Image Credit: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ MTV / Viacom / World Of Wonder

Another herstoric season of RuPaul’s Drag Race *Original Recipe* has come to a close and, depending on when you’re reading this, you already know which Season 16 queen snatched the crown and has been deemed “America’s Next Drag Superstar.”

Did the right queen win? Were the runners-up robbed? Did Sasha Colby look downright stunning in her “step-down” look as she handed off the crown and scepter to [REDACTED]?

While we’re probably only going to unanimously agree on the answer to that last question, spirited debate amongst fans has been part of watching Drag Race since the very beginning.

Because, let’s face it: Drag is art, and art is subjective. While one queen a season is always going to end up on top, that’s ultimately up to Mama Ru and who she feels will be the country’s best drag ambassador for the year to come. But we all have our personal favorite queens, our favorite seasons, our favorite episodes—there’s no real way to qualitatively judge drag…. or is there?

IMDB, a.k.a. the Internet Movie Database, has a robust and active user community of pop culture-lovers who come to the site to share their opinions on not just film, but television, too. And because the platform allows users to rate series on an episode-by-episode basis, there’s actually a system in place that lets us see what audiences have deemed the best episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Is it an imperfect system? Oh yes, very much so. The sample of people actively using IMDB in this way and rating the show are a mere fraction of its total audience. There’s also going to be a bit of a recency bias, especially as the show has moved from Logo to VH1 to MTV and amassed its biggest audience ever.

Even still, the results may surprise you, and ultimately offer up a fascinating snapshot of what it is fans expect and want out of the world’s biggest televised drag competition.

So, let’s dive in, and see what we can learn from what fans have rated the 10 best episodes of RuPaul‘s Rage Race ever:

10. Season 15, Ep. 2 – “One Night Only, Part 2”

Recent seasons have offered up “split premieres” to allow us to get to know the cast of queens before one of them inevitably gets the Porkchop. But instead of dividing up the cast across the two, Season 15 introduced them all in the premiere, and then gave us a super-sized talent show Maxi Challenge this episode. From Anetra walking that f*cking duck, to Jax jump-roping her own hair, to Loosey LaDuca letting loose, to Sasha Colby just being the g-o-d-d-e-s-s, the sheer amount of iconic moments probably account for this ep cracking the Top 10.

9. Season 15, Ep. 12 – “Wigloose: The Rusical”

That same season also gave us what might go down as the most affecting musical challenge in Drag Race‘s run. Oh sure, the campy Footloose parody set in West Bumtuck had its hilarious moments, but its story of a small town trying to ban drag—at a time when real-life towns across the country were attempting to do just that—was timely and impactful in a way no one could’ve predicted. We’re pretty sure the “Drag Is A Protest” number alone helped the show win its fifth Outstanding Reality Competition Program Emmy this past year.

8. Season 12, Ep. 1 – “I’m That B*tch”

Another split premiere episode, the Season 12 opener introduced us to many of the cast’s key players, including its two eventual runners-up and fan favorite Miss Congeniality Heidi N. Closet. The group RuMix to RuPaul’s “I’m That B*tch” was fierce, but we’d attribute this episode’s high fan-ranking to its Lip Sync For The Win: Gigi Goode vs. Widow Von’du, tearing the stage up to Nicki Minaj banger “Starships”—in front of the Mayor Of Gag City herself! It remains the show’s most-watched competitive lip sync on YouTube.

7. Season 12, Ep. 7 – “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical”

Sensing a pattern here? Well, this is where the pattern ends, for the record, but it’s none-too-surprising that Season 12’s requisite Rusical challenge also ranked highly. It is, after all, the Madonna Rusical, with queens each putting their spin on the Queen Of Pop’s iconic eras, from Jaida Essence Hall’s “Sexy Madonna” to Crystal Methyd’s campy “Enlightened Madonna.” But, really, it’s theater queen Jan’s legendary face crack when she finds out she lost to Gigi Goode that makes this one of the best TV episodes ever.

6. Season 14, Ep. 7 – “The Daytona Wind”

For as much as we all live for the drama, sometimes fans just want to feel good while watching Drag Race, and that certainly seems to have helped this ep climb the rankings. What appeared to be a pretty straightforward acting challenge where queens parodied ’80s soaps like Dynasty actually saw Ru pulling one over on everybody, secretly inserting a “fart track” that was nothing short of camp perfection. Pair that with a fun Lip Sync For The Win and no eliminations, and you’ve got yourself an episode that’s a total gas (pardon the pun).

5. Season 5, Ep. 7 – “RuPaul Roast”

Wow, Episode 7’s sure are popular, huh? This is the oldest entry in the Top 10, but its inclusion is no surprise. Often heralded as one of the strongest casts ever, Season 5 boasted a killer crop of comedic queens, like Alaska and Jinkx Monsoon, who brought the house down in the series’ first proper Roast challenge—even Coco Montrese gagged us for the win. And on top of all of that iconography, we were gifted Alyssa Edwards vs. Roxxxy Andrews lip-syncing to “Whip My Hair”—probably the most well-deserved double shantay ever.

4. Season 6, Ep. 5 – “Snatch Game”

While it remains Drag Race‘s signature Maxi Challenge, the fact that only one Snatch Game ep actually cracked the top probably speaks to the fact that more queens end up bombing it than they do slaying the art of celebrity impersonation improv. That was not an issue in Season 6, however, which gave us Bianca Del Rio’s bawdy Judge Judy, Adore Delano‘s perfectly pitched Anna Nicole Smith, and challenge winner BenDeLaCreme’s Dame Maggie Smith, still viewed as one of the funniest performances on Drag Race, period.

3. Season 14, Ep. 12 – “Moulin Ru: The Rusical”

Quelle surprise! Color us shocked that this Rusical episode ranked so highly. Don’t get us wrong, the queens all delivered in this Moulin Rouge parody, but without live singing or original songs (it was mostly clever re-workings of Ru originals), it didn’t offer up as many distinct, standout moments. Still, we got to watch Drag Race musical guru Leland and the late, great Leslie Jordan perform on stage, Lady Camden and Bosco’s fight for the lead role was the kind of drama we love to see, and we did finally get to RuVeal that golden chocolate bar!

2. Season 9, Ep. 14 – “Grand Finale”

You can still picture those rose petals tumbling down onto Sasha Velour’s bald head, can’t you? The nail-biting live climax of the show’s first season not on Logo really delivered the spectacle, bringing together a shockingly strong final four (that three of them now have crowns—Peppermint, we’re sure your time is still coming—speaks volumes) for a Lip-Sync Smackdown of incredible songs (Whitney and Britney!). But it all comes down to what is quite possibly the single most referenced, gag-worthy, and defining image in RuPaul’s Drag Race herstory.

1. Season 16, Ep. 15 – “Reunited – LipSync Lalaparuza Smackdown”

Another shocker, but here’s where we really stress that “recency bias” caveat. The show eschewed its traditional reunion episode in favor of bringing back the eliminated queens for the most thrilling Lalaparuza yet. Amazing song choices, surprising-yet-earned Rudemptions, multiple Lip Sync Assassin showdowns, and a worthy winner? This ep really did have it all! Now, we wouldn’t be surprised if the current season’s penultimate episode eventually slips a few slots down the list with time—and that’s not to say we didn’t love it. Honestly, we’re obsessed! But one thing we’re sure of?: The twist on the series’ standard format was such a success, the Lalaparuza-in-lieu-of-reunion episode feels like it’s going to be sticking around for seasons to come.

Do you agree with what fans have deemed the Top 10 best episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race ever? Let us know your favorites in the comments below. And, hey, while you’re here: let us know what you thought of the Season 6 finale—and winner!—once you’ve watched.

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