RuPaul's Drag Race Winners: Ranking The Franchise's Top Queens

Hey, squirrel friends! If you've been following my exhaustive coverage of RuPaul's Drag Race, you already know I have opinions on all the queens. Now that I've finished all the seasons in their entirety, it's time for the list to end all lists: my rankings of all the winning queens from worst to best. I know what you're thinking, "Eden, how on earth are you going to choose a top queen when there's Alaska, Chad Michaels, Trixie Mattel, and Bob the Drag Queen all on the same list?" Excellent question, and you'll just have to keep reading to find out. Spoiler: it's incredibly difficult. But, we do what we must in the name of…science? No, that's not right – journalism? Entertainment? One of those three, I'll leave it up to you to figure out which one. So, without further delay, I present Eden's ranked list of Drag Race winners – all 18 queens from least favorite to the absolute best.

Drag Race
Ranking RuPaul's Drag Race winners (Image: VH1)

18. Tyra Sanchez, Season 2: So Tyra has grown into a great drag queen since winning her season…but she was such a young queen when she won. It didn't feel like the artistry had been as established yet as some of the other competitors that season. Plus, they did her dirty in the editing early on – they screwed up and made her the villain, which caused her to be super unlikable. Totally not her fault, but it does combine to make her the bottom of my list.

17. Sasha Velour, Season 9: I was bored with Sasha's style of drag – I feel like we'd seen it all before and this wasn't new and exciting by season 9. Maybe in the first few seasons, I would have been bowled over by the sheer wacky artistry, but by season 9 I was just bored with it. It wasn't ground-breaking, it was just a little one-note for me.

16. Aquaria, Season 10: Honestly, similar complaint as Sasha – they're both good, but it's nothing I haven't seen on the show before and it wasn't even done better than anything I'd ever seen before. She just kinda blended into the background. Yes, it was good, but this is Drag Race – you don't get on if you're not good.

15. Jaida Essence Hall, Season 12: Okay, this is the one you're going to fight me over, but I'm going to say it – she's a great drag queen, but again, this is season 12 – it's nothing that stuck out in my mind as being completely new, like Gigi's equestrian outfit from the first episode of the season or Jan's Michelle Visage runway look, or even Crystal Methyd's finale lip-sync. Jaida is pretty and talented, but I can't remember a single thing she did good or bad, save for her very final orange bodysuit cape reveal in the finale lip-sync because I thought it was so lame. She was just overshadowed on her season.

14. Violet Chachki, Season 7: Okay, so season 7 is often dragged for being boring and lackluster – I think that's because they sent home all the memorable big personalities pretty early on, so there wasn't any big crazy drama or reveals or shocking moments. Violet was good, but I totally forget about her…like, often. I remember all the queens who didn't win from this season, like Katya, Ginger Minj, Trixie Mattel, and of course, Jasmine Masters. Violet is young and pretty, but I really couldn't tell you anything else about her, simply because she didn't wow me in the season.

13. Raja, Season 3: Same as Sharon Needles, Raja was great, mostly because in season 3 we hadn't seen an androgynous queen who served us unique weirdness week after week that just turned the competition on its ear. Raja set the bar for that style of drag, and it still proves to be every bit as excellent as it was back in season 3.

12. Jinkx Monsoon, Season 5: Okay, it's no secret at all that I really disliked Jinkx on their season. They were young, boring, and hit me with Tammie Brown super old school weird vibes that I really did not enjoy. However, following Jinkx's career since taking home the title, they've grown into themselves and gotten much better and more refined as an artist. I still don't care for Jinkx as a winner of season 5, but honestly, if Jinkx now went back and competed on season 5, I would have fully been for it since the very first challenge.

11. Yvie Oddly, Season 11: Yes, Raja may have been the first androgynous queen to win, but that doesn't mean that Yvie is living in that shadow. Yvie takes the weirdo gender-f*ckery space queen style and makes it their own while not straying too far outside of the box and keeping the art still accessible and to where we can still understand it.

10. Bebe Zahara Benet, Season 1: Okay, we're into the top 10 now, so you know I love all these queens. Yes, it is that hard picking a top 10 from a list of 18. Of course first up on my "super favorites" is The Cameroon queen. She was the first, but honestly? There hasn't really been another queen like her since. She's regal, poised, composed, but still somehow hilarious and substantial. She's beauty, she's grace, and she'll put a smile on your face.

9. Bianca Del Rio, Season 6: Oh, Bianca. She'll put a smile on your face for a completely different reason, and that's because she's making fun of someone. To be perfectly honest, I preferred BenDeLaCreme on this season as far as "vintage flair comedy camp queen" went, but Bianca was just a little more polished and established – likely because she's been doing drag since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Regardless of personal preference, she's hilarious and great, albeit a little over the line sometimes when not on TV.

8. Sharon Needles, Season 4: I love that Sharon was on season 4, because she was one of the first "horror queens" and we hadn't seen that before really. She set the benchmark for all the creepy queens who have been on the show since, and sometimes they live up to the bar Sharon set…but often not.

7. Monet X Change, "All Stars 4": I love Monet, mostly because the family resemblance between her and Bob personality-wise is fantastic. They're both stand-up comics, but they also each serve looks for days. It's the total package as far as I'm concerned, but Monet is her own person, and her style and flair are second-to-none. I'm a little bummed it took until All Stars for her to finally get a win, but I don't hold it against Aquaria.

6. Shea Coulee, "All Stars 5": Shea is great, but I do have a lot of opinions as to her lack of crowning on season 9. I ranted about it in a whole article, but girl – you show up to the final lip sync stage without a single reveal up your sleeve? Of course you're going to be upstaged by rose petals under every single piece that Sasha Velour takes off. But, she finally got her crown – unfortunately robbing Jujubee of the All Stars 5 crown, but that's okay, I'm not salty. But if we weren't in the darkest timeline, Shea would have brought it in season 9, taken the crown, and then Jujubee or Alexis Mateo would have taken All Stars 5. But I digress – everyone deserves it at this caliber of competition.

5. Alaska, "All Stars 2": Hieeee! It's absolutely no secret that I love basically everything Alaska does – I still don't understand why she didn't take season 5, having never been in the bottom, but that's okay – she won the crown eventually, which is all that matters. I've loved Alaska since the beginning, but have super enjoyed seeing her mature as an artist and actor. I mean, her parody of Lady Gaga's new album Chromatica? Genius. It absolutely made my quarantine – you're welcome for sharing it.

4. Chad Michaels, "All Stars 1": Mama Chad – I didn't have to wait to watch her mature as an artist, because she already came into the competition as a fully baked queen who had a drag-style and a voice as an artist that was frankly perfect. She's flawless, knew what she was about, and honestly? I get that it was season 4 and they couldn't do dual winners yet, but if any season deserved it, it was season 4. Because both Sharon and Chad are just perfection.

3. Trixie Mattel, "All Stars 3": I love Trixie. Seriously – the adorable Wisconsin-ness, painting for the check-cashing place across the street, and of course the obsession with Barbie and our lord and savior Dolly Parton – everything she does just adds up to amazing. Her and Katya's show is a match made in heaven – it almost makes me forget that Katya still doesn't have a crown. Also? Trixie spending all her prize money on turning her WeHo apartment into a Barbie house and adding a ton to her frankly impressive Barbie doll collection is just oddly wholesome childhood wish fulfillment.

2. Trinity The Tuck, "All Stars 4": Trinity "The Tuck" Taylor is probably one of the most underrated winners of Drag Race. I'm not sure if it's because All Stars 4 was overlooked due to the double win, but Trinity has absolutely grown into herself as a queen, and honestly, I don't think she should have won her original season. You already know my thoughts on season 9, but Trinity discovered herself as a comedy queen and not just a look queen and really blossomed as such on All Stars. She's now the total package, from top to tuck.

Drag Race
Bob The Drag Queen from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8 (Image: VH1)

And of course, that leaves the top spot to none other than Bob The Drag Queen, from season 8. Why Bob? Bitch, have you seen this queen? More importantly, have you seen any of her work? She's funny, real, and doesn't take any shit. What differentiates her from other comedy queens though, is that there's no venom behind the shade – she's not a mean comedy queen, she's just hilarious and fun for everyone. I could take my mom to one of Bob's shows and she would absolutely laugh – some of the other queens? Not so much. Also, Bob is witty and has a classic style parodying not only the traditional stereotype of a woman but also parodying drag itself as well as racial expectations. Long live Bob, the best drag queen of the world.

Agree? Disagree? Too bad, it's my list. Seriously though, come fight me on Twitter and we'll duke it out over drag queens. For real though, all the winners are great and I'm ranking them, but at the end of the day, I love most all of the queens we've been introduced to through the years on Drag Race.

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About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions
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