Part of what has made RuPaul’s Drag Race such a success over the past 10 years revolves around the super dramatic “Lip Sync for Your Life” battles that occur at the end of every episode. For anyone out there reading this who hasn’t seen the show yet (get on that), the bottom two queens pull out all the stops necessary to stay in the competition by lip syncing to a song in hopes that they will win against their opponent. In other words, they want to hear RuPaul say “Shantay you stay.”
Over ten regular season and three All Stars versions, this show has given us so many memorable lip syncs that it’s hard to pinpoint which ones were truly the best. Here are 10 that this writer deems to be the most thrilling ones to date, in no particular order. Do you agree? Let us know.
Kameron Michaels vs. Eureka, Season 10. Song: Patti LaBelle: “New Attitude”
These two Tennessee natives became the lip sync divas of the season (minus Monet X Change, more on that later), and this battle proves that and then some. The runway challenge for this episode was for them to evoke what they would look like 50 years from now, but that didn’t really matter with the song they were singing. Each of them excelled so well in this lip sync that Ru decided to keep both when it was done.
Latrice Royale vs. Kenya Michaels, Season 4. Song: Aretha Franklin: “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
A lot of the lip syncs on RPDR revolve around a ton of movement across the stage and high energy. This song didn’t require that, and its why Latrice stayed and Kenya left. The runway challenge was pregnancy realness, where the girls had to dress up as a mother-to-be. Kenya was sort of all over the place, taking her wig off and not making much sense for this song. Latrice stayed right in her place, holding her fake baby belly, and really making the audience believe every word she lip synced.
Alyssa Edwards vs. Coco Montrese, Season 5. Song: Paula Abdul: “Cold Hearted Snake”
This was an inevitable battle we were all waiting to see, given the drama that occurred between these two on the show and off of it. They both really gave such an incredible version of Paula’s #1 hit, with Alyssa excelling in her dance and Coco relying a lot on how tight her lip sync was plus how well her gorgeous yellow dress flowed with the song.
Shea Coulee vs. Sasha Velour, Season 10. Song: Whitney Houston: “So Emotional”
This was the first season where the girls had to lip sync for the crown as opposed to just RuPaul picking a winner. Sasha clearly came prepared for this performance, where two words really come to mind: rose petals. She won against her close friend, which became a highly debated issue in the Drag Race community given how many people thought that Shea should’ve won the season.
Sharon Needles vs. Phi Phi O’Hara, Season 4. Song: The Weather Girls: “It’s Raining Men”
Sharon and Phi Phi were the first two queens to become true enemies on RPDR. Just like Alyssa and Coco, this was a battle we all saw coming, but it really was for nothing as they disqualified Willam at the end of the episode. Still, it was amazing to see both of these eventual frontrunners go against one another, where Phi Phi utilized the stage while Sharon relied on her facial reactions and lip movement for the upbeat song.
Carmen Carrera vs. Raja, Season 3. Song: Paula Abdul: “Straight Up”
This to me was memorable because of how god damn sexual it got. Carmen pretty much was butt ass naked, and Raja grinded on top of her during a lip sync that could’ve gone from LOGO to Cinemax late night easily.
Monet X Change vs. Dusty Ray Bottoms, Season 10. Song: Nicki Minaj: “Pound the Alarm”
What was amazing to watch during this performance, outside of Monet’s split “fake out” was how Dusty really gave her a run for her money. This is a song that was totally in Monet’s wheelhouse yet Dusty kept up with her for the most part even though she lost in the end.
Alyssa Edwards vs. Tatianna, All Stars 2. Song: Rihanna, “Shut Up and Drive”
This was the first time on All Stars where two queens competed against one another to get back into the competition. It was very clear that both had their game faces on the minute they walked onto the stage. Each gave one heck of a performance to Rihanna’s big hit, causing RuPaul to bring both of them back into the competition.
Dida Ritz vs. The Princess, Season 4. Song: Natalie Cole, “Everlasting Love”
Dida basically took us to church with her version of Natalie’s hit, and we were mesmerized from the beginning to the end with it.
Alyssa Edwards vs. Roxxxy Andrews, Season 5. Song: Willow Smith, “Whip My Hair”
The biggest wig reveal this show has ever seen. Do I think this was a worthy double-shantay? No. Roxxxy kind of just stood there and Alyssa didn’t know all the words. But, the energy was incredible to see and made for such an emotional moment for Roxxxy when it was over as she cried hysterically while revealing some very sad news about her upbringing.
This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.