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We Ranked The Best Lip Syncs Of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ For You To Argue Over

May the best woman win.

Drag Race lip sync

The ten seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race — and the three of All Stars — have given us a lot to be thankful for: twelve reigning queens and countless catchphrases, not to mention more conversation starters for shy queers than WikiHow could dream for.

Friendships can blossom from a mutual love for an overlooked queen or favourite season, but nothing tears people further apart than a categorical ranking of lip syncs. And that’s what we’re here to do.

At the risk of becoming Drag Race‘s under-qualified armchair coach, ahead of the season ten finale we’ve painstakingly revisited all 135 lip syncs of the show to find our favourite 30. May the best woman win.


#30. Kandy Ho vs. Mrs. Kasha Davis — ‘Lovergirl’, Teena Marie

Kicking off our list is an forgotten gem of a forgotten ’80s hit from two overlooked queens from the underrated season seven. Despite having pretty much no screen-time, Kandy Ho is the season’s lip sync assassin, and here she proves it with a slick slow-burn. Mrs. Kasha Davis gives it a good fight, her drunken housewife aesthetic giving the song a seductive Mrs. Robinson quality.


#29. Shangela vs. Venus D-Lite — ‘The Right Stuff’, Vanessa Williams

There’s been some messy lip syncs on the show — Yara Sofia falling apart on-stage, Mimi Imfurst picking up Indiah Farrah, Raven and Jujubee crying together — but none can match the shenanigans of Venus D-Lite. After their shabby Christmas eleganza lands her and Shangela in the bottom, their falling-apart outfits become weapons. At one point, Venus even pushes her competitor.

As RuPaul says, “drag is not a contact sport” — Venus’ behaviour is antithetical to the show, and frankly, it’s a pleasure to watch her go home.


#28. Ginger Minj and Sasha Belle vs. Jaidynn Diore Fierce and Tempest DuJour — ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’,  Tiffany

Coming at the end of season seven’s conjoined twins makeover challenge, this double-dosed lip sync might not be the most polished, but it’s certainly wild. While Ginger and Sasha win due to their dramatic double mastectomy, Jaidynn Diore and Tempest land some laughs too. As Katya says, they “look like Larry Bird and Raven Symoné in a permanent butt-fuck position”.


#27. Jujubee vs. Sahara Davenport — ‘Black Velvet’, Alannah Myles

Desperate, pleading and sweaty — both a common sight at gay clubs and the description of Jujubee’s emotionally charged lip sync to Alannah Myles’ sultry country-twanged classic, ‘Black Velvet’. While Sahara breaks out her ballet training for some stunning moves, she lacks Jujubee’s intensity of each movement, who channels her need to stay into the song’s sense of longing.


#26. Detox vs. Lineysha Sparx – ‘Take Me Home’, Cher

Detox’s lip-quivering sync is perfect for Cher’s singing voice, and it’s a delight to watch her alternate between seductive and funny. Lineysha serves up a suitably sexy show, but nothing can match the pure divinity of Detox’s jellyfish dress lifting into a tutu as she spins.


#25. Ginger Minj vs. Trixie Mattel — ‘Show Me Love’, Robyn S

After season seven queens Ginger and Trixie end up in the bottom after a ‘half-female, half-male’ runway challenge, there’s nowhere to go but camp. Armed with a ’90s club classic, each of them serve up a ridiculous performance. I’ll forever be haunted by the image of Ginger dragging her gender-split body across the floor, somehow resembling a possessed baby.


#24.  Asia O’Hara vs. The Vixen — ‘Groove Is In The Heart’, Deee-Lite

If there was a song to lip sync to while dressed as Pennywise The Clown’s gay cousin, it’s ‘Groove Is In The Heart’, one of the most joyous songs to ever exist. Not even The Vixen’s dabbing — a Drag Race first — could ruin the lip sync, as both queens embrace the song’s weirdness, shifting between sexy moves to goofy air-drumming and stupid faces. Both are clearly having the best time, and it’s infectious.


#23. Detox vs. Katya — ‘Step It Up’, RuPaul

Welcome to the first of many excellent All Stars 2 lip syncs on this list. As the week’s top two queens lip sync for their legacy, the stakes are lower — but without the pressure of possibly going home, each queen can just do their own thing. From Katya’s manic pigeon-lady performance to Detox serving sex — and baring her greatest assets — this lip sync shows off each queen at their best and most bizarre.


#22. Aja vs. Nina Bo’nina Brown — ‘Finally’, CeCe Peniston

We wish there was a German word to describe the exact gay pleasure of two Drag Race queens performing a move in an accidental synchronicity. While linguists work on the case, we always have Aja and Nina Bo’nina tilting back to the skies to let out one of CeCe Peniston’s guttural screams of joy.

The lip sync is joyous — even with the lioness makeup, Nina Bo’nina has a slight edge over Aja for a few beautifully timed moments, such as a duckwalk where her boobs jiggle exactly in time with the beat.


#21. Manilla Luzon vs. Delta Work — ‘Macarthur Park’, Donna Summer

Depending who you ask, this song’s literally about a cake melting in the rain, or it’s a crazed metaphor for the dissolution of a relationship. But which ever side you slide onto, it’s hard to deny the song’s about as a camp as a drag queen dressed as a Big Bird’s glamorous lady friend. Where Delta Work goes for a serious performance, a feathery Manilla embraces the melodrama with an over-acted mess — we love it.


#20. Stacy Layne Matthews vs. Indiah Ferrah — ‘Meeting In The Ladies Room’, Klymaxx

We love a redemption arc, and this lip sync was the moment where Stacy Layne Matthews established herself as more than just a queen from Back Swamp, North Carolina. Proof that dance moves does not a lip sync make, Stacey commands attention with a venomous and opulent energy perfect for the song.


#19.  Alaska Thunderfuck vs. Phi Phi O’Hara — ‘Got To Be Real’, Cheryl Lynn

Again, All Stars 2‘s strength of lip syncing for your legacy comes through: without fear of going home, each queen can play up their schtick. While Alaska gives the fans what they want by resurrecting the bratty ‘Lil Poundcake — a doll created in season five with Lineysha Sparx — Phi Phi gives a tight, sensual performance that shows why she’s an All Star, tantrums and all.


#18. Katya vs. Kennedy Davenport — ‘Roar’, Katy Perry

Kennedy Davenport deserves the world — somehow, she adds depth to one of pop’s blandest empowerment bops. Katya packs a punch too (and against anyone else, would have been safe), but nothing can quite match Kennedy’s ‘raw’ energy as she stunts from flip to flip, including one of the most intense split jumps in Drag Race hertory.


#17. Raja vs. Carmen Carrera — ‘Straight Up’, Paula Abdul

I got three words for you: ‘sex’, ‘sex’, and (you guessed it), ‘sex’.


#16. Adore Delano vs. Trinity K. Bonet — ‘Vibeology’, Paula Abdul

MORE SEX. We’re putting this one just above its spiritual successor since both queens serve up some stunning dance moves before the thing dissolves into full-core smut. Honestly though, our favourite part might have to be Courtney Act in the background, sidestepping politely to the beat.


#15. Morgan McMichaels vs. Sonique — ‘Two Of Hearts’, Stacey Q

If you were left a little confused by the disappointment surrounding Morgan McMichaels’ lacklustre All Stars 3 stint, then you haven’t seen this. Morgan packs something into every beat of the song, giving us Vegas choreography on a season two stage.


#14. Jinkx Monsoon vs. Detox — ‘Malambo No. 1’, Yma Sumac

Also known as ‘the moment Jinkx won Drag Race‘, this song gave everyone’s favourite narcoleptic drag queen a chance to show off her ability to capture a crowd. Where Detox gives a fun show, we’ve seen the moves before. In comparison, Jinkx’s campy moves and facial expressions are as left-centre as the song selection, a 1954 classic from Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac.


#13. Trinity K. Bonet vs. April Carrión — ‘I’m Every Woman’, Chaka Khan

Trinity K. Bonet may have stumbled through most of season six’s challenges, but she sticks around because of her literally perfect lip syncs. As Courtney Act says, she’s “lip syncing down the house boots” — while April Carrión gives it a lot, Trinity’s fan and cape command attention.


#12. Alyssa Edwards vs. Roxxxy Andrews — ‘Whip My Hair’, Willow Smith

The lip sync that ushered in a new rule of Drag Race: thou cannot remove one’s wig without a wig underneath (unless you’re Sasha Velour, but we’ll get to that later). 

Watching this gives me whiplash, as Alyssa and Roxxxy go hard with the wig whipping. As iconic as this lip sync is, neither of them really know the words, so it can’t be higher up. Them’s the (completely arbitrary) rules.


#11. Ben DeLaCreme vs. Aja — ‘Anaconda’, Nicki Minaj

Remember how strongly All Stars 3 started? The season might have gone wayward, but we’ll always have ‘Anaconda’.  As soon as you hear the beginnings of a Nicki Minaj song, it seems Aja — who is a pretty decent rapper — would have this in the bag, but DeLa gave a comedic performance so dumb that it showed real smarts.


#10. DiDa Ritz vs. Latrice Royale — ‘I’ve Got To Use My Imagination’, Gladys Knight

Both of these queens channel Gladys Knight, ‘the empress of soul’. Where DiDa dances through the spirit of ‘keepin’ on, keepin’ on’, Latrice’s facial expressions tell a story of pain and perseverance that took lip syncing for your life to a spiritual realm.


#9. Derrick Barry vs. Bob The Drag Queen — ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’, Sylvester

As we reach the single digits, most of these lip syncs are neck-and-neck, or at least somewhat even. That’s not the case here, as Bob utterly obliterates his competition.

As Derrick Barry sticks to tight choreography that interprets the lyrics quite literally — and has painted on some of the worst eyebrows ever seen on the show — Bob brings humour and some amazing moves to the mix to this track from ’70s queer disco hero Sylvester. If it wasn’t already clear, it was always his season to win.


#8. Sharon Needles vs. Phi Phi O’Hara — ‘It’s Raining Men (The Sequel)’, The Weather Girls

Not one for subtlety, the show brings season four’s feud between Phi Phi and Sharon to a head when they’re literally dressed as an angel and devil.

Watching it for the first time, it’s impossible to tell who will go home, as it seems simply too early for either of them. Sharon is a powerhouse on-stage, while PhiPhi goes hard on the dancing — though the editor’s slow down her death drop to a fall, which is laughably harsh.

Of course, neither of them sashay away. Instead, Willam is disqualified — for that reason, the editor’s throw some contextless blurry images of Willam watching the lip sync with ‘concern’, which makes no sense on a first watch. It’s soap operatic, stupid and over-the-top, encapsulating all of the things we love about Drag Race.


#7. Monét X Change vs. Dusty Rae Bottoms — ‘Pound The Alarm’, Nicki Minaj

After ten seasons, even the best lip sync can feel a little predictable — that’s why Monét  X Change’s fake-out death drop is so legendary. It’s a fun lip sync (and although Dusty usually performs rock songs, she brings a lot to the performance, too), and Monét brings a lot of sight gags in-between bringing the high-octane voguing that that song’s foghorns call for — but that one fake-out skyrockets this lip sync up the list.


#6. Peppermint vs. Cynthia Lee Fontaine — ‘Music’, Madonna

At this point in season nine, we’ve heard people call Peppermint a legend of New York’s drag scene, but there hasn’t been much proof on the show itself. She’s been merely fine throughout the show, which does not a legend make.

Turns out she was saving it all for this. As she completely obliterates her competition while barely breaking a sweat, Peppermint makes the whole thing look so effortless.

How does she make the robot so entertaining? Or a crab walk so funny? Or eating an earring so gag-worthy? All we know is that when she mimes shooting Cynthia Lee Fontaine, it’s a mercy killing.


#5. Alyssa Edwards vs. CoCo Montrese — ‘Cold Hearted’, Paula Abdul

The producers of the show must have worked overtime to tee up this perfect ‘coincidence’ — mortal pageant frenemies Alyssa and CoCo land in the bottom and are forced to lip sync to ‘Cold Hearted’, a song about double-crossing liars. To quote Jinkx, “the lip sync is jaw-dropping”: both queens gives it their all to prove not only do they need to stay, but that they’re better than each other.

There’s a thousand iconic moments packed in here — Alyssa’s spin jump into splits, Coco twirling her jumpsuit’s long-sleeves into circles — but my favourite might have to be Coco pointing to her mouth to show she knows every beat of Adbul’s fast-sung lyrics.


#4. Sasha Velour vs. Shea Coulée — ‘So Emotional’, Whitney Houston

Season nine shook up the finale format for the better with a lip sync tournament. Where Shea, the season’s front-runner, might have thought she had it in the bag, Sasha came prepared with three rose petal reveals. A slow-build, Sasha’s theatricality is perfect for the song’s ‘loves me, loves me not’ vibe before Houston embraces being head over heels — and Sasha lets it all come out.

It may be a stunt, but it’s one that showed the conceptual intelligence Sasha promised she had all season. And if you don’t believe me, The AV Club once devoted thousands of words to Sasha’s performance.


#3. Chi Chi Devayne vs. Thorgy Thor — ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’, Jennifer Holiday

As the signature tune from Dreamgirls, this torch song is a defiant refusal to be left in the dirt by a lover. It’s perfect meta fodder for a lip sync for your life, and Chi Chi Devayne connects to the resilience of Jennifer Holiday’s original recording, capturing the anger and disappointment of the song.

While Chi Chi swears it wasn’t planned, there’s a moment where she gets off her knees and the beads dangling from her dress fall off and hit the floor in a thunder — it’s a beautiful moment straight off a Broadway stage.

Oh, and Thorgy? She’s there to make sure Chi Chi doesn’t fall on the beads.


#2. Tatianna vs. Alyssa Edwards — ‘Shut Up And Drive’, Rihanna

Again, a wonderful thematic coincidence — as both Tatianna and Alyssa Edwards lip sync for their chance to return to All Stars 2, the two are matching. Both wear a sleeveless jumpsuit with frills at the thighs and knee-length boots — the only difference is Tati’s wearing white and Alyssa’s in black.

Everything’s in sync between the two, as they give one of Rihanna’s standout early hits the pedal-to-the-medal it deserves — spawning one of Drag Race‘s finest memes while at it.


#1. DiDa Ritz vs. The Princess – ‘This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)’, Natalie Cole

With Natalie Cole as a guest judge, DiDa Ritz wants to “do it for her” — what follows is one of the most delightful things to ever air on television.

‘This Will Be’ might be one of the happiest songs in the world, and DiDa captures that. Every movement is carried through with absolute joy, and when Cole and the judges wave hanker-chiefs and yell out, it’s hard to not scream with gay abandon.


RuPaul’s Drag Race is fast-tracked from the US on Stan, with seasons 2-10 and All Stars also available. Read our Drag Race recaps here.

Jared Richards is a Staff Writer for Junkee, and won’t apologise for not including the ‘Dancing On My Own’ lip sync. It’s not good.  Follow him on Twitter.