We now have a Queen of Queens! RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7 came to a close with a decidedly anti-climactic lip sync tournament that crowned my top power-ranked queen. She shall reign supreme over the entirety of RuPaul’s empire of English language franchises!
Since there are no more queens to rank, for this special edition I’m going to rank every one of the 17 lip syncs of the season – including the six lip syncs from this week’s final dual tournaments.
Over the past six seasons of All Stars, Drag Race has reversed its existing lip sync formula from regular seasons. Instead of seeing the queens at risk for elimination lip sync for their lives, we see the top queens of the week lip sync for their legacy.
This has yielded many remarkable lip syncs, but also a number of unremarkable flops. That’s down to two factors that make an All Stars lip sync very different from a regular season one.
First, the obvious: survival isn’t on the line in an All Stars lip sync. Instead, it’s a victory lap. A queen is typically awarded with $10,000 and the chance to chop a competitor (or, this season, to block them).
That’s not a do-or-die situation, so it produces different results. Even though everyone loves a fresh 10k, many queens are ambivalent or outright opposed to the doing the chopping. That seems to be especially true after they get their first taste of it (unless their name is Alaska or Shangela).
Plus, if a queen cuts a fan favorite, they could easily lose more than 10k in their next few years of booking fees due fans who now view them as a villain. And, we’ve seen that some queens don’t prep as hard after a victory as they do out of fear. Whether it’s being shaky on the words or not having as many tricks planned, several All Stars lip syncs have been somewhat… approximate.
The second reason All Stars lip syncs are different is the nature of repeated lip syncs.
In a typical season, a potential season winner can get away with lip syncing for their lives once – maybe twice – before their chances of winning the crown are greatly diminished. In fact, on the RuPaul-hosted franchises, we’ve only had one winner who lip sync for their life multiple times: Symone.
(I don’t count Willow as a two-timer, since she won in her first round of the Season 14 lip sync tournament and wasn’t truly at risk for elimination until her final lip sync with Angeria.)
That means that queens on a regular season are motivated to give it all they’ve got in every lip sync – not only to survive, but because if they truly plan on winning the show they won’t need to save any tricks for a second lip sync!
However, on All Stars, queens actually do plan to lip sync multiple times. Of seven All Stars winners in the “Legacy” format, all but one (Kylie Sonique Love) has won at least two challenges. That means All-Stars have further incentive to not go all-out in every lip sync, especially early in the season. They might want to save something for later – or, at least, they’re not going to force every trick they know into an ill-fitting song.
It also means there’s an amount of lip sync fatigue that sets in when someone wins three or more times, as they often do on “winner-vs-winner” legacy lip sync seasons like All Stars 2-4 & 7, as opposed to “Lip Sync Assassin” seasons like All Stars 5-6. In fact, I suspect the Assassin twist was added after Season 4 partly to reduce repeats and bring more fire to the winner in each fight.
Both of those problems were at play on the All Stars Season 7 lip syncs, but if there was an episode for them to go out the window it was this one – where everything was on the line.
That means all six of these lip syncs ought to be the best of the season, right?
Readers, start your engines. And, may the best lip syncers win! If you disagree with my ranking, comment below with your best and worst of the season.
Reminders: I consistently refer to Drag Race artists with their drag names and with she/her pronouns even when they are not in drag, which is the convention of the show. Some performers may have different personal pronouns. Drag is inherently brave, political, and artistic, and all drag is valid. It’s also hard to do. I’m commenting on drag artistry in how it comes across on this specific television program, but the reason I’m commenting at all is because I celebrate all drag!
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7 – All-Winners Lip Syncs Power Ranking
When evaluating lip syncs on Drag Race, we have to keep in mind that the queens lip synced 2-3x longer than what we see on TV! They lip sync to entire songs, whereas we usually get a chopped up version of a first verse and chorus and then wherever the biggest performance moments fell after that.
That means that what we see in a lip sync on television isn’t always the truth of how good the lip sync was … or, even the truth who really won in the room on the day. We’re getting a highlights reel that does its best to emphasize RuPaul’s decision on a winner, not a fair and balanced take.
17. “Kings & Queens” by Ava Max
Jinx Monsoon vs. Trinity The Tuck (Week 11 – “Kennedy Davenport Center Honors” Roast Challenge)
This lip sync starts strong with both of the queens presenting themselves to the audience with plenty of big arm movements to command their halves of the stage.
Unfortunately, that may have been the high point of this face-off.
It really felt as though both Jinx and Trinity’s bags of tricks were fully exhausted at this point in their fifth and fourth lip sync, respectively. Jinkx did a lot of hopping and then flopped through a cartwheel. Trinity gave her an extended simulated sex act while the other queens and judges winced through their reaction shots.
I hope to never see it again.
To be fair, this is a mid-tempo track with a bland royalty theme and not a lot of big drops in the music. There’s just not much to do with it. And, it seemed like Trinity might be giving some interesting choreography somewhere off camera, but mostly the focus of the edit is on Jinkx since she got the win.
Given that there was no Platinum Plunger block on the line, I don’t think there would have been a downside to giving Trinity a win here. Alas, maybe this really was the best of all her footage.
16. “Love Will Save The Day” by Whitney Houston
Jinkx Monsoon vs. The Vivienne (Week 4 – “Fairytale Justice” Improv Challenge)
I love me some Whitney Houston, but this is one of her more-forgettable early-career tracks performed by a pair of extremely white queens who aren’t known for their rhythm.
Also, for some reason, Jinkx decided to wear a gown.
This battle saved from total obscurity by the fact that The Vivienne was clearly hungry for her first ever prize of $10,000 (since Drag Race UK has no prize money). Viv aimed for maximum impact with a fringed body-suit, a planned a gag with a xylophone, and a late song knee-drop-into-knee-walk combo.
Ultimately Viv was fun to watch and fairly took home the win, even if all I can remember when I think about this performance Jinkx leaning backwards and pointing, aggressively.
15. “Swish Swish” – Katy Perry feat. Nicki Minaj – Jinkx Monsoon vs. Monét X Change
(Week 12 – Lip Sync For The Crown! 👑)
This lip sync will unfortunately go down in history as one of the the greatest lip syncs we never got to see.
By all accounts, Monét utterly demolished Jinkx in this lip sync. It’s what Monét says. It’s what other queens say. It’s what non-verifiable leaks from the set have said long before we ever got an edit of the episode.
(In fact, leakers even mentioned that the production team applauded Monét and Jinkx congratulated her after it was over.)
There are glimpses of an epic performance from Monét in this edit. We see Monét’s hypnotic, deliberate flossing, recalling Perry’s SNL debut of the song. We catch only the final moments of her “elimination lip stick” gag at the beginning. We also catch a few glimpses of her delightful voguing and a ballroom-style slow dip.
(And, let’s be clear: most queens on Drag Race are not authentically voguing just because they toss their arms back and forth, but what Monét is doing here is more than just imitative “noguing.” She knows what she’s doing.)
Unfortunately, we needed to see a version of the song where Jinkx wins $200,000 dollars. That means we couldn’t have a “Sasha’s roses” cut of Monét’s dominance. Instead we got Jinkx… doing a lot of walking. And miming shooting a basketball.
Even with RuPaul adding a painfully overdubbed voiceover at the end about “performance throughout the season,” it feels weird that Jinkx’s win wound up hinging on this performance. Despite this “Best of Jinkx” edit, Monét is still the clear winner of the lip sync whether we’re grading on dance moves, face, or actual lip syncing.
Production had at least 1.5 challenges worth of time (2-6 days) to realize Jinkx would be in the final tournament and to choose a song in her wheelhouse, but instead we got a pop/hiphop crossover with 90s house elements. Anyone could tell you Shea or Monét would absolutely crush any competitor on this tune.
Monét was always going to devour this song, and even with the pittance of airtime we can see in this edit its among her best lip syncs of all time on the show. Unfortunately, that small slice of Monét’s perfection is not enough to elevate this lip sync out of the bottom of the ranks.
14. “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” by The Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin – Raja vs. Yvie Oddly
(Episode 12 – Lip Sync for She Done Already Done Had Herses 👑)
In some ways this is better than “Swish Swish.” and in others it is worse.
It’s slightly better because these are both credible performances, so it doesn’t come with the sting of Jinkx’s getting called a season winner after losing her lip sync for the crown.
It’s slightly worse because neither of these queens are giving a Monét-level performance.
After re-watching this several times, I think I come down on the side of Yvie snatching the win. Raja had a terrific frenetic energy to her performance that we haven’t seen in her prior three lip syncs. But, Yvie simply had more of an arc planned – from her fake-out wig reveal to her split to emphasizing certain lines of lyrics.
I don’t think stunts alone can win a lip sync, but Yvie is never bringing stunts alone.
Even with them, this isn’t a particularly top-shelf lip sync.
13. “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” by Deniece Williams – Raja vs. Jaida Essence Hall
(Episode 12 – She Done Already Done Had Herses Round 1)
I and many other fans have long hoped for this sugary-sweet slice of 1984 pop from the Footloose soundtrack as a Drag Race lip sync. The original music video is tattooed on my brain from the early years of MTV!
“Let’s Hear It for the Boy” has a particular kind of rubbery bounce that can invites a strong performance that doesn’t require a lot of stunts. Raja and Jaida were the perfect two queens to bring it to life. Both of them have an adorkable sweetness to them that translated perfectly to this tune. At one point Jaida started going slightly over-the-top with her choreo, which felt out of place, but otherwise this was a warm, inviting slice of nostalgia.
I could see either of these queens as the winner. Jaida delivered a more specific and memorable set of moves, but something about the back half of Raja’s lip sync to the track took me there more than Jaida’s performance. I think they both captured the vibe of the track.
12. “Better in Color” by Lizzo – Jinkx Monsoon vs. Raja
(Week 5 – “Draguation Speeches” Speaking+Comedy Challenge)
As this All Stars season wore on, I found myself returning to this lip sync again and again
Is it everything we could’ve had for this track. No, it is not. Could Jinkx have worn something uglier than this greenish brown bodysuit? No, she could not. Did Raja know the words? No, she did not – as she admitted in a subsequent interview.
Yet, there is something deliciously sultry about Raja’s park-and-bark to this song. And, all season long I was wishing that Jinkx would bring this sort of manic energy to any of her other performances. It also felt youthful and silly in a way that her performances rarely do. It reminded me of Season 5 Jinkx. It’s certainly the closest she ever got to the “Malambo” Jinkx.
I think the biggest problem with this lip sync is that it didn’t include Yvie, who obviously won the week both in the challenge and the runway and who would’ve utterly destroyed this track.
11. “I Want Love” by Jessie J – Jaida Essence Hall vs. Trinity The Tuck’s
(Week 7 – “Legendary Legend Looks” Design Challenge)
“I Want Love” is an example that throwing in stunts on a high-energy song doesn’t always make for a memorable lip sync.
This featured Jaida bringing heat right from the start with her amazing full-stage slide into a split. It’s also one of Trinity pair of non-comedy lip syncs, though she wound up finding some comedy in it when her cross-stage knee-slide sent her face-first into Jaida’s buttocks.
Aside from the indelible image of Trinity’s face buried in Jaida’s ass that is seared into my brain, it’s hard to remember much of what happened in this one. Maybe that’s because it was a rematch after a much stronger performance earlier in the season. Also, on rewatch it feels remarkably short on Jaida. But, it’s a satisfying performance that fits the track.
10. “Rumor Has It” by Adele – Jinkx Monsoon vs. Trinity The Tuck
(Week 2 – Snatch Game)
I stand by my demand of two months ago: that this song’s monster beat deserves a much bigger, stompier performance than either of these queens delivered.
However, the more I revisit it, the more I think we got the peak of two specific kind of performances here.
This was Trinity’s best comedy lip sync of the season, which always work best for her when she gets in some dance moves instead of mugging the entire time. Trinity was performing while blocked, so while she couldn’t grab a Legendary Legend star it seemed to motivate her even more to try to snag the $10,000.
And, the feel of “Rumor Has It” was as close as Jinkx got to a campy cabaret song she would actually sing herself. It shows in her performance, which at points feels much more like an authentic Jinkx live show than any other lip sync from her this season. And, it was her first win of the season after nearly a decade away from the show, so she was equally hungry to prove herself.
This might not be excellent, but it’s a fine example of what a Drag Race lip sync can be even without stunts.
9. “Why’d You Come in Here Looking Like That” – Dolly Parton – The Vivienne vs. Yvie Oddly
(Week 6 – “Total Ru-Quest Live” Girl Groups Challenge)
Now we’ve arrived at some really good individual lip sync performances (that we were actually allowed to see!)
Prior to this season it would sound unimaginable for Yvie to lose a lip sync to The Vivienne! Back then we had no idea about Viv’s Dolly Parton impersonation.
It was a more innocent time.
Yvie wrung every possible moment of comedy out of this tune, but Viv was embodying the heart and soul of Dolly Parton from the very first word. I can’t imagine finding things to do through all of this track, but every time the camera cuts back to Viv she is delivering yet another Dollyism that is perfectly-timed to the lyrics.
It’s a singular bit of lip sync perfection, with Yvie holding her own all the while.
8. “Green Light” – Beyoncé – Jaida Essence Hall vs. Trinity The Tuck
(Week 3 – “The Realness of Fortune” Ball Challenge)
Anytime we get to see Jaida Essence Hall lip syncing to Beyoncé we must’ve done something right in our lives.
Jaida serves 👏total👏drag👏excellence in this performance. The choreography. The braid-swinging. The floorwork. The mimed instrumental solo. The astonishingly sudden full split. And those hypnotic blue-tasseled pants that look like she skinned Sully from Monsters Inc. for his pelt.
This has everything you could ever want from a lip sync to this song. And, also: Trinity.
I joke. Trinity holds her own here with a semi-comedic take that includes a lot of ass-shaking in a stunning not-even-barely-there gold chain dress. While it would’ve been life-altering to see Jaida go up against Shea or Monét on this one, Trinity gave it a solid shot.
7. “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa – Yvie Oddly vs. The Vivienne
(Episode 12 – She Done Already Done Had Herses Round 1)
YVIE IS EVERYTHING IN THIS LIP SYNC.
The lyrics. The dance moves. The hair. The Mondrian shirt. The upside-down leg-pedaling into a half split.
Yvie completely embodied this song with a performance that could easily be inserted into a Salt-N-Pepa music video straight from the late 80s while updating it with her own twist.
Viv tries to find something to do to compete with that, but she relies overly-much on squatting and gesturing to her crotch when she should’ve brought more of the kind of insistence she performed in the Whitney Houston track.
Even if she had, it wouldn’t have mattered. Yvie delivers a lip sync for the ages on this one, just as Viv did as Dolly Parton.
6. “Super Freak” by Rick James – Raja vs. The Vivienne
(Week 8 – “Santa’s School for Girls” Acting Challenge)
For me, “Superfreak” has an edge over “Green Light” and “Push It” because it’s not a single queen standout performance. Raja is getting her life breaking it down to Rick James, but every time the camera cuts to Viv she’s doing something good.
I think part of that is down to Viv’s basic costume. Some fans read her for it, but I totally understood her aim at giving depraved American Apparel ad realness and I bought what she was selling. She also had a surprisingly smooth way of moving through this funk tune for a queen who admittedly doesn’t have the most rhythm.
Raja… Raja is enjoying a moment. There may be no other song in the world that’s better made for her drunken auntie strut than this one. I will never forget her pointing over to Viv during “she’s alright” and doing her “meh” hand gesture.
5. “Judas” by Lada Gaga – Jinkx Monsoon vs. Shea Coulée
(Week 12 – Lip Sync For The Crown, Round 1)
This is everything we wanted to see from lip syncs all season and so rarely got: two queens with vastly different styles going full-out on a banger of a song that fits both of them.
Shea is living her Lady Gaga fantasy here. There was only one-in-three chance this would be the first song of the tournament for her, but everything about her severe no-eyebrows, high-cheekbones, platinum mullet look is screaming Lady Gaga. Plus, she had entire swaths of the actual music video choreography memorized. It made for an amazing show.
Meanwhile, “Judas” is the perfect sort of “witch burned at the stake” song for Jinkx thanks to its grim minor key stomp and religious lyrics. If Jinkx has a wheelhouse outside of cabaret, it is absolutely this land of the fantastical and religious imagery as often inhabited by artists like Gaga and Tori Amos. Plus, she used her massive full-length robe to perfect effect with a swirling move that recalled her Season 5 sister Coco Montrese on “Cold-Hearted Snake.”
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you who won this.
Did Shea hew too closely to the choreography to notch a win? I wouldn’t say so, but Shea does have a habit of getting trapped in her small-body-movement style of choreo when a lip sync calls for something much larger.
Did Jinkx go too broad and cabaret on a song that could’ve been scarier? I think if she hit it any harder it would’ve turned over into silly mugging. She didn’t need to take this one all the way to “Malambo” territory.
Together, they both took it just far enough, and in the process delivered one of the best lip syncs of the season. You better believe Trinity wouldn’t be screaming like that in the background unless it was amazing (as she has also done for classics like Valentina on “Into You”).
4. “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” from Designing Women – Monét X Change vs. Jinkx Monsoon)
(Week 9 – “Social Media Dance” branding challenge)
It’s not often we can say that a Drag Race lip sync made herstory, but this is one of those times.
While Drag Race has queens perform to a single popular track for its lip syncs, drag performers around the world pull out custom remixes, mash-ups, and spoken word passages for their club performances.
If you’ve never seen one before, please check out Bob The Drag queen’s “Crazy” from L’Etage in Philly (a venue I’ve played!). Willow Pill’s “I Can’t Meme It Alone” is another fantastic example that mashes up multiple songs and soundbites.
Those kinds of tracks are so specific to the queens who perform them that it would be wild for Drag Race to haul them out on a typical weekly lip sync. Drag Race‘s lip sync Rusicals are how the show incorporates this skill in spirit rather than through its actual lip syncs.
However, this legendary Designing Women monologue is a perfect distillation of that other style of lip sync. It’s not just a few memorable lines that have reached meme status, but an entire story with a specific rise and crescendo that fits into a Drag Race lip sync slot. It’s also widely known and revered by queens.
In fact, Monét has performed it before, as you can see in this seven-years-old clip where she is introduced by Bob The Drag Queen before either of them were on the show!
The great thing about this lip sync is that while Monét is giving a legendary performance that will be seared into your memory, Jinkx absolutely holds her own. As much fun as it can be to watch a one-sided lip sync blowout on Drag Race, I find it immensely more satisfying to see both queens deliver but one of them undeniably pull into the lead.
This lip sync will never be forgotten – and, it might open the doors to more unusual lip syncs in the future.
3. “So What” by Pink – Monét X Change vs. Trinity The Tuck
(Week 12 – Lip Sync For The Crown, Round 1)
Sometimes a lip sync is great for one performance. Sometimes it’s for both. Others still are good for story reasons, or stunts, or because it’s too close to call a winner.
This lip sync is all of those things at once.
A short-haired punk version of Trinity The Tuck delivers what might be her best lip sync of all time on the show. Monét, looking gorgeous in long waves and bangs, goes full rocker chick.
Plus, it’s only their second lip sync face-off – and their first since they were crowned as Twinners – despite competing through two whole seasons together!
It is everything you could want and more. Monét literally tops Trinity in the middle of the runway! Trinity nails her front roll somersault and slams a fist into the ground in victory to the beat! Monét does a sudden full split from a crouch!
This was too close to call based on what we saw in edit. All of those tricks aside, it’s just a tight sync between a pair of performers who love and respect each other, both at the top of their games. You know they both want to win more than anything else in the world, but their #2 wish is for the other to win.
We might never see an elimination lip sync with this level of resonance and pure performance chops again on the show – we’ve literally been building to it for years.
2. “Supernova” by Kylie Minogue – Shea Couleé vs. Monét X Change
(Week 11 – Drag Race Gives Back Variety Show)
I honestly feel like this and “So What” are neck and neck. They share a lot of emotional resonance as well as a pair of performers at the top of their games.
The difference for me is that “So What” was a competition, but this is a duet. Part of that was dictated by the stakes of “So What” and the fact that it’s an aggressive tune. By contrast, “Supernova” felt like a true paired performance even before Shea and Monét hit the ground for an identical set of floorwork.
You never once see the wheels turning in either queen’s head on this song. There are no artificial joke-y moments inserted to recapture the judges’ attention. This is a pure performance where it feels like both of them have been syncing this song for years.
Also, has Monét ever looked more gorgeous than in this blonde-to-blue hair on her Season 10 promo look?
1. “Old McDonald” by Ella Fitzgerald – Shea Couleé vs. Monét X Change
(Week 1 – “Legends” RuMix Challenge)
Is this a primacy effect, where I can’t help but rank the first lip sync of the season highest because I judged every subsequent lip sync against it?
Maybe a little bit, but I said at the time that I thought this was a transcendent lip sync performance and I haven’t softened on that position in over two months since we first saw it.
We’ve had a handful of stone-cold classics this season, but it’s hard for any song to stand up to Ella Fitzgerald singing anything – even a nursery rhyme. Fitzgerald is the “First Lady of Song,” endlessly imitated but never entirely matched. Her fluid delivery makes her even harder to lip sync than to sing, because you can’t even trust the start and stop of your breath to help you navigate her syncopated singing.
Shea and Monét look so natural syncing this song in their pair of beautiful outfits. Look at the beaming smile on Monét’s face and the brilliant quivering lip work from Shea. You can’t just make that sort of emotional response up on the spot. They are fully living inside of this song.
For a pair of queens to nail this lip sync this hard with only days of practice is remarkable. For them to both do it while packing their performance with laugh-out-loud comedy bits is outstanding. And, for them to both be part of Drag Race’s recent Melanin Dynasty bringing black excellence to the runway is absolutely extraordinary.
This isn’t just my favorite lip sync of the season – it’s one of my favorite lip syncs of all time. I would hold it up beside such titanic performances as Tatianna and Alyssa’s “Shut Up and Drive” and Yvie & Brooke’s “Sorry Not Sorry.” Both Monét and Shea delivered something here on the same level of pure art as Dida Ritz on “This Will Be (an Everlasting Love).”
I will remember this moment more than anything that occurred in the finale. Production should’ve known from this moment that a lip sync for the crown would be a non-viable solution for choosing any winner other than Shea Coulée or Monét X Change.