Remember when Jaida Essence Hall of the bitches, for the bitches, instructed Jeff Goldblum to “look over there!” to avoid his political debate question? Remember his confusion? Well, that level of confusion has permeated – yes, permeated! – throughout the Drag Race fandom over the last week with the verdict of the latest lip-sync smackdown.
After becoming first-time bottoms (on the show – mind out of the gutter please) for their performances in the girl groups challenge, Amanda Tori Meating and Q fought for their place in the competition by deploying all their tricks to Icona Pop’s dance anthem ‘Emergency’. While art of any kind of subjective, the majority of viewers agree that Amanda was triumphant, even if Q’s impeccable track record means she deserves to progress further. But, it begs the question: “Does the lip-sync even matter?”
With the #JusticeForAmanda movement gaining traction (this sounds so dramatic, but it stays), GAY TIMES has reflected on the most questionable lip-sync outcomes in herstory.
Jade vs Rebecca Glasscock
Song: ‘Would I Lie to You’ – Eurythmics
Winner: Rebecca Glasscock
Who should’ve won: Jade
The first case of lip-sync riggory arguably occurred in season one with Jade and Rebecca Glasscock’s smackdown to Eurythmics’ synth-rock classic ‘Would I Lie to You?’ The latter received the coveted “shantay you stay” from Ru, despite being outperformed by Jade, who owned the stage with her dance abilities as she spun into a split and revved her engine to the beat of the banger. Fifteen years later, we’re still flabbergasted as to how this resulted in Jade’s exit. She embodied the track, and Rebecca gave 15%.
Trixie Mattel vs Pearl
Song: ‘Dreaming’ – Blondie
Who should’ve won: Trixie Mattel
Storyline matters on Drag Race, and at the time of Pearl and Trixie Mattel’s lip-sync, only one of these queens had an arc the producers could work with. Throughout the season, Pearl was criticised for “sleepwalking” through the competition, so when the time came for her to fight – to a song called ‘Dreaming’ no less – Trixie didn’t stand a chance, even if a majority of fans preferred her campier, high energy performance. Trixie reminisced on her loss in All Stars 3 when she memorably said in her confessional, “Do you what it’s like to lose a lip-sync to a partially sedated twink from Brooklyn?”
Pearl vs Fame
Song: ‘Really Don’t Care’ – Demi Lovato
Who should’ve won: NO ONE
Double sashays are rare on Drag Race; in 16 years, RuPaul has sent both queens packin’ on three occasions for their banal performances (Deja Skye and Jorgeous doesn’t count), but the lip-sync most deserving of the double chop is the infamous ‘battle’ between Pearl and Miss Fame. To the beat of Demi Lovato’s ‘Really Don’t Care’, in front of the cardiovascular activist the herself, the queens served… nothing. Once again, Pearl wanted viewers to know she had working arms as she maniacally pointer sister’d the stage, while Miss Fame’s dress held her back from doing, well, anything. Despite this, it’s somewhat reached so-bad-it’s-good status.
Jinkx Monsoon vs Monét X Change
Song: ‘Swish Swish’ – Katy Perry
Winner: Jinkx Monsoon
Who should’ve won: Monét X Change
Look, Jinkx Monsoon absolutely deserved to win Drag Race‘s first-ever Quarter Quell-esque winners’ season. With her elevated aesthetic, five maxi-challenge wins – a feat only matched by her Seattle sister BenDeLaCreme – and the season’s most iconic moment with her Snatch Game masterclass, Jinkx’s win is undisputed. When it comes to the final lip-sync, however, she wasn’t the supreme. According to the cast, and Monét herself, the entire crew were “clapping and cheering” for the All Stars 4 champion’s ‘cunty’ interpretation of Katy Perry’s ‘Swish Swish’. But, the edit didn’t reflect reality, with a majority of Monét’s standout moments left on the cutting room floor, presumably to justify Jinkx’s win. Following the lip-sync, RuPaul even said her verdict was based on the lip-sync and overall performance, which was rumoured to be edited in after-the-fact to save face.
Jasmine Kennedie vs Angeria Paris VanMichaels
Song: ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’ – Jennifer Lopez
Winner: Angeria Paris VanMichaels
Who should’ve won: Jasmine Kennedie
We could’ve included all three of Jasmine Kennedie’s LaLaPaRUza smackdowns on this list, because she arguably won them all, but it was her showdown with Angeria Paris VanMichaels that had the most puzzling outcome. Angeria was fun as hell with her restrained approach to J-Lo’s ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’, and it’s impossible to argue with her captivating stage presence, but she didn’t do as much as Jasmine, whose smooth dance moves and flawless execution of her hip-pop (?) had viewers (and Daya Betty) questioning their sexuality. In fairness, Angeria didn’t deserve to lip-sync in the first place. Justice for her Tammie Brown!
Amanda Tori Meating vs Q
Song: ‘Emergency’ – Icona Pop
Who should’ve won: Amanda Tori Meating
With both Amanda Tori Meating and Q’s respective storylines as Plane Jane’s nemesis and Jan’s “safe” successor, it’s unfortunate that both queens faced elimination. Amanda’s feud with Plane feels unfinished, and Q’s mission to win a challenge continues. While Q boasts one of the best track records in the competition, and Amanda’s aesthetic has been constantly targeted, viewers were unanimous in their sentiment that Amanda “bodied” this lip-sync and “ate” up her competitor. We understand why RuPaul chose to save Q, but she’s made harsh judgements in the past to queens whose track records were better than their opponent, from Max’s loss to Jaidynn Diore Fierce to Miz Cracker’s downfall at the hands of Kameron Michaels. So, colour us confused. Does track record come into play, or not?