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File:RuPaulsDragRace 9049.jpg

 "Good luck, and don't fuck it up!"

Rupaul's Drag Race is a Reality Show in which a group of talented drag queens compete to be crowned as the next drag superstar. It is hosted by the world's most famous drag queen, Rupaul. The amount of queens competing varies by season, but so far the range has been between 9-13 contestants. With each challenge episode, a queen is eliminated, until the Grand Finale where one of the final three competitors is crowned as the next drag superstar.

Each weekly challenge typically consists of the queens putting together an outfit based on a theme, but then tweaking the theme in order to put their signature on the dress. One of the defining elements of the show is the lip sync. After every challenge, the two competitors that have preformed the weakest must compete to stay on the show with a lip sync for their lives. In the Grand Finale the final two competitors must also compete for the crown with a final lip sync. These have resulted in wigs falling off, splits, and even a kiss.

The show has helped to bring the Drag Queen into mainstream, revitalizing interest in drag shows. Almost all of the contestants have found success after the show, which is more than we can say about some shows.


Includes examples of

  • Always Second Best: Pandora Boxx, who is actually likened to Susan Lucci in one episode based on the number of times she just nearly missed winning a challenge.
  • Annoying Laugh: Nicole Paige Brooks.
  • Attractive Bent Gender: All of the contestants, naturally, but also some of the guys brought in for makeovers. Special mention goes to Slava, from season three. Part of the reason his partner, Alexis Mateo, didn't win is because the judges thought he overshadowed her!
  • Awesome McCoolname: Most of the contestants' drag names. Those that aren't hilarious, anyway
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Occurs in the Grand Finale of each season.
  • Bald Women: Many drag queens shave their heads or keep their hair short while in boy mode so that wigs fit better, but several queens like Ongina and The Princess don't wear wigs and actually have completely bald heads as part of their characters.
  • Berserk Button: If you imply that Shangela has not worked for her achievements and/or she has a sugar daddy, you may get a drink in your face.
    • Likewise, don't say that Tatianna is just a pretty face.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: There is at least one per season.
    • The list, so far: Victoria "Porkchop" Parker, Mystique Summers Madison, Delta Work, Stacy Layne Matthews, Mimi Imfurst, Madame La Queer, Jiggly Caliente, and Latrice Royale.
  • Black and Nerdy: Mystique. It's not obvious, but her full drag name IS Mystique Summers Madison.
  • Brainless Beauty: According to Sharon Needles, the three words that describe her are 'beautiful, spooky, and stupid'.
  • Breakout Character: Ongina, Sharon Needles, and Pandora Boxx.
  • Catch Phrase: RuPaul has several in addition to the page quote: "Condragulations" to the winner; "Chante, you stay" to the queen who survives the Lip Sync For Your Life; and of course "Sashay away" to the queen who gets eliminated. In addition, some of the queens have their own catch phrases:
    • Shangela: "Halleloo!" and "Just keepin' it real."
    • Alexis Mateo: "BAM!"
    • Nina Flowers: "Loca!"
    • Mystique: "Two piece and a biscuit."
    • Tatianna: "Thank you."
    • Yara Sofia: "Echa pa lante!"
    • Latrice Royale: "5 G's, please. Good God Girl, Get a Grip!" "Jesus is a biscuit!"
    • Jiggly Caliente: "I'mma be 100 with you..." "Let's get real, now..."
    • DiDa Ritz: "Cheesecake!"
  • Camp Gay: Many of the contestants fit this at one time or another (and a fair number of the guest judges, too), not to mention RuPaul himself. You'd expect anything less from a show about drag queens?
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Occasionally, Yara Sofia. She was compared to an Alien Petting Zoo, and even more strange is that the comparison actually made perfect sense at the time.
    • Kenya Michaels steps into that role in Season 4, especially with her rendition of a spasming, farting, pill-popping Beyonce. Many were left wondering if she even knew who Beyonce is...
  • Chekhov's Skill: It's interesting that mere hours after a conversation between Yara Sofia and Carmen Carrera where we learn that Carmen is Puerto Rican and can speak Spanish,the two are forced to lip sync for their lives to the Spanish version of a song.
  • Combat Stilettos: The filming of Rupaul's "Jealous of my Boogie" video put this to use. Unfortunately, it also resulted in actual injury.
  • Crazy Prepared: The queens seem to bring every piece of clothing they own to the competition, and are prepared for challenges that call for obscure clothing styles, like country, futuristic, or patriotic. There are a few instances in which certain contestants perform poorly on the lipsync, but in general the queens are extremely prepared to lipsync to the song of the week, even if they don't expect to be up for elimination.
    • Justified, as various Untucked episodes have started showing, as we see that the contestants are given ipods with the lipsync songs on them prior to the final judgment.
    • Many of the queens employ sewing machines to fix up anything that could meet the challenge.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In a shocker for the season 4 finale...Ru makes all 3 finalists lip-sync for their lives...and then it's revealed the winner won't be revealed until the Reunion next week! (Which sucks even more because the girls filmed the ending in July and have had to wait all this time!)
  • Dance Party Ending
  • Deadpan Snarker: Raven, Manila Luzon, and Pandora Boxx are the standout examples, but several of the queens qualify, as well.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Raven, who was often criticized for being too cold, showed a warmer side in the Golden Gals challenge, when she bonded with her appointed "drag mother," an elderly man who lived through the gay rights movement. She even carried him off the stage at the end of their lipsync presentation when he seemed to be exhausted.
  • Drag Queen: All of the competitors, naturally.
  • Elimination Catchphrase: "Now, sashay... away."
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Terri Nunn's reaction after seeing Raven in drag.
    • In season four, Jennifer Love Hewitt has the same reaction to Phi Phi O'Hara and Gi Gi, her partner in the "give a non-drag queen a makeover" challenge, "DILFs (Dads I'd Like To Frock)."
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Zombie Drag Queens, no less! Former drag race competitors showed up as zombies in the first episode of season 4.
  • Eye Scream: Jujubee was accidentally hit in the eye with a stiletto heel while participating in a staged and filmed catfight. Ouch.
  • Fan Service: The "Pit Crew," two musclebound hunks who assist Rupaul in setting up the challenges.
    • The competitors have different examples of acting as fanservice themselves (or trying to, or serving up performances designed as satires of conventional fanservice sexiness). Some of them include:
      • Tatianna's description of her entire character and appeal, and all the bragging she does about being so pretty that straight men love to hit on her.
      • season two's "Starrbootylicious" challenge (where the competitors have to put together burlesque acts and garner tips from an audience of men).
      • Carmen Carrera's description of her entire character and appeal. see, "Carmen is nudity and sex."
      • season three's "America" challenge (wherein Raja and Carmen both style themselves as pin-up girls for the main challenge, Carmen came to the runway in a Bettie Page and Dita Von Teese-inspired get up, and Carmen's performance involved macking on Johnny Weir)
      • season three's "Jocks in Frocks" challenge (initially failed when Carmen dressed her rather beefy sister, Lolita Cruz-Carrera, up in a showgirl bikini that didn't even try to craft a more female-presenting silhouette; then successfully accomplished during Carmen and Raja's rather Sapphic lipsynch to Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" — which Alexis Matteo described as "softcore porn" and "kinda hot," and which the jocks seemed to enjoy, based on their reactions, seen in that episode's Untucked).
      • attempted by season four's Alisa Summers in her Apocalyptic couture outfit. It doesn't work. She ends up lip-synching due to the lack of vision in her costume, and Jiggly Caliente sends her home.
      • the entire premise of the "Float Your Boat" mini-challenge, where the queens are given enormous breastplates and made to compete in a wet t-shirt contest.
      • the underlying idea behind a LOT of Willam's runway outfits and style of presentation. Fortunately, she brought other things to the table as well.
      • Inverted by Sharon Needles, who says of herself: "I never want to create a character that someone would want to fuck. I like to mock sexiness."
  • Fashion Show
  • Freudian Excuse: The other queens attribute Phi Phi O'Hara's nasty attitude to her rough childhood as a victim of bullying.
    • Most felt that excuse rang hollow when we learned that Sharon was forced to leave school due to being bullied, and yet was a thousand times friendlier and more likeable than Phi Phi.
      • Especially considering when Phi Phi bullied the other queens. She intentionally sabotaged Jiggly and had her eliminated from the show. Made even grosser is when Jiggly revealed in the Reunion episode that, after the show, she had been inviting Phi Phi to her place and Phi Phi had never fessed up to what she had done the whole time.
        • Let's not forget that she had been just as, if not more, nasty toward Willam. Before the episode where she sabotaged Jiggly and after the episode, for the rest of season, she constantly insulted Willam to a disproportionate degree. Hell, in the episode where she sabotaged Jiggly, Phi Phi sauntered over to Willam's work station, acting as if she were buddies with Willam because she thought Willam would laugh alongside her over what she did. Willam instead stared at Phi Phi in disbelief and discomfort as Phi Phi bragged that she heightened Jiggly's chances for elimination.
  • Full-Name Basis: Nicole. Paige. Brooks. From. Atlanta. Georgia.
    • Mystique Summers Madison
    • Stacey Lane Bryant Matthews Latisaw Q.
    • Shangela LaQuifa Watley!
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Girls, use your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent!"
    • From season four: the "Wrestling's Trashiest Fighters" league.
  • Gag Boobs: Alexis Mateo and Carmen Carerra's comedy acts centered around this.
    • Madame LaQueer's wrestling costume.
  • Gaussian Girl: RuPaul, especially in Season 1.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: The "Lip sync for your Life!" danceoff.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the second episode of season four: Rupaul has her girls star as tag-team wrestling divas in the WTF league.
  • Heroic BSOD: Occurs twice in one episode! First, Alexis Mateo falls victim to stress and nearly leaves the competition. Then, later on, when she and Yara Sofia end up in the bottom two, Yara breaks down and falls to the ground crying, unable to continue with the lipsync.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Made evident by every "Untucked" episode. Most prominently displayed by Rebecca Glasscock, Raven, Phoenix, and Shangela, who claims to be "keeping it real" about six times an episode.
    • Averted somewhat by Manila. In a normal episode, she says to Shangela "I don't want you to feel like I'm attacking you... but I am attacking you, because this is a competition and I'm trying to beat you." However, she also says to Ru that she did like making friends in the competition, and she seems to be actively avoiding fights in the Untucked room.
    • In Season 4 we finally got a "This is not RuPaul's Best Friend Race!"
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Shannel, who seemed to have extreme levels of confidence ("I should have won this challenge!") but couldn't handle the judges not complimenting her regularly.
    • And, to a lesser degree, Season 4's Phi Phi O'Hara.
  • Keet / Genki Girl: Manila Luzon. Dear God, Manila. Just watch her facial expressions. True, she's capable of being pretty composed, too, but most of the time…
  • Large Ham / Camp: It's a show about drag queens, so natch. In particular, RuPaul often takes particular relish in instructing the queens to "lip synch... for your LIFE," and in ordering "bring back... MY GIRLS."
  • Lighter and Softer: Season 4, in comparison to Season 3. The latter devoted a lot of focus to the clique warfare between the "Heathers" and "boogers" whereas Season 4 does away with that and draws attention to issues faced by the drag and LGBTQ communities, such as bullying and the tough lives of the queens. Main challenges such as Hope Floats (for Pride Week) and Frock the Vote (done in conjunction with the It Gets Better Project) really hammer this home.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Shangela proudly thinks of herself as this, sometimes crediting herself when another queen does poorly. In one humorous instance, she lied and told Carmen that she wanted reggae for the music challenge, knowing that Carmen would then select reggae for herself in an attempt to screw Shangela over.
  • Mama Bear: Raja. Even before appearing on the show she had a drag mother relationship with a couple of the other competitors, putting Delta in shows and helping Shangela to dress for the Season 2 reunion.
    • In season 4, we now have Chad Michaels, who spends most of one Untucked episode alternately comforting Sharon Needles and reminding her teammates from the challenge that Jiggly Caliente's feelings should taken into consideration. Chad even stands up to a big, burly DILF and in the Untucked episode cautions, "you don't come for [attack] my people, not while I'm around."
    • We also have Latrice Royale, who takes on something of a drag mother role to Lashauwn Beyond, whom she knew from back home, and called Jiggly out in the interests of helping her grow as a person.
  • Meaningful Name: Manila Luzon, a Filipino queen, named herself after two of the largest islands in the Philippines.
    • Pandora Boxx's name is a pun on Classical Mythology, Delta Work got her name from Designing Women star Delta Burke, Nina Flowers' surname comes from her real surname out of drag (Jorge Flores), Victoria "Porkchop" Parker's name out of drag is Victor, and as Ongina put her name: "Well, my middle name is Ong, and God didn't bless me with a different kind of -gina."
  • Noodle Incident: The true reason behind Willam's disqualification. According to interviews from some of the other queens, the "conjugal visits from Willam's husband" explanation may not be the whole truth, or even the truth at all.
  • N-Word Privileges: The term "she-male" is often considered offensive, but punnishly reclaimed to introduce the first segment: "Girl, you got She Mail!"
    • In Season 3, the other queens question Manila Luzon's N-Word Privileges in regards to some of her Asian stereotype schtick.
      • Later that episode, Stacy dresses as Mo'Nique's character from Precious. While Stacy is black, she is very light-skinned (and only brings up her Native American heritage, in a later episode), so she decided to dress in borderline blackface. This went unmentioned by the other queens.
    • In season 4, we end up with a discussion of the line between racially charged, off-color humor and offensiveness when, acting as a Sarah Palin-esque character in the "Frock the Vote" challenge, Phi Phi O'Hara refers to Latrice Royale and Dida Ritz, "the help."
    • Another example of something going unquestioned: in the runway presentation for season three's "America" challenge, Raja comes to the stage in an outfit inspired by Cher and Janis Joplin, which features a Native American war bonnet. While Raja is a PoC, she's Indonesian, not Native American, and while some commenters in the fandom have commented on this and whether or not it went over the good taste line with regards to cultural appropriation, the judges and other competitors did not. She actually received high praise for the outfit.
      • Sharon Needles (white) skirts the same line in a season four mini-challenge, when she designs a pair of shoes (inspired by an Absolute Berri Sour cocktail), and claims that she wanted to represent "the plight of American Indians." It doesn't win the mini-challenge, but also attracts no comments.
  • Once a Season: SEVERAL things are RPDR traditions.
    • The first episode of every season features a photo-shoot challenge. Themes so far have been: wet and sexy poses with the Pit Crew, on the hood of a car; a Gone with the Wind-inspired shoot (featuring a large fan, a dramatic piece of fabric, a cannon between the competitors' legs, and the Pit Crew); a Christmas card photo (taken on a wintry backdrop, while the competitors bounce on a trampoline, are bombarded with fake snow, and/or play with a gag candy cane); and "Apocalyptic couture" (taken while getting spun around and covered in neon-colored paint).
    • The first episode also involves making a new, original drag outfit out of whatever random things Rupaul can throw at her queens.
    • There will always be some kind of acting-related challenge: season one had the queens run through different phases of Oprah's career; season two put the queens in teams to shoot commercials for "Disco Extra-Greasy Shortening"; season three had the queens act in fake sci-fi movie trailers, make fake workout videos, and put together fake newscasts; and season four had the queens acting as professional wrestlers, acting in a fake sitcom ("Hot In Tuckahoe"), making infomercials to hock Rupaul's albums, and pretending to be presidential hopefuls, running for the Wig Party's candidacy.
    • There will always be some group challenge, or several: season one had the queens in girl groups, lip-synching to Destiny's Child songs; season two had the Disco Extra-Greasy Shortening challenge and also made the queens come up with burlesque acts; season three's group challenges are as above; and in addition to the first three examples from above, season four had the "frenemies" challenge, where the queens were paired up in mismatched couples (Willam and Latrice Royale; Chad Michaels and Dida Ritz; and Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara)
    • from season two forward: THE SNATCH GAME (the queens impersonate celebrities on a Match Game-style game show); and the "throwing shade" mini-challenge (The library is OPEN!).
    • from season two forward: some kind of music and/or live performance-related challenge. Season two had the queens dress as rockstars to sing Rupaul's song "Ladyboy" to a live audience; season three had the queens perform stand-up comedy routines in one episode, then record different versions of Rupaul's song "Superstar" and lipsynch their versions; and season four's "frenemies" challenge involved the queens singing, "Better Than You," and putting together a live nightclub act.
    • an episode where someone who isn't a drag queen gets made over to be the queens' drag sister/mother/daughter/other relation. Season one had the girls work on cis female fighters; season two paired them up with older gay men who didn't do drag; season three gave us "Jocks In Frocks," where the girls were matched up with heterosexual male jocks; and season four's "DILFs (Dads I'd Like To Frock)" paired up the girls with macho heterosexual fathers.
    • the finale of every season features the top three competitors performing in some new Rupaul music video, one gets eliminated based on that challenge, and then the top two lipsynch against each other for the crown.
  • Perky Goth: Sharon Needles.
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Product Placement: Anyone thirsty for some Absolut vodka?
    • Ru Paul's "Champion", now on iTunes!
    • "...that's boobsforqueens.com."
    • Now being lampshaded in s4, as Rupaul will regularly smile and wink at the camera after a moment of product placement. Part of the show's delightful campiness.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Occasionally crops up, though most of competitors and judges refer to themselves and each other as "she" in costume and "he" he out of it.
  • Pungeon Master: RuPaul herself, Once an Episode, usually when calling out the girls or telling them they get to stay. Examples include: "You made a meal out of this challenge, but it left a bad taste in some of the judges' mouths"; "You were pretty in Pink, but your performance left us blue"; "Raven, you may live to fly another day." And it only gets a lot worse.
    • In season four's "Dragazines" challenge, Sharon Needles tries to take the cake, filling her Cat Fancy-esque magazine's cover with all kinds of pussy-related puns. When this is pointed out on the runway, she replies with, "Well, I don't know… I'm talking about cats! You're a pervert!"
  • Punny Name: Mimi Imfurst, Pandora Boxx, Sharon Needles.
    • Also seen in some of the names given to the non-drag queens the competitors make over. Raven's and Pandora's drag mothers are Golda Lamé and Litter Boxx, respectively; and Sharon Needles rechristens her DILF, "Robin Mansions."
    • Taken Up to Eleven in RuPaul's Drag U, which includes such gems as Candy Graham, Paya La Renta, and Sarah Tonin.
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: Averted. The queens appear to stay in hotel rooms, and are usually not shown in activities outside of the competition.
  • Serious Business: Many of the girls have celebrities whom they idolize (and occasionally) impersonate. They take them very seriously, to the point where some will refuse to mock them and threaten those who do.
    • Most obviously in Season 4 with Chad Michaels, who has perfected Cher to such a degree that US Weekly has confused him for the real deal.
  • Sexy Secretary: Inevitable whenever the competitors are asked to give an "Executive Realness" look.
  • Shameless Self Promoter: RuPaul has no qualms about working her own pop songs into the challenges (and of course, makes a grand entrance to "Covergirl" Once an Episode). Totally gets away with it by staying on the right side of Camp.
  • She's Back: Shangela, who returned to the competition in Season 3 after being the first competitor eliminated in Season 2.
  • She's Got Legs: Raja. Dida Ritz.
  • Shocking Elimination: Ongina. It was particularly heartbreaking since just the week before, she had won the Viva Glam challenge and confessed to having lived with HIV for two years.
    • Jessica Wild, who also went home the week after winning a challenge.
      • Stacy was also sent home the week after winning a challenge, although this was less shocking as she had been an underdog for most of the season, but was praised when she finally "came out of her shell" during the Snatch Game. What makes these three competitors interesting is that the challenge they won before getting eliminated was the first challenge where the winner did not receive immunity for winning. It's cursed, I tell you.
    • Kenya Michaels being eliminated, when she was a major favorite for top 3 in Season 4.
    • Also in season four; Willam, who wasn't even the bottom 2 the week she was eliminated. Word of God says that she broke a rule, and Ru was forced to remove her from the competition.
  • Stage Names: Used by most of the queens, but rejected by Chad Michaels, Willam, and Rupaul herself.
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: Tatianna, who was frustrated over other queens insisting that she was only about a pretty face.
  • Spicy Latina: Jessica Wild, Yara Sofia, Alexis Mateo, to name a few.
  • Spin-Off: Rupaul's Drag Race: Untucked. It showcases the time between critiques and the elimination, where the queens discuss the challenge and often get into arguments, aided by Absolut Vodka.
    • Drag U was another spin-off in which former Drag Race contestants give ordinary, plain women drag-tastic makeovers.
  • Stripperiffic: Many queens have gone down the runway in outfits that would qualify as such, but Carmen Carerra regularly tops herself.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Whenever a heterosexual-identified male judge appears on this show, he's almost guaranteed to have this reaction. Highlights include Wayne Brady of all people.
    • The straight jocks that appeared on the show to be transformed into a Drag Queen for a day had these moments in abundance. One jock seemed to be flirting with his partner, Alexis Mateo, throughout the show, and most of them admitted to a crush on Carmen Carrera. And of course, their reactions to the extremely sexual lipsync at the end.
    • Henry Rollins confessed in his spoken word shows that he once fantasized about one of the contestants after his guest appearance.
  • Stylistic Suck: Sometimes. Very often on RuPaul's Drag U.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Displayed by Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara in the "frenemies" challenge. It doesn't work and they end up lipsynching for their lives.
  • The Runner Up Takes It All: Both Nina Flowers and Raven, the runner ups of Seasons 1 and 2, seem to have enjoyed greater success than the actual winners.
    • This may have something to do with the winner's prize including a headline slot on the Drag Race tour, which would seem to be a fairly time-consuming engagement, while the runners-up are free to take on other, more high-profile jobs.
    • Pandora Boxx seems to have found the most success of all, seeing as she's now omnipresent on just about every Logo show.
  • This Is a Competition: "This isn't Rupaul's School for Girls!"
    • Stacy Layne Matthews and India Ferrah's most common criticism.
  • Throw It In: Invoked while the queens were filming a music video with RuPaul in the second season Tyra mishears "act hurt" for "act hood". When she asks for clarification, the director and Ru agree to go with Tyra's version as it sounds better.
  • What the Hell, Hero? / Moral Event Horizon: Mimi Imfurst lifting up a screaming India above her head during her lipsync.
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