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Best Queens
Credit to: Billboard

Let’s face it- RuPaul’s Drag Race has been one of the best reality shows ever, if not the best when it comes to highlighting the LGBT community in a positive light for the most part (season 7 taken out of this), and also put Drag Queens in a mainstream light that no one really saw coming before.  The show has brought so many memorable phrases that straight culture has stolen because they can’t figure out their own shit, from “Hunty”, “All Tea All Shade”, and so much more that has practically become part of our everyday dialogue with each other.  With 7 seasons (plus All Stars) under its belt and being a couple episodes of what is shaping up to being a fantastic season 8, memorable queens have come and gone that we have come to worship for more reasons than one.  So question being, who has been the best of the best since the show premiered many years ago?  How do we define best, really?  For us, it is who did we come to love for many reasons on the show and their cultural impact post-race.  We have come up with our top ten of the Best Drag Race contestants of all time.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Sound off.

Credit to: Portland Gay Cities
Credit to: Portland Gay Cities

10- Katya

Let’s face it- season 7 sucked major tucked balls.  The minute the season premiered, we knew it wasn’t going to be good as there were too many unlikable or queens that lacked a ton of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.  Although there were some standouts for the better (Trixie Mattel, Mrs. Kasha Davis, Miss Fame), the majority just couldn’t pull it together to really reign supreme amongst others.  The one that did, and we fell in love with, was 5th place Katya, the Boston queen who a lot of us pegged as the front runner.  Funny, charming, and a consistent performer throughout, she had a fantastic personality who had an amazing story behind her with her struggle with sobriety on the show and her hilarious comedy that excelled in the challenges.  She was eliminated against Kennedy Davenport, who many thought cheated during the lip-sync, but to be so liked to the point where they do a fake out on the actual finale to make people think that you won just shows how much people really wanted her to win.

Credit to: Billboard
Credit to: Billboard

9- Sharon Needles

Sharon Needles is sort of proof that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.  Upon arrival in Season 4, many of the queens pegged her as too out there with her look being deemed as “Party City” by the villain of S4… Phi Phi O’Hara.  Nevertheless, Sharon, whose quirky personality, badass drag ensembles and ability to read others to filth (that Jiggly read about smoking hams is still one of the best in the shows history) catapulted her to the final three, and quite frankly to an easy win as the audience overwhelmingly voted her on social media to win when our votes were in consideration for the first time in the show’s history.  Happy Halloween, bitches.

Credit to: Miami.com
Credit to: Miami.com

8- Nina Flowers

The first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race was very bare bones compared to where it is now.  You had an incredibly small set, different judges, and the blurry camera lens on RuPaul that was reminiscent of a gay drag Barbara Walters.  Although there were only nine contestants, Denver’s very own Nina Flowers excelled at every challenge she was given to the point where she was never in the bottom two.  Even her final lip sync to “Covergirl” was ecstatically amazing and many think she was robbed of the win over Bebe Zahara Benet.  Her time on All Stars was cut short, however Nina was one of the standouts of a show that became a cultural phenomenon.

Credit to: Billboard
Credit to: Billboard

7- Adore Delano

 Season six finalist Adore Delano could’ve easily been eliminated hella early in the competition as for some reason she couldn’t really get her shit together both in the challenges and the runway.  However, as time went by, her character as well as herself became stronger and stronger, most notably in the rapping, Snatch Game and Broadway challenges when she really proved what a force she was in the music and acting department.  She also brought up a very good fact that you don’t have to be in the most expensive outfit in order to win something.  She has developed an amazing career post-drag race and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Credit to: Huffington Post
Credit to: Huffington Post

6- Manila Luzon

Manila Luzon took Season 3 of RPDR by storm, with her fun personality, fantastic outfit and makeup choices, and being one of the two leaders in the “Heathers” alliance that propelled her and winner Raja to the end.  Criticized for her portrayal of Asian characters in challenges actually worked for her in the long run as she won them and proved that you can play a stereotype and make it funny and not hurtful.  Also, let’s keep it real here, her lip sync of Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” is legendary in so many ways.

Credit to: Time Out
Credit to: Time Out

5- Willam

Willam was everything and then some in Season 4.  The minute she walked into the werk room she owned it, and didn’t let anything stop her from getting the crown.  Still not sure about what really happened behind the scenes, but she was a formidable threat to win the whole thing over favorites like Latrice Royale and Sharon Needles.  With a personality that boomed in so many ways, the self described “egomaniac” has stayed very relevant post show, notably due to her performances with Vicky Vox and Detox (DWV) and her YouTube channel.

 

Credit to: Forward
Credit to: Forward

4- Jinkx Monsoon

 Similarly to Sharon the season beforehand, Jinkx was the underdog who battled her way to the end in the face of adversity of the strong personalities that sometimes showed their comments as forms of bullying (Roxxy ahem).  Nevertheless, Jinkx never ever showed up in the bottom three or two of the show until the final four, where she easily advanced over frontrunner Detox and then worked her way to victory.  Excelling in acting challenges like the Telenovela and Snatch (where she saved the whole thing as Little Edie), she proved that you don’t have to have this huge personality to win this show.

Credit to: Latrice Royale
Credit to: Latrice Royale

3- Latrice Royale

 I had my money that Latrice was going to win from the minute she walked into the werk room.  She exemplified traits that no other “big girl” or any other girl on the show had.  She wowed the audience and judges with her back story, her consistent amazing fashion choices on the runway, and her overall spirit that resonated with the thousands of people that watched her.  And “Get those nuts away from my face!” could seriously be a tag line for her own sitcom on television.  Probably the best Miss Congeniality the show ever had, she was robbed of being in the final three at the end of the show which would’ve given Chad Michaels and Sharon Needles a serious run for their money.  Eat it.

Credit to: Dragofficial.com
Credit to: Dragofficial.com

2- Jujubee/Raven

A tie.  The Laverne and Shirley of Drag, they were robbed not once, but twice on Season 2 and All Stars of titles that quite frankly they should’ve won together over the ones who did.  Jujubee boasts an incredible and likable personality, hilarious in so many different ways, and a sick drag look that got her to the end of both seasons.  Raven started out rocky on Season 2, but after fumbling a bit dominated the rest of the season and kept it real with everyone around her.  If you ever had doubts about how amazing and close they are, look when they lip synched for their lives to Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”.  Proof that second and third place doesn’t really mean you lose.

Credit to: The Huffington Post
Credit to: The Huffington Post

1- Bianca Del Rio

This was kind of a no brainer for me.  Bianca destroyed Season 6 with her incredible wit and comedy, her ability to read each and every other cast member to filth yet showed her nurturing side which made her one of the most intelligent queens to ever play the game.  Quotable, hilarious and fashion forward (regardless if it was the same type of dress over and over again) Bianca was such a force in her season that it felt like she was more of the Tim Gunn of the show and not one of the contestants, IE- a mentor.  Shocked by this result?  Not today, Satan.

115 COMMENTS

      • LAGANJA ESTRANJA, UNFORGETABLE & Best Performer!!!! ACID BETTY In a Galaxy of “its” own!!! BIANCA Loveable
        cunt!!! JINX Futuristic Retro Genius!! ALASKAS take on LAGANJA made me love ALASKA more. &
        it showed Just how UNFORGETABLE LAGANJA IS!!!!!!!

  1. Great List! I think Yara Sofia deserves an honorable mention; she was the best Puerto Rican queen ever.

  2. Im getting so tired of this season 7 was crap bullshit.
    Its an opinion. There were a few queens that lacked the charisma as set by the rules people would like to see charisma as. Yes charisma are comedy queens and a sassy attitude.
    Season 7 created something other then the usual comedy versus pageant. I think that deserves a little bit more respect then this article gave them.

    respect.
    In the end isn’t that something the show is about… about respecting ones art and individuality… respecting the gay community?
    i think this article kind of disrespected that entire concept by putting the entire season 7 queens in the “they sucked” box.

    Though i agree with the list….the tone of this article ticks me off majorly.

    • Thanks for the comment. Yes, the season 7 part’s tone was a bit bitchy, however it was my view point in the overall execution of it. There were some great queens but so many were incredibly negative that it ruined the season.

  3. Ahhhh I’m not mad with the list but it should have been longer, like 15 slots maybe even 20 there have been soooooo many memorable and outstanding queens on the show that it’s soooo hard to pick but Willam would have won the #1 spot on my list. Willam is EVERYTHING!!!!!!

    • All viable contenders, but didn’t make the cut. If I did a top 15 they would’ve been in there with Detox and Pandora.

  4. Aside from also thinking Alaska should be on here – I prefer her to Sharon even, I absolutely love this list. Adore and BIanca are my overall all-time favourites but already loving Thorgy in 8!

  5. I thought you did a great job of trying to narrow down a list of such talent….I do agree with some of the other comments that to be a comprehensive group of the top echelon, you might want to expand it to include Pandora and Alaska. In my humble opinion, they would complete the dirty dozen, or maybe Diva dozen. Then you’re looking at the next tier with great queens like Yara and Bebe and BenDeLa.

  6. Where in the fucking hell is Chad Michaels..
    Please Drag-queen gods, forgive this writer

  7. It’s a top 10 list. You can’t have EVERYbody. This this was great! I do have to say when I got to #3 and realized there was only 2 spots left for Bianca, Raven and Juju to fill I was pretty pissed…then the tie was brilliant and I was SO happy!

  8. Great list. I would definitely put these ladies in my top 10. I would also add Ben De Lacreme. And I agree that Season 7 was very disappointing. I almost quit watching. I found it difficult to fall in love with any of those contestants, except Katya. I wanted to root for Ginger but being a part of the bitter old lady brigade turned me off.

    • I don’t want to be that person, cause the only thing I cared about at Season 7 was Violet’s confidence (wich was nice to see, imo) and Katya, but being a part of the bitter old lady brigade wasn’t the actual reason Ginger didn’t make the cut for you, since Katya also claimed being a part of the same brigade… I’d love if you could elaborate (and I’m not being shady, I just really want to get into your opinion!).

  9. Bianca Del Rio #1? Adore Delano should have been #1 & Bianca Del Rio around #4. Throw in Alaska & Detox too ?

  10. I’m on the edge with this mixed up feelings: happy that you didn’t add the overrated Ben de La Creme and sad that Jynkx was placed where Alaska was due. LOL But so, did the season, so, you’re excused! ;)) Best regards!

  11. Great list – though I do need to raise an eyebrow at the exclusion of Raja Gemini. Confident, candid and she always slayed on the runway.

  12. Oh honey, honey, honey… No. Don’t try to use the victim card to raise season 7’s lackluster approval rating. Going from an amazing, successful season 6 cast filled with talented queens, season 7 left us wanting more even from the introductions. The fact that Ru chose a vapid fashionista as the reigning champion when others out-shined her shows that season 7 seemed to be more about how to ruffle the audience’s feathers rather than actually finding the next drag queen superstar of the world. Katya, Ginger, Max, Trixie Mattel, and Jaidynn Diore Fierce were enticing competitors, but they were the only interesting queens of the season. Fame and Violet brought nothing but fashion. No personality; no talent; no charisma. Pearl grew on me, but she was a youngster who needed more time to grow out of her shell. Mrs. Kasha Davis was great, but she wasn’t anything to write home about, along with Kennedy Davenport, Tempest DuJour, and Sasha Belle. Kandy Ho and Jasmine Masters overstayed their welcomes.

  13. OMG!!! You missed Shangie!!! I loved her!!! But I love this whole list too. Especially JuJu that’s my girl!!!

  14. Great list
    It was always gonna be controversial but I’m loving seeing latrice so high. I won’t say she was robbed of the title but she was certainly robbed of the top three. I remember being so happy she got a standing ovation on the finale
    I would have put raja, alyssa, dela here but meh…

  15. Great list, of course I adore Bianca. I too found season 7 a bit on the nasty bitchy side. But great list I know more could be added but then the list would look like Donald Trump’s campaign promises.

  16. On board with the Season 7 critiques, but at least it gave us the current format of Untucked, wich I find refreshing.

  17. Thanks for your list. I’m pretty much in agreement but I would include Pandora somehow, and how do we forget Ongina? So long ago but she was my Season 1 fav. Bianca is #1, not even close.

  18. I need Raja and Alaska in this list. They are just so beautiful!!!! I can’t even.

  19. Yoy are so brave to be able to narrow down a list of GREAT performers. For me 10 wouldnt be enough. But i totally agree with bianca. Hurricane Bianca FTW!

  20. I agree season 7 sucked. seems they were trying too hard to include everyone. have to disagree with you on trixie. pretty basic queen. one question, how do you cheat on lip-synch?

  21. I love this list- the ONLY thing I would change is swapping Raja for Adore. I do NOT understand the appeal of Adore or Alaska. They’re unpolished – and yes, I agree Sharon isn’t polished. The difference between Sharon and the other two is the always had a concept. Sharon brought a complete character with every runway, every lip sync, every challenge. The other two are forgettable.

  22. Bianca Del Rio is my absolute fave! Shangela and Alyssa my second and Alaska my third. Would have love to have seen them in the list. But since I have enjoyed all the seasons (except 7?) I really can’t complain. But Manilla.. Too much shade for me. Very hard to choose just 10 out of all the talented ladies that have been on the show. My husband and I watch every season hoping to see some friends. Great job!

  23. I think a top 20 would have been better. I can’t believe that Alaska, Raja, and Chad Michaels were not on this list.

  24. In defense of Shea,

    Raja omitted– I can completely see why Raja was left off the list. She’s loveable and respectable but not so memorable in light of the other loves. She is toned down and mellow.

    Bendelecreme omitted – this is the reasoning as Raja’s omittance. Loveable, respectable, but toned and mellow and lackluster in the stardom department of being iconic.

    Alaska — Alaska is NOT everyone’s cup of tea. Anyone who watches the show and follows some mild gossip online can at least perceive this issue with Alaska. Putting her on a top 10 list in light of knowing that she is heavily hated by a lot and heavily loved by a lot is risky and disingenuous.

    Alyssa – Alaska’s omitteance is my exact reasoning for why I believe Alyssa was left off the list, too.

    Chad Michaels — I think he is probably the most talented and seasoned queen but this list is clearly not designed to highlight objective talents. This queen will go down in history as really being truly the best overall in objective terms but many people do not find her memorable or lovable. Sometimes when something is too good, it is hard to empathize and connect with it.

  25. Hello How dare you not include the most quotable Queen of all seasons Mother Alyassa Edwards (tongue pop) she is a icon of drag race and life

  26. katya ?? this is a joke right!!! season 7 queens are so fucking boring & awful, i’ll take alaska or yara , alyssa …. over this boring katya anyday

  27. adore but no raja?? REALLY?? raja was an iconic revolutionary queen and all adore had was a charming personality.

  28. Loved the List – it was quite insightful. Although I don’t get Adore or Willam … Alyssa Edwards!!! is so captivating to me, an honorable mention to her would of been good … and thanks for not giving every winner an automatic inclusion, because clearly not all of them are as exiting or captivating as a Latrice or JuJu / Raven!!!

  29. Latrice’s consistent fashion choices? Like her couch couture? Love her personality, and many of her looks were fantastic, but not all of them. =P And she was very average in anything comedy related, not a stand out. I adore Latrice, but not in my top 10.

  30. I love your list.^_^
    Yes, there are some that I would include but we cannot make everyone happy. It does not work that away. To me KATYA was the most memorable queen in the 7th season.

  31. The only one I disagree with is Willem. Also, where is Pandora Boxx? And, Sharon Needles needs to be higher I the list.

  32. nice List… but… no.

    Chad, Mimi, Jiggly, Alexis, Detox… you can’t have everything, true, but Katya?

    bye gurl, bye

  33. All hail Queen Bianca! No to Sharon, sorry. I never liked her. Chad missing? Never! And BOB is gonna make that list soon, so most of the pack better be nervous.

  34. Mentors are such a great idea! Bianca as a mentor would take over the show. She needs her own talk show or something.

  35. There are some really good choices… But some things I disagree with:

    – Katya is overrated (sorry, Katya fans) and I wouldn’t put her among the top 10.

    – Miss Fame was NOT a standout on season seven. She should’ve gone home earlier and only didn’t because Ru spared her from Bottom 2 three times.

    – Season one had some standouts apart from Nina: Bebe, Ongina, Shannel and Tammie are all memorable. And Bebe delivered a better final lip sync, the result was fair.

    – Bianca was a great competitor, maybe the best. Best competitor, not best drag queen. Her repetitive looks and lack of lip sync talent definitely make her a little less legendary.

    – Adore? Really? She has great personality, charisma and talent, but she’s inconsistent and she’s yet another contestant that was spared from Bottom 2 a couple of times and only went so far because Bianca helped her. Maybe top 15/20, not seventh.

    – This list loses credibility by not having Raja in it. I mean, come on. She is hands down the greatest drag queen ever on RPDR. Best runway looks, fierce walk, great in challenges, good to great in lip syncs. Bitch slayed it.

    A couple of notes:

    – I loved that Latrice was so high on the list. That was a positive surprise.

    – I wished Alaska was there, since she’s my favorite, then again I know some people are not crazy about her.

    – Raven lands second place again… Poor girl.

    What would my top 10 be, in no particular order:

    – Nina
    – Raven
    – Raja
    – Manilla
    – Sharon
    – Latrice
    – Jinkx
    – Alaska
    – Bianca

    I’m kind of indecisive about the tenth queen. It’s either Yara or Jujubee.

  36. Great review! I can’t agree more with Bianca del Rio being the #1 queen!!! Love her! I have had the opportunity to see her every time she has visited Pittsburgh.
    As far as season 7 goes, didn’t hate it, didn’t love it, just indifferent.
    What I feel was missing from season 7 was “Untucked”. “Untucked” is the perfect compliment to RPDR. It allowed the audience to learn more about the queens and really connect with them. For season 7 (and now season 8) if you want to see “Untucked”, you have to watch on line. You don’t have the convenience of “Untucked” just airing right after the main event!
    In my opinion, Logo needs to bring back “Untucked”! I miss the Interior Illusions Lounge!!!

  37. For once reading the comments was fun 🙂

    This was a great list and you have a great attitude Ryan Shea. Cheers.

  38. Such a difficult task to narrow down such amazing Queens! Maybe a top 15 next time?? Cos Courtney Act and Laski SLAYYY

  39. Great list. For my top 10 (only 10? damn!), I’d probably leave off Willem, and for some reason I’m barely remembering Raven. I’d probably substitute Ginger Minj – her Adele had me rolling in the deep, and Pandora Box in their places.

  40. I liked the list, I just disagree with Manilla in it. She is ok. There are so many queens better than her

  41. I agree with the list for the most part, except for Jujubee/Raven. I like them both, but think it should have been Chad, Detox or Shannel. I love Pandora and Alaska as well, but again, it’s only top 10.

    I am SOOOOO glad Raja is not in this list. She is by far, one of the worst and to this day I have no idea how she won. She wasn’t good on the show (boy in makeup), no personality, and the several times I’ve seen her in person she was horrible. I love

  42. Great choice on Katya. But Bianca… Nope. Raja or Raven by herself should be in the first place.

  43. #teamAlaska. I think Alaska had to be here… Without her, we wouldn’t have the now iconic greet/salute “Hiii” and “Byeee”!!!
    Period…
    Great list but I will say that season 7 was entertaining… not the worse yet! I’m not in love AT ALL with sea8… (Sorry)
    Ohhh. .. I also love ❤ me some #PandoraBox. Definitely a dirty dozen is needed

  44. You put Manilla & Jujubee / Raven in place of Alaska & Detox???
    (Dramatically as possible) HOW COULD YOU?!?!
    Otherwise nice work ?

  45. Kennedy didn’t cheat there is a extra stage -,- rupaul herself said she was fine also that jump off stage was a direct homage to Sahara Davenport

  46. I know Tyra Sanchez is not the most charismatic queen, but c’mon! Who really watched season 2 knows she was superior than other queens and deserved the crown. Jujubee don’t even won a single challenge, She and Raven had to lip’sinc for their lives several times. Stop saying that was robbed, be fair! Tyra never gone to the botton and was the queen who won more challenges.

  47. Very accurate list, but I would add Alaska on the 10th place along with Katya. She has a lot of personality and wit and should have probably won her season truth be told. 🙂

  48. I thought for sure Courtney Act would make the list. She’s one of my favourites. Great list though ?

  49. tracey martell loses again. should have been tied with katya since they are best when theyre together.

  50. I think this list has a lot of merit. I’m personally not a huge fan of Jinx, Adore, or Katya, but they all have TONS of fans so I get why they were included. I would have included Alaska, Chad, and Alyssa instead. Trixie and Pandora get an honorable mention from me, and I’ve always been a HUGE Jessica Wild fan. #ILoveThisDrink

  51. Hmm valid list. Willam outside of Drag Race sure – on the show I don’t think he brought it. Not a huge Raven fan though she has grown. Sure Alaska, Katya, Bendela and Pandora would make it into my Top 10.

  52. Awesome list! (But Adore’s post Drag Race success puts her at #1 for me)
    In the “controversial queen” slot I’d swap Alaska for Willem and Alyssa would have snuck in over Katya. But, that’s why we all have our own opinion.
    My list:
    1. Adore Delano
    2. Alaska
    3. Latrice Royale
    4. Jinkx Monsoon
    5. Manila Luzon
    6. Bianca DelRio
    7. Alyssa Edwards
    8. JuJubee (and Raven for the memory of that lipsync)
    9. Sharon Needles
    10. Nina Flowers

    It kind of pains me that if I made a list Raja would miss the Top 10 too.

  53. Yess Bianca will always be my favourite. 100% deserved to win but I’m sad that means she wont be back for All Stars season 2

  54. Katya was my favourite from Season 7, totally agree about her! Though I didn’t hate the overall season as much as a lot of people do.

    I’m not sure if I’m a giant fan of Nina’s particular look but I still agree she’s awesome.

    Hated the whole ‘Heathers’ thing but I loved Manila nonetheless. Her comic delivery is great and I love her looks.

    Jujubee or Raven should obviously have won over Tyra. I don’t totally dislike her but she’s the most questionable winner of all 7 seasons. Jujubee is such a sweetheart.

    Latrice was the best queen on season 4 in my opinion. She, Kenya and Chad were my faves…for some reason I still can’t make my mind up about Sharon and I can’t even explain why.

    I gotta say this list neeeeds Alaska though! Alaska is hilarious. Would also have liked to see Alyssa, Dela or Yara Sofia. Also although I often overlook her myself, I think Courtney Act needs more recognition on these kind of lists.

    Adore and Bianca are my fave ever RPDR queens. Adore is just adorable on every level and just so damn likeable, a fantastic singer, funny when she isn’t even trying to be and more emotionally mature than half the queens twice her age. Plus Danny is hella cute and one of the queens I actually think is even prettier out of drag.
    Bianca is just flat out awesome. Classic clever comedic bitch with a giant heart of gold. The fondness between Bianca and Adore completely melted me, literally like some kind of awkwardly cute mother-daughter dynamic. Plus any time I’ve ever seen Roy he has just come across as a warm, wise, wonderful human being with dimples to die for.

  55. How do you not Mention Alaska “HIIIIIIIIIII” everyone says it now… and she also works with AA with William and Courtney which is kinda mainstream!

  56. Raja, Alaska and Alyssa deserve a spot in every Top 10, hell Top 5 best RPDR queens of all time! This list is like Season 7, not appealing to the majority!

  57. YOOO WHERE IS RAJA? I didn’t know Manilla’s name until halfway through her season. Raja deserved a spot!

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