In six seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race we have had several moments which have stood out. There have been arguments, fights, reconciliations and amazing fashion to behold every year, and some of that is just from the judging panel. However, there have been several moments that have rendered viewers unable to say anything other than OMG, both because they can be shocking or have let us see more of the contestant’s ability.
So to commemorate this, I decided to put together my own personal list of the top 10 moments from the show and it’s companion title RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked that made my jaw drop for all the right, or wrong, reasons.
10 – Shannel loses her head
As the queens have lip synched for their lives some of them have found themselves tearing their costumes and hair pieces apart to connect with the audience and with the song in a more profound way. Indeed the show has had man a queen who has opted to ‘flip their wig’ in the heat of the moment – we are looking at you Milan! But it was Shannel, season one’s professional show girl, who really made it into a art form as she famously lost the large headpiece her Medusa inspired runway look in a lip sync with fellow queen Akashia. This was a shocking moment as it left viewers wondering if Chanel was going to be going home. However, at the time the judges praised her for maintaining her composure during her wardrobe malfunction and turning out an amazingly heartfelt performance to Whitney Houston’s ‘The Greatest Love of All’. However it was revealed later in season one’s Drag Race Reunited episode that this was not an accident but a calculated stunt on Shan,el’s part forcing RuPaul to concede she had no idea. This is why she makes it to number 10.
9 – Shangela vs Mimi Imfurst
When the queens have made their presentations on the runway they are asked to return to the gold and silver bars while the judges deliberate. The Untucked Lounge has therefore become something of a source of drama and intrigue as the remaining queens feel the tension and naturally nerves are a little frayed, often exploding into some pretty epic fights. However, no where did this become more prevalent than in season 3 when Shangela and Mimi Imfurst had an argument which saw Shangela throwing her cocktail over Mimi. This was shocking since we had never seen the queens go at each other like this before or since and really showed how tightly wound the girls could be. This would have been higher even on the list if we didnt feel that the wastage of alcohol was an unforgivable sin. Moral of the story dears, never waste a free drink!
8 – Carmen Carrera’s yo-yo exit
Carmen Carrera was season 3’s fishy queen, serving face and body like no queen before her. However, while her face was her money maker her personality sucked and as the season’s queens dramatically devolved into cliques she became one of the biggest promoters of the division. Now Carrera was a fierce competitor and a great queen, but we felt her time had come to an end in the series when she was eliminated in the tenth episode of the season. So imagine our surprise when she came back in episode 12 as judges Michelle Visage, Santino Rice and Billy B decided to give her a second chance. Personally it felt like a poor move on the show runners part since it felt like they were just bringing back Carrera for the sake of ratings and extra drama, especially as she summarily was eliminated in the same episode she returned on. Call me a stickler for the rules, but when RuPaul tells you to sashay away, SASHAY AWAY!
7 – Trinity K Bonet and Ongina reveal HIV + status
Not all of the moments in our list are the ones that make us laugh, or cringe, sometimes they are the ones that let us connect more closely with the queens. However it was Trinity K Bonet and Ongina who really caught out attention as both of them came out as HIV positive in their respective seasons. Ongina originally broke down after she won the Viva Glam challenge and her surprise and genuine pride at winning earn she felt so passionate about it was amazing to watch, and similarly Trinity revealing it in the untucked lounge after snatch game showed that these two queens aren’t going to let their HIV status dictate their lives. These were tender and brave moments for both girls and had me reaching for the tissues a couple of times too making them our joint number 7.
In six seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race we have had a couple of eliminations where RuPaul has decided to send no one home. However, to date there has only been one occasion where both queens have had to go and that was during season 5 when Vivienne Pinay and Honey Mahogany delivered a lacklustre performance of Britney Spears’ ‘Oops I did it Again’. Even watching the episode I felt that the queens weren’t really giving it their all and even RuPail found herself less than thrilled by what she was seeing. When she took the decision to send them both home I was shocked but not too surprised and RuPaul herself said she would not tolerate contestants who didn’t give their all letting it be a warning to every other queen to bring their A game.
5 – Tyra Hyperventilates
This was one of those moments where we realised that things had gone a little out of control. Tyra had just won the crown for season 2 of drag race and after a big hug with runner up Raven, was quickly on her knees and then on her back on the stage unable to breathe. Now reality TV is peppered with moments like this but seeing it unfold on drag race was something to behold as we saw all the stress and hard work from the previous weeks finally explode on stage. I was amazed that RuPaul managed to keep calm and composed during the whole hooplah – but then that is the magic of Botox I suppose. Tyra quickly made a recovery but I cannot deny that was a scary couple of minutes as a viewer.
4 – Chad Michaels does Cher
OK I think we all expected Chad Michaels to be good when he took the role of Cher in Snatch Game. That said I don’t think any of us knew just how good he was going to be. Chad Michaels was the cool professional of season 4 and we knew early on that she was also a Cher impersonator and we could see how believable he could be when she donned the characteristic weave and make up. Everything from the voice, the way she spoke and even the way she held herself hearkened back to the Cher we all know and love and yet still manage to make it funny which is the key component to all snatch game impersonations. Chad was an all rounder and this impersonation was the OMG cherry on an already amazing cake.
3 – Milk’s Ru-look
This was an OMG moment but not necessarily for the right kind of reasons. The challenge set for the girls in season six was to recreate a famous RuPaul look which many took to very well. However, Milk took a very different interpretation taking RuPaul the man and wearing his classic male look down the runway. This was daring, but resulted in the biggest face crack of the series as RuPaul’s usually ever-present smile slowly vanished and the audience held their breath somewhere between laughing out loud and doing a slow intake of breath. It wasn’t that it was a bad look – indeed it was well executed, but the choice was shocking and divisive and if you didnt at least think OMG then you are a stronger man than I am.
2 – Joslyn Fox interviews Cher’s Mum!
Joslyn, Joslyn, Joslyn. The Black Horse of season 6 in her own words Joslyn was definitely one foxy lady. However, when it came to the interview challenge where the queens got to interview Cher’s son Chaz Bono, and mother Georgia Holt, we found ourselves cringing for the questions she was asking. The worst part is we can understand where Joslyn was coming from, but we couldn’t help but feel her interview style was really a bull in a china shop – especially when she questioned Holt’s attitudes towards abortion which made for a rather unsettling and tense moment with the guests. It was a car wreck but we found ourselves unable to look away.
1 – Laganga’s Meltdown
Let’s be honest, was there any other moment that had us totally unable to look away? Laganga Estranga came in with a great deal of confidence and the swagger of a champion from the word go and she didnt hesitate in showing off her skills as a drag queen and a dancer. However, we learned early on that Laganga was quite used to being a big fish in a small pond and found her confidence knocked again and again when she felt her talents weren’t being recognised by the judging panel. This combined with her unique personality traits and the Laganga character she had cultivated made her something of a marmite contestant, you either lover her or you hated her. However, this all came to a head during the stand up challenge when Laganga totally broke down in both the judges critiques and heavily during that episode’s Untucked. It was a breakdown we had all seen coming for weeks and weeks but this didnt make the final result any easier. The blow up was epic and left lasting impressions well up to the end of the season. This more than any other left us going OMG at the TV and wondering how on earth RuPaul was going to top this one.
So there you have my personal top 10 OMG moments from 6 years of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Did one of your favourite moments make my list, or do you have one that you want to bring up. Sound off in the comments below and make your voices heard.