Every US ‘Drag Race’ Rusical Ranked From God-Awful To Brilliant
The less said about 'Social Media: The Rusical', the better.
Since first debuting in Season 6, the Rusical challenge has become a staple of the show, gracing the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race each season. At its best, a showcase of incredible talent. At its worst, difficult to stomach.
So strap yourselves in and glue down your lace fronts, girlies: we’re ranking every Drag Race US Rusical from worst to best.
#11. Social Media: The Unverified Rusical (Season 13)
Ah, Season 13. Fresh in (read: burned into) our memories.
A great Rusical consists of two things: good writing and a cast — or at least a couple — of musically gifted queens. Unfortunately, whichever boomer was commissioned to write Social Media: The Unverified Rusical missed the mark, and the material queens were left with was painfully average, landing it in last place.
Exhibit A is Elliott’s misguided portrayal of TikTok (apparently its main purpose is social justice, and not keeping up with Sylvanian dramas?) and exhibit B is whatever Kandy Muse was trying to say. Plus, Symone flopping so hard just doesn’t sit right with my fantasy.
Rosé’s performance was incredible and a deserved win, Utica really served with arguably the most difficult verse and Denali and Gottmik should receive their own spinoff show where they solve mysteries as lesbian Russian spies. But alas, nothing could save this one as the worst in the show’s herstory.
Block, delete and report the account.
#10. PharmaRusical (Season 10)
Season 10 really aired PharmaRusical and said nah, take two.
It was the first season with two main challenge musicals and kicked off a little confused. We’re ejected from Drag Race into a commentary on pharmaceutical TV commercials (a running gag on the judge’s panel) that outright does not pass the Therapeutic Goods Act.
Monique serves, Kalorie is there, Eureka doesn’t know a single syllable of the track, Yuha is good, Dusty gives face, and Asia and Aquaria are super fun. Team The Vixen consisting of her, Monet, Miz Cracker, Mayhem, Kameron and Blair save the show in what little way they can due to the (again) not great writing.
For a second episode challenge, the queens as an ensemble are strong, but the material unfortunately just isn’t great.
(PharmaRusical starts at the 9.31 mark of the vid below.)
#9. Trump: The Rusical
Why it gotta be a musical commentary on US politics? That’s Grease-inspired, okay pop off.
Ariel really deserves props for this one. She didn’t have the most exceptional run on the show (cut to her dropping like a stunned mullet while lip syncing for her life) but really held her own as the lead, and made a great Shandy.
Shuga Cain’s Hillary Clinton was great, Mercedes looks pretty but her lip-syncing was bad, Vangie does a great portrayal of Vangie. Nina West serves and the rest of the cast do fine.
But munch munch, crunch crunch, Silky Nitmeg Ganache ate it up. Did someone say Oprah? In the words of Michelle Visage, “yes bitch.” Ginger Minj’s cameo as Donald Trump deserves noting too. A legend.
The HBIC (Tiffany ‘New York’ Pollard) as a guest judge truly saved this episode.
#8. Cher: The Unauthorised Musical (Season 10)
Season 10’s second crack at the Rusical is better because it’s Cher. And the only thing gayer than Cher is a musical about Cher.
All queens get huge props for singing live, and overall it was a successful show. Kameron cemented her spot as the black horse of the competition, Monet’s performance was a little shaky but she sold it, and what Aquaria lacked in musicality made up for in genuinely believing she could sing.
On the flipside, The Vixen’s voice wasn’t fab, Asia looked like someone’s aunt who came into school to pick them up from sick bay was magically teleported onto the main stage and Eureka seemed mostly terrified the entire time. Miz Cracker did a cute job and the vocoder gag landed nicely. Chad Michaels not receiving a cameo was the true robbery of the season though.
#7. Kardashian: The Musical (Season 9)
This ranking is officially now a Nina Bo’nina Brown Stan account. She should have been Blac Chyna.
No, this musical commentary on the Kardashian fam is cute and mostly well-cast. Peppermint, Sasha and Trinity did great jobs as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Alexis’ comedic timing was hilarious and Valentina’s lip sync was tight while looking like a runway model. Farrah’s patty cake clapping routine was very on-brand: confused.
Shea meanwhile steals the entire show as Blac Chyna, and Cynthia’s Kim is a bit hard to watch. Shea? Iconic. Alexis? Served. Cynthia? Lee Fontaine.
#6. B*tch Perfect (Season 8)
Did we all agree to erase our collective past trauma of deciding that acapella was cool? Great. Anyway, B*tch Perfect was good, bitch.
The Pitch Perfect spoof made up of RuPaul tracks was the perfect mix of camp and trashy. It was just super fun and best of all, it seemed everyone involved was having a great time. Except for Dax and Layla — that was pretty rough.
Two words: ChiChi DeVayne. Rest in power. A deserved winner who ate that shit up. A close runner up: Naomi’s legs.
Kim Chi’s choreography was hilarious and Robbie Turner’s baritone lip sync was lower than her Uber rating (too soon?) Thorgy gets a shout out too — tell me she’s not actually singing.
#5. Divas Live (All Stars 3)
Diva’s Live was so successful because it magically melded two of the show’s most iconic challenges, Snatch Game (minus the often-awkwardness of off-the-cuff improv) and of course the Rusical.
Kennedy Davenport — the Dancing Diva of Texas — proved that choreographed dancing as Janet Jackson while lip syncing isn’t her strongest suit. Her kicks and flips were incredible but unfortunately she didn’t know the words. Milk’s Celine was questionable and Thorgy copped the All Stars Rusical curse (more on that later) with Stevie Nicks.
Everybody else was assigned a cover, Shangela received a comedic monologue and shined. ChiChi really served, her Patti LaBelle was incredible and she’s just such a joy to watch. I miss her.
BenDeLaCreme proved she was a threat in the Season 6 Rusical, and here, with a rapping Julie Andrews, showed she was a force to be reckoned with. Bebe’s win wasn’t undeserved, but playing the boss’s favourite artist in front of her while looking stunning is almost going to guarantee a challenge win in Ru’s books.
Aja’s Amy Winehouse and Trixie’s Dolly Parton deserve praise too. Trixie as Dolly is a typecast for sure, but with tits bigger than her bank account and an impressive illusion she completed the assignment with flying colours. Take note, Karen From Finance.
#4. Madonna: The Unauthorised Rusical (Season 12)
The world was Jan’s to rule, but Gigi was just too Goode.
This Rusical is so fun. And so far in the list, the strongest cast musically. Even the queens who don’t place singing high up on the list of things they like doing really deliver. Jaida serves sex, Crystal strikes comedic gold in a break through role and Widow Von Du shocks with killer vocals.
A controversial loss for fan favourite Jan, but Gigi won fair and square. Because of her performance, but mostly due to strategy. Up until this point in the competition, the extent of Gigi’s on-stage performance abilities were mostly unknown, never landing in the bottom two and only ever lip-syncing for the win in episode one against Widow.
While some queens often jump at the opportunity to drop into the splits, Gigi still had tricks up her sleeve, and it paid to reveal a couple at this stage in the competition. Ultimately, backflipping her way into a secured spot in the top four.
#3. Glamazonian Airways (Season 7)
Can you believe they turned Jan’s runway look into a whole Rusical? The power she holds!
As a concept Glamazonian Airways is excellent, the costumes were adorable and it was all very drag. The track is super catchy with enough range to keep you entertained throughout.
The most uncomfy part however is opening with Katya completely butchering her lip sync. Not a single syllable was in sync and suddenly I am blind. Thinking about an alternative reality where Katya goes home second and fades into obscurity is a truly terrifying thought.
The second most uncomfy moment is awarded to Sasha Bell painfully attempting to fix her hair mid-act. Let the ponytail go, girl.
Ginger is a deserved winner, Jasmine Masters, Kennedy and Violet turn out great performances, Trixie does well in what’s one of her best performances in the season and Mrs Kasha Davis as Anita Napkin is hilarious, proving that a well-placed fart joke will always be funny.
#2. HERstory of the World (All Stars 2)
It only makes sense that the greatest cast the show has ever seen takes out a top spot.
Highlighting some of the most iconic women in herstory, the show is (mostly) expertly cast. The full track is worth a listen, complete with legends like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and Frida Kahlo, presumably reserved for eliminated queens Adore and Tatianna.
Alyssa is a clear winner. Her Annie Oakley is nothing short of incredible, putting her stellar dancing skills to work while fully bringing the character to life, proving to the judges that, in her own words, she “can do more than just Alyssa” — a critique she received during her first run on the show. If nothing else, it gave birth to one of the greatest Drag Race memes to bless the internet.
There really aren’t any flops. Alaska’s Eve, Roxxy’s Eva Perón, Detox’s Marie Antoinette, Phi Phi’s Helen of Troy, and Ginger’s Catherine the Great are all well-received. The only exception is Katya’s Princess Diana.
Much like Thorgy’s Stevie Nicks in All Stars 3, some fans and even Drag Race alum agree the role wasn’t incredibly fair, or believe that Katya was granted the short end of the stick, summoning the All Stars Rusical curse’s origin.
Katya was critiqued for her look not being true to The People’s Princess (a person all viewers would have seen an IRL picture of) while other characters were open for interpretation (Detox for example, wearing a neon green and pink Marie Antoinette-inspired fit).
Her lip sync was commended though, a definite redemption from her first-time Rusical appearance.
#1. Shade: The Rusical (Season 6)
A true testament that the sequel is in fact never as good as the original.
While most of the cast of Season 6 weren’t musically inclined, they couldn’t not ask them to sing live with the likes of Courtney and Adore in the competition. With the tension between the two singers well and truly set up, a Rusical was the perfect way to settle the score.
Adore’s raw vocals are yet to be matched on the show to date, but Courtney’s refined ready-for-Broadway belts secured her the win, and deservedly. Laganja, April and Jocyln as a trio are my sleep paralysis demons — so bad that it’s kind of really good. Gia is so off-key she’s harmonising? Bianca and Trinity have a chemistry you can’t help but love and Darrien does her best to bring the funny. BenDeLeCreme as we’ve learned is a complete natural on stage and totally delivers.
It’s hands down one of the greatest seasons the show has ever produced, and a worthy winner of best Rusical.
Bradley Johnston is a writer and content producer living in Sydney. He did come for Trixie in Untucked. Follow him on Twitter.