RuPaul's Drag Race has had a hell of a lot of lip syncs. There have been 11 seasons, with a lip sync in every episode. Then there's our seasons of All Stars on top of that. With all the sheer number of performances, it can be hard to recall which contestants were the famed "lip sync assassins" from the show. Thankfully, there are a few gays with just enough smarts to crunch the data for us.
"Why yes, I did create a network map of every Drag Race lip sync for a final course project," Grant Roth tweeted Tuesday night. "The left is seasons 1-11 and the right adds in All stars 1-4. Nodes are sized by [number] of lip sync wins respective to that network."
For a social network analysis class studying behavioral science, Roth took all the institutional data knowledge he has and put it towards something we truly care about: drag queens. To cull the data, follow researcher Max Warburg supplied Roth with his dataset that included seasons 1-8 and the first two seasons of All Stars, which Roth then expanded through fandom wiki page research. The resulting graphs reveal a few interesting tidbits about the lip syncs.
By a casual glance, it becomes pretty clear who the top lip sync performers are for the regular season of the show: Coco Montrese, Ginger MInj, Alexis Mateo, Peppermint, and Kameron Michaels. That said, when you begin to study that data in the context of how the series works, it becomes a Catch-22.
"One interesting thing I found in this is that it reveals a paradox in Drag Race's regular season's structure," Roth tells Out. "Take Kameron Michaels: she is sized the largest, which means she had the most lip sync wins and was a runner-up. So sometimes the better lip syncer you are, the longer you stay in the competition.
"The context for this, though, is that she was doing the worst week-by week towards the end of her season," Roth continues. "So you're the best at the thing you do because you're the worst." And it's true: in the regular season of Drag Race, lip syncing is, most often, a punishment for poor maxi-challenge performance.
The graph also shows interesting moments during the show: on the first graph, which shows data from the regular seasons, also shows interesting occurrences like the double elimination on season 5 or that pointless, god-awful six-person match up in season 11. But, when you add in the All Stars data, the queens become one interconnected web — otherwise, connections between seasons are rare, including only Shangela and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, who competed on multiple series.
With All Stars data added in it becomes immediately apparent that it's Trinity the Tuck who is the show's top lip sync assassin, having won the most matchups. But, for the well-decorated performer it's likely just another crown for her to wear!
Watch a few of our favorite performances below.