RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 is most successful season in years – and fans are speculating why

RuPaul's Drag Race season 15. (MTV/Vijat Mohindra)

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 15 has sashayed its way into people’s hearts as viewing figures make it the highest rated season in three years.

The latest season, which crowned its winner, Sasha Colby, on Friday (14 April) was praised by fans for being one of the best yet. The Nielsen Company, which tracks US audience numbers, has backed this up with absolutely slay figures.

According to Live+same-day Nielsen figures which are provided on a scale of one to 10, the finale delivered a 0.59 rating in the 18-49 demographic, up 17 per cent from season 14, Deadline reported.

Season 15 even boasted the highest audience share – the percentage of households tuned in – for a Drag Race telecast ever.

Not only that, with a season average of 0.49 (compared to 0.46 in season 14), it is the highest rated since season 12, with its season premiere boasting an astounding 0.63 – the highest season opener in six years.

So what does all this mean? It’s good news for MTV who acquired the hit US franchise from VH1 in December 2022. The show’s seasons nine to 14 were aired by VH1, and seasons one to eight broacast on Logo TV.

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Before the latest season dropped in January, MTV generated controversy after announcing season 15 would have shortened episodes, cut down from 90 minutes to 60 minutes (with adverts). The decision caused major backlash and was eventually reversed from episode 11 onwards.

However, MTV bounced back from the controversy to bring together a stellar season with fan favourite casting including the Queen herself, Sasha Colby, twins Sugar and Spice, Mistress Isabelle Brooks and Anetra, among others.

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Season 15 boasted a brilliant lineup of guest judges with Ariana Grande and queen icons Hayley Kiyoko and Janelle Monáe.

It also coincided with the rise of anti-drag and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in the US, where the state of Tennessee has signed a repressive drag ban into law.

The powerful combination of stirring the political pot and iconic moments scattered throughout the season is perhaps part of why it has seen such “well deserved” success.

Fans have also pointed to the “Sasha Colby effect”, with the former Miss Continental winner and trans icon offering stunning runways throughout the season and a compelling screen presence.

Colby confirmed that her final “nude look” lipsync battle with runner-up Anetra was a direct protest against the wave of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation currently sweeping the US, telling Entertainment Weekly: “It was a specific choice to be naked in these times.”

There was love for most of the queens as people reacted to the news of the season’s rating success, including Mistress Isabelle Brooks, iconic Drag Race twins Sugar and Spice and runner up Anetra.

More generally, there was major love for the entire cast, with many hailing it as the best season since season nine, which provided fan favourites such as Shea Couleé, Eureka and Sasha Velour.

The Drag Race season 15 finale is now streaming on WOW Presents Plus.

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