In just over a decade, 12 queens have been crowned America's Next Drag Superstar on RuPaul's Drag Race - each reigning for about a year. But as the franchise keeps moving forward with enough seasons, specials, and spin-offs to dominate TV for an entire calendar year, the schedules have changed, adjusting the length of the winners’ reigns. With 2021 likely airing the most Drag Race ever, we crunched the numbers to figure out exactly how long each of the title holders was able to reign for.
The results were actually interesting.
One might assume that the longest-reigning queens would be the earliest, given that there was less going on in the Drag Race universe. But BeBe Zahara Benet lost out by four days.
"I am both honored and thrilled to hold the title as the longest-reigning queen of RuPaul's Drag Race,” season eight’s Bob the Drag Queen tells Out after the numbers were finally tallied. She held the top title for 403 days. “It had little to nothing to do with me - besides the winning, - as I think it's mostly about when Viacom decides to air the show and how many episodes there are… but I am completely honored and I accept it with grace."
Bob's season eight reign was four days longer than BeBe Zahara Benet's season one reign of 399 days. Following them is a tie for third and fourth place between season five winner Jinkx Monsoon and season six winner Bianca Del Rio, both of whom held the title for 378 days. The next two are a tie again, for fifth and sixth place: both season three winner Raja and season four winner Sharon Needles reigned supreme for 371 days.
Drag Race season nine winner Sasha Velour reigned for 370 days - just one day short of tying Raja and Sharon. Sasha was the last winner in the series to reign for more than a year. In eighth place is season 11 winner Yvie Oddly, who, oddly enough, is the only queen to have reigned for exactly 365 days. Then comes season two winner James Ross, who at the time went by the stage name of Tyra Sanchez, and who reigned for 364 days. Rounding out the Top 10 longest Drag Race reigns of all time is Violet Chachki, whose season seven reign lasted 350 days.
For two years, the shortest-reigning Drag Race winner of all time was Aquaria, whose season 10 reign lasted 336 days. However, in 2021, Drag Race started season 13 on New Year's Day. When the show aired its finale — of the admittedly extended season — on April 23, it made season 12's Jaida Essence Hall the queen with the shortest reign.
Hall's reign came in at 329 days, just seven days shy of Aquaria. Couple this with the fact that the entirety of her reign was during the global lock downs, and she truly got the shortest end of the stick.
The All-Stars winners are inducted to the Drag Race Hall of Fame, which is technically a different concept from being the reigning winner of a regular season. Nonetheless, the fans still refer to those winners as All-Stars reigning champions, so it's worth taking a look at those time periods as well. Unsurprisingly, the longest-reigning All-Stars winner is Chad Michaels, with 1,417 days. This is simply due to the fact that it took so long for the spin-off to be picked up for a second season. But what is shocking is that Alaska Thunderf*ck is not the second longest-reigning winner of All-Stars, despite the fans' general impression that it also took a while for the third season to happen. Alaska's All-Stars two reign lasted 518 days, but Monet X Change and Trinity The Tuck's All-Stars four beat her out with 525 days.
At this point in time, Trixie Mattel is the shortest-reigning All-Stars winner of all time, with 337 days. However, just like season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall, All-Stars five winner Shea Coulee is in serious risk of ending up with the shortest All-Stars reign ever. If the season 13 finale does land on April 2, 2021 and a sixth season of All-Stars containing eight episodes starts a week later on April 9, 2021, Shea's reign could end on May 28, 2021. This would put the All-Stars five reign at 308 days. If you feel like you've seen that number before, it's because it is coincidentally the exact same length of time that we had in our forecast for Jaida's reign based on the season 13 premiere date and the show's usual number of episodes. The difference between Trixie's reign and Shea's reign would be 29 days under these projections, which means that Shea would need five extra weeks of All-Stars six — additional episodes, weeks without new episodes, or just a delay for the season to begin — in order to keep Trixie as the shortest-reigning All-Stars winner ever.