The Variety Show maxi challenge was introduced on All Stars 2, and it's become a staple for the series ever since. For seasons two through six, Variety Shows have served as the first challenge of each season. According to RuPaul, this is the contestants' chance to show off their very best skills and start the season on the right foot. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case for a lot of queens who either fumbled something they're good at or took chances that didn't pay off.
For the all-winners season, the Variety Show was featured as the last maxi challenge of the season and it was worth three Legendary Legend Stars. Ultimately, this meant that the two queens who won the Variety Show would automatically make it to the All Stars 7 finale. This new approach - and the reward of three Legendary Legend Stars - was well-received by certain fans, but it was also seen as a controversial production choice among other viewers.
From lip syncing to singing to doing comedy to dancing, there are certain talents that get displayed rather frequently in the series. With that said, certain queens have managed to really bring something new and exciting to these "common" Variety Show tropes. There have also been queens whose numbers were absolutely original and unlike anything we had seen on Drag Race before.
Scroll through to watch the best Variety Show performances in RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars herstory.
Tatianna (All Stars 2)
When Tatianna came out for her Variety Show number and announced that she'd be doing a spoken word piece titled "Same Parts," many All Stars 2 viewers were understandably confused by what they were about to see. And yet, Tatianna delivered one of the most hilarious and legendary Variety Show performances in Drag Race herstory.
Detox (All Stars 2)
During the Variety Show on All Stars 2, Detox delivered a sexy and electrifying performance of her original song, "Supersonic." Judges and fans were completely wowed by how on-brand and exciting Detox's number was. After watching six seasons of queens doing original songs for the Variety Show, Detox's dazzling performance stands out even more.
Aja (All Stars 3)
Aja's "Level Your P*ssy Up" number for the Variety Show originated the iconic "is she gonna jump from there?" meme from All Stars 3, but let us be clear that the season nine alum absolutely killed it in this performance. Interestingly enough, Aja also displayed her voguing skills during this number. In 2022, Aja competed on Legendary season three with the House of LaBeija.
\u201cWHERE IS MY WIGGGGGG?!?!?!??!?!??!\n#AllStars3 #Aja #DragRace\u201d
Burlesque numbers have become commonplace for the Variety Shows on All Stars, but no other queen did it quite like BenDeLaCreme. Instead of taking things way too seriously, Ben delivered a much campier number on All Stars 3 that had the judges cracking up while still incorporating the suspense that is expected from burlesque.
Gia Gunn (All Stars 4)
Gia Gunn can be a controversial Drag Race alum who likes to stir the spot from time to time with certain social media posts, but no one can take away the absolutely gorgeous Kabuki performance that she delivered on the Variety Show for All Stars 4. Not only did Gunn perform something culturally significant, but she also added several elements to the number to "drag it up" for viewers of Drag Race.
Mariah Paris Balenciaga (All Stars 5)
It is baffling that Mariah Paris Balenciaga didn't get a much higher placement for her spoken word performance in the All Stars 5 Variety Show. Balenciaga's number, titled "Stains on the Wall," was not only unexpected from a queen like her, but it was also incredibly relevant to the times that we've been living in. This powerful performance, along with Balenciaga's display of her artistic range, definitely put her on this list.
Ra’Jah O’Hara (All Stars 6)
Ra'Jah O'Hara literally made a dress in under 60 seconds for the Variety Show of All Stars 6. This number was very exciting and dynamic, with both viewers and the judges wondering whether or not O'Hara was going to pull it off in the end. To top if all off, O'Hara added some hilarious commentary to go with her sewing.
Shea Couleé (All Stars 7)
Shea Coulee promised a "Janet Jackson meets Luther Vandross" number for the All Stars 7 Variety Show - and girl, did she deliver! Coulee's performed her original song, "Your Name," and absolutely nailed the number's very complex choreography. As previously noted, a lot of queens tend to lip sync original songs during the Variety Show, but Coulee's performance was undoubtedly next-level.
\u201cA moment in herstory! \ud83c\udfb6\n\n#AllStars7 @SheaCoulee @paramountplus\u201d
Monet X Change's Variety Show number on All Stars 7 was to sing opera - specifically, "La Sonnambula" by Vincenzo Bellini. Some fans are already calling this the most impressive display of talent that has ever appeared in a Variety Show on Drag Race All Stars. Even if other fans have their personal favorites, no one can deny that X Change's performance is one of the very best performances that have ever been featured on an All Stars Variety Show.
\u201cNow this is what you call a Ru-demption! \ud83e\udd29\n\n#AllStars7 @monetxchange @paramountplus\u201d