Every queen that works into the drag race werk room knows that at some point or another knows they are going to have to perform a lip-sync. The added pressure is that not only is this part of each episode that every viewer looks forward to, but it is also their performance in this performance that decides if they stay on their journey or go home which is a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Through the 12 seasons of the normal season (and five seasons of the all-star version of the show) we have witnessed some of the most iconic performances and has developed the moniker of “lip-sync assassin” for those queens who repetitively showcased their performance skills and sent a few other queens as a result of these skills. Here is a list of ten of the most iconic lip-sync performances (from the US strand of the show) in no particular order, let’s hope I “don’t f*ck it up!
1.Kenya Michaels vs Latrice Royale
The fear that Kenya Michaels must have felt during this episode of season 5. Not only did she end up in the bottom two, which is fear-inducing enough, but she was forced to lip-sync against the icon that is Latrice Royale to the song ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ by Aretha Franklin. Latrice portrayed Aretha in the snatch game, so she had a greater idea of how to portray the singer perfectly but more generally Latrice is debatably the (drag) queen of soul and song this song falls perfectly into her wheelhouse of performance. Poor Kenya never stood a chance in this number despite pulling everything out of her bag of tricks, her ballerina style portrayal paled in comparison to Latrice’s soulful and emotional performance. It’s a shame that lip-sync will be remembered for the severe clash of styles and total domination by Latrice, but it is an iconic performance, nevertheless.
2.Alyssa Edwards vs Tatianna
I am no longer able to listen to the song “Shut up and Drive” By Rihanna without thinking about these two iconic queens battling against each other in the lip-sync for your legacy on All-stars season 2 episode 5. I would not be able to tell you what happened in the official video to this song but can tell you what each queen did at each section of the performance. Knowing Alyssa is a professionally trained dancer (and was later crowned as a lipsync assassin and returned to showcase her talents in all-stars 5) and at this point, I only really knew Tatianna for her ‘same parts’ spoken-word piece I thought it was going to be another dominance, but I could not have been more wrong. The performance itself had splits and tricks including a synchronized drop to the group with exact precision by both performers which was incredible! This performance defiantly deserved the double saved it received and solidified Alyssa’s crown as a lipsync assassin and marked Tatianna out as a standout performer which surprised me, to be honest.
3.Brooke Lynn Hytes and Yvie Oddly
After a less than perfect performance by both queens during the season 11 snatch game these two queens had a lot to prove during their lip syncs to “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato, they did that and more! Showcasing more athleticism than I have ever seen including flips and tricks and a perfect wig reveal this is the type of performance I would love to see live! This was another performance that I couldn’t choose a winner and apparently, neither could Ru which was why it was another double save. It was clear from this point that the finale would ultimately be between these two queens and a rematch of epic proportion would be in order and while the part 2 was not as specular as this one, this performance will be remaining an iconic moment in herstory for years to come!
4. Sasha Velour vs Shea Couleé
This performance just gets me “So Emotional” (see what I did there) just from how iconic it is and how it will remain in any drag race memory for a long, long time. This performance by these two finalists of season nine to the insanely powerful “So Emotional” performed originally by the legendary Whitney Houston. The lip sync started as every average performance in the show does but the reason this number was so iconic and can be summarized in two words… ROSE PETALS! The moment that Sasha lifted her wig to reveal a cascade of Rose petals to fit perfectly (and has since realized a song where she elaborated on this stunt in later performances) to the song and Shea must have known at this point that the battle was over. Not only was this iconic at the time but also the fact that it was constantly brought up during Shea’s return to all-stars 5, which she eventually won. Now that both queens have had time to develop and have both been crowned as drag race superstars, I would love to see the rematch or all rematches to see how EPIC that would be!
5. Katya vs Kennedy Davenport
There seems to be a running theme within this list. The lipsync performances where one performer is known for high energy dance routines are always going to be great especially when the other performer shocks the audience by being able to keep up with them which is exactly the storyline to the performance of Roar by Katya and Kennedy during Season 7, Episode 11. Kennedy is a queen known for her kicks and flips during performances whereas Katya is considered as more for her comedy (although her gymnastics skills were on full display during this number.) Donned in custom made hello kitty couture, both people were incredible especially at one point where Kennedy did a split off the runway down to the floor below and Katya completed a handspring into the split’s moments later. This number was incredible to watch and keep the viewers gagged throughout and I believe was one of the main reasons both queens returned for all-stars.
6.Chi Chi vs Thorgy
Rest In peach Chi Chi! If you have seen any of the tribute videos to the late great Chi Chi DeVayne they would have shown at least a few clips from this incredible lip-sync by these two memorable queens. This was a Brillant performance by both queens by the emotion and passion that Chi chi portrayed was incredible during this rendition of And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going) was incredibly moving and the moment in which the pearls start to cascade off her outfit was perfect. Don’t get me wrong, Thorgy almost clown-Esque rendition was entertaining and her cartwheel was performed flawlessly, but this song had Chi-Chi down to a T. This performance is only made more emotional now that she has passed away and the lyric “I’m not going” is particularly heart-wrenching. But this performance was legendary as both were performing in their black and white inspired looks performing this legendary song which was one of the only times the lipsync song matched the runway theme which only added to this memorable song.
7.Raja vs Carmen Carrera
This performance was not because of all the flips and tricks or the emotion both queens displayed by rather because of how sensual the performance was to watch. Raja and Carmen performed a lipsync number to the Paula Abdul classic “Straight Up” where the latter is known for being a more sensual performer and half nakedness, but Raja is not. But in this number Raja decided to ‘stoop’ to Carmen’s level complete with a kiss to her opponent’s shoulder which was unexpected but welcomed. The performance was a complete contrast from the performances given on previous episodes/series and showed Raja as an adaptable and amazing queen.
8.Ben Delacrème and Aja
Ben Delacreme was an actual force to be reckoned with during her return in all-stars three and her hybrid of quick-wit and comedy shone throughout never more than during this performance of Anaconda against Aja. You would think that Aja would be perfectly suited to this song due to its sassy and sensual undertones, but Ben developed a hilarious performance of the song which, to be honest, outshone Aja severely. This number appeared in the opening episode after the talent show so the audience were aware of how talented Aja is as a dancer but also had witnessed Ben’s brilliant burlesque comedy number and so the stakes were very high but both performers delivered but Ben rendition was slightly more entertaining.
9. Jinkx Monsoon and Detox
The entirety of season five was the underdog story and eventual win of Jinkx Monsoon. She fought against the trio of rolaskatox which conflicts with Roxxy Andrews so when it was like a movie where the good guy takes on one of the bad guys. You have to realize that at this point Detox was known for her lip sync abilities and Jinkx appeared to be yet another queen to be sent home. Shockingly, Jinkx delivered a wonderfully camp performance which only slightly topped Detox and was the first step in Jinkx overcoming the evil Rolaskatox. This was a wonderfully surprising song that I believe was a key point in Jinkx road to victory and showed that she isn’t just a comedy queen but also a very talented performer.
10. Alyssa Edwards vs. Roxxxy Andrews
Another iconic lip sync battle featuring Alyssa Edwards there seems to be a pattern! Except for this time, it was not Alyssa that delivered the Iconic moments but instead her opponent. During Season five Alyssa Edwards and Roxxy Andrews ended up in the bottom two and the number selected for this performance was Whip My Hair by Willow Smith. Like I have said, Alyssa is known for her high energy numbers and so this number seemed to play right into her wheelhouse but Roxxy pulled out one of her secret power – wig reveals. Roxxxy is now known for her iconic wig reveals but at the time the episode aired it wasn’t too popular so to see this on the mainstage was amazing and remains incredibly iconic even today!