The Best Lip Sync of Every RuPaul's Drag Race Season
Season 1: “Cover Girl (Put the Bass in Your Walk)” “Grand Finale”
It’s hard to believe the mainstage of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” used to be so small and so blurry. This didn’t stop season 1 finalists BeBe Zahara Benet and Nina Flowers from giving it their all in the final lip sync, though. Their take on RuPaul’s thumping dance track, “Cover Girl,” is best described as ferocious. They’re pretty evenly matched, until BeBe scoots across the stage and under Nina’s legs. She was soon crowned the franchise’s first winner. The show has come a long way since its first finale. There’s not a dip or a split in sight here, just some classic drag performance that’ll never get old.
Season 2: “Black Velvet” “Rocker Chicks”
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Jujubee was an early favorite to win season 2. But when she landed in the bottom for the rock and roll challenge, she was forced to prove she still belonged in the competition. Her pouty-lipped pantomime to Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet” is sultry and slinky and desperate in the best way. Flinging her hair and slinking on the stage, Jujubee revels in the grit of the number’s Southern, blues-inspired sound. Like competitor Pandora Boxx says, she captures the essence of the song. Jujubee won the lip sync handily against competitor Sahara Davenport, whose balletic movements weren’t the best fit for such a bluesy tune.
Season 3: “MacArthur Park” “Ru Ha Ha!”
Season 3 is full of incredible lip syncs. Raja and Carmen Carrera’s sexy and intimate duet to “Straight Up”, for instance, is a fan-favorite for a reason. But our pick has to be the “MacArthur Park” lip sync between Manila Luzon and Delta Work. Donna Summer’s version is a disco classic filled with deliciously campy and utterly bizarre lyrics about old men playing checkers and cakes being left out in the rain. Manila Luzon’s crossed eyes, wild gesticulations, and overwrought emotion are just perfect for what that song is serving. It doesn’t hurt that her kooky yellow outfit gives us Big Bird in a drag production of “Evita.” It’s an amazing moment, and the judges are clearly loving every second.
Season 4: “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” “Glamazons vs. Champions”
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Lip syncing someone’s song right in front of them could make any queen nervous. Yet it seems DiDa Ritz used Natalie Cole’s presence on the judges panel as fuel. Clearly, it worked. DiDa shimmers in her gold runway look, and despite being in the bottom, she radiates positivity. By the end, she’s moving with such fierce, transcendent joy that the late vocalist is gassing her up. No offense to her competitor, The Princess, but there was no doubt who won this lip sync. DiDa’s performance is not just the best of the season. It’s one of the best of all time.
Season 5: “Whip My Hair” “The RuPaul Roast”
Alyssa Edwards was involved in giving us not one but two of season 5’s greatest lip syncs. “Cold Hearted” was a jawdropper. But “Whip My Hair” gave us so many gifable and unforgettable moments. Alyssa and Roxxxy Andrews leave everything they have on the stage, including wigs and skirts. It’s an energetic number, fit for two queens who can always deliver when the stakes are high. Everything from Roxxxy’s wig reveal and impossible hair-whipping to Alyssa’s floor work left Ru at a loss by the end. She had no choice but to declare a tie. Their performance, and Roxxxy’s heartbreaking confession afterward, made for one of the show’s most noteworthy moments.
Season 6: “Vibeology” “Drag Queens of Talk”
Adore Delano had a lot riding on this lip sync. For one thing, the former “American Idol” contender was performing in front of the singing show’s former judge Paula Abdul to her song. On top of that, she was going up against Trinity K. Bonet, who was basically the season’s unofficial lip sync assassin. “Vibeology” is a funky uptempo tune that gives the bottom two queens plenty of room to squeeze in some energy, humor, and personal flair. Adore won the lip sync after whipping out some impressive and hilarious stunts and tricks. Still, Trinity’s sharp choreography and seductive stage presence made her a fierce opponent. All in all, this one was a treat.
Season 7: “Roar” “The Hello Kitty Ball”
No matter how this one ended, season 7 was losing a worthy competitor. When Katya and Kennedy Davenport landed in the bottom two for the “Hello Kitty Ball,” we knew it was going to be a proverbial fight to the death. And Katy Perry’s defiant empowerment anthem provides the soundtrack to the battle. Of course, both queens live up to their hype. Pulling out their best tricks, the two twirl and flip. Kennedy has the edge for much of the affair, but that climactic leap off the stage into the split is probably what clinches it for her. Outcome aside though, we can’t get enough of this as a performance.
Season 8: “And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going” “Shady Politics”
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The late, great Chi Chi DeVayne was season 8’s biggest underdog story. She entered the work room in a couture trash bag, and left a star. She also more than earned her lip sync win to this signature “Dreamgirls” tune. Not only was it the perfect song for her “Drag Race” journey thus far, but a mid-performance mishap cemented her place among the best to ever do it. Chi Chi’s long beads get caught under her foot, and during the climax of the song, it breaks, showering the stage with beads. It’s electrifying and perfectly timed. Even Thorgy seemingly knows the score at this point. At the end, she holds Chi Chi’s arm up like a referee, practically declaring a winner.
Season 9: “So Emotional” “Grand Finale”
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Season 9 champion Sasha Velour may have single-handedly changed the way queens lip sync on the show. Faced with the introduction of the “Lip Sync Smackdown for the Crown” concept, Sasha went against the odds-on favorite, Shea Couleé. It’s a fantastic battle, but in one moment, Sasha steals the win. Throughout the number, she reveals rose petals hidden in her gloves. The final reveal, when she showers the stage with rose petals hidden UNDER HER WIG, made the crowd at the finale, and presumably every watch party in America, go wild. Considering how rare it was for Sasha to wear a wig on the runway, it’s a wonder we didn’t see it coming. But that’s the beauty of a great reveal.
Season 10: “Pound the Alarm” “The Last Ball on Earth”
Sometimes, losing is winning. For example, if Monét X Change hadn’t bombed the week 4 ball challenge, we never would have gotten this incredible Nicki Minaj lip sync. She and Dusty Ray Bottoms both play up the comedy with “Pound the Alarm.” Monét makes use of the classic drag moves, but adds her own personal touch to them. Make no mistake, Dusty is no slouch, either. But once Monét pulls out that fakeout split, it’s pretty much over. RuPaul can barely keep it together, and we get it. The cherry on top is the actual split she lands later in the song.
Season 11: “Sorry Not Sorry” “Snatch Game at Sea”
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When two of the season’s frontrunners landed in the bottom after the Snatch Game, it was a truly shocking turn of events. The two are very different performers, but both find their stride during Demi Lovato’s sassy pop track, “Sorry Not Sorry.” If anyone on the season 11 cast was a match for Yvie Oddly’s flexibility, it was Brooke Lynn Hytes. For every trick, flip, or headstand one did, the other queen countered with an equally sickening move. The judges are in awe, hardly able to catch a breath before the next eye-popping moment. Needless to say, it’s one of the show’s most deserved double shantays.
Season 12: “Firework” “Choices 2020”
Some of the best lip syncs are the ones without kicks, flips, and acrobatics. While Widow Von’Du gives a fierce performance, Jackie Cox clearly connects with the song in ways that go beyond its self-empowerment lyrics. Decked out in a blue and star-spangled hijab, Jackie dedicates her performance to anyone who has ever been subjected to xenophobic hate. She delivers camp, comedy, and ultimately, a heartfelt tribute to people who have to fight to show others they belong. Her message is clearly not lost on guest judge Jeff Goldblum. The veteran actor wipes tears away when the song is over.
Season 13: “100% Pure Love” “RuPaulmark Channel”
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Although it was literally the ninth lip sync of the season, it was the first real Lip Sync for Your Life, since it was the first actual elimination. Chicago queens Denali and Kahmora Hall certainly brought drama to the occasion. Kahmora’s look, while elegant and mesmerizing, is too restrictive to allow a full-out performance. All eyes are on Denali as she and her feathers work every inch of that stage. Showcasing what feels like all the moves in her repertoire, the ice skating queen proved she had the makings to be the season’s lip sync unofficial assassin. Not one beat is missed. Not one crumb is left on the floor.
Season 14: “My Head & My Heart” “Save a Queen”
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Going up against Jorgeous in a lip sync is like going toe to toe with LeBron James when you’ve never even touched a basketball. That’s a sports reference, for those who were wondering. Don’t get us wrong, Orion Story absolutely gets an A for effort, and their performance is nothing to scoff at. The queen puts up a really good fight. However, Jorgeous looks as if she planned every single gesture. There’s essentially a movement for every beat, and she executes each one flawlessly. No part of it looks improvised, messy, or uncertain. She doesn’t just tear the stage up. She makes it look effortless.
Season 15: “Boss Bitch” “Two Queens, One Joke”
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Free Willy! Anetra was one of the breakout stars of season 15. Her somewhat controversial take on the ballroom duck walk aside, she commanded the stage with every performance. Here, she’s in control from the jump. Marcia Marcia Marcia’s energetic showing could have potentially won this lip sync if she were up against literally anyone else in the cast. Against Anetra though, she’s left in the dust. Seriously, Anetra jumps over Marcia as she does a pretty impressive backbend, stealing the moment right out from under her. It’s fabulous and brutal, but all is fair in love and lip syncs.
All Stars 1: “Dancing On My Own” “Dynamic Drag Duos”
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Season 2 fan favorites Raven and Jujubee were a true match made in heaven. It helped that they were good friends. When they landed in the bottom during the 5th week of the first All Stars season, it was heartbreaking for them and us. One of them was about to send their friend home. Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” is already a tearjerker disguised as a dance anthem. Watching Team Rujubee fall apart and turn their lip sync duel into a devastating duet gives it new meaning. Up to that point, it was arguably the most emotional Lip Sync for Your Life the show had ever seen. It’s no wonder they both got to stay.
All Stars 2: “Shut Up and Drive” “Revenge of the Queens”
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“All Stars 2” introduced the Lip Sync for Your Legacy format. If you ask us though, its best and most memorable lip sync came as part of a different twist. Week 5 saw previously eliminated all-stars Alyssa Edwards and Tatianna fighting to return to the competition. Here, they’re lip syncing for both their legacies and lives, and their fire to reenter the race and finish what they started leads to one of the series’ best ever showings. They complement each other in so many ways, from the determination, to the energy, right down to the outfits. Between Alyssa’s high kicks and Tatianna’s twirls, the whole thing is electric. It would have been a crime if they hadn’t both won.
All Stars 3: “Anaconda” “All Star Variety Show”
At first glance, you might not expect BenDeLaCreme to win a Nicki Minaj lip sync, but you have to expect the unexpected on “Drag Race.” She and Aja take very different approaches to “Anaconda,” and both play to their strengths. Aja delivers on Minaj’s attitude. Her sharp, aggressive movement is classic and seductive. BenDeLaCreme, meanwhile, chooses to go the campy route. Her wide eyes kind of make it look like the DJ played the wrong track and she’s just going along with it. It’s thoroughly wild in the best possible way. This is an all-around banger of a lip sync, but DeLa ultimately emerges victorious.
All Stars 4: “Adrenaline” “LaLaPaRuZa”
The statuesque Naomi Smalls and the stunning Gia Gunn are both known for serving beauty and face, but their epic skills as performers are sometimes overlooked. Their lip sync to “Adrenaline” proves they both earned the title of all star. The hairography alone makes this one worth recommending. Gia tears away a tuxedo look to reveal a shimmering fringe bodysuit and whips her hair all over the place, while Naomi leans on two of her best assets: her legs. Gia puts up a good fight, but after scooting across the stage and performing a few backbreaking stunts, Naomi is declared the winner of the lip sync, keeping her place in the competition.
All Stars 5: “Neutron Dance” “I’m in Love”
If there ever was a lip sync assassin Mount Rushmore, Alyssa Edwards and Shea Couleé would surely be on it. They burn up the All Stars 5 mainstage with their performance of the Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance.” When the two go all the way to the back of the stage at the start of the song, you know things are about to get serious. It gets so wild that Alyssa literally starts climbing the set at one point. Shea’s kicking, shimmying, and deliciously retro dance moves, for their part, are sexy, graceful, and funky. Shea takes the win on this one, but we can’t overstate how amazing a match-up it is.
All Stars 6: “Physical” “Side Hustles”
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All Stars 6 had a few memorable lip syncs. But this one was everything. Even before the song starts, Lip Sync Assassin Laganja Estranja guaranteed it would be an episode to remember. Her entrance was just the beginning of the absolute slay that is the “Physical” lip sync. She goes up against fellow season 6 queen, Trinity K. Bonet, who’s a fantastic performer as well. So yeah, this was always going to be a fight. While Trinity brings it, it’s obvious Laganja came prepared. The stunts just keep coming, as she launches into split after kick after shablam. Just watching it is exhausting – we’re in awe.
All Stars 7: “Supernova” “Drag Race Gives Back Variety Extravaganza”
Sometimes, two queens just seem totally in tune with each other. What starts as a battle can very quickly become more of a duet between two incredible artists. Indeed, everything comes together in that way for this lip sync. The top two all stars of the week, Monét X Change and Shea Couleé, are at the top of their game in the look and performance departments alike. They slink and strut along to Kylie Minogue’s “Supernova” with so much synergy, they couldn’t have choreographed it better. When Shea syncs up with Monét just as she hits the floor, it’s like watching poetry in motion.
All Stars 8: “Coconuts” “The Supermarket Ball”
It doesn’t really take a genius to figure out what Kim Petras’ song is actually about. It wasn’t lost on Jessica Wild either. The second she throws off her coat to reveal her ample, pendulous, silicone “accessories'”, she pretty much wins it all. Guest judge JoJo Siwa barely knows what to do with herself. The week’s Lip Sync Assassin, Ra’Jah O’Hara, is a formidable opponent, but she is pretty outgunned here, and she seems to know it, too. Jessica goes wild, delivering camp humor with a side dish of censor-defying vulgarity. And that’s really what “Drag Race” is all about, isn’t it?