Top 10 Shocking Drag Race Talent Show Moments
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Top 10 Shocking Drag Race Talent Show Moments

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Don Ekama
These "Drag Race" talent show moments will always be shocking. For this list, we'll be looking at the most notable instances from talent and variety shows across the “RuPaul's Drag Race” franchise that left us all gooped and gagged. Our countdown includes Jimbo's jam baby, Manila Luzon's routine, Aja's leap, and more!
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Top 10 Shocking Drag Race Talent Show Moments


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking “Drag Race” Talent Show Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most notable instances from talent and variety shows across the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” franchise that left us all gooped and gagged. Some contestant placements and results will be discussed, so consider this your spoiler alert.

Which of these entries is forever etched in your memory? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Ra’Jah O’Hara’s Speed Sewing
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 6


One vital skill for any “Drag Race” contestant to have is the ability to sew. Some queens have largely depended on the hot glue gun to scale through design challenges. But others have sewn looks worthy of any runway. For the “All Stars 6” variety extravaganza, the ever-resourceful Ra'Jah O'Hara took on the daunting challenge of creating a dress in one minute. With just a piece of fabric, a sewing machine and a pair of scissors in hand, Ra’Jah had us at the edge of our seats, wondering if she’d make it in time. And you best believe she did! With such design skills, we’re not surprised the Dallas, Texas queen made nearly all of her “All Stars 6” outfits herself.

#9: Naomi Smalls’ Wig Reveal
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 4


Ever since Roxxxy Andrews pioneered the wig reveal on “Drag Race” season 5, it has become a device used in almost every lip sync performance. But only a few queens have put their own unique spin on the art form. Naomi Smalls, known for her fierce runway looks and for putting the “leg” in legendary, delivered a dazzling routine for her “All Stars 4” talent number. At first sight of that ample wig, any true “Drag Race” fan would’ve known what was coming. But Naomi still managed to stun everyone when she took it off to reveal a bald head underneath. It was an iconic move that showcased a very humorous side to this fashion-forward queen. Talk about the ultimate wig snatch!

#8: The Questionable Judging Decisions
“RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under” Season 1


The first season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under” is, without a doubt, one of the most controversial in the entire franchise. There were an array of questionable decisions going on, from the Snatch Game choices to the return of a certain contestant. But arguably the most controversial point came in the talent show. In a moment that had us all screaming “Rigga morris, girl! Rigga morris!” Elektra Shock and Kita Mean were placed in the bottom after showcasing pretty interesting routines. On the other hand, Karen from Finance and Art Simone, who didn’t quite live up to expectations here, were declared safe. The episode, which unsurprisingly had the fandom up in arms, soon became one of the lowest rated on IMDb.

#7: Mariah Paris Balenciaga's Spoken Word Piece
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 5


Almost a decade after competing on the third season of “Drag Race,” Mariah Paris Balenciaga made a splashing comeback on “All Stars 5.” Her showing in the “All Star Variety Extravaganza,” consisted of a powerful spoken word piece that highlighted the effects of oppression and systemic racism. For the performance, Mariah donned a plain white dress, dancing slowly while bringing the poignant words of a poem she wrote six years prior to life. Then, she moved to a glass board and smeared red paint all over it and across her white dress. She finished the piece with her red-stained hand raised above her head. The timely message was effectively dropped, as was everyone else’s jaw in the room.

#6: Manila Luzon’s Routine
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 4


Manila Luzon’s elimination from season 4 is arguably one of the most shocking moments of the entire “All Stars” series. But before sashaying away right before our bewildered eyes, she kicked off an impeccable run with her variety show routine. Equal parts creative, delightful and confusing, the performance starts with Manila making seemingly random strokes on the canvas. Things don’t quite make sense until she flips the painting upside down, revealing a vase with a flower bouquet. And if you think that was her only reveal, then think again. The iconic queen seals the deal with a quick change into a beautiful matching dress.

#5: Jimbo’s Ham Baby
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World” Season 1


Canada’s very own Jimbo lived up to her self-appointed title of “Drag Clown” with this absurd routine for the “Drag Race: UK vs the World” talent show. It’s quite difficult to describe what exactly was going on during that performance, but we’ll give it a try. Decked in a PVC bodysuit and unnerving white-and-black makeup, Jimbo gives the judges and audience the weirdest trip ever. This all leads to the moment where the queen appears to birth a stack of ham. She then throws the slices every which way! Hilariously weird and absurd doesn’t do this enough justice. But if anything, it prepared us for Onyx’s own live birth in the “Drag Race España” season 2 talent show.

#4: Aja’s Leap
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 3


It had been less than a year since her original season ended when Aja returned to compete in the third installment of “All Stars.” Going up against more seasoned queens like BeBe Zahara Benet and BenDeLaCreme, she had a lot to prove. And her showing at the “All-Star Variety Show” definitely got her off to a great start. The first part of this performance was entertaining enough. But Aja kicked it into high gear when she got on the five-foot platform and leapt into an unbelievable death drop. If you want to know how shocked we were by this, just look at RuPaul’s face.

#3: Willow Pill’s Entire Routine
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 14


Willow Pill stunned viewers around the world, and Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, when she walked into the werkroom wearing platform flip-flops. But everyone soon came to realize just how quirky and unforgettable she is. For her performance in the talent show, Willow brought something to the “Drag Race” stage that had never been seen before. And she did it all while lip syncing to Enya’s “Only Time.” The bizarre routine started off with her in a nightgown, pouring red wine into a bathtub. After that, she dumped a plate of spaghetti in. Then, in the most haunting and darkly comedic moment, she slipped into the tub right after throwing in a toaster. The eccentric routine quickly endeared Willow to fans, Mama Ru, and the other contestants.

#2: Monét X Change's Opera Performance
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 7


For the “All Stars 4” talent show, Monét X Change put on a singing performance that, quite frankly, left a lot to be desired. So going into the “All Stars: All Winners” variety extravaganza, the classically trained opera singer was determined to prove all the naysayers wrong. Monét delivered the first ever live opera vocal performance on the “Drag Race” stage. And she blazed the trail in such a spectacular way! Her rendition was so phenomenal that many even doubted she sang it live. Spoiler alert: she did. Monét deservedly landed in the top two, earning three Legendary Legend Stars and becoming the queen with the most stars by the end of the season.

#1: Tatianna's Spoken Word Piece
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 2


Sometimes, the simplest things are the most surprising. Nothing proved that more than Tatianna’s spoken word piece for the “All Stars 2” talent show extravaganza. More than five years after her original season 2 run, she made her comeback on the main stage with a poem titled “The Same Parts.” The hilarious recount of a night out starts rather coyly. But as things progress, the audience soon learns, just like the subject of the story, that things aren’t always as they seem. The Washington, D.C. queen took us all on a surprising journey with an unforgettable twist that will forever remain iconic. And for that, Tatianna, we thank you.
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