The lip sync is arguably the most important tool in a drag queen’s kit: you can get away with a raggedy dress, a thirsty wig, and a questionable beat as long as you can keep the audience entertained. Every performer has their own approach, and there’s no one right way to nail a number, but you can’t deny the power of a good, old-fashioned gimmick.
On RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 (New episode, VHI, 8/7 C tonight), with your life on the line, contestants have tried every trick in the book to get Ru’s attention. Rather than rank the best overall battles, we’ve prepared a rundown of our favorite show-stopping Lip Sync For Your Life moments. (Unranked, because how could you choose?)
Monet X Change, The Fake Out
The hilarious build-up with no release makes this Season 10 hopeful the most recent addition to the Stunting Hall of Fame. It works because you want the jump split and can’t have it, but also because she saves it and gives it to you later. She’s not blue-balling you, it’s just edging.
Roxxxy Andrews, The Wig Reveal
Hair under hair became so synonymous with her brand that she made a commercial about it on All Stars 2. Many contestants had previously snatched their wigs to catch RuPaul’s eye, but Roxxxy was the first to have another, equally stunning ‘do underneath. The concept was so iconic that it became an All Stars 3 runway theme.
Sasha Velour, The Wig Cascade
We can’t talk about hair stunts without talking about the Season 9 finale. After brilliantly establishing a pattern by first tearing a rose apart and then pulling petals from her gloves, our current reigning made it rain, showering herself with the concealed contents of her radiant red hairpiece. The crowd reaction was so deafening that Ru may as well have crowned her right then and there.
Coco Montrese, The Outfit Reveal
Raja and Carmen technically did it first with their sultry yet weaponized striptease, but Coco executed an act of technical wizardry by creating a fully realized baby doll runway look concealing a Lolita glow-up that connected lyrically to the lip sync song. Often the “after” of a reveal looks like an afterthought, but she earns her spot on this list by creating two complete, cohesive outfits.
Mimi Imfurst, The Deadlift
It might not have been the best choice, but it was certainly the most memorable: Mimi will always be known as the queen who carried her competitor, kicking and screaming, back to the stage, forcing the clarification that “drag is not a contact sport.”
Katya, The Slow Splits
A split is no longer enough to impress on its own, so let’s look at some ways to raise the stakes on it. First up, the kooky Russian favorite who proved how effortless this act of flexibility is for her by putting it in slo-mo.
Alyssa Edwards, The Spinning Splits
Every second that Alyssa is on stage is golden, and every part of this particular battle was gag-worthy, but her whirling dervish of a leaping cooter slam is the closest to a Mortal Kombat move this competition has ever gotten.
Milan, The Skidding Splits
Lots of girls are flexible, but this Season 4 sensation showed an extra dose of creativity when she, in Willam’s immortal description, “Swiffered the floor with her taint.” It might have seemed a tad desperate, but whatever it takes to survive until the next episode, right?
Aja, The Elevated Death Drop
OK, so technically this was not a lip sync for your life. And technically Shangela did the show’s first death drop. But we’d be foolish not to include Aja’s leap of faith from All Stars 3 on this list because it was undeniably EVERYTHING.
Latrice Royale, The Stand And Deliver
In the end, our Chunky Yet Funky queen proved that there’s no substitute for serving it. Kenya tried every move in the book, but you barely knew she was there in comparison to Latrice’s pure, honest, emotional delivery. Sometimes the boldest move is not to move at all.