|RuPaul's Drag Race|
|Directed by||Nick Murray|
|Theme music composer||RuPaul|
|Opening theme||"RuPaul's Drag Race" theme (season 1-present)|
|Ending theme||"Cover Girl (Put the Bass In Your Walk)" (season 1) |
"Jealous of My Boogie"
"Main Event" (season 3)
"The Beginning" (season 4-5)
"Dance with U" (season 6)
"Fly Tonight" (season 7)
"Die Tomorrow" (season 8)
"Be Someone" & "Kitty Girl" (season 9)
"Rock It (To The Moon)" (season 10)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||131|
|Running time||42-60 minutes|
|Production||World of Wonder|
|Original release||February 2, 2009 -|
RuPaul's Drag Race is an American reality competition television series produced by World of Wonder for Logo TV and, beginning with the ninth season, VH1. The show documents RuPaul in the search for "America's next drag superstar." RuPaul plays the role of host, mentor, and head judge for this series, as contestants are given different challenges each week. RuPaul's Drag Race employs a panel of judges, including RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews, Carson Kressley, and a host of other guest judges, who critique contestants' progress throughout the competition. The title of the show is a play on drag queen and drag racing, and the title sequence and song "Drag Race" both have a drag-racing theme.
RuPaul's Drag Race has spanned ten seasons and inspired the spin-off shows RuPaul's Drag U and RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars. The show has become the highest-rated television program on Logo TV, and airs internationally, including in Australia, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, and Israel. The show earned RuPaul three consecutive Emmys (2016 to 2018) for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. The show itself was awarded as a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program in 2018 and the Outstanding Reality Program award at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards. It has been nominated for four Critics' Choice Television Award including Best Reality Series - Competition and Best Reality Show Host for RuPaul, and was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Make-up for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic). Later in 2018, the show became the first show to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in the same year.
Casting calls are announced online, where prospective contestants submit audition tapes in hopes of being cast. All contestants selected must be 21 years of age or older at the time of taping.
RuPaul plays several roles in the show: host, coach, and judge. USA Today's Lifeline explains: "RuPaul the drag queen will be the final word in judging and eliminations, while RuPaul the man will offer guidance to contestants for each challenge."RuPaul's Drag Race uses progressive elimination to reduce the number of drag queens in the competition from the initial field of fifteen contestants (the maximum a season has started with) down to the final three or four, who will compete in the final challenge. In seasons 1-3 the contestants were narrowed down to a final two, with a winner being selected in the final episode. Each episode (with the exception of the casting special, "recap" episode, and reunion special) follows a format consisting of a mini challenge, a main challenge, a runway walk (where the contestants model fashion on a runway, usually with a theme based on the main challenge), the judging panel, a lip sync battle, and the elimination of a contestant. There have been some exceptions to episodes, including double-eliminations, no-eliminations, a disqualification of a contestant, and the removal of a contestant due to an injury.
In mini challenges, each contestant is asked to perform a different task with varying requirements and time limitations. Certain mini challenges are repeated from season to season. For instance, the first mini challenge of the first six seasons is a photo shoot with the photographer Mike Ruiz that includes a special twist (such as being doused with water while in full drag, having a high-powered fan turned on during the shoot, or being photographed while jumping on a trampoline). Another recurring mini challenge is dedicated to "reading," a drag term for making insulting observations about one's peers for comedic effect. The winner of a mini challenge is sometimes rewarded with an advantage in the main challenge. Though most episodes have a mini challenge, select episodes do not.
The requirements of the maxi challenge vary across each episode, and can be individual or group challenges, and initially grant immunity to the winner in the next challenge (until RuPaul announces the discontinuation of that policy mid-season). However, as of season 6, immunity is no longer granted to challenge winners. The winner of the maxi challenge also receives a special prize for their win. In the past, challenge winners have been rewarded with custom designer clothing, vacations, cruises, and quality cosmetic items. The final maxi challenge of every season up to season 8 is where the contestants star in a RuPaul music video.
The goal of each maxi challenge involves a new theme and outcome. Contestants are often asked to design and construct a custom outfit, sometimes incorporating unconventional materials. Other challenges focus on the contestants' ability to present themselves on camera, perform with music, or perform humorously. Some challenges became a tradition across seasons, such as the Snatch Game.
Beginning with the seventh season, Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews and Carson Kressley are the staple judges alongside RuPaul. Visage joined the show at the beginning of season three, while Mathews and Kressley joined at the beginning of season seven, and each joins RuPaul and Visage on alternate episodes. Past fixtures on the panel include Merle Ginsberg, who was a regular judge in the first two seasons, and Santino Rice, who held his position from the first season until the conclusion of the sixth. Until season eight, Rice was the only person, apart from RuPaul, to take part in every season of the show, serving as a main judge for seasons one through six, the first season of All Stars, and guest judging for season seven. In certain instances, Rice was absent and replacement judging was provided by make-up artist Billy Brasfield (commonly known as Billy B), Mike Ruiz, Jeffrey Moran (Absolut Vodka marketing executive), or Lucian Piane. However, due to Brasfield's numerous appearances in seasons three and four, including appearing in the Reunited episodes in both seasons, Rice and Billy B are considered to have been alternates for the same seat at the judges table throughout the two seasons.
Prior to the grand finale, the three main judges are joined by celebrity guest judges each week. Guest judges have included Pam Tillis, Paula Abdul, Pamela Anderson, Eve, Ariana Grande, Neil Patrick Harris, Kathy Griffin, Debbie Harry, Khloé Kardashian, La Toya Jackson, Adam Lambert, Demi Lovato, Bob Mackie, Rose McGowan, Olivia Newton-John, Rebecca Romijn, Gigi Hadid, Sharon Osbourne, Dan Savage, John Waters, Michelle Williams, Candis Cayne, Martha Wash, Natalie Cole, Dita Von Teese, Niecy Nash, Debbie Reynolds, Vanessa Williams, Wilmer Valderrama, The Pointer Sisters, Trina, Leah Remini, The B-52's, Kesha, Shania Twain, Graham Norton, Christina Aguilera, and Lady Gaga.
The judges each provide their opinion on the contestants' performances in the main challenge and on the runway before RuPaul announces which queen is the winner of the challenge and which two had the weakest performances. The contestants selected as the bottom two must "lip sync for their lives" to a song in a final attempt to impress RuPaul. After the lip sync, RuPaul decides who stays and who leaves. RuPaul describes the qualities the contestants must have to be crowned the winner of the show as "Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent... These are people who have taken adversity and turned it into something that is beautiful and something powerful." The phrase "charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent" is used repeatedly on the show, the acronym of which is CUNT. On the first season of All Stars, "synergy" was added to provide an explanation behind the contestants being sorted into teams (expanding the acronym into CUNTS).
The first season of Drag Race was accompanied by a seven-episode web series, titled Under the Hood of RuPaul's Drag Race. LOGOonline published a webisode of Under the Hood after each episode of Drag Race. In this companion series, RuPaul presents a documentary of contestants' conversation in the green room, replays pertinent moments from Drag Race, and airs deleted footage.
In the second season of Drag Race in 2010, Logo reformatted Under the Hood, increased its production budget, moved it from the web to television, and re-titled it to RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked. Logo broadcast an episode of Untucked after each episode of Drag Race. Untucked replaces the basic green room of Under the Hood with two decorated rooms that were until season six sponsored by Absolut Vodka and Interior Illusions, Inc.: the Interior Illusions Lounge and the Gold Bar. FormDecor sponsored the Lounge for season six. These two backstage areas allow for separate group conversations.
At the start of the seventh season of the Drag Race, Untucked reverted to a webseries, as part of the World of Wonder YouTube page. Instead of two decorated rooms, Untucked was moved back to the one room, an empty backstage space that connects to the main stage and work room, with couches for contestants to chat on. The newly renovated version also follows contestants following their elimination from the show, documenting them packing their belongings and leaving the set. The webseries format continued for the eighth and ninth season. For the show's tenth season, Untucked returned to television, where it airs on VH1 during the 30 minute time slot after the 90 minute episode airs.
"Whatcha Packin'" is a Drag Race web series that began at the start of the seventh season, and has also included the third and fourth seasons of All Stars. It features main stage judge Michelle Visage interviewing the most recently eliminated queen about their run on the show, as well as showcasing outfits that they had brought but did not have the opportunity to wear.
Since the eighth season, every episode of Drag Race has been followed by a 5 to 10-minute long aftershow called The Pit Stop. It involves a host and guest, typically past competitors of Drag Race, discussing the episode that has previously aired. The eighth season of Drag Race Pit Stop was hosted by YouTuber Kingsley. Seasons 9-10 and All Stars season two were hosted by Raja, with Bob the Drag Queen filling in for the ninth and tenth season finales. The third season of All Stars Pit Stop was hosted by previous winner Alaska Thunderfuck. The fourth season of All Stars, which is currently airing, is hosted by All Stars season three winner, Trixie Mattel, with eliminated AS4 contestant Manila Luzon subbing for her in the finale episode.
Contestants of any sexual orientation and gender identity are accepted, although most contestants to date have been gay men. Transgender women are also eligible to compete and have become more common as seasons have progressed. Sonique, a season two contestant, became the first openly transgender contestant; she came out as transgender during the season two reunion special.Monica Beverly Hillz, from season five, became the first transgender woman to reveal her status during the competition. Other transgender contestants have begun transitioning after their elimination. Carmen Carrera, a season three contestant, announced her transition during an episode of ABC's Primetime: What Would You Do? Season 4 contestant Kenya Michaels announced her own transition via Facebook and Twitter. Other transgender contestants include Stacy Layne Matthews, Jiggly Caliente, Gia Gunn, and Peppermint. Peppermint is the first drag race contestant to have been out as a transgender woman prior to the airing of her season, but after filming. Although transgender women have competed in the show, none of the contestants besides Peppermint had come out as transgender prior to being cast on the show. RuPaul faced controversy after stating that transgender women contrast with his view of what the art of drag is defined by.
|Season||Premiere Date||Finale Date||Winner||Miss
Phi Phi O'Hara
|Monét X Change||
The first season of RuPaul's Drag Race, later referred as The Lost Season, premiered in the United States on February 2, 2009, on Logo. Nine contestants were selected to compete in the running of becoming "America's Next Drag Superstar." The winner of the first season won a lifetime supply of MAC Cosmetics, was featured in an LA Eyeworks campaign, joined the Absolut Pride tour, and won a cash prize of $20,000. One of the nine contestants to compete on RuPaul's Drag Race was determined by an audience vote via the show's official website. The results were announced in early September 2008. The contestant to win this honor was Nina Flowers from Bayamón, Puerto Rico (currently residing in Denver, Colorado). The theme song playing during the runway every episode was "Cover Girl" from RuPaul's album Champion. The winner of the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race was BeBe Zahara Benet, with Nina Flowers winning Miss Congeniality.
For season two, the number of contestants was increased from nine to twelve, and the prizes were slightly modified: a lifetime supply of Nyx Cosmetics and be the face of nyxcosmetics.com, an exclusive one year public relations contract with LGBT firm Project Publicity, be featured an LA Eyeworks campaign, join the Logo Drag Race tour, and a cash prize of $25,000. A new tradition of writing a farewell message in lipstick on the workstation mirror was started by the first eliminated queen of the season, Shangela Laquifa Wadley. The theme song playing during the runway and the end credits each episode is "Jealous of My Boogie" from RuPaul's album Champion. Each week's episode is followed by a behind-the-scenes show, RuPaul's Drag Race Untucked. The winner of the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Tyra Sanchez, with Pandora Boxx winning Miss Congeniality.
This season had Michelle Visage replacing Merle Ginsberg on the judging panel and Billy Brasfield (commonly known as Billy B), Mike Ruiz, and Jeffrey Moran (courtesy of Absolut Vodka) filling in for Santino Rice's absence during several episodes. Due to Billy B's continued appearances, he and Rice are considered to have been alternate judges for the same seat on judges panel. Other changes made included the introduction of a wildcard contestant from the past season, Shangela; an episode with no elimination; and a contestant, Carmen Carrera, being brought back into the competition after having been eliminated a few episodes prior. A new pit crew was also introduced consisting of Jason Carter and Shawn Morales. The theme song playing during the runway each episode was changed to "Champion" while the song playing during the credits is "Main Event", both from RuPaul's album Champion. As with the previous season, each week's episode was followed by a behind-the-scenes show, RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked. The winner of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Raja, with Yara Sofia winning Miss Congeniality.
On December 6, 2011 Amazon.com released this season on DVD via their CreateSpace program.
The fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race began airing on January 30, 2012, with cast members announced November 13, 2011. The winner of season four headlined Logo's Drag Race Tour featuring Absolut Vodka, won a one-of-a-kind trip, a lifetime supply of NYX Cosmetics, a cash prize of $100,000, and the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar." Like the previous season, Santino Rice and Billy B (Billy Brasfield), shared the same seat at the judges table alternatively, with Brasfield filling in for Rice when needed. Both judges appeared side-by-side in the audience during the "Reunited" episode. The winner of the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Sharon Needles, with Latrice Royale winning Miss Congeniality.
The theme song playing during the runway every episode was "Glamazon" and the song played during the credits was "The Beginning", both from RuPaul's album Glamazon.
The fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race began airing on January 28, 2013, with a 90-minute premiere episode. It had the most contestants since the creation of the show with fourteen.
Season five's winner walked away with the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" along with a lifetime supply of Colorevolution Cosmetics, a one-of-a-kind trip courtesy of AlandChuck.travel, a headlining spot on Logo's Drag Race Tour featuring Absolut Vodka and a cash prize of $100,000. Santino Rice and Michelle Visage were back as judges on the panel. The theme song played during the runway each episode is "I Bring the Beat", while the song playing during the credits is "The Beginning", both songs are from RuPaul's album Glamazon. The winner of the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Jinkx Monsoon, with Ivy Winters winning Miss Congeniality.
The sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race began airing February 24, 2014. Like the fifth season, this season featured fourteen contestants competing for the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar". For the first time in the show's history, the season premiere was split into two episodes; the fourteen queens are split into two groups and the seven queens in each group compete against one another before being united as one group in the third episode.
Santino Rice and Michelle Visage are back as judges at the panel. Two new pit crew members, Miles Moody and Simon Sherry-Wood, joined Jason Carter and Shawn Morales. The winner of this season won a prize package that included a supply from Colorevolution Cosmetics and a cash prize of $100,000. This was the first season where Absolut Vodka and Interior Illusions, Inc. were not sponsors for the show, more specifically for the Untucked episodes. The Interior Illusions Lounge is now known as the Silver Lounge or FormDecor Lounge. The theme song played during the runway segment each episode was "Sissy That Walk" while the song playing during the credits is "Dance With U", both from the album Born Naked. The winner of the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Bianca Del Rio, with BenDeLaCreme winning Miss Congeniality.
The seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race began airing on March 2, 2015.
Returning judges included RuPaul and Michelle Visage, while the space previously occupied by Santino Rice was filled by new additions Ross Mathews and Carson Kressley. Mathews and Kressley were both present for the season premiere and then took turns sharing judging responsibilities. Shawn Morales, a member of the Pit Crew since the third season and Simon Sherry-Wood, a member in the sixth season, did not appear this season and were replaced by Bryce Eilenberg.
Like the previous two seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, the season featured fourteen contestants competing for the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar", a one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics, and a cash prize of $100,000. The season premiere debuted with a live and same-day viewership of 348,000, a 20% increase from the previous season. On March 20, 2015, it was announced that LogoTV had given the series an early renewal for an eighth season. The winner of the seventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Violet Chachki, with Katya winning Miss Congeniality.
On January 14, 2016, it was announced that the cast for the eighth season would be revealed during the 2016 New Now Next Honors on February 1, 2016, followed by the season premiere on March 7, 2016. The first episode celebrated the 100th taping of the show, and the 100th drag queen to enter the work room. Michelle Visage returned as a main judge, while Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews returned as rotating main judges. Similar to the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the season featured twelve contestants competing for the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar", a one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics, and a cash prize of $100,000. The winner of the eighth season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Bob the Drag Queen, with Cynthia Lee Fontaine winning Miss Congeniality.
On February 2, 2017, the cast for the ninth season was announced. On March 1, 2017, it was announced that the ninth season would premiere on March 24, 2017. This season features fourteen contestants competing for the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar", a one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics, and a cash prize of $100,000. The ninth season aired on VH1, with encore presentations continuing to air on Logo. This season featured the return of Cynthia Lee Fontaine, who previously participated in the series' eighth season. The ninth season featured a top four in the finale episode, as opposed to the top three, which was previously established in the fourth season. The winner of the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Sasha Velour, with Valentina winning Miss Congeniality.
On April 13, 2017, VH1 renewed the series for a tenth season. The season began airing on March 22, 2018.Eureka O'Hara, who was removed from the ninth season due to injury, returned to the show after she accepted an open invitation. The tenth season of Drag Race premiered; alongside the televised return of Untucked. In this season, fourteen contestants competed for the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar", a one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics, and a cash prize of $100,000. The winner of the tenth season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Aquaria, with Monét X Change winning Miss Congeniality.
On June 13, 2018, VH1 renewed the series, alongside Untucked, for an eleventh season. On January 18, 2019 it was announced via social media that season ten winner, Aquaria, and Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon will announce the cast for the eleventh season in a live stream on January 24, 2019.
On December 13, 2015, Logo aired a seasonal themed episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. The non-competitive special episode was released in conjunction with RuPaul's holiday album Slay Belles and featured music videos for songs from the album. The cast included RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Siedah Garrett, and Todrick Hall, and former contestants Alyssa Edwards, Laganja Estranja, Latrice Royale, Raja, and Shangela.
On November 1, 2018, VH1 announced a seasonal themed special episode of RuPaul's Drag Race scheduled to air on December 7, 2018. The special saw eight former contestants compete for the title of America's first Drag Race Christmas Queen. In the same announcement, the eight contestants confirmed to be competing were Eureka O'Hara, Jasmine Masters, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Shangela, Sonique, and Trixie Mattel.
Most of the music used in the series comes from RuPaul's albums, with the exception of songs used during the lip sync portion of the show and original music challenges.
During seasons 1-8, the top queens must lip sync to and sometimes record a verse for a new RuPaul music video.
RuPaul confirmed via Twitter that an album, in which each contestant from season six covered a song from his catalog, would be released. The album, titled RuPaul Presents: The CoverGurlz, was released on January 28, 2014.
Similar to season six, each of the seventh season's contestants covered a song that was previously recorded by RuPaul. The album is titled RuPaul Presents: CoverGurlz2 and was released on February 3, 2015. The album also features the single "New York City Beat", a song by RuPaul featuring Michelle Visage.
Throughout the show, eleven promotional singles have been released featuring original songs written by the cast. An album containing some of the original songs from the show written by Lucian Piane entitled RuPaul's Drag Race: The Rusical was released on April 22, 2016.
|Season||Release date||Special features||Discs|
|2||December 6, 2011||
|3||December 6, 2011||
|4||June 26, 2012||
|5||June 10, 2013||
|6||October 21, 2014||
|7||June 8, 2016||
|8||July 29, 2016||
RuPaul's Drag Race has been nominated for twenty-three Emmy Awards, and won nine. It has also been nominated for nine Reality Television Awards, winning three, and nominated for six NewNowNext Awards, winning three.
Early seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race were criticized for appearing to favor 'glamorous' drag queens over comedic or camp queens. For example, Popbytes commented Drag Race has been accused numerous times of keeping some of the more unpleasant but 'feminine' queens in the competition for the sake of drama. However, Common Sense Media commented, "RuPaul's Drag Race combines the fashion design drama of Project Runway with the modeling excitement of America's Next Top Model to create an entertainingly voyeuristic glimpse into the performance art world of drag queens. There's plenty of over-the-top stuff, but rather than simply treating drag performers as people to be laughed at and/or scorned, the show also focuses on the hard work and talent that goes into drag performances."Entertainment Weekly cited the elimination of comedian and eventual season two fan favorite Pandora Boxx as the season's most controversial.
In March 2014, Drag Race sparked controversy over the use of the term "shemale" in the season six mini challenge "Female or She-male?".Logo has since removed the segment from all platforms and addressed the allegations of transphobia by removing the "You've got she-mail" intro from new episodes of the series. This was replaced with, "She done already done had herses!"
Host RuPaul additionally came under fire for comments made in an interview with The Guardian, in which he stated he would "probably not" allow a transgender contestant to compete on Drag Race. RuPaul compared transgender drag performers to doping athletes on his Twitter, and has since apologized. Season nine winner, Sasha Velour, expressed her disagreement via Twitter, stating "My drag was born in a community full of trans women, trans men, and gender non-conforming folks doing drag. That's the real world of drag, like it or not. I thinks it's fabulous and I will fight my entire life to protect and uplift it".