The best Drag Race lip-syncs of all time, as chosen by Drag Race queens

The lip-sync for your life has become as integral to the Drag Race franchise as the drag performers themselves. It’s the climax of every episode, the most memorable element of each and every series.

Over the years, there have been several lip-syncs that have set themselves apart from the rest, cutting through with fans and cementing themselves in the Drag Race Hall of Fame.

Whether it’s aerial acrobatics, never-before-seen reveals or setting new standards for emotional range, contestants have continued to find new ways to set themselves apart from the competition.

So, when PinkNews caught up with 17 drag legends – including a few lip-sync assassins – at RuPaul’s DragCon UK recently, we grilled them on what they think are the greatest performances the show has ever given us.

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Thorgy Thor vs Chi Chi DeVayne, ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’ (chosen by Angeria Paris VanMicheals)

Drag Race finalist Angeria Paris VanMicheals knows a few things about lip-syncing.

The season 14 queen had to face off against one of her season’s best performers, Jasmine Kennedie, beating her and ultimately sending her home. A few episodes later, she went head-to-head with friend and eventual winner Willow Pill, leading to one of the franchise’s few double shantays.

“One of my all-time favourites is [season eight’s] Thorgy Thor and Chi Chi DeVayne doing ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’,” Angeria tells PinkNews.

“That is a song I’ve performed 1,000 times and that was the first time I’d ever seen it really performed by a drag entertainer.

“Chi Chi, her beads were all over the floor. Child! You have these two drag queens and they’re in black and white, doing Jennifer Holliday. You can’t get any more camp than that. There were beads all over the floor but nobody bust their *ss.”

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Nearah Nuff and Aurora Matrix, ‘Black Velvet’ (chosen by Jasmine Kennedie, Tayce and Venus)

Jasmine Kennedie may have made herstory as the first Drag Race queen to lose three lip-syncs in one episode, but she remains a lip-sync killer – so much so that she was asked to return as a lip-sync assassin on All Stars 8.

Choosing her favourite performance a tough. “It’s so hard because there’s like 500 of us now or something,” she laughs.

“Nearah Nuff and Aurora Matrix [on Canada’s Drag Race season four]. Any time Nearah lip-syncs, it’s a slay. But also, if you want to be classic, Alyssa Edwards and Tatianna. Hello, everyone knows that one.”

The most recent inductee into the global Drag Race hall of fame, Canada’s Drag Race star Venus, agrees.

For this drag superstar, the best lip-syncs are all about high-energy. And the best of the lot? Her season four sisters Nearah Nuff and Aurora Matrix performing a steamy version of Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet”.

“I’m going to give it to Nearah and Aurora, that was iconic,” Venus says. “I never had to lip-sync for my life, but I was always in the back having the time of my life. I was always the third person in the lip-sync.”

Venus isn’t the only Drag Race favourite stanning Nearah and Aurora’s “Black Velvet” performance. Their lip-sync might be recent, but it’s instantly cemented itself in Drag Race legend, according to Tayce.

“Honestly, [my favourite lip-sync] would be Nearah and Aurora in the battle on Canada’s Drag Race season four. Girl, they f**ked it up,” the UK queen says.

“I was like: girl, I gotta go to the studio and work on some new moves and tricks, because I can’t even touch my toes.”

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Brooke Lynn Hytes vs. Yvie Oddly, ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’ (chosen by Aurora Matrix)

The name of the Canada’s Drag Race season four finalist Aurora Matrix was on everyone’s lips at DragCon UK. First, because she was one of the favourites to win the recent season. Secondly, because she became one of the most indisputable lip-sync slayers in the show’s history, making it all the way to the end of the smack down challenge.

She oozed sex appeal as she took on Sam Smith’s “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” and “Boys Wanna Be Here”, by Peaches, but Aurora’s own favourite was all about the kicks, flips and circus tricks.

“Other than my own lip-syncs, because she’s a lip-sync killer, I would say Brooke Lynn Hytes vs. Yvie Oddly [on season 11],” she reveals.

“That was one of the moments where I was just like, Brooke Lynn – you don’t f**k with her. You don’t mess with her because she’s going to give you a performance.”

Fans of the show are bound to agree about the eventual top-two queens’ performance of Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry”.

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Sasha Colby vs Anetra, ‘I’m in Love with a Monster’ (chosen by Brooke Lynn Hytes)

Season 11 finalist and Canada’s Drag Race host Brooke Lynn Hytes is perhaps more qualified than anyone to spill the tea on what makes an insanely good lip-sync. She slayed in the battle against Yvie Oddly, delivered in the finale lip-syncs, and was invited back as a lip-sync assassin during All Stars 6.

For her though, there’s one performer who trumps everyone: Sasha Colby.

She chooses the two season 15 lip-syncs between Anetra and eventual winner Colby “because it was fierce and they are two incredible performers,” she says.

“Sasha Colby is one of my favourite performers ever. It was just amazing.”

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Kylie Sonique Love vs Morgan McMichaels, ‘Two of Hearts’ (chosen by Jimbo)

For fan favourite Jimbo, it’s a fellow All Stars winner who captivated her with their lip-sync abilities.

“My favourite is the one with Kylie Sonique Love and Morgan McMichaels: ‘Two of Hearts’ [by Stacey Q],” the All Stars 8 champion reveals.

“I think that was one of the first ones where I saw Sonique – I’m a big fan – that was when I saw her just absolutely eat and deliver and slay.”

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Tayce vs Cherry Valentine, ‘Memory’ (chosen by Alexis Saint-Pete and Gisèle Lullaby)

Disaster struck Drag Race UK season five’s Alexis Saint-Pete during the first lip-sync of the season, leaving her wishing she’d emulated a couple of other queens.

“I love ‘Memory’, which Cherry [Valentine] did with Tayce,” she says, “and probably Valentina in All Stars 4, when she got prepared and was like: ‘Well, I’m here to win it’, and did. She looked amazing.”

However, there’s one more lip-sync she recalls – in the very worst way.

“You know which lip-sync I keep coming back to? My own,” she laughs. “Because I’m like: ‘How the hell did I decide not to wear underwear for that?’ And the little jump splits with that Barbie vagina… really?”

Another fan of Cherry and Tayce’s take on Elaine Paige’s “Memory” is Canada’s Drag Race season three winner Gisèle Lullaby.

“It was mesmerising,” she recalls. “I remember being home and [thinking]: ‘[Tayce] is the most beautiful drag queen I’ve ever seen’, and she was doing a slow song.

All my respect to Cherry Valentine, who we lost [in 2022]. She was amazing, but Tayce stole the show.”

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Coco Montrese vs. Alyssa Edwards, ‘Cold Hearted’ (chosen by Veronica Green)

Two-time Drag Race UK contestant Veronica Green is a big fan of the “golden era” of the show, aka season four to six.

“I love old-school Drag Race,” she tells PinkNews. 

“Coco Montrese vs. Alyssa Edwards to [Kat Graham song] ‘Cold Hearted Snake’ is probably one of my favourite lip-syncs of all time. I could watch it on repeat.”

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Denali vs Kimora, ‘100% Pure Love’ (chosen by Veronica Green)

“The same could be said [for] Denali against Kahmora Hall [to Krystal Waters’ ‘100% Pure Love’]. I can watch that again and again, too,” enthuses Veronica Green.

“Also, Latrice Royale and Kenya Michaels. Not so much Kenya, but Latrice’s emotion that she conveyed – it just goes to show that you don’t always have to be doing dips and splits and high kicks. Oh, and how could I forget, Dida Ritz and The Princess?”

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Krystal Versace vs Vanity Milan, ‘Hallucinate’ (chosen by Vanessa van Cartier)

As a certified expert, having won season two of Drag Race Holland, trans legend Vanessa van Cartier knows a good lip-sync when she sees it. And when asked which is her favourite, she replies: “Well, first of all, I loved mine when I did Shirley Bassey’s ‘This Is My Life’ with the reveal of the glitter.”

It’s fair enough: it’s the lip-sync that won her the crown, after all.

“Krystal Versace [vs. Vanity Milan], I liked this one very much,” Vanessa adds. “I liked Krystal’s because it’s very difficult to be original, and she showed her personality, her looks, her way to be. She’s a star.”

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Cheddar Gorgeous vs Danny Beard, ‘This is My Life’ (chosen by Banksie)

Fan favourite and glamorous giant Banksie has a soft spot for the emotional lip-syncs – apart from when she’s having to do them, of course (sorry Susan Boyle).

“Probably the [one] I would have loved to have done was Cheddar [Gorgeous] and Danny [Beard’s] final lip-sync in season four,” she reveals.

“I remember we watched it at home, me and my drag sisters, because obviously we were hoping that mum [Cheddar] was gonna take the crown. But Danny is auntie, so I’m happy she took it, too.”

The pair also performed Shirley Bassey’s “This Is My Life”.

“I would have loved to do a bit of Shirley. It was just so powerful and I think an emotional song at a finale gets the heart racing and sets the mind going. They both did so well and I’m so jealous I didn’t get to do that,” Banksie admits.

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Marina Summers vs Xilhouete ‘Call Me Mother’ (chosen by Marina Summers)

Drag Race Philippines finalist and recently announced cast member of Drag Race UK vs. The World season two Marina Summers didn’t have much chance to show her lip-sync abilities on her original season, considering she never landed low enough.

But her finale performance to RuPaul’s “Call Me Mother”, which included a reveal and not a single lyric missed, was enough to cement her status as a lip-sync assassin. It’s not exactly a major surprise, then, when she reveals her all-time favourite performance.

“‘Call Me Mother’ by Marina Summers,” she laughs.

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Shangela vs Venus D Lite ‘The Right Stuff’ (chosen by DeDeLicious)

The undeniable lip-sync destroyer of Drag Race UK season five, DeDeLicious – who had to lip-sync an exhausting four times in just 10 episodes – has a controversial favourite performance.

“[I want to say] Anetra and Marcia [in season 15] but I feel that’s a very common answer so I’m going to go back,” she says.

“Season three episode one, Shangela vs. Venus D Lite, when she lobs that ponytail to the back of the stage.”

During the lip-sync of Vanessa Williams’ “The Right Stuff”, Madonna impersonator Venus tore off the wig that formed part of her Christmas-themed look and chucked it at the queens who were standing at the back.

“That’s when Drag Race was at its prime,” DeDe reminisces. “The girls were ripping wigs off and throwing wigs to the back. It was so funny.”

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Alyssa Edwards vs Tatianna, ‘Shut Up and Drive’ (chosen by Miss Naomi Carter)

Miss Naomi Carter believes there’s really only response to the question of best-ever lip-sync, and most of the fandom would agree.

“This one didn’t take me even a second to think about: my favourite lip-sync of all time is Tatianna and Alyssa Edwards [doing Rihanna’s], ‘Shut Up and Drive’,” she says.

“It lives rent free in my mind, non-stop. Iconic. It was just so good.”

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Anetra vs Marcia Marcia Marcia, ‘Boss B*tch’ (chosen by Le Fil)

Drag Race UK season four queen Le Fil is torn between naming her favourite lip-sync to watch, and the lip-sync she had most fun with: her own.

“Best-ever lip-sync is hard, because there are so many good ones. I was thinking of Anetra’s forward roll [in the Doja Cat song ‘Boss B*tch’ lip-sync against Marcia Marcia Marcia] – I was watching that recently,” she says.

“I’m gonna say the one that I was on. Me and Black Peppa doing ‘Stop’ [by the Spice Girls]. It was in front of Mel B, and as a massive Spice Girls fan, I was like: ‘I don’t care. I’m performing in front of Mel B’, who championed my shoes and said that I outdid the Spice Girls.

“My concept for that performance – because I was wearing a tent – there were rumours that the Spice Girls were going to play at Glastonbury, so my idea for that lip-sync was, I’m going to be me, at Glastonbury, dancing to the Spice Girls. That’s why I’m going to take my shoes off, because I’m going to be dancing in the mud.”

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Coco Montrese vs Monica Beverly Hillz, ‘When I Grow Up’ (chosen by Jan)

Jan wants to shout out one very underrated lip-sync. “You know what’s crazy? I feel this is one that is not everyone’s [favourite],” she says.

“Mine has to be Coco Montrese and Monica Beverly Hillz, ‘When I Grow Up’ [by The Pussycat Dolls] on season five.”

“I’m an old-school broad. I love Monica, but Coco did the damn thing in that one. She was in a baby-doll dress. Put some respect on her name.”

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