She has been safe twice, and bottom 2 once.

Instagram

  • Farrah Moan has a low challenge score (0.5), but the highest number of Instagram followers (200K). I don’t get it. Gay men, please explain.
  • Valentina, originally at 4th placed, has leaped (leapt?) to 2nd place, with 173K followers.
  • If Farrah and Valentina maintain their growth rates next week, Valentina (30%) could surpass Farrah (10%) by next week. Valentina could have 225K, and Farrah could have 220K.
  • Valentina (2nd), Nina Bonina (5th), Sasha Velour (7th), and Eureka O’Hara (13th) have gone up in rank this week.
  • Aja (3rd), Cynthia Lee Fontaine (8th), and Trinity Taylor (14th) have gone down in rank.


Twitter

  • Cynthia Lee and Farrah Moan are currently battling for the #1 slot. Farrah now has 28.8K followers, and Cynthia Lee has 27.8. Farrah has a higher growth rate (12%) than Cynthia Lee (5%).
  • Valentina gained the most followers this week (5,100, +27%). If Valentina (27%) and Farrah (12%) maintain their growth rates, Valentina could take spot #1 in two weeks.
  • The rest of the queens are showing a big ol’ mishmash of growth and decline. Just go google Eureka O’Hara and look at her headpieces until the next challenge.


Season 9, Episode 2: She Done Already Done Brought It On

Here we are, at Season 9, Episode 2, and I have no idea who is going to win. Where is the Bianca? Where is the Bob? We don’t have a clear winner (obviously bold, smart, confident, multitalented the moment she enters the work room) in Season 9, so this is a little more interesting.

While you’re sitting here, tell me who you think will win with this poll.

Summary

  • The heavy hitters are Nina, Shea, Sasha, and Valentina.
  • Nina Bonina is the poo, so take a big whiff. She has the highest challenge score, high C.U.N.T. scores, and has strong growth in her social media following, even when she was safe this week.
  • Valentina is doing great this week. Because she won. Her C.U.N.T. scores have increased in every category. She has seen a 46% increase in Instagram followers, and 50% increase in Twitter followers.
  • And then there’s Farrah Moan. Her challenge score is a nice, neat ZERO. Her C.U.N.T. score is low to medium. But she has the most followers on Instagram, and the second most followers on Twitter (closely behind Cynthia Lee Fontaine.) What’s up with that? Why oh why is she…
I’m bitchin’. Great hair. The boys all love to stare.

Oh yeah.

Challenge Score

Right now, the Challenge Score can only give us some hints as to who the winner is. There are some no-duhs: Nina and Valentina are high, Jaymes and Kimora are low. The most interesting thing here is that Eureka, Shea Coulee, Sasha Velour, and Trinity are scoring well since they have all been high.  

If you jump over to Predict a Sister’s website, that stats queen says that Nina has a 14.8% chance of winning, and Valentina has a 13.5% chance. If you want a quick and dirty blog to follow on the real statistics, flag her site. If you want to sit around and gossip with your sisters, and use some numbers to justify your shade, come right down here and sit under my tree.

  • Nina Bonina and Valentina both have an AnalRPDR score of 3.
  • Eureka, Sasha, Shea, and Trinity have a score of 1.
  • Kimora is -2, and Jaymes is -3.
  • Everyone else has a 0 score.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Since we are starting with a fresh, new season, and since some of you might be watching RPDR for the first time (oh jesus, who the hell are you?) I’ll explain some of the rationale for looking at social media followers. When someone gets a good edit, they tend to get a spike in followers. When someone gets eliminated, they tend to get a spike, albeit smaller, in followers (“Oh, the injustice! I still love you and won’t forget you, Tempest DuJour!”) When a queen is hateful or dull, they tend to hang out in the cesspool of filler queens. Especially in the beginning of the season, fan growth is a good reflection of the edit.

BUT… This graph puts it all into perspective. The real winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race is…

I look at the number of followers, the amount of growth week-over week, and their ranking. Every so often someone tells me that red/pink should mean their rank is lower, and blue means their rank should be higher. However, this show takes place in a pink hamster cage with a bunch of drag queens, so this is my response to your conventions:

Read the key.

Instagram

  • Farrah Moan is killing it. Look at that graph! It’s like a Miss Fame and Pearl, all rolled into one!
  • Aja is in second place with 151K followers, but Valentina is doing a sneak attack on Farrah and Aja. Valentina has the most new followers this week (41.7K, +46%).
  • Nina Bonina continues to see a YUGE increase in followers. She gained 26.9K new followers this week (+39%). She has very good chances of rising to the top of the heap.
  • Cynthia Lee Fontaine is in 5th place, neck and neck with Shea Coulee, Nina Bonina, and Sasha Velour.
  • Jaymes Mansfield got a small elimination spike: 28% increase (as opposed to 11% last week).

Twitter

  • Cynthia Lee is topping all of them, with 26.6K followers. Pretty much everyone has gone down in rank because of this.
  • Farrah is a close second, with 25.8K.

“Second place! How’s it feel, Farrah?”
“It feels like first!”

  • Valentina and Jaymes are the only queens that have gone up in rank. Valentina moved from #6 to #4, and gained the most new followers (6.3K, +50%). Jaymes moved from spot #11 to #10, and gained 3K new followers (+33%).
  • Charlie Hides is in third place, but doesn’t show a lot of growth (9%). In fact, it’s the smallest growth of any queen. (Grrrl, stop talking about your age! You’re cute.)
  • Nina Bonina has been showing impressive growth. She is up 28% this week, and up 36% last week. However, she is only ranked #8.


C.U.N.T. Score

Predict a Sister was kind enough to share results from her C.U.N.T. survey with me. Here they all, in all their glory. It includes results from the pre-season, episode 1, and episode 2.

The skinny:

  • Nina Bonina has consistently placed high on Charisma, but bumped to 2nd place by Valentina after the cheerleading episode.
  • Nina Bonina and Sasha Velour lead in the Uniqueness category. I’m very excited to see an episode that challenges them to be artistic and avant garde. (I love you, Sasha.)
  • Nina, Sasha, and Shea have high Nerve scores.
  • Nina, Sasha and Shea have historically held a lead in the Talent category, but Valentina bumped Sasha and Shea this week.
  • While Farrah Moan and Aja are popular, their C.U.N.T. scores are low to medium.

 

 

 

Season 9, Episode 1: Oh. My. Gaga.!

First of all, I’d like to thank RuPaul for waiting until my band’s tour, promoting our new CD, was over before kicking off Season 9. #shamelessplug I saw some people on reddit mention some collaboration. Let’s do this, squirrelfriends.

ANNNNND WE’RE OFF!

Farrah Moan is in the lead on Instagram and Twitter, but Nina Bonina had the biggest increase in followers. Aja is doing well on Instagram (2nd place) but not so great on Twitter (10th place). Charlie Hides is doing well on Twitter (2nd place), but not so great on Instagram (8th place). One is pretty, the other is funny. Good channel strategy.

I dropped Facebook this year. It gets confusing since some queens are moving from personal to professional pages. And… I’m kinda lazy. So is our president and he seems to be doing fine.

  • Farrah Moan leads Instagram with 148K followers, up from 133K (+11%).
  • Aja is a close second, with 134K followers, up from 124K (+8%).
  • Nina Bonina had the greatest increase in followers (33%, +16,500)
  • Rank remains unchanged since pre-season (Thursday, March 23).
  • I misspelled Kimora Blac. Damn you, auto-correct. I’ll fix it next week.

 

Twitter

  • Farrah Moan has the most followers, with 21K, up from 18.2K (+15%).
  • Charlie Hides ranks second, with 18.2K followers, up from 16.8K (+8%).
  • Nina Bonina had the biggest increase in followers (36%). She moved from 8th place to 7th place.
  • Aja had the second largest increase in followers (22%). She moved from 11th place to 10th place.