In anticipation of the sixth season of Rupaul’s Drag Race, we have decided to rank all sixty queens from the first five seasons over six posts leading up to the premiere next Monday… This edition takes on #50–>40.
While many bloggers have listed their favourite queens and lip-syncs many times before, the challenge I have presently made for myself has been to rank every queen—that is, the glamazons and the amateurs. This list saw many revisions, and once it is posted I will not be able to, in a change of heart, go back and rank Serena Cha Cha even lower. While I did not devise a framework or a code of critical principles for my rankings, I have since found that certain preferences can be decoded from this list. Here are some idioms to keep in mind while following this countdown to the greatest drag superstar of Rupaul’s Drag Race: 1. Fishy is fine, but not alone does it make a legendary queen; 2. A true queen has an extensive breadth of reference; 3. Reading is, in fact, fundamental; 4. A taste for camp goes a long way; and 5. High concept ensembles are rarely boring.
With that in mind, here’s #50-#40…. Check out #60-#51 here.
50. LaShauwn Beyond (Season 4, 12th place)
I have never seen a queen do such a radical turnaround as this awkwardly named beauty, who in the first two episodes of season four stooped from top competitor to worst dressed in what seemed like a drop of a hat. Remember how awesomely composed (if albeit bashfully presented) Lashauwn’s post-apocalyptic drag outfit was? Now, remember how embarrassing her bubble-gum “couture” was the following week? What on Earth was she thinking?
Best moment: in Untucked, when LeShauwn barked at Jiggly Caliente, “I’m not here to make best buddies, bitch! This is not RuPaul’s Next Best Friend Race!”
49. Jade Jolie (Season 5, 8th place)
On a different day, in a different mood, I could gripe about all the things that annoyed me about Jade. She cried too much about her dishonoured alliances. There was no consistency between her runway looks. Her amateur porno was not breath-taking, either. Today, however, I can only recall what fun it was to watch her talk shit to the camera and in the work room. This was the girl who spurned one of the best lines of season five: “BACK ROLLS?!” In the most gossipy season of Drag Race thus far, Miss Jolie made her mark as one of the shadiest queens out, and with the candy-sweet veneer of a girl next door. I also didn’t mind her Taylor Swift impersonation on Snatch Game.
Best moment: back rolls.
48. Mystique Summers Masterson (Season 2, 10th place)
Cheeseburger, Taco Bell and a Diet Coke on the side, girl! Mystique was one of the most entertaining queens of season two, and for what she lacked in editorial style she made up in party antics. She may be the only queen since Divine who I think would eat dog shit on camera—and I really mean that as a compliment. She was a poor competitor, but a great work of trash.
Embarrassing moment: her country western runway look was Smart Set with a cowboy hat. Best line: “Bitch, I’m from Chicago!”
47. Victoria “Porkchop” Parker (Season 1, 9th place)
Old school drag, right here. One of the first seasoned queens to compete on Drag Race, Porkchop was a refreshing reminder to us of what the drag circuit is all about: the love for getting dolled up like a beautiful woman, and flirting with boys.
Best line: “I can do things as Victoria that I could never get away with as Victor.”
46. Akashia (Season 1, 7th place)
Having rewatched the Lost Season of Drag Race, I don’t understand why I was so resistant to Akashia my first time around. I get testy when I recall how Akashia treated Tammie Brown in the girl group competition, but as the only true villain of her season Akashia admirably pulls no stops. Also, she makes villainy look so fun! Phi Phi O’Hara, later in season four, should have taken a few pointers from Akashia on how to piss everyone off without working up a sweat. Oh, and one more thing: her name is based on the character Aaliyah played in Queen of the Damned. Anne Rice realness!
Best line: “Every competition needs a bitch, and that bitch is me and I’m happy with that. I tell it how it is and I’m fierce!”
45. Rebecca Glasscock (Season 1, 3rd place)
Easily the least deserving queen to make it into the top three. Here is a list of things that are wrong about Rebecca: 1) she could not walk in heels; 2) she wore a black star over her eye during a shitty rendition of “Would I Lie to You?” by the Eurhythmics; 3) she could not walk in heels; 4) she was mean, and not in a quippy, made-for-television way, but more like people whose pictures you vandalized in your high school yearbook; 5) she made the fact that her friend was dying from AIDS related complications all about her; and 7) she could not walk in heels. On the list of ‘pros’, I like the name Glasscock.
Best line: Jade Sotormayer: “Rebecca is the fakest bitch I have ever known in my life.”
44. Honey Mahogany (Season 5, 10th place)
This line says it all, and in fact it might be the best line of Drag Race: “If I could do something different, I would not have worn this caftan. Maybe I should just hire a stylist.”
43. Sonique (Season 2, 9th place)
Snatch Game has taught us many things, one of which is that Lady Gaga does not make for funny impersonations. Not only did Sonique fall flat as Gaga, but Phi Phi mucked it up two seasons later (see also: Drag Race impersonations of Beyonce). Still, it’s too bad we got to know Sonique so late. It’s likely that if Sonique had arrived in a later season she would have presented the confidence and self-assuredness that it takes to make a top contender. As it stands, at least we were so lucky to see her dress as Catwoman and do gymnastics to Stacey Q’s “Two of Hearts”. )Aside: imagine, if you will, how awesome Batman Returns would have been if that song played during the scene when Michelle Pfeiffer blew up the department store.) On that note, I am staggered to think that Sonique might be the only queen thus far to have done a back flip on the main stage. Best line: regarding Sahara Davenport’s lip-sync against Shangela to “Covergirl”: “It looked like Mortal Kombat.”
42. Jade Sotormayer (Season 1, 6th place)
TANGENT WARNING: Sometimes I’ll stop in the middle of a regular day and think, “How on Earth did Rebecca send Jade home?” Then, I think about how the show might have turned out, were it the other way around. If Rebecca had been sent packing, that means Jade probably would have lost the next competition (because she wasn’t as good as the other four), and we would not have faced the miserable lip-sync between Ongina and Bebe Zahara Benet. Seriously, I’m still distraught that Ongina placed FIFTH (and don’t get me started about Pandora Boxx). But I digress…
Oh yeah, about Jade. She had a couple choice outfits, some tight choreography (if you’re into that kind of thing), and an apparently large penis. And she hated Rebecca Glasscock. Overall, she was pretty loveable. Best line: Akashia, after seeing Jade out of drag: “Jade is very cute. Um, I might be a lesbian with him.”
41/40. Kenya Michaels/Lineysha Sparx (Season 4, 8th place/ Season 5, 9th place)
After compiling this list I found these two babes side by side, and I had serious difficulty deciding which of the two of them I liked more. Both queens were fishy as fuck, both were miserable in the Snatch Game, and both were generally adorable in the workroom. Embarrassing moments: Lineysha’s Celia Cruz on Snatch Game was like a car crash I couldn’t take my eyes off of, and Kenya’s balletic rendition of “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)” looked like she was making fun of the song.
Check back tomorrow for #39-#31….