Since it’s premiere in 2009, RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a cultural phenomenon that brought the relatively underground art of drag to mainstream television in the form of a reality TV competition. Throughout its nine seasons and two seasons of the spin-off show RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars, a series in which past contestants come back and compete again, the show has gained a huge following. Like any competition show, certain contestants are more popular among fans than others, which brings us to our list of the top 15 fan favorites.
15. Latrice Royale
This Miss Congeniality winner of Season 4 and All Stars contestant told us all that to be a bitch meant to, “be in total control of herself” and she did just that during her run on the show. Having started doing drag in the 1990s, this seasoned comedy queen was no stranger to the scene when she entered the Drag Race workroom for the first time in 2012. She pummelled her way through the competition, earning the fourth place spot with two challenge wins, never letting anything or anyone stop her. Whether it be her size or her troubled past, Latrice Royale never let anything get in her way and it was no surprise that fans were appalled after she was eliminated so close to making the Top 3 in the competition. Despite not winning either of her seasons, Latrice is adored by thousands and will always be a notable Drag Race alumna no matter how many more seasons pass.
14. Kim Chi
Even before being announced as a member of the Season 8 cast, this loveable Korean queen amazed fans with her makeup skills and unique looks on Instagram. Her participation in the show was highly anticipated and she did not disappoint, sailing through the entire competition without ever landing in the Bottom 2 and making it into the Top 3 with two challenge wins. Despite not being the best live performer, Kim Chi proved she was a fierce competitor right from the start when she won the season’s first challenge, then continued to consistently do well throughout the competition. It was understandable that some fans were disappointed when she lost the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar to Bob the Drag Queen during the finale. This sweet queen earned a place in all of our hearts; her time on Drag Race and her place in the drag community will always be remembered by many.
When promo pictures for Season 9 dropped, this young queen immediately got attention. Despite only having performed in drag professionally for 10 months prior to filming the season, Valentina impressed fans with her beautiful polished looks and likeable personality. Throughout her time on the show, she was criticized for being too perfect by other contestants and praised by fans who expected her to at least make the Top 3 or even win the competition. Fans were outraged after what was possibly the most shocking elimination in the show’s history, when the queen was eliminated after landing in the bottom two after a poor performance in the episode’s challenge and not knowing the words to the lip sync song. Valentina went on to win her season’s Miss Congeniality award, causing controversy among both fans and the other competitors when other queens called her out on her behavior being fake, and telling her she was undeserving of the award, ironically renaming it, “Fan Favorite”. Despite the controversy, Valentina is still admired by plenty and was easily one of the most memorable contestants of the season.
12. Sharon Needles
This spooky queen changed the face of Drag Race as we knew it forever when she was crowned the winner of Season 4. Her horror inspired fashion sense and unconventional makeup was something the show had never seen before, and she stood out immensely from the more conventional beauty oriented queens of her season. Other contestants greatly underestimated her at the start of the competition due to her looks, but she proved them wrong when she went on to win the crown. She is regarded as one of the strongest competitors to ever be on the show, with four challenge wins, a feat that only her and two other queens hold. Despite multiple accounts of her inappropriate and offensive behavior outside of the show, Sharon Needles remains a fan favorite and one of the most deserving winners in the show’s history.
11. Shea Couleé
This queen entered the Season 9 workroom announcing that she was there to slay, and that is exactly what she did. An all around talented performer, Shea excelled at the challenges, landing in the Bottom 2 only once and joining the small club of queens to have won four challenges. Fans were almost absolutely sure that she was going to win the competition and were dismayed when she was eliminated in the finale. The new finale format, which has the Top 4 queens participating in a series of lip sync battles for the crown, was highly controversial as the Season 9 winner, Sasha Velour, had only two challenge wins while Shea had four and fans went wild. Even though she didn’t win, this talented queen will remain a fan favorite and fans hope she will return as a contestant for the highly anticipated third season of All Stars.
10. Jinkx Monsoon
This quirky comedy queen and winner of Season 5 surprised many when she won after having been underestimated by other contestants throughout the whole show because of her vintage fashion sense and awkward personality. As the end of the competition grew nearer, the Top 4 was Jinkx along with that season’s clique, “Rolaskatox” consisting of queens Roxxxy Andrews, Alaska and Detox. Many fans were sure that Rolaskatox were going to be the Top 3 but Jinkx proved them wrong when she landed in the Bottom 2 with Detox and beat her during the lip sync, earning a spot in the Top 3. Even though she had one less challenge win than Alaska, Jinkx still managed to deservingly snatch the Season 5 crown. A talented singer and comedian, Jinkx Monsoon is widely loved and definitely a Drag Race fan favorite.
This pretty queen gained recognition during her time on Season 2 of the show because of her sassy remarks and quotable catchphrases. However, she really shot to fame after her participation in All Stars 2 when she proved to fans that she still had it after almost six years since her original season. She was a clear fan favorite on All Stars and her eliminations caused controversy due to the fact that the elimination system in All Stars was changed to the queens eliminating each other instead of being critiqued by judges. This caused the contestants to keep their friends and eliminate someone else, even if their friends did worse in the challenge that episode. This was the case for both of Tatianna’s eliminations in All Stars but she still managed to gain a huge following after the show and remain an iconic fan favorite.
A self-titled “successful queen”, this Season 4 queen was no stranger to the cameras when she starred on Drag Race after having acted in several small roles in movies and television, and she made that fact known. Her indifferent attitude towards the other queens of her season was endearing and she supplied a generous amount of hilarious quotes during her time on the show. She was doing relatively well, with two challenge wins before shocking fans by being the first and only contestant to ever be disqualified from the show because of breaking the rules. Willam remains a successful Internet personality with a few viral videos and a popular YouTube channel, and her unexpected disqualification will always be an unforgettable Drag Race moment.
This influential queen impressed fans with her makeup and attitude in both Season 2 and All Stars despite being a runner up in both. Since her seasons, Raven has been extremely successful and is well known for her participation in the weekly YouTube video series Fashion Photo Ruview which she co-hosts with Season 3 winner, Raja. Whether or not you think that Raven was portrayed as a villain on her seasons or not, there’s no denying that her influence in the drag community has been immense, starting makeup trends and being years ahead of her time with her looks. Even if she was only the runner-up, Raven will always be an honorary member of the Drag Race hall of fame and will always be regarded as an icon.
6. Alyssa Edwards
Even though this queen was eliminated at 6th place in Season 5, she’s easily one of the most iconic contestants of her season. While on the show, she won fans over with her humor and loud personality and it was no surprise that fans were delighted to hear she would be returning for All Stars 2. Unfortunately, she suffered a similar fate to tha of Tatianna when she was eliminated on All Stars, which happened before many fans thought she deserved to go home. Alyssa Edwards is a spectacular performer and dancer and regardless of what happened on Drag Race she is still one of the most widely loved and popular queens to come out of the show.
5. Bianca Del Rio
This talented seamstress and comedian is regarded as possibly being the best queen to have ever been on the show. Bianca Del Rio won Season 6 with three challenge wins, having never been in the Bottom 2 and being the first and only contestant to have never been in the bottom during critiques. Fans loved her hateful humor and attitude towards other contestants throughout the competition and loved her even more when she turned out to really not be as mean as she seemed. Despite the constant rude jokes, Bianca helped other queens during the competition and gave them advice. Her success after winning Drag Race is undeniable – from her appearances in webshows to her very own movie, Hurricane Bianca (which is soon to have a sequel) – and she has built herself an empire in which her talent is indisputable.
4. Trixie Mattel
When Trixie Mattel entered the workroom in Season 7, she confused fans and the other queens alike with her over the top, Barbie inspired look. But the initial confusion turned to admiration by fans when they realized what a good queen she is. Even though her run on the show wasn’t long, she was the first queen to ever stay for more than one episode after being eliminated and then brought back into the competition. She also brought a never before seen style of drag to the show. This talented musician, recently having released her debut album and is inarguably one of the most popular queens at the moment. As the co-host of the popular weekly webshow UNHhh with her fellow Season 7 queen Katya, Trixie is a popular internet personality and definitely a memorable queen.
Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova, or as you might call her, Katya, rose to fame after her appearance on Season 7 of Drag Race. Her strange sense of humor and memorable Russian character had fans fall for her instantly and her elimination was shocking to many who wanted her to reach the Top 3. Thankfully she did deservingly win the Season 7 Miss Congeniality award but it still wasn’t enough. When Katya was announced as a cast member on All Stars 2, her fans were beyond excited, and even more so when she reached the Top 3. Katya’s obvious growth in confidence since Season 7 helped her make it through the entire competition and earn three challenge wins. When she ended up being the runner-up to Alaska, fans made sure their opinions were heard. Fans everywhere made comments online expressing their disappointment with the All Stars and deeming Katya the true winner. But even if she didn’t win, this eccentric queen is definitely one of the most loved fan favorites to come out of the show.
This All Stars 2 winner had a lot to live up to when she appeared on Season 5 while being in a relationship with the previous season’s winner, Sharon Needles, at the time of filming. She proved to skeptics that she was just as good as Sharon when she made it to the Top 3 of the season without ever having been in the Bottom 2, and earning two challenges wins along the way. Despite not winning the season, Alaska remained a fan favourite and fans were excited to hear that she would be returning to compete in All Stars 2. They were even happier when she crushed her competition, earning four challenge wins and landing in the Bottom 2 only once before winning the crown. Not everyone was delighted though, as many fans of the show deemed her win unjust and didn’t agree with RuPaul’s decision. Negative backlash never stopped her from moving forward though and Alaska remains more successful then ever with two albums, a popular YouTube channel and hundreds of thousands of fans to prove it.
1. Adore Delano
With 1.1 million followers on Instagram, this punk-rock queen is the second most followed drag queen on the planet, falling behind only RuPaul herself. Fans fell in love with Adore Delano’s bright personality in Season 6 where she was the runner-up. Along with her loveable personality, her musical talent is undeniable and her live performances are always incredible. With two albums out and a third on the way, Adore has created a career mixing both the world of drag and music, and fans were eager to see what this talented queen would do when she was announced to be returning for the second season of All Stars. Sadly, she ended up being the first contestant to ever voluntarily leave the competition when she quit as early as the second episode due to the pressure of the competition. Despite this, fans still supported her greatly and she remains one of the if not the most successful and popular queen to come out of Drag Race.