It’s hard to believe that we have had 17 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race (domestically and All Stars included). What was once a humble start on a tiny but amazing network that was given the Barbara Walters glossy lens treatment throughout became an Emmy-award winning phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The fact that close to 200 drag queens from across the country have now become household names is incredible. Drag Race has gotten so big that different international versions of it began airing over the past couple of years with Holland recently completing its first season.
We are, however, focusing today on the girls that won our hearts state side and the seasons that they competed on. Some were better than others with one in particular still holding the top spot as this writer truly believes that nothing will ever beat it for as long as this show is on the air.
So without further ado here’s the definitive RuPaul’s Drag Race season rankings from worst to best. Read, discuss, react, throw shade, do whatever you feel is necessary about this very important topic HENNIES.
17: All Stars 1
All Stars 1 was an insult to the fans who watched it, the queens that competed in it, the set that they sashayed on and the wigs that they threw to the ground. Putting legendary queens like Raven and Latrice Royale into teams diminished their individual performing ability and the entire thing just felt like a rushed mess with no one looking back on it with anything good to say (minus winner Chad Michaels of course).
16: Season 7
This is the thing with season 7 and why it remains so low. For one it followed the iconic season 6 which we will get to later. So the bar was already risen to a point that this group of girls could not keep up with as it turned into quite a snoozefest with many talented ones (Mrs. Kasha Davis, Tempest DuJour) exiting way too early. I will say this though. This cast is incredible individually with many remaining super relevant years later (Trixie Mattel, Katya, Violet Chachki). They just were “meh” as a collective (insert Michelle Visage emoji here).
15: Season 11
A lot of girls this season had big and over the top personalities that became too much to handle for the most part. It went from fun shade to Bad Girls Club in a lot of the Untucked episodes where the hatred and fighting was a massive turn off to watch. There were a couple of high points that were enjoyable in s11 like Vanessa Vanjie’s Mateo’s return, the she-vangelical talk show (Britney Spears not Mariah Carey) and Yvie Oddly’s road to victory that was similar to how Sharon Needles won her crown. But it was largely forgettable otherwise.
14: All Stars 3
AS3 was more of a hodgepodge kind of grouping compared to the AS2 where half the cast was from season 5. Sure, there were a lot of fan favorites and it was a fun season to peruse but there’s a damn good reason why its ranked so low. I’m not a Shangela stan but they did her so wrong with the eliminated queens being the ones to determine the final 2. Not taking anything away from Kennedy Davenport or Trixie but she 100 percent deserved to not only make it to the end but get the crown that was rightfully hers. Moving on…
13: All Stars 5
This is one of the lower ones due to it being predictable from the start. We all knew Shea Coulee, Miz Cracker and Jujubee were going the distance based on how they did in the past and the storylines that continued as the episodes progressed. Also, something that confused me as a fan was why they had Derrick Barry go home first when there was a clear conflict between her and India Ferrah that would’ve been deliciously fun to watch. Instead India sent her home the first episode and we were left with a bunch of boring challenges and meh eliminations. On the flip side… the lip sync assassin was introduced! Now I wait for Trinity K. Bonet, Kameron Michaels, Coco Montrese and more to make their entrance on a future season.
12: Season 8
Bob The Drag Queen is arguably one of the best winners of Drag Race. But again, we knew she had it in the bag from the get. Also, only 12 girls instead of 14 meaning less lip syncs, less fashion, less drama, less kiki. We were however introduced to legendary queens like Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls and the late and great Chi Chi DeVayne.
11: All Stars 4
I’ll apologize to anyone who has read this thus far that is offended by all of the low AS rankings. They just weren’t as fun as the regular seasons to me as only one of them really delivered out of the five overall. AS4 to me was the best with two very deserving winners in Trinity The Tuck and Monet X Change, Farrah Moan beautifully standing up to Gia Gunn and Naomi not giving a f**k when she logically eliminated the probable winner Manila Luzon.
10: Season 12
Ugh. Season 12. It was a bizarre season as Sherry Pie was clearly edited down for obvious reasons. It dampened the overall effect of it as we kind of knew that she was going to win this whole thing (even with her minimal presence) had she not allegedly done what she did before the show began. Still fun to watch outside of that polarizing drama (especially Heidi and eventual winner Jaida Essence Hall) but its tainted no matter how you try to not look at that piece of pie.
9: Season 9
This was RuPaul’s Best Friend Race as the drama was at a minimum. Still, for the most part, this group of girls were intelligent, fashionable and fun with many of them having great storylines. It also produced arguably the strongest final four in the show’s history with Sasha Velour creating one of the most meme-worthy moments ever seen on television. Hold my roses, folks.
8: Season 3
S3 paled in comparison to the yummy drama that happened in the seasons before and after it. It became The Heathers vs. The Boogers with a Heather (Raja) winning in the end. Raja remains an icon on the show’s iconic catwalk as do many of her competitors like Manila and Yara Sofia. Also we saw the return of Shangela whose fight with Mimi Imfurst has been redone and reinterpreted a zillion times over since it first aired.
7: Season 1
It had to start somewhere. S1 looks nothing like it does now with that shoebox of a runway and cramped as hell werk room. But it needed to begin in some capacity for it to become what it is today. And it didn’t hurt that we had iconic girls like Nina Flowers, Ongina and Bebe Zahara Benet to kick things off. No Ma’am.
6: Season 10
In terms of recency season 10 does it for me especially when it came to the top six where it was truly unpredictable as to who could win as each of the remaining queens could’ve taken the crown. Aquaria’s fashion was mind-blowing (probably the best this show has ever seen) but her ability to switch things up and prove that she wasn’t a one trick pony by excelling with her comedy only helped her secure the win in the end.
5: Season 2
This was where the word “controversial” really began on Drag Race thanks to Tyra Sanchez’s win. Love her or hate her she did an incredible job and Ru was clearly impressed. Also the whole Tatiana vs. Raven thing was beyond enjoyable not to mention the world getting their first glimpse at superstars in the making like Jujubee and Pandora Boxx.
4: Season 5
There’s a reason why AS2 had half of its cast from season 5. They were that amazing. Winner Jinkx Monsoon’s storyline of the little engine that could against powerhouses like Detox and her nemesis Roxxxy Andrews was thrilling to see. Let’s not forget the one and only Alyssa Edwards who provided us with catchphrases that we still use to this day. BACKROLLS?!?!?!??!
3: Season 4
Sharon Needles vs. Phi Phi O’Hara. Dida Ritz’s legendary lip sync to “Everlasting Love”. Willam throwing up before getting disqualified. LATRICE MOTHER F***ING ROYALE. Sharon’s out of this world fashions. Milan’s wig pulls. Anything Jiggly Caliente said. I could watch this season over and over again for these reasons and many more.
2: All Stars 2
I mean… who are we kidding here. What an AMAZING season this was! I wasn’t even 100 percent thrilled that Alaska won (even though she deserved to) but there were so many key things that made this amazing to watch. Tatiana’s beloved returns, Katya being Katya, Phi Phi vs. Alyssa, the FASHIONS, Alaska and Katya’s Snatch Game performances, the family challenge. Oh my god. So good. So so freaking good.
1: Season 6.
I don’t think my opinion will ever change. Yes, Bianca Del Rio was similar to Bob in that she was an unstoppable force and the best winner this show has ever had in terms of what she did on it and her career afterwards. But what this season had was a cast with no one being a booger. Everyone for the most part had a fantastic storyline that it became confusing over who to root for as it went along. BenDeLaCreme, Adore Delano, Joslyn Fox, Trinity, etc. All amazing and heartwarming queens that were a pleasure to witness on the best damn season of Drag Race.
This is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other contributing writers.