There’s no straightforward blueprint for a queen to win RuPaul’s Drag Race. We’ve seen queens snatch the crown with several maxi challenge wins, as well as queens who were named America’s Next Drag Superstar after just winning a single challenge. We’ve also seen winners who never landed in the bottom two, while other Drag Race champions had to lip sync for their lives more than once.
Fans can always expect the unexpected from RuPaul and her show. RU-les are made to be broken, and when it comes to Drag Race, “losing is the new winning!” Back in the day, it seemed inconceivable for a queen to win the show after bombing the Snatch Game, or lip syncing for her life more than once, or not being polished enough… but all of those imaginary rules have been broken over the years.
Most queens win Drag Race due to a combination of their storylines, likeability, and track records. And yet, it still seems inconceivable for a contestant to win a US season of the series without ever winning a maxi challenge. It also feels like an uphill battle for someone to win the flagship Drag Race series after lip syncing for their lives three or more times.
With that in mind, it’s time to check out how many times the 14 winners of Drag Race have fallen into the bottom two and use additional statistics to rank them in comparison to one another.
Scroll through to see how many times the RuPaul’s Drag Race winners fell into the bottom two during their respective seasons.
The current reigning winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 14 champion Willow Pill, appears in last place in this ranking. Pill won one maxi challenge and had to lip sync for her life two times. The only other Drag Race winner with two bottom placements had a significantly stronger track record over the course of the competition, which unfortunately puts Pill in this position.
Besides Pill, Symone is the only other Drag Race winner so far who has won a season after landing in the bottom twice. But Symone won a whopping four maxi challenges in the competition, which absolutely puts her ahead of Pill in this ranking. When it comes to bottom two placements, though, Pill and Symone are tied for two.
Several queens have gone on to win Drag Race after landing in the bottom once. What puts Yvie Oddly in this particular position is that she only won a single maxi challenge on season 11, which is less than the other queens in this ranking. Thankfully, viewers got to see Oddly shine even brighter on All Stars 7 as she returned for the first and only all-winners season of Drag Race.
Jinkx Monsoon won two maxi challenges in season five and ultimately became one of the most consequential Drag Race winners of all time. When it comes to her track record, she also only landed in the bottom two once. With that said, it’s fair to say that Monsoon received a lot of criticism during her original season due to her fashion choices, which had her nearing a low placement in certain weeks.
The original winner of Drag Race, BeBe Zahara Benet, had a pretty flawless run on the show with the exception of one lip sync for your life. She also won two maxi challenges, which made her one of the main contenders to snatch the crown. Benet ultimately won the crown and had another stellar run on All Stars 3.
Bob the Drag Queen was the frontrunner of Drag Race season eight from start to finish, but she did fall into the bottom two once. Much like Monsoon, Bob’s fashion choices were often critiqued on the mainstage, which sometimes put her at risk of lip syncing for her life. And yet, watching season eight makes it clear that Bob was fairly unbeatable in the competition.
Sharon Needles’ bottom two placement alongside Phi Phi O’Hara was completely justified, but neither of them was eliminated after RuPaul announced Willam’s disqualification and told her to sashay away instead. With that said, Needles won as many as four maxi challenges on her season, which makes her track record superior to the Drag Race winners listed here previously.
We now get to the five Drag Race champions who won their seasons without ever landing in the bottom two. Sasha Velour won two maxi challenges throughout season nine. All other Drag Race winners who never landed in the bottom won more challenges than Velour, which puts her in this position in the ranking.
Violet Chachki won three maxi challenges and never landed in the bottom two, so this is when “low placements” (landing in the bottom three or being considered a weak performer during a given week) comes into play. Chachki had a total of two low placements: episode five (stand-up challenge) and episode nine (singing challenge).
Much like Chachki, Aquaria won three challenges and never had to lip sync for her life. She also had two low placements: episode eight (Rusical challenge) and episode 10 (makeover challenge). Alas, Aquaria’s run on Drag Race season 10 feels a lot more straightforward than Chachki’s, who had her fair share of critics on the judging panel and among the viewers.
Not only did Bianca Del Rio never land in the bottom two on Drag Race season six, but she also didn’t have a single low placement over the course of the entire season. In turn, Del Rio won a total of three maxi challenges on the show. Now that’s a picture-perfect winning track record if we’ve ever seen one!