And while we’d never usually be ones to contest any choice made by drag royalty, there have been a few moments when we and other ‘Drag Race’ fans have been left asking, in the words of the great prophet Coco Montrese: “Really, Ru?”.
As we wait with baited breath for the iconic lip syncs ‘All Stars 3’ is about to deliver, here are eight instances when we felt the wrong queen was told to “sashay away”...
1. Alyssa Edwards (‘All Stars 2’)
Alright, let’s start with what’s probably the most obvious. Roxxxy Andrews was saved over Alyssa Edwards not once but twice during the course of ‘All Stars 2’, and we have nothing against Roxxxy but… she’s lucky she had her pals to bail her out during that season, let’s just say that.
Alyssa’s second elimination, which came when a tearful Detox won a Lip Sync For Her Legacy against Katya, was so shocking that even RuPaul visibly gasped at the desk, but fortunately the fan-favourite took it all in her stride, joking on her way out: “Now, I’m a lovely… fourth runner-up.”
2. Shannel (Season 1)
Throwing it back to the show’s heavily-filtered first season, this was the last lip sync before the final.
Honestly, watching it all these years later, we can’t imagine either of these performances cutting the mustard against the more recent crop of queens, but we still think Shannel just inched it, even if Ru clearly didn’t agree with us.
3. Trixie Mattel (Season 7)
Arguably the most divisive lip sync in ‘Drag Race’ herstory. Neither Trixie nor Pearl have the acrobatic abilities of a Shangela or a Laganja Estranja, so this performance relied solely on their very different styles of lip sync.
Pearl put up a good fight, but her version of Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’ (which even Debbie Harry has said she can’t make her mind up over) was pretty one-note, compared to Trixie’s more dynamic performance.
Although she was briefly brought back during season seven, we’re hoping ‘All Stars 3’ will give her a true moment of Rudemption.
4. Laila McQueen (Season 8)
RuPaul declared that neither Laila McQueen nor Dax Exclamationpoint had done justice to ‘I Will Survive’, and sent them both sashaying away near the beginning of season 8.
While we’ll admit that Laila’s performance didn’t quite measure up to Gloria Gaynor’s iconic gay classic, we do think Ru was a little harsh in sending her away, given that she did do a better job than her opponent, and had showed off some amazing moves a week earlier with her ‘Applause’ routine.
5. Vivacious (Season 6)
This is no disrespect to April Carrión. She was probably the worthy winner of the lip sync, delivering the performance most loyal to Selena Gomez’s ‘Shake It Up’.
But therein lies the problem, the two queens are such different performers that April was always going to be at an advantage. Had the lip sync routine been to a track a bit closer to the middle of their abilities, we could easily imagine this having gone a different way.
6. Tatianna (‘All Stars 2’)
So first off, Katya probably should have won this lip sync (Alaska did a good job but we’re not a fan of queens getting in their competitors’ spaces during a lip sync), but that’s not what we’re here to discuss.
What we are here to discuss is the fact that Tatianna - like the aforementioned Alyssa Edwards - was sent packing over Roxxxy Andrews, by a member of Rolaskatox on two separate occasions.
Admittedly, her Ariana Grande impression on Snatch Game probably made her a deserving candidate to be sent home, she was also one of the funniest in the Drag Fish Tank challenge, so to see her go at this stage of the competition, when she’d made so much progress, was a real shame.
Flooding Alaska’s Twitter mentions with snake emojis was probably still a bit much though, people...
7. Phoenix (Season 3)
Yeah, remember Phoenix? Us neither, really. Another queen from the show’s early seasons, she was the second to leave after winding up in the bottom two with Delta Work.
We’re not suggesting that Phoenix was ever going to cut it against season 3’s strongest competitors such as Manila Luzon, Raja or even Shangela, but at the same time, Delta’s stiff and rather muted take on ‘Bad Romance’ should have been enough to have her sashaying away in this instance.
8. Kennedy Davenport (Season 7)
The group lip syncs in the more recent season finales have always perplexed us a bit, as the busy stage means that contestants who’d usually slay a lip sync for their life with minimal effort wind up getting lost in a crowd.
This is what happened to Kennedy when she eventually found herself left out in the cold right before the season seven final. Seriously, how is any ‘Drag Race’ fan expected to believe that Kennedy was out-lip synced by Pearl or Violet Chachki?
Incidentally, this group performance is not on YouTube, so instead we’ve featured the video of Kennedy showing everything she’s capable of from the week prior, when she sent fan-favourite Katya packing.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3’ airs in the UK on Comedy Central from 28 January.