In the ninth episode of All Stars 7, the Drag Race franchise introduced one of the most creative shifts in the show’s ever-expanding herstory. After 13 years of contestants deploying various kicks, flips and splits in lip-sync smackdowns to iconic pop anthems to secure their place in the competition, the format was met with a complete switcheroo when the top two winners of the week, Jinkx Monsoon and Monét X Change, performed a dramatic spoken word. To a monologue from the 1980s sitcom Designing Women, delivered by Dixie Carter’s character Julia Sugarbaker, Jinkx and Monet flexed their dramatic and comedic chops in one of the freshest performances the show has ever seen.
The change to Drag Race’s iconic format was met with overwhelming praise from viewers, with a majority calling for it to become a mainstay in future episodes; one fan even said the lip-sync “single-handedly revived” the franchise. With that in mind, we’ve collected nine of the most memorable monologues in TV and film that are in desperate need of the lip-sync treatment, from Dominique Jackson’s unforgettable takedown of a transphobe in Pose to Tyra’s controversial rant in America’s Next Top Model.
“Are you ready to be strong?”
Who? Sarah Michelle Gellar
From? Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The last-ever episode of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s iconic and genre-defying fantasy drama culminated in the title character, Buffy Summers, ushering in a new era for the slayer prophecy. Before the series’ last ever battle against The First and the non-corporeal entity’s army of Turok-Han’s in the Hellmouth, Buffy reveals that Willow (Alyson Hannigan) will be using her magical abilities to bestow the powers of the slayer to every ‘potential’ around the world. “What if you could have that power, now?” says Buffy. “In every generation, one slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So, I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power.” Shivers, honestly. As one of television’s most groundbreaking female characters, it’s about time Buffy’s legacy was recognised on RuPaul’s Drag Race. One mention of the slayer on All Stars 3 just doesn’t cut it.
“Pretty much I would let Gemma know that she is a fat c**t”
Who? Tiffany Pollard
From? Celebrity Big Brother
In 2016, Tiffany “New York” Pollard delivered the most iconic and effortless read in the history of reality television when she annihilated the “vernacular” and “old maiden” aesthetic of fellow CBB contestant Gemma Collins. After the Essex alum stole back a pair of shoes she bequeathed to her as a birthday present, Tiffany continued to cement her unshakeable status as the most meme-worthy reality star of all time in a diary room monologue that, we can confidently say, should be played on loop for all eternity in The Louvre. “She said that those shoes were meant to be worn on a beautiful woman, so if that’s the case, she should have put them back on the rack and she should never even purchased them, because she was unqualified to own those shoes if that’s the case,” is pure art, as well as: “Somebody lied to her several times and told her that she was fly, hot and sexy and beautiful, and she’s nothing like that, she’s nothing of the sort.” The smirk at the end? Absolute perfection.
“Pick your jaw up off the floor and go back to your clam chowder and shallow conversations”
Who? Dominique Jackson
Can any television character read a bitch quite like Elektra Evangelista? While all three seasons of Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed drama Pose boasted a plethora of scathing takedowns from the fan-favourite character, none were quite as memorable as her obliteration of a prissy, country club transphobe in season two. After being told that trans people do not belong at a high-end establishment on their Long Island vacation, Elektra fires back: “God may have blessed with you with Barbies, a backyard pony in it, a boyfriend named Jack and an unwanted pregnancy that your father paid to terminate so you could go to college and major in being a basic bitch.” She continues to slaughter her “uniform of ill-fitting J.Crew culottes, fake pearls and 50 cent scrunchies,” before demanding she return to her “clam chowder and shallow conversations”. Deservedly, the speech went viral on social media and, to this day, continues to be referenced in popular culture. Need we say more?
“I’m drinking like I never have before”
Who? Julianna Marguiles
From? The Good Wife
For doing her laundry, Julianna Marguiles practically demanded a Primetime Emmy Award. In the seventh season of legal drama The Good Wife, Marguiles’ character questions her life after the death of her friend and former lover Will Gardner (Josh Charles), including her drinking habits and whether she actually likes her children (lol). “I’m sick to death of everything,” Alicia tells Lucca (Cush Jumbo). “This apartment, this laundry, the fact that things get dirty, the law, just standing here. Sometimes I swear I just want to go into my bedroom, pull the covers over my head and never do anything again. […] I’m drinking like I never have before and all I want is to have another one and then everything gets swallowed up by more disgust.” Marguiles’ depiction of Alicia’s grief and depression was lauded by fans and critics, and has even been hailed as the most impactful scene in The Good Wife’s entire seven-year run. A spoken word lip-sync channelling this emotion between two accomplished performers could break the internet.
“I fought worse monsters than you for years in Hollywood”
Who? Faye Dunaway
From? Mommie Dearest
While we’ve already seen Alyssa Edwards embody Faye Dunaway’s cult performance as Joan Crawford on All Stars 2, hilariously we should add, the entire speech needs to be spotlighted in its entirety for those who are yet to witness the ridiculously campy and unintentionally hilarious stylings of Mommie Dearest. From “I fought worse monsters than you for years in Hollywood, I know how to win the hard way!” to “Don’t fuck with me fellas, this ain’t my first time at the rodeo” and “The sword cuts both ways,” Dunaway’s maniacal monologue is stacked with instantly recognisable quotes that can be played for dramatic and comedic effect.
“Don’t you ever raise your voice at me, I am your MOTHER!”
Who? Toni Collette
Can we just take a second to acknowledge that Toni Collette did not win the Academy Award for Best Actress, or even receive nomination, for her breathtaking performance in Hereditary? Our blood? Still boiling. Anyway, aside from the brutal decapitation of her character’s 13-year-old daughter (Milly Shapiro) and the charred corpse of her husband (Gabriel Byrne), as well as her own self-mutilation with a piano wire mid-air (spoiler alert!), the most memorable moment of Ari Aster’s psychological horror belongs to Collette’s transformation from grief to pure fury at the now-iconic dinner table scene. “All I do is worry and slave and defend you, and all I get back is that fucking face on your face!” she screams at her discombobulated son (Alex Wolff). “So full of disdain and resentment and always so annoyed! Well, now your sister is dead!” The range (and rage) in this scene, in addition to the painfully awkward moments of silence, would result in a fierce lip-sync.
“I have never in my life yelled at a girl like this!”
Who? Tyra Banks
From? America’s Next Top Model
The definitive scene in the Top Model franchise memorably saw Tyra Banks – wait, wait, wait, you know all this, don’t you? For those who, for some insane reason haven’t witnessed this classic monologue, Tyra unleashes on an America’s Next Top Model contestant for treating the competition as a “joke” and for her “defeatist attitude”, screeching: “Be quiet, Tiffany. Be quiet. What is wrong with you? STOP IT! I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE YELLED AT A GIRL LIKE THIS.” The host goes on to express how the entire cast and crew were “rooting” for her to succeed and that she should “take responsibility” for her actions. While the scene has, understandably, become a fixture in pop culture, it’s been mired in controversy for Tyra’s conduct. In the years since, Tiffany has also revealed in interviews that Tyra’s rant was much longer, claiming she also told her to “go back to your house and sleep on your mattress on the floor with your baby” and “there’s never been a girl I regret casting more than you”. Whew, the drama! Yeah, this is perfect for Drag Race.
“Is something funny?”
Who? Meryl Streep
From? The Devil Wears Prada
That sweater is not blue. Or turquoise. Or lapis. IT! IS! CERULEAN! Just like Gwen Stefani educated listeners on how to spell bannnnnanass, Meryl Streep taught audiences the true definition of cerulean in the classic 2006 rom-com The Devil Wears Prada. As Miranda Priestly, the Anna Wintour-inspired editor of the fictional fashion magazine Runway, Streep delivered one of film’s most iconic (we’re aware we’ve rinsed the shit out of this word, but it stands) monologues as she calmly (yet ruthlessly) cultured Anne Hathaway’s character Andy on the fashion industry’s impact. “That blue represents millions of dollars of countless jobs, and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry,” says Streep, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, “when in fact, you’re wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room… from a pile of “stuff”.” While Miranda doesn’t exhibit many emotions throughout the scene, she literally breathes power with minimal effort, and seeing two contestants try and embody that on the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race would be an absolute hoot.
“I am no murderer, what I am is a survivor”
Who? Viola Davis
From? How to Get Away with Murder
There’s an abundance of unforgettable monologues over the course of How to Get Away with Murder, primarily from Viola Davis’ Emmy Award-winning lead Annalise Keating, but it’s ultimately her closing argument in the season six finale that stands as the series’ most powerful. While on trial for murder, Annalise admits to various atrocities she’s committed throughout her career – including ‘coercing witnesses, getting clients to lie on the stand, bullying students to tears and manipulating jurors’ – but insists she’s not guilty of this particular crime. “What I am is a survivor,” says Annalise, who continues to open up about past racist and sexual abuse, the death of her son and murder of her husband, as well as alcoholism, depression and grief. “Who I am is a 53-year-old woman from Memphis, Tennessee, named Anna Mae Harkness. I am ambitious, Black, bisexual, angry, sad, strong, sensitive, scared, fierce, talented, exhausted. And I am at your mercy.” Imagine two queens lip-syncing to this in front of Viola herself? World of Wonder, you listening? Make! It! Happen!