Drag Race UK: 9 British pop queens whose songs absolutely must be lip-syncs in season 5

An image featuring pop singers Rina Sawayama, Marina, and Alexandra Burke.

The time has come for Drag Race UK to sashay back into our lives. Season five returns on 28 September, which means more wigs, more drama and of course, more lip-syncs.

While UK queens might not be known for kicking, splitting and flipping as much as their US counterparts – “99 per cent of the acts in London sing live,” as Charlie Hides once said – there have been plenty of fierce and fiery lip-syncs for your life on Drag Race UK.

Krystal Versace versus Vanity Milan taking on Dua Lipa’s “Hallucinate”! Cheryl Hole and Blu Hydrangea performing to Cheryl’s “Call My Name”! Tayce and Ellie Diamond destroying “Last Thing On My Mind” by Steps!

Other than the queens giving it their all, a good lip-sync relies heavily on song choice. Luckily, the UK is home to some of the very best pop queens around, with some of the very best pop songs of all time lining their discographies.

So many of the UK’s best pop stars haven’t had their songs used for a lip-sync yet (we call shade!), and as the new Drag Race UK season rolls around, these are the nine artists who we hope will finally have their tracks used for a bottom two battle.

Alexandra Burke

Considering she won The X Factor, has had three number one singles, and brought the phrase “elephant in the room” to the UK, it’s surprising that Alexandra Burke is yet to have one of her songs performed to on Drag Race.

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Yet her time may finally have come, as she makes her debut as a Drag Race UK guest judge on season five. More often than not, when a pop star is on the panel, one of their songs is up for a lip-sync.

In the case of Alexandra Burke, that seems particularly likely, considering her second album Heartbreak On Hold is one of Ru’s favourite albums of all time

The songs we most want to see: “Broken Heels”, “Bad Boys”, “All Night Long”.

MARINA

One of the OG alt-pop queens and a staunch queer ally, we can only assume that MARINA hasn’t been a Drag Race guest judge yet for fear it will cause gay Twitter to implode.

While some of her very best songs are devastating ballads that have no place on the Drag Race stage (“Happy”, “Fear & Loathing”, “Numb”), she’s also partial to a bubblegum pop banger, particularly on her era-defining 2012 record Electra Heart. They’re surely the stuff of future lip-sync magic. 

Her most eccentric singles – think “Froot” – would also be brilliant.

The songs we most want to see: “Primadonna”, “Froot”, “Oh No!”.

Rina Sawayama 

Another music megastar who Drag Race fans have been clawing at the walls to get on the show as a guest judge is Rina Sawayama. Her back catalogue is chock full of songs that would make for a superb lip-sync.   

She’s got songs for hair flips and acrobatics (“LUCID”), and tracks that could even be turned into a comedy routine, if managed by the right queen (“XS”). Long story short, the Rina Sawayma x Drag Race crossover should have happened yesterday. 

The songs we most want to see: “This Hell”, “Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)”, “XS”.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

A prevalent force in British pop music for more than two decades, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has enough bops to fill an entire season of Drag Race lip-syncs. Like Alexandra Burke, she’s also a guest judge on season five, meaning a SEB lip-sync is all but guaranteed.

Her biggest single “Murder on the Dancefloor” has the potential to facilitate the best lip-sync in Drag Race history – especially if the queens replicate the frankly iconic music video. It was recently used in an episode of Drag Race Down Under season three, but we pretend we do not see it. Here’s hoping they’ll use the song twice à la Kylie Minogue’s “Supernova” last year.

The songs we most want to see: “Murder on the Dancefloor”, “Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)”, “Groovjet (If This Ain’t Love)”.

Natasha Beddingfield

Earlier this year, Natasha Beddingfield revealed to PinkNews that the queer community changed her life, and allowed her to “step into her authentic self”. In return, she’s gifted the community with a handful of empowering pop anthems, several of which would tear up the Drag Race stage.

We can picture it now: a queen showering the judging panel with confetti (or rose petals) as the “Unwritten” chorus reaches its crescendo.

The songs we most want to see: “Unwritten”, “These Words”, “I Wanna Have Your Babies”.

Lily Allen

Honestly, Lily Allen is the embodiment of British pop music, and her absence from the Drag Race UK universe is mind-blowing. She’d make a fabulous Snatch Game impersonation, should have featured in the “UK Gay Icons” runway on season two, and has SO many songs that should end up in that lip-sync jukebox. 

The songs we most want to see: “Not Fair”, “Hard Out Here”, “Oh My God”.

Raye

Seven years into her career, and the British public are finally starting to take note of Raye. In the last year alone, she’s secured her first number one with “Escapism”, won an Ivor Novello Award, and been nominated for a Mercury Prize for her debut album, My 21st Century Blues.

The natural next step? Having one of the killer pop anthems from her varied discography featured on Drag Race, obviously.

The songs we most want to see: “Love of Your Life”, “Tequila”, “The Line”.

Florence and the Machine

It’s somewhat surprising that Florence Welch is yet to feature as a Drag Race lip-sync, considering her vocals are laced with theatrics and melodrama – two things that equate to an instantly iconic bottom two battle for survival. 

Imagine the queens floundering around the stage to “Dog Days Are Over”, or serenading one another to “You’ve Got The Love”? I dream about it. 

The songs we most want to see: “Dog Days Are Over”, “Spectrum (Say My Name)”, “Ship To Wreck”.

Rita Ora

When Rita Ora took to the Eurovision semi-final stage with a medley of her biggest hits back in May, the people of Britain were forced to reckon with how poorly they’ve treated her. 

Despite a solid back catalogue, Rita Ora is now perhaps best known for her time on The Masked Singer, or for that time she claimed she was hacked on Twitter (now X) after promising to release new music if one tweet got 100,000 retweets (it received around 2,000).

With Drag Race UK, Rita has an opportunity to remind Britain once again why she is a certified pop powerhouse.

The songs we most want to see: “Bang Bang”, “Your Song”, “Radioactive”.

And a few bonus songs

For the hell of it, here’s a few extra brilliant British pop bops that deserve their dragged-up moment in the sun: Fleur East’s “Sax”, Kate Nash’s “Foundations”, Foxes’ “Body Talk”, Natalia Kills’ “Problem”, and Ella Eyre’s “New Me”.

We’re happy to start as the new BBC music assistant ASAP.

Drag Race UK season five begins on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer on 28 September.

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