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Series: RuPaul's Drag Race
aka: Rupauls Drag Race
Gentlemen, start your engines! And may the best woman win!
"Good luck, and don't fuck it up!"

RuPaul's Drag Race is a Reality Show in which a group of talented drag queens compete to be crowned as the next drag superstar. It is hosted by the world's most famous drag queen, RuPaul. The amount of queens competing varies by season, but so far the range has been between 9-14 contestants. With each challenge episode, a queen is eliminated, until the Grand Finale where one of the final three competitors is crowned as the next drag superstar.

Each weekly challenge typically consists of the queens putting together an outfit based on a theme, but then tweaking the theme in order to put their signature on the dress. One of the defining elements of the show is the lip sync. After every challenge, the two competitors that have preformed the weakest must compete to stay on the show with a lip sync for their lives. In the Grand Finale the final two competitors must also compete for the crown with a final lip sync. These have resulted in wigs falling off, splits, and even a kiss.

The show has helped to bring Drag into mainstream, spiking interest in drag shows. Whether they win or not, most of the contestants have found success after their season, which is more than we can say about some shows.


Includes examples of

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Phi Phi O'Hara certainly reacts this way during Untucked when special guest Kelly Osborne asks the queens which contestant they would sleep with, and Milan says Phi Phi a little too quickly. One can only imagine her reaction when learning that Sharon Needles and Willam, the queens she hated most, admitted the same thing during the lie detector test later in the season.
    • Rebecca Glasscock had this reaction towards Tammie Brown in Season 1. While Tammie in boy mode is fairly attractive, her personality on the other hand...
    Rebecca: Every time I look over at Tammie, she is winking at me and it's creepy.
    • Joslyn Fox started fangasming at first sight once she realized she was sharing the same season with Courtney Act. It finally gets to the point as Joslyn keeps complimenting her that Courtney says although she's a very sweet queen, it's getting really awkward.
  • Accentuate the Negative: The "Next on..." segments before commercials with invariably focus on negative criticism from the judges or shade from the queens, taking lines out of context if necessary.
  • Agent Peacock: During the "Super Troopers" challenge in Season 5, where each queen had to give a drag makeover to a gay military veteran, Detox's partner already knew how to sashay in heels with no input from her necessary. And both Roxxxy and Alaska's partners looked like they could be contestants themselves.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Played straight and averted at the same time. Yes, all the gay men on the show are easily Distracted by the Sexy when a cute guy come along (usually blamed on the fact they are not allowed contact with lovers during the competition), but at the same time, the queens who do have boyfriends are always shown to be devoted to them, and there has yet to be a Romance on the Set between queens (although the editors would like the audience to believe Jinkx and Ivy came pretty closenote ).
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Often winds up happening to contestants who for whatever reason don't mesh with the others. Jinkx Monsoon in season 5 winds up getting some of this since her style is much more comedic, but in her own words she tries to deal with it like "water off a duck's back."
    • Season 3's Stacy Layne Matthews was constantly ostracized by the other queens due to her weight and lack of polish, exemplified by the queens not just saying they were more talented than her (which is par for the course for Drag Race), but by constantly and almost venomously stating in interviews that she did not deserve to be on the show in the first place.
    • Madame LaQueer's short stint in season 4 had her as this, being picked last for team challenges twice in a row, and once during an Untucked episode was referred to by the other queens as their season's Stacy Layne.
    • All-Stars Mimi Imfurst. Not a single one of the girls wanted to be paired with her during the team ups, and the partner she did get did not hide the fact she was miserable with the outcome. Not only that, the other queens had no problem telling Mimi to her face they did not consider her an All Star and that there were plenty of other queens that deserved her spot more than she did.
  • Anti-Climax: The Reunion special for season 4 built up the whole "WHAT DID WILLAM DO" reveal so much and people seemed to be okay with the answer. That was until it has been pretty much said by everyone that this was indeed not the case. Apparently the reason no one has outright said what REALLY happened is due to a confidentiality agreement.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After several weeks of Trinity complaining that the challenges haven't been her style, Bianca straight-up asks her, "What do you do successfully?" Trinity evades the question.
  • Ascended Meme: Willam Belli's "RuPologize" became the title of a Season 5 competition, a ballet based on Ru's life entitled No RuPologies.
    • Ru's catchphrase for Tyra Sanchez was "The Other Tyra". This has since become Tyra's official web address.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Phi Phi O'Hara, Sharon Needles, and Chad Michaels in the video for "Glamazon." Eventually stomped by an even bigger RuPaul.
  • Attention Whore: Mimi Imfurst is accused of this by the other queens, and in All Stars they even point out that it's all there in the namenote .
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: All of the contestants, naturally, but also some of the guys brought in for makeovers. Special mention goes to Slava, from season three. Part of the reason his partner, Alexis Mateo, didn't win is because the judges thought he overshadowed her!
  • Awesome McCoolname: Most of the contestants' drag names. Those that aren't hilarious, anyway. And some are both, of course.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Occurs in the Grand Finale of each season.
  • Bald Women: Many drag queens shave their heads or keep their hair short while in boy mode so that wigs fit better, but several queens like Ongina and The Princess don't wear wigs and actually have completely bald heads as part of their characters.
  • Berserk Button: If you imply that Shangela has not worked for her achievements and/or she has a sugar daddy, you may get a drink in your face.
    • Likewise, don't say that Tatianna is just a pretty face.
    • Mentioning that Coco was the runner-up of the Miss Gay America pageantnote , and sometimes just Alyssa Edwards being catty in general was enough to cause Coco to go cuckoo.
  • Bifauxnen: In Season 6's wedding makeover challenge, while the queens were making over the men into drag brides, the women were whisked away to be fitted for tuxedos from a designer that specializes in masculine suits for women and transmen, and invoked this trope on the main stage.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Several queens have this aesthetic. Latrice Royale in particular bears mention for being the most successful big queen on the show. Throughout Season 4, she was praised for her flawless presentation and using her size as an advantage and not a hindrance or excuse.
    • Darienne Lake in Season 6 also wonderfully used this trope. It also helps that being a big guy gave her all natural Gag Boobs.
  • Billy Elliot Plot: Granted, the queens are all adults, but oh the daddy issues.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: A tactic quite often employed by the queens, to act kind and supportive one minute and then read for filth the next. Special mention goes to little Kenya Michaels, who was always so sweet on the show, sent the remaining queens a letter after her elimination trashing several of them.
    • Jade Jolie really does consider herself a very kind and sweet person, but ended up unleashing her inner bitch in response to the loud personalities of some of the season 5 queens (Serena ChaCha and Alyssa Edwards, specifically).
  • Black and Nerdy: Mystique. It's not obvious, but her full drag name IS Mystique Summers Madison.
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed: Invoked jokingly with Latrice Royale, who is a very large black man out of drag. Willam even asks if tucking for her is a one-man job, and Jujubee coined the phrase, "once you go black, you're in a wheelchair!" in reference to Latrice.
  • Blessed with Suck: Half the time, winning the mini-challenges were this, as the winner would usually be given a position of responsibility for the main challenge that would put additional pressure and scrutiny on them. Usually the worst offenders were winning the leader positions for a team challenge, as if that queen's team ended up in the bottom they would be thrown under the bus by the other queens for being a poor leader.
    • Another perfect example of this would be the Drag Ball challenge, as the winner of the prior mini-challenge is rewarded (or as Pandora Boxx says in her recap show, punished) by being in charge of the choreography for the Broadway-style original number the queens all have to perform in. For some queens, this is a boon, but for others who don't do choreography, such as Season 5's Alaska and Season 6's BenDeLaCreme, it's much more difficult for them.
  • Boring, but Practical: Ivy from the fifth season, who is clearly one of the most talented and able queens of her season, but seemingly lacking in personality.
    • Jade Jolie had this problem as well. For most of the challenges, she was never the best or the worst, just safe. As a performer outside the show, she's a very skilled and energetic dancer, but on the show she was frequently drowned out by all the loud personalities.
      • Jade currently holds the record across all seasons for the contestant who went the longest on the show without being either in the top or on the bottom, at four consecutive weeks.
    • Chad Michaels delivered perfection in her poise and style, almost to a fault. Near the end of Season 4, Michelle Visage even says she's growing bored of Chad because she always delivers the same flawless presentation, and that it's become predictable.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Michelle Visage's "Stop relying on that body".
    • Also, Roxxxy Andrew's "Where my people at?"
    • William's "Sorry 'bout it" by Detox, makes sense since the two have worked together a lot.
    • Shangela's "Halleloo!" has gotten around quite a bit.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Rolaskatox gets temporarily broken up after Alaska tries to get some distance from the other two (mostly to avoid being lumped in with them) but they get reformed later on. Eventually broken up for good by Detox getting sent home by Jinkx.
  • Broken Pedestal: Joslyn Fox idolized Courtney Act prior to season 6, but some harsh critiques and shade from the latter pretty much ended that.
  • Brick Joke: Roxxxy Andrews, during Season 5's original song challenge, gets called out for saying "sequinsed" in the song. She's Latina and honestly thought "sequins" was the correct English term since there's not just a single tiny sequin on a dress. Nonetheless, "Sequinsed" still made it into the final cut.
  • Butt Monkey: Michelle Visage to RuPaul, although Michelle loves every minute of it.
  • Call Back: Before awarding the season 5 crown, RuPaul stops to joke that Coco Montrese had offered to fill in if the winner couldn't fulfill her duties. Coco taking over as Miss Gay America caused her friendship with Alyssa Edwards to collapse and was referenced constantly throughout the season.
    • When Jiggly Caliente has to make a parade float and runway outfit using the color orange, she references back to the first episode's challenge when she says she's gone from baked potato couture (having a dress covered in tin foil) to sweet potato couture.
    • In Season 6's Snatch Game, Trinity tries to change wigs mid-sketch as a gag. Bianca calls her out on it in the talking head, noting that Chad Michaels used the same gag in Season 4.
  • Camp Gay: Many of the contestants fit this at one time or another (and a fair number of the guest judges, too), not to mention RuPaul himself. You'd expect anything less from a show about drag queens?
  • The Cast Showoff: Every queen generally has one thing that they excel at, be it dancing, designing, singing, impersonation, or comedy, and hold out hope that the new challenge is one where they can outshine the others.
    • Jinkx Monsoon in particular, as Season 5 seemed to have an unusually high number of acting and comedy challenges, talents that where she naturally excelled (and as a result, landed her in the top three almost every week). It got to the point the other queens were begging RuPaul for a sewing challenge, as that was the only skill Jinkx admitted she lacked. Indeed, The Sugar Ball—where the queens had to design three original outfits—was the only challenge in the season where she landed in the bottom two.
  • Cat Fight: Besides the genuine cat fights, usually in the Untucked lounge, the season 2 final challenge featured a staged and choreographed cat fight for the "Jealous Of My Boogie" music video. First Jujubee got hit in the eye with a high heel, then Tyra got a bit too into it and "accidentally" pulled Raven's wig off. Twice.
  • Celebrity Impersonator: Since Season 2, the queens will impersonate a celebrity of their choice for the Snatch Game (in the format of the Match Game). All-Stars, instead of the Snatch Game, had RuPaul's Gaff-In, a skit based on the Variety Shows of the 1960's.
    • Chad Michaels in particular, in addition to being a Drag Queen, is a professional celebrity impersonator. His Cher impersonation has even fooled US Weekly into thinking he was the real deal.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Monstly averted, but sometimes played with. In season 2, Raven won a golden knuckles that was so Raven but she never sported it in any look following that episode. Of course, it wasn't clear if she have actually won that in the spot, or if she was to receive it later. Also, Carmen Carrera casually wore the same model of glove Jhonny Weir was using in the last episode as guest judge, when she kissed him. But it was never stated if it was his actual glove or even if she got the idea from seeing his.
  • Chekhov's Skill: It's interesting that mere hours after a conversation between Yara Sofia and Carmen Carrera where we learn that Carmen is Puerto Rican and can speak Spanish,the two are forced to lip sync for their lives to the Spanish version of a song.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Occasionally, Yara Sofia. She was compared to an Alien Petting Zoo, and even more strange is that the comparison actually made perfect sense at the time.
    • Kenya Michaels steps into that role in Season 4, especially with her rendition of a spasming, farting, pill-popping Beyonce. Many were left wondering if she even knew who Beyonce is...
    • Also Tammie Brown. The judges have explicitly said that she's the queen they'd most want to just walk around on stage because they have no idea what she'll do next.
    • Milk and Vivacious' drag personas in Season 6.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The show as a whole uses the F-bomb quite a lot, among other curse words. RuPaul herself curses so often she sometimes crosses into Sir Swearsalot territory, in fact, one of her Catch Phrases is "Don't fuck it up", which she says at least twice an episode.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: A major theme in Season 5 was a rivalry between pageant queens and comedy queens. This was mostly one-sided, however. The comedy queens were simply doing their thing while the pageant queens felt they weren't taking the competition seriously, and that there were more comedic challenges in 5 than in previous seasons.
    • Another one that pops up from time to time is veteran queens vs. ingénue queens. Veteran queens will comment that it is unfair that the younger queens are using the competition as a sort of "drag charm school", when the veterans are already so polished and therefore deserve to win more. Conversely, younger queens will often comment how veterans refuse to update their style and their more stifled view of drag isn't as fresh or exciting as what an ingénue queen can bring to the table.
  • Combat Stilettos: The filming of RuPaul's "Jealous of my Boogie" video put this to use. Unfortunately, it also resulted in actual injury.
  • Conspiracy Theory: Whenever a favored contestant doesn't win the competition or an unfavored one does, someone is bound to complain that the show is rigged. So far, RuPaul has been accused of: racism when the first two season winners (Bebe Zahara Benet and Tyra Sanchez, respectively) were black while the fan favorites in second place (Nina Flowers and Raven) were not, sizeism because a plus-sized queen has yet to win, neglecting comedy queens in Season 2 when Pandora Boxxx was eliminated, choosing Raja as the Season 3 winner because Ru knew her before the show, creating the rather-short All Stars season just to give Season 4 runner-up Chad Michaels a crown, and handing Season 5 to Jinkx Monsoon on a gold platter. Yes, Drag Race has quite the Unpleasable Fanbase.
    • It's also been theorized that Ru will show unfair lenience to certain queens to build drama over the season, in Season 5 both Alyssa Edwards and Coco Montrese performed in the elimination lip-synch seven times before they sashayed away, and many fans guess its because of the drama the two had due to a previous incident prior to the show. In season 6, former American Idol Adore Delano scored very low in the first two challenges, yet didn't even get put in the bottom two, which saved her the risk of being eliminated before the first singing challenge and building an expected rivalry with Australian Idol star Courtney Act.
    • Many fans have called into question Alaksa's inclusion in Season 5 after four previous seasons of applying and not getting in, since Season 4 saw her then-boyfriend Sharon Needles as the breakout star. No statement on the validity of this theory has ever been made, although Alaska has decided to just go with it and jokes that it's true.
    • In season 6, after Trinity was eliminated there were no more black contestants remaining. Other competitors have described how makeup is provided for each of the contestants and generally follows their skin tones. In the episode after Trinity left, Joslynn Fox was tasked with making over a black man, and without appropriate makeup he wound up looking "metallic," causing Joslynn to be placed in the bottom two and ultimately sent home. Some considered this an intentional screw job.
  • Continuity Nod: Not at all uncommon for the queens in the current season to reference things done in past seasons.
    • In Season 2, Tatianna dealt with the critiques that she was just a pretty face in the competition, until she angrily refuses to be considered her season's Rebecca Glasscock.
    • In Season 3, Shangela's country look was likened to Season 2's Mystique's 'Country Couture' failure.
    • In Season 4, Madame LaQueer's large body in tights was compared to Season 3's Stacy Layne Matthews, another big girl who liked wearing spandex.
    • In Season 5, Ru makes a joke at Alaska utilizing Lucille Ball's famous "eww", Alaska counters it with LaQueer's infamous imitation of the sound. Ru also makes good on her threat to steal Willam's "RuPaulogize" euphamism in titling her ballet challenge, "No RuPaulogies."
    • In Season 6, during the first walkthrough as RuPaul comes up to greet her, Bianca Del Rio casually mentions that Ru can call her "Jiggly". Ru still uses last season queen Alaska's Catch Phrase of "Hiiiiiii" on occasion, as well as referencing the Alyssa/Jade "Backrolls?!" incident. Also, in the 'Scream Queens' challenge, the movie's killer was based on Lil Poundcake, a very popular meme from Season 5.
  • Couch Gag: In the fourth season, when Ru is introducing the prizes at the beginning of the episode, the $100,000 check is being held by the glum-looking queen who was eliminated in the previous week.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The queens seem to bring every piece of clothing they own to the competition, and are prepared for challenges that call for obscure clothing styles, like country, futuristic, or patriotic. There are a few instances in which certain contestants perform poorly on the lipsync, but in general the queens are extremely prepared to lipsync to the song of the week, even if they don't expect to be up for elimination.
    • Justified, as various Untucked episodes have started showing, as we see that the contestants are given ipods with the lipsync songs on them prior to the final judgment.
    • Many of the queens employ sewing machines to fix up anything that could meet the challenge.
    • In Season 2, it's insinuated that when the queens get accepted to the show they are told to bring certain looks with them to the competition.
    • Many queens who are concerned that they are in the bottom and will be forced to lip synch will sew in an entirely different costume or hide a second wig, specifically to pull a dramatic reveal.
    • Averted in that at least one queen per season has no idea what celebrity to impersonate in Snatch Game, even though this challenge has existed since Season 2.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Alyssa Edwards, who is so focused on being a pageant queen that she doesn't do well in competitions involving comedy or impersonation. This eventually leads to her getting in the bottom twice and getting eliminated the second time in a lip sync with Coco.
    • Also inverted in the case of queens who have a more comedy/camp style, who frequently get reamed by the judges for not having much in the way of glamour. The queens who seem to do best tend to have a mix of the two abilities.
  • Cross Over: Though not an official crossover, Drag Race shares a decent part of its viewership with Project Runway, and viewers of both will recognize Santino Rice (runner up of season 2) and several guest judges who have appeared on both shows. The shows are also sometimes considered sister shows to each other.
    • "The Real Dragwives", where queens from Drag Race reenact scenes from Real Housewives of Atlanta.
    • Two Season 6 queens are former Idol contestants: Adore Delano is Danny Noriega from American Idol Season 7, and Courtney Act is from the first season of Australian Idol. This connection is Lampshaded and exploited when the two end up playing the lead singers on two separate teams for a musical theater challenge. Courtney wins.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Referred to several times.
    • Invoked, as this is the judges' opinion on Manila's stereotypical Asian interviewer in the QNN news segment, which they said was so over the top that it became not offensive and actually won the challenge. invoked
    • Also referred to in regards to Yara Sofia's hyperactive little person character from the "Rue Ha Ha" challenge, which was apparently inspired by a real life little person Yara knows. When questioned about it Yara also claims it's a fairly standard comedic bit in Puerto Rico.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In a shocker for the season 4 finale, Ru makes all 3 finalists lip-sync for their lives...and then it's revealed the winner won't be revealed until the Reunion next week, which was filmed much closer to the airdate than the rest of the season, meaning the queens had to wait months before knowing.
  • Dance Party Ending: The end of every episodes, though in later seasons it tends to get truncated by the intro to Untucked.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Raven, Manila Luzon, and Pandora Boxx are the standout examples, but several of the queens qualify, as well.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Raven, who was often criticized for being too cold, showed a warmer side in the Golden Gals challenge, when she bonded with her appointed "drag mother," an elderly man who lived through the gay rights movement. She even carried him off the stage at the end of their lipsync presentation when he seemed to be exhausted.
    • Also Raven clearly starts forming strong bonds with her True Companions despite claiming she's not there to make friends. A prime example is her lip sync with Jujubee in All Stars where both are clearly emotionally distraught.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Detox's outfit for the season 5 reunion accomplished this effect through makeup and clothing, making her look like she stepped out of a black and white movie. It was quite impressive especially next to the other girls.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: When Alyssa famously yells, "Bitch sit your ass down and shut the hell up, bitch!"
    • Alyssa also provided the wonderful "Coco was the one backstabbing me behind my back".
    • And also, "Girl look how orange you fucking look, girl!"
    • Alyssa's daughter Laganja gave us "did you not or did you not come for me?"
  • The Determinator: Alaska shows shades of this, since she has auditioned for the show multiple times before finally getting in for the fifth season (which boyfriend Sharon Needles may or may not have had something to do with).
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to Coco Montrese in "Drama Queens". During the telenovella challenge, Wilmer Valderrama enters for his cameo. Coco immediately forgets all of her lines.
    • Happens to all the queens during the "match the underwear with the jock" mini-challenge.
    • The main reason Detox ended up in the bottom two for the "Super Troopers" challenge is that she spent most of her time lusting after her military vet partner instead of focusing on the competition.
  • Drag Queen: All of the competitors, naturally.
  • Dresses the Same: In the first episode of season 3 Phoenix and India Ferrah wore very similar outfits and hairstyles when arriving at the competition. They proceeded to glare daggers at each other.
    • Season 4's 'Platinum and Gold' runway had The Princess in a silver hooded catsuit ... that looks incredibly like RuPaul's silver hooded gown. RuPaul can't help but playfully cry out "She stole my look!" while The Princess struts down the runway.
    • Also expect this whenever there's a challenge that involves making a runway look and two queens wind up with similar ideas, complete with accusing each other of copying.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Ongina and Delta Work in All Stars.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Duct tape, as pointed out in the show, is a drag queen's best friend. From fixing costumes and helping fit wigs, to shaping their bodies into a more womanly form, it has a multitude of uses in the art of drag. A mini-challenge in Season 3 was actually dedicated to it, in which the queens had to use various styles of duct tape and simple, black leotards to make fashionable outfits.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In Season 1's recap episode, Ru shows a montage of rejected auditioners who would go on to appear in later seasons: Pandora Boxxx, Nicole Paige Brooks, Sahara Davenport, Raven, Alaska (who would also appear in the Season 3 casting special and in the audience in Season 4 before finally getting in the show for Season 5), and Detox (who, like Alaska, also reappeared in Season 3 before finally being chosen for Season 5).
  • Eat That: The "Chicken or What?" mini-challenge, where in addition to chicken, the queens also had to eat bull testicles, frog legs, and deep fried cow brains.
  • Elimination Catchphrase: "Now, sashay... away."
  • Enemy Mine: Serena Cha Cha was obnoxious enough to unite every other Season 5 queen against her.
  • Enraged By Idiocy: When Phi Phi O'Hara, Jiggly Caliente, and Kenya Micheals turn ugly during Season 4's Snatch Game, Latrice Royale gets royally fed up with their bullshit, calling them out on their unprofessional behavior.
  • Entitled Bastard: One of the (many) complaints leveled against Shangela, she was quick to ask for help due to her own inexperience in drag, but when another queen asked for her help she would claim that she had to focus on her own work in the competition.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Terri Nunn's reaction after seeing Raven in drag.
    • In season four, Jennifer Love Hewitt has the same reaction to Phi Phi O'Hara and Gi Gi, her partner in the "give a non-drag queen a makeover" challenge, "DILFs (Dads I'd Like To Frock)."
    • Carmen Elektra's reaction to Season 3's Raja's punk style and performance, she starts saying how she wouldn't mind if Raja wore a strap-on for her ... before realizing that Raja wouldn't have to.
  • Everybody Wants the Hermaphrodite: Every season there's one or two queens who are strikingly attractive in both boy mode and drag. Many contestants will admit to wanting to kai-kai with her even if her personality is abrasive. This article sums up the more handsome contestants from the first five seasons. In Season 6, Milk is frequently cited as being the hottest as a man.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Zombie Drag Queens, no less! Former drag race competitors showed up as zombies in the first episode of season 4.
  • Evil Gloating: After tricking Jiggly Caliente into shooting herself in the foot with the Dragazine challenge, Phi Phi O'Hara proudly gloats about it to Willam, punctuated by an Evil Laugh.
    • A few of the confessionals can come off like this as well, especially if said queen is trying to be a Manipulative Bastard.
  • Expy: In the "Snatch Game" challenge, some competitors play their chosen celebrities by taking on or mocking one of their characters. In Season 3, Stacy Layne Matthews played Mo'Nique but was channeling the mother from Precious, and in Season 6, BenDeLaCreme played Maggie Smith, but was more directly channeling the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey. Interestingly, both queens won the challenge in their respective seasons.
  • Eye Scream: Jujubee was accidentally hit in the eye with a stiletto heel while participating in a staged and filmed catfight. Ouch.
  • Fan Disservice: Invoked in-universe during the Season 3 nude photoshoot mini-challenge by Delta Work, Stacy Layne Matthews, and a bit more surprisingly, Alexis Mateo, who were all very uncomfortable in posing nude and saying outright no one would want to see them without their clothes on. Delta went as far as to say that she doesn't even have sex naked.
  • Fanservice: The "Pit Crew," musclebound hunks wearing only undies who assist RuPaul in setting up the challenges. The Queens are also usually fairly blatant about Eating the Eye Candy when it comes to them.
    • The competitors have different examples of acting as fanservice themselves (or trying to, or serving up performances designed as satires of conventional fanservice sexiness). Some of them include:
      • Tatianna's description of her entire character and appeal, and all the bragging she does about being so pretty that straight men love to hit on her.
      • Season two's "Starrbootylicious" challenge (where the competitors have to put together burlesque acts and garner tips from an audience of men).
      • Carmen Carrera's description of her entire character and appeal. see, "Carmen is nudity and sex."
      • Season three's "America" challenge (wherein Raja and Carmen both style themselves as pin-up girls for the main challenge, Carmen came to the runway in a Bettie Page and Dita Von Teese-inspired get up, and Carmen's performance involved macking on Johnny Weir)
      • Season three's "Jocks in Frocks" challenge (initially failed when Carmen dressed her rather beefy sister, Lolita Cruz-Carrera, up in a showgirl bikini that didn't even try to craft a more female-presenting silhouette; then successfully accomplished during Carmen and Raja's rather Sapphic lipsynch to Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" — which Alexis Matteo described as "softcore porn" and "kinda hot," and which the jocks seemed to enjoy, based on their reactions, seen in that episode's Untucked).
      • Attempted by season four's Alisa Summers in her Apocalyptic couture outfit. It doesn't work. She ends up lip-synching due to the lack of vision in her costume, and Jiggly Caliente sends her home.
      • The entire premise of the "Float Your Boat" mini-challenge, where the queens are given enormous breastplates and made to compete in a wet t-shirt contest.
      • The underlying idea behind a LOT of Willam's runway outfits and style of presentation. Fortunately, she brought other things to the table as well.
      • Inverted by Sharon Needles, who says of herself: "I never want to create a character that someone would want to fuck. I like to mock sexiness."
      • And then there's Detox, who has a little black dress that looks normal from the front, only to reveal lacing on the back that goes all the way down and shows a massive amount of buttcrack.
    • In Season 5, Fanservice crashes headlong into Product Placement when RuPaul has the Queens match the designer underwear on a room full of musclebound jocks. Gains an immediate Lampshade when Ru declares "And the winner is... all the straight women and gay men in America!"
  • Fashion Show
  • Fat and Skinny: Any pairing involving Latrice Royale ended up as this, Latrice and Kenya Michaels, Latrice and Willam, and during All Stars, Latrice and Manila Luzon.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Guest judge Johnny Weir managed to invert this, with gloves that are only fingers.
  • Five-Token Band: Each season has a fair share of minority contestants and at least one plus-sized queen, but Season 4 was the most diverse season so far, with four black queens, three Latinas, two Asians, three BBWs, and three queens over the age of 35.
  • Flat "What.": The Queens' reactions when Coco Montrese picks Alyssa Edwards for her team during the No RuPologies ballet challenge, what with the bad blood between them. Coco's reaction is to shrug and point out that Alyssa is a professional choreographer, so it would be stupid not to pick her.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: A staple of drag for years, so it's bound to make an appearance often.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Invoked in season 5 when Roxxxy Andrews comments on Coco and Alyssa's rivalry by saying the two "need to go off and fuck or something" and just get over their bad blood.
    • Also made fun of when Detox and Alaska impersonate Sharon and Phi Phi's rivalry from the previous season. They end their re-enacted argument by giving each other a bloody kiss.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Halfway through Season 5, it became clear that Jinkx, Alaska, or Detox would take the crown. Ru had been criticized in the past for neglecting comedy queens on the show, and this might be why Season 5 contained more comedic challenges than usual.
  • Freudian Excuse: The other queens attribute Phi Phi O'Hara's nasty attitude to her rough childhood as a victim of bullying and parental abuse.
    • This is also suggested to be one reason for Alyssa Edwards' antagonistic attitude, due to having a verbally abusive father.
  • Full-Name Basis: Nicole. Paige. Brooks. From. Atlanta. Georgia.
    • Mystique Summers Madison
    • Stacey Lane Bryant Matthews Lattisaw Q.
    • Shangela LaQuifa Watley!
    • Iveee Winturrrrssss!
    • Monica Beverly Hills, which Ru pronounces so fast that it comes out as "Mamagaburburlyhill."
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Girls, use your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent!"
    • From season four: the "Wrestling's Trashiest Fighters" league.
    • Latrice explains that "bitch" means "Being In Total Control of Herself"
  • The Fundamentalist: A lot of the pageant queens come off this way, claiming that only their style of drag is "real" drag, and that comedy/unconventional queens use humor/quirkiness to compensate for a lack of glamour. Predictably, such queens end up sounding like close-minded bullies.
  • Gag Boobs: Alexis Mateo and Carmen Carerra's comedy acts centered around this.
    • Madame LaQueer's wrestling costume.
  • Gag Penis: According to the other queens, Alaska, since after the first challenge she gets buck naked, prompting comments from the others including that it was appropriate that she wore a horse mask when first arriving.
    • During Season 5's military makeover challenge, Coco's partner had this problem, almost resorting to duct tape despite Coco insisting that that's a Very Bad Idea.
    • In the Season 5 finale, Alyssa finally revealed her "secret"
    It's nine inches and very functional!
    • Season 6's Bianca Del Rio, saying that her heritage gives her "a big dick, no credit, and a tendency to take things that don't belong to me."
  • Gaussian Girl: RuPaul, especially in Season 1.
    • Parodied and lampshaded in Pandora Boxx's season 2 audition tape; when "interviewing" herself (out of drag as the interviewer and in drag as the interviewee), Pandora stops to seemingly rub Vaseline all over the lens to give that effect. The "interviewer" calls his alter ego out on it, telling someone to clean that gunk off the camera.
    • One of the Ad Bumpers for the show proclaimed, "Available in stunning standard definition! The queens will thank us."
  • Gayngst: Though all the queens are out and proud now (what with them being on national television) this factors into many of their backstories, including being thrown out by parents, homophobic bullying and discrimination, and many call being drag queens the way they chose to deal with it and reclaim power for themselves.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the Season Five premiere, RuPaul promises the girls a Beverly Hills shopping spree, followed immediately by a preview of the girls diving into dumpsters.
    • In the reunion episode of season 2, when Tatianna is asked why she barely did anything during the Reading challenge and backed out quickly, she claims that reading wasn't really her thing. Cue a montage of all the times when she'd read other queens to the Confession Cam, the only apparent difference being that it wasn't face to face and the challenge was.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Several of the veterans in the season 5 competition to make over gay military vets into drag queens. Mini-challenge winner Alaska paired up the queens and the vets and picked the tall twinkish blonde for herself, but this backfired when "Nebraska" ended up looking better in drag than she did, and Detox spent more time lusting after her vet than focusing on the competition.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The "Jealous Of My Boogie" video features Raven breaking an (obviously fake) bottle over Jujubee's head.
  • Hairstyle Malfunction: As wigs are quite commonplace in drag, this is bound to happen. Shannel purposely invokes this trope when she loses her wig during a lip sync, after the judges had critiqued her on not showing enough vulnerability in the competition.
    • This trope has also been invoked by other queens in later seasons. It had had gotten so bad that Rupaul had warned the girls not to do and even Santino had look displeased when one queen did it. Subverted by Roxxxy Andrews who was wearing a wig under her current wig.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: The "Lip sync for your Life!" danceoff.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the second episode of season four: RuPaul has her girls star as tag-team wrestling divas in the WTF league.
    • Many episodes of Untucked also devolve into this.
    • And according to Alaska, fights with then-lover Sharon Needles often turned into this, since it's "two big egos in one tiny house."
  • The Hecate Sisters: Contestants can be roughly divided into three age groups:
    • Ingenue Queens in their early- to mid 20's who bring energy and a fresh perspective with them, but may be lacking in experience and budget, and are accused of using the show as "drag finishing school" rather than a showcase of the skills they already have.
    • Prime Queens in their late 20's to early 30's who are more experienced and financially well-off than the younger queens while still being youngish themselves: the prime of their careers. For this reason they often come across as arrogant.
    • Veteran Queens in their mid-30's and older who bring two or more decades of drag experience with them, but may have trouble adapting to new ideas and styles outside their own.
  • Heroic BSOD: Occurs twice in one episode! First, Alexis Mateo falls victim to stress and nearly leaves the competition. Then, later on, when she and Yara Sofia end up in the bottom two, Yara breaks down and falls to the ground crying, unable to continue with the lipsync.
    • It's implied that Jiggly Caliente went through this when she saw the episode where Phi Phi O'hara sabotaged her, since the two were close friends before the show.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Pandora Boxx in RuPaul All Stars. When she gets teamed with the All Stars unfavorite, Mimi Imfurst, it's obvious she mentally checks out of the competition, leading to their elimination in the first episode. The queens even state outright that Team Mandora could have been a fierce duo if Pandora had not just given up.
    • Lashauwn Beyond had a lot of dressmaking talent, but a very demure personality. During her first runway she managed to talk herself out of the top and into the bottom due to acting so unsure of herself.
  • Homage: The opening for season 5's "Untucked" lifts/homages/parodies the opening to PBS' Masterpiece, complete with RuPaul introducing himself as Laura Linney.
  • Humiliation Conga: Alyssa Edwards seems to suffer one up until her elimination in Season 5, starting with her poor performance in the Snatch Game, where she had to tweet an apology to Katy Perry for portraying her so poorly. She's then forced to work with her rival, Coco Montrese, in the singing challenge, then fails spectacularly in next three challenges, the RuPaul Roast, perfume challengenote , and telenovela challenge (which she had to work with Coco and Jinkx Monsoon, who constantly outshined her in acting and comedy challenges), gets told by Santino Rice the dress she wore was the 'worst in five seasons', and as the icing on the cake, finally gets eliminated by her longtime rival, Coco, in a lip sync.
  • Hurricane of Puns: A category 5, starting with the title on down.
  • The Hyena: Ru's extremely distinctive laugh is even used on one of the show's eyecatches.
  • I Ate What?: During a mini challenge the queens had to specifically figure out if what they ate was "chicken" or "what", the "what" being fried rabbit, alligator, and cow-brains.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Made evident by every "Untucked" episode. Most prominently displayed by Rebecca Glasscock, Raven, Phoenix, and Shangela, who claims to be "keeping it real" about six times an episode.
    • Averted somewhat by Manila. In a normal episode, she says to Shangela "I don't want you to feel like I'm attacking you... but I am attacking you, because this is a competition and I'm trying to beat you." However, she also says to Ru that she did like making friends in the competition, and she seems to be actively avoiding fights in the Untucked room.
    • In Season 4, Lashauwn Beyond gives us "This is not RuPaul's Best Friend Race!"
  • I'm Standing Right Here: When BenDeLaCreme and Darienne Lake lipsynched against each other, Ru made it sound like she was eliminating DeLa, only to reveal that she would keep both of them. When the queens got back to the workroom, Courtney Act said to DeLa, "I was ready to yell 'Noooo! You made the wrong choice!'" Darienne was not amused.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Happens at least once (usually more) during any challenge where the queens have to make their own clothing, especially the first challenge of the season using unconventional materials.
    • Alyssa Edwards gets called out by Santino for having the 'worst dress in five seasons' during the Telenovela runway. When Santino is later reminded of some of the horrid ensembles that have made it across the runway over the course of the series, he maintains his position by explaining how those previous dresses were made on a deadline using random scraps, meanwhile Alyssa's Telenovela dress was something she brought from home and planned on wearing.
  • In-Series Nickname: Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara's "pet names" for each other were "Party City" for Sharon (after the chain of cheap costume stores) and "Busted-Ass Showgirl" for Phi Phi.
    • In season 3, the group of Raja, Manila, Carmen and Delta begin calling themselves the "Heathers" after the movie of the same name.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Shannel, who seemed to have extreme levels of confidence ("I should have won this challenge!") but couldn't handle the judges not complimenting her regularly.
    • And, to a lesser degree, Season 4's Phi Phi O'Hara.
    • Mimi Imfurst from Season 3 liked to act confident much of the time, but more than a few of the other queens had accused her of being very self-conscious in her skills and ability to be glamorous.
    • Taken [Up to Eleven] with Laganja Estranja in Season Six.
  • Informed Flaw: Raja from season 3 often had her age referenced as being "so old" compared to the other queens, being age 36 at the time of the show. Though she was oldest cast member of that particular season, there have been several queens her age or older: Latrice Royle (39), Chad Michaels (40), Coco Montrese (37), Pandora Boxx (also 37), and Milan (36). Most of this came from Manila and may have been part of their Vitriolic Best Buds relationship.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Lake Titicaca and Tuckahoe, especially in Season 4.
  • It's All About Me: After LaGanja Enstraja gets a video from her parents in the Gold Bar, the other queens start talking about their own family situations. LaGanja actually interrupts them to complain that they are intruding on her moment.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bianca del Rio. Rude, brash, and snarky, with an acidic sense of humor, she nonetheless shows moments of true compassion, particularly when Trinity reveals that she's been living with HIV for the past year and a half.
    Bianca: (to Trinity) I think what you've done is an amazing thing, and if you ever need anything, call a hateful bitch like me. Even if it's for a laugh.
  • Jerkass Façade: No, Bianca Del Rio isn't really that mean; she's just the drag queen version of Don Rickles.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Phi Phi O'Hara, in one of her many rants against Willam, pointed out that Willam won the "Hope Floats" challenge for the exact same thing that got Milan eliminated: making her Pride float about herself rather than the GLBT community.
    • Bianca Del Rio is this trope personified. She reads everyone to filth, but she doesn't do it to hurt the other queens - it's just her strength (she's an insult comic) and everything she says is the truth.
    • Alyssa pointing out that the challenges seemed to favor queens with more comedic backgrounds versus pageant or glamour queens like herself.
  • Keet / Genki Girl: Manila Luzon. Dear God, Manila. Just watch her facial expressions. True, she's capable of being pretty composed, too, but most of the time…
  • Kick the Dog: Phi Phi O'Hara purposely tricking Jiggly into taking the wrong direction with her magazine, after the two had been established as good friends. Phi Phi doesn't help matters by gloating to Willam afterwards about how she's getting Jiggly eliminated.
  • Large Ham / Camp: It's a show about drag queens, so natch. In particular, RuPaul often takes particular relish in instructing the queens to "lip synch... for your LIFE," and in ordering "bring back... MY GIRLS."
  • Lifelines: In All Stars, during a lipsync if a queen's partner was having a "Shemergency", she could hit the button, tag her partner, and finish the lipsync herself. The button could only be used once by any pair in the entire run of the show, however. note 
  • Lighter and Softer: Season 4, in comparison to Season 3. The latter devoted a lot of focus to the clique warfare between the "Heathers" and "boogers" whereas Season 4 does away with that and draws attention to issues faced by the drag and LGBTQ communities, such as bullying and the tough lives of the queens. Main challenges such as Hope Floats (for Pride Week) and Frock the Vote (done in conjunction with the It Gets Better Project) really hammer this home.
    • Zig-zagged with Untucked. Half of Untucked is the queens sharing heartwarming stories and forming "a sisterhood" with eachother, while the other half is the screaming matches and fights that take place in almost every episode. One fight between Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara was so heated they fought through RuPaul's message to head to the Gold Bar and unknowingly missed out on an opportunity to meet Dita von Teese, who waited patiently as Muzak played in the background.
    • Could be said of the show's effect on how drag is viewed in the public eye. Sharon Needles has said in an interview that although she still loves the program, in her opinion it has taken the art form of drag, which used to be mature and underground, and turned it into something more "PG-13".
  • Little People Are Surreal: The killer in both versions of the fake horror movie from season 6 is a little person for no adequately explained reason, though it was apparently a reference to Lil' Pound Cake from season 5.
  • Losing Your Head: The horror challenge in Season 6 included the role of a disembodied head. Darienne and Vivacious played the head for their respective teams and, showing how the same role can go in vastly different directions, Darienne won the challenge while Vivi was eliminated.
  • Lost in Translation: When the judges likened Yara Sofia's traditional Puerto Rican bomba dress to a "Snuggie" (a blanket with sleeves), she had no idea what they meant until it was explained to her later on in the lounge. It was only then she realized she should have been offended by their critique.
  • Manipulative Editing: Despite Latrice Royale stating that its not used as much as the queens would like to claim, it is said to happen (just like any reality show). For example, Season 5's Jinkx Monsoon/Roxxxy Andrews dynamic had Jinkx-the-bullied-odd-duck as the hero, and Roxxxy as the close-minded-bully villain. All of the queens involved—including Jinkx herself—have said that she wasn't the meek victim she was portrayed to be, and although Roxxxy did snap at Jinkx (and Alaska), she constantly apologized for it.
    • The commercial-break trailers do this all the damn time. Statements are taken out of context or paired with different reaction shots to, for instance, make a sarcastic or joking comment seem like a genuine, deliberate insult.
  • Mama Bear: Raja. Even before appearing on the show she had a drag mother relationship with a couple of the other competitors, putting Delta in shows and helping Shangela to dress for the Season 2 reunion.
    • In season 4, we now have Chad Michaels, who spends most of one Untucked episode alternately comforting Sharon Needles and reminding her teammates from the challenge that Jiggly Caliente's feelings should taken into consideration. Chad even stands up to a big, burly DILF and in the Untucked episode cautions, "you don't come for [attack] my people, not while I'm around."
    • We also have Latrice Royale, who takes on something of a drag mother role to Lashauwn Beyond, whom she knew from back home, and called Jiggly out in the interests of helping her grow as a person.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: In Season 1, the queens had to give glamorous makeovers to a group of tomboyish female martial artists who had never worn makeup or high heels in their lives. The gender dynamic was explored in full.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Manila Luzon, a Filipino queen, named herself after two of the largest islands in the Philippines.
    • Pandora Boxx's name is a pun on Classical Mythology, Delta Work got her name from Designing Women star Delta Burke, Nina Flowers' surname comes from her real surname out of drag (Jorge Flores), Victoria "Porkchop" Parker's name out of drag is Victor, and as Ongina put her name: "Well, my middle name is Ong, and God didn't bless me with a different kind of -gina."
    • Vivienne Pinay is a Filipino; Pinay is used colloquially to refer to a Filipino woman, though her pronunciation differs. Jade Jolie got her name by combining the name of the Mortal Kombat character and Angelina Jolie. Jinkx Monsoon's name comes from the fact that if "there's a one in a million chance of something bad happening it's going to happen to her" and Edie Monsoon from Absolutely Fabulous. Alyssa Edwards got her first name from Alyssa Milano.
    • Detox's full name is Detox Icunt.
    • From Season 1, Akasha named herself after the title character from Queen of the Damned.
    • Jiggly Caliente's first name is after the Pokémon Jigglypuff.
  • Mistaken for Racist: During the presidential debate challenge, Phi Phi O'Hara refers to DiDa Ritz and Latrice Royale (who are both black) jokingly as "The Help", which caused a controversy between the queens. Phi Phi doesn't know why everyone got so upset over it though, since she was just playing a character.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The final four of season 5 is described as "Rolaskatoxxx... and Jinkx."
    • RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race featured various fan favorites and top four contenders from the first four seasons of Drag Race ... and Mimi Imfurst, who was top 11th in her season.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Many of the "evil" queens after seeing themselves on tv for the first time (Roxxxy Andrews went as far as to apologize to Jinkx and her fans on Facebook after "Sugar Ball" aired). This is true for many reality show "villains," unless they were purposely playing it up, since seeing yourself the same way others see you can be a bit of an eye-opener.
  • My Greatest Failure: One of the gay sailors in the "Super Troopers" episode claims that he introduced Judy Garland to the sleeping pills that would eventually kill her. Ru is completely speechless. #ikilledjudygarland
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Essentially the point of the All Stars season, but averted for everyone except the eventual winner, Chad Michaels.
    • Alyssa Edwards from season 5 also describes being on the show as this, to prove that she still has it after the as-of-yet-unspecified incident that dethroned her as Ms. Gay America. In the end she gets eliminated in a lipsync with Coco, the very person who "took" the crown in the first place, though Coco winds up only lasting one further week before she herself is eliminated.
    • Played straight with Shangela. She was the first queen eliminated in Season 2, but came back for Season 3 where she won two challenges and finished at a respectable sixth place.
  • Nobody over 50 Is Gay: Averted with RuPaul herself (b. 1960), along with a few contestants and the featured guests on the Season 2's "Golden Gals" challenge, Steve from the "Super Troopers" challenge in Season 5.
  • N-Word Privileges: The term "she-male" is often considered offensive, but punnishly reclaimed to introduce the first segment: "Girl, you got She Mail!"
    • In Season 3, the other queens question Manila Luzon's N-Word Privileges in regards to some of her Asian stereotype schtick.
      • Later that episode, Stacy dresses as Mo'Nique's character from Precious. While Stacy is black, she is very light-skinned (and only brings up her Native American heritage in a later episode), so she decided to dress in borderline blackface. This went unmentioned by the other queens.
    • In season 4, we end up with a discussion of the line between racially charged, off-color humor and offensiveness when, acting as a Sarah Palin-esque character in the "Frock the Vote" challenge, Phi Phi O'Hara refers to Latrice Royale and DiDa Ritz, "the help."
    • Another example of something going unquestioned: in the runway presentation for season three's "America" challenge, Raja comes to the stage in an outfit inspired by Cher and Janis Joplin, which features a Native American war bonnet. While Raja is a PoC, she's Indonesian, not Native American, and while some commenters in the fandom have commented on this and whether or not it went over the good taste line with regards to cultural appropriation, the judges and other competitors did not. She actually received high praise for the outfit.
      • Sharon Needles (white) skirts the same line in a season four mini-challenge, when she designs a pair of shoes (inspired by an Absolut Berri Sour cocktail), and claims that she wanted to represent "the plight of American Indians." It doesn't win the mini-challenge, but also attracts no comments. In real life outside the competition her tendency towards this has caused some backlash.
    • A term that is thrown around quite a bit is the term "tranny" — a slur aimed at trans* people that is used quite often and casually on the show. This is an example of when the people in question have no right to use the word yet no one questions this.
    • On the other hand: as drag queens, the competitors are often lumped in with trans* people by folks who aren't educated about the differences — see: some of the things said by the dads/makeover partners in s4's "DILFs (Dads I'd Like To Frock)," especially in the Untucked episode — and have trans*phobic slurs leveled at them as insults (see: Pandora describing the aversion her team experienced while trying to sell cherry pie gift certificates on Hollywood Boulevard, in full drag, in the middle of the day; c.f., "Aaah, it's a tranny girl. Ahhh, it's a t-girl"). So… yes, the queens aren't the typical victims of the "tranny" slur, but as victims of it nevertheless, some people would say they have a right to reclaim the term, as long as they don't use also it as a slur for trans* people.
    • Happened again in season 6 with the use of the term "shemale" in the "female or shemale" mini challenge, where the racers had to guess if the extreme close up on screen was a cis woman or a famous drag queen. "Shemale" has also been used on the show playfully in the "You've got She-Mail" intro to mini challenges, and in the wake of this the show and LOGO have announced that they will avoid using that term in the future, removed the episode featuring that challenge and retire the "You've Got She-Mail" challenge intro.
  • Oh Crap: The guaranteed reaction whenever Ru appears in the workroom halfway through a challenge and announces "a little twist."
  • Once a Season: Several things are RPDR traditions.
    • The first episode of every season features a photo-shoot challenge. Themes so far have been: wet and sexy poses with the Pit Crew, on the hood of a car; a Gone with the Wind-inspired shoot (featuring a large fan, a dramatic piece of fabric, a cannon between the competitors' legs, and the Pit Crew); a Christmas card photo (taken on a wintry backdrop, while the competitors bounce on a trampoline, are bombarded with fake snow, and/or play with a gag candy cane); "Apocalyptic couture" (taken while getting spun around and covered in neon-colored paint); "Hollywood Splash" (posing gracefully while submerged in a glass tank full of water); and a drop shot (photographing the queens as they dive from a ledge into a padded pit.)
    • The first episode also involves making a new, original drag outfit out of whatever random things RuPaul can throw at her queens.
    • There will always be some kind of acting-related challenge: season one had the queens run through different phases of Oprah's career; season two put the queens in teams to shoot commercials for "Disco Extra-Greasy Shortening"; season three had the queens act in fake sci-fi movie trailers, make fake workout videos, and put together fake newscasts; and season four had the queens acting as professional wrestlers, acting in a fake sitcom ("Hot In Tuckahoe"), making infomercials to hock RuPaul's albums, and pretending to be presidential hopefuls, running for the Wig Party's candidacy; season five has, so far, featured the queens lipsynching to previous seasons' Untucked dramas, acting in drag kids' shows ("Barnyard Buddies" and "The Magic Bush"), performing in a drag ballet about RuPaul's life, and acting in a fake telenovela ("Ella No Es Dama" and "Casa de Locas").
    • There will always be some group challenge, or several: season one had the queens in girl groups, lip-synching to Destiny's Child songs; season two had the Disco Extra-Greasy Shortening challenge and also made the queens come up with burlesque acts; season three's group challenges are as above; and in addition to the first three examples from above, season four had the "frenemies" challenge, where the queens were paired up in mismatched couples (Willam and Latrice Royale; Chad Michaels and DiDa Ritz; and Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara); season five's group challenges were the spoken-word lipsynch challenge, the drag kids' shows challenge, the "No Rupaulogies" ballet challenge, and the telenovela challenge.
    • From season two forward: THE SNATCH GAME (the queens impersonate celebrities on a Match Game-style game show); and the "throwing shade" mini-challenge (The library is OPEN!).
    • From season two forward: some kind of music and/or live performance-related challenge. Season two had the queens dress as rockstars to sing RuPaul's song "Ladyboy" to a live audience; season three had the queens perform stand-up comedy routines in one episode, then record different versions of RuPaul's song "Superstar" and lipsynch their versions; season four's "frenemies" challenge involved the queens singing, "Better Than You," and putting together a live nightclub act; and season five had the queens roast RuPaul.
    • an episode where someone who isn't a drag queen gets made over to be the queens' drag sister/mother/daughter/other relation. Season one had the girls work on cis female fighters; season two paired them up with older gay men who didn't do drag; season three gave us "Jocks In Frocks," where the girls were matched up with heterosexual male jocks; season four's "DILFs (Dads I'd Like To Frock)" paired up the girls with macho heterosexual fathers; and season five's "Super Troopers" paired the girls up with gay military vets.
    • The finale of every season features the top three competitors performing in some new RuPaul music video, one gets eliminated based on that challenge, and then the top two lipsynch against each other for the crown.
      • This was changed from Season 4 onward due to previous winners being leaked. Instead, Ru will make all three finalists lipsynch for their lives, then lets viewers weigh in before making her decision in an episode filmed shortly before its airdate. Since the rest of the season is filmed in late summer/early fall, this means the queens have to wait months before knowing who won.
    • From season 2 onward, around the time of the final 8 is created, there usually is a design challenge: Season 2 had the queens create wedding dresses; season 3 had the queens create "cake couture"; and season 4 had the queens create floats for a gay pride parade. Season 5 proved an exception to this rule, having the queens instead record a "We Are The World"-inspired anthem.
    • The top 4 will compete in a themed drag ball runway challenge and have to design an outfit accordingly and be judged on the glamor and presentation, but the exact specifications of the challenge (such as whether they have to produce other looks too) may vary from season to season.
    • The "Halfway Curse." Halfway through each season, Ru will announce that winning a challenge will no longer grant immunity from elimination the following week. Once this announcement is made, there will come a time where a queen who won the previous challenge will be sent home the next week. See Shocking Elimination below.
      • This changed in Season 6, though, when Ru announced in the premiere that there would be no immunity at all granted to challenge winners. See Wham Line below.
  • Once per Episode: During Season 5, Alyssa Edward's and Coco Montrese's falling out over the Miss Gay America Pageant had to be given the spotlight at least once per episode, usually more during any challenge where the two were forced to work together. The only exception in this is the episode for the final challenge, and that's only because it had been a whole episode since the last of the pair had been eliminated.
  • Official Couple: Drag queens very rarely date each other, but so far there have been two such couples within the show: Sharon Needles & Alaska and Manila Luzon & Sahara Davenport before her death.
    • Jinkx Monsoon and Ivy Winters, or so the producers would have you think. Jinkx admits to having a crush on her, and it's hinted that Ivy reciprocates. Tellingly, after Ivy gets eliminated the first person she hugs is Jinkx, and says that they'll be "seeing each other soon." Both queens have denied taking the relationship further on social media and are just "very good friends". During the reunion Jinkx acted embarrassed when it was brought up since apparently she didn't know they would actually air that footage, not to mention the fact that Ivy already has a boyfriend (who for the record had no problem with it).
  • Oh Crap:
    • Willam when Ru reveals that the mini challenge that week would be a lie detector test, since she was supposedly getting visits from her husband behind the producers' backs. The test wasn't about that (it was about pairing the queens off based on who was the least compatible), but it did prompt Willam to fess up later, leading to her disqualification.
    • An epic one from Alaska after seeing how terribly her chosen Marine walks in heels.
    • The heavier queens in Season 3 when Ru announced that the mini challenge one week was nude photos.
  • One Judge to Rule Them All: Although RuPaul takes into consideration all of the critiques of her judges, and of the Drag Race fans during the final elimination, she has said several times over that every decision on the show is her's and her's alone.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The queens are only ever referred to regularly by their drag personas, in and out of drag. This does make sense, however, since they are considered to always be "on" during the competition and to be prepared for anything.
  • Only One Name: About half the queens. Some of those do have full names outside the show, but had them cut due to containing naughty words (Alaska Thunderfuck, Detox Icunt), while Shangela seems to have cut it down since her first name has more zing than the rest.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Jinkx Monsoon from season 5 describes herself as "Seattle's premier narcoleptic Jewish drag queen."
  • Pandering to the Base: In-universe, it's suggested that Coco may be trying to do this by naming her fragrance "RuAnimal" in an attempt to appeal to Ru. It is not well received.
  • Parental Abandonment: Roxxxy Andrews tearfully recounts how her birth mother left her and her sister at a bus stop when she was 3 years old during an Untucked episode. Later while on the main stage after the lipsync she breaks down and is reassured by Ru and the other queens that they are her family now.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: It is a reality show about drag queens.
  • Perky Goth: Sharon Needles.
  • Perma Stubble: Some queens have a harder time keeping their five o'clock shadows in check than others. *Cough*Roxxxy Andrews*cough*
    • Willam got read on this constantly, although this may only be an invoked example since it was just the shading of her make-up that made her cheeks and chin look unusually dark, giving the illusion of stubble.
  • Phrase Catcher: Quite a few times Ru has introduced Santino Rice with or with some variation of: "shake the dice and steal the rice, it's Santino!"
    • Ru has a few for some of the queens as well, such as asking Jiggly Caliente "May I call you Jiggly?", or introducing Ivy Winter infamously as "Iveeeeeeee Winterrrrrrrs"
    • Ru also loves geography-based catchphrases when introducing queens: "From Camerooooooooooon, Miss Bebe Zahara Benet", "Paris, London, and Milan", and "Alaska, the 49th state"
  • Picked Last: A frequent part of challenges where the queens pick their teammates. See All of the Other Reindeer above.
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Playing a Tree: In season 2 Raven gets assigned the role of a chicken in the commercial the queens have to put together and is not happy about it. She gets critiqued for half-assing the performance, especially compared to Jessica Wild, the chicken on the other team, who produced a stand out performance despite her difficulty with English.
    • During the Draggle Rock challenge, Coco Montrese was assigned the role of a ventriloquist dummy, much to her chagrin. Afterwards, the judges point out that by playing the dummy she had (and missed) a great opportunity to steal the show.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In All Stars the teams of queens get names like this, for instance Latrila (Latrice and Manila) Brown Flowers (Tami Brown and Nina Flowers) and Rujubee (Raven and Jujubee).
    • Amusingly in season 2 this is discussed about Raven and Morgan, as they always had eachother's back until Morgan gets eliminated by a spurned slightly bitter Jujubee who Raven didn't pick first to choose a wedding dress despite without Juju she wouldn't have won the mini challenge. Her and Tatiana think of different couple names to call them by.
    • Season 5 also gives us Rolaskatox for the triad of Roxxxy Andrews, Alaska and Detox, who quickly form their own little clique.
  • Precious Puppy: Invoked during The Fabulous Bitch Ball by Filan the Chinese crested dog and Babyface the Pomeranian, who succeed quite well at melting the hearts of Chad Michaels and Latrice Royale.
  • Product Placement: Anyone thirsty for some Absolut vodka?
    • Ru Paul's "Champion", now on iTunes!
    • "...that's boobsforqueens.com."
    • Now being lampshaded in s4, as RuPaul will regularly smile and wink at the camera after a moment of product placement. Part of the show's delightful campiness.
    • As of season 6, the social network Scruff had the genius idea to sponsor the pit crew's underwear.
    • In Season 6, an entire challenge centered on the queens producing commercials for RuPaul's new line of "Glamazon" cosmetics.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Occasionally crops up, though most of competitors and judges refer to themselves and each other as "she" in costume and "he" he out of it, which is considered standard drag etiquette where one refers to someone as the gender being presented unless told otherwise by that person.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Jade Jolie in the fifth season. She's a proud video gamer and is even named after the Mortal Kombat character. She also has a shirt of the Pink Power Ranger and at one point wears a hat of Jake from Adventure Time.
    • Jiggly Caliente is also prominently wearing an Avengers shirt at one point.
    • Alyssa Edwards, of all people, is seen wearing a Legend of Zelda shirt.
  • Pungeon Master: RuPaul herself, Once an Episode, usually when calling out the girls or telling them they get to stay. Examples include: "You made a meal out of this challenge, but it left a bad taste in some of the judges' mouths"; "You were pretty in P!nk, but your performance left us blue"; "Raven, you may live to fly another day." And it only gets a lot worse.
    • In season four's "Dragazines" challenge, Sharon Needles tries to take the cake, filling her Cat Fancy-esque magazine's cover with all kinds of pussy-related puns. When this is pointed out on the runway, she replies with, "Well, I don't know… I'm talking about cats! You're a pervert!"
  • Punny Name: Mimi Imfurst, Pandora Boxx, Sharon Needles, Penny Tration, etc.
    • Also seen in some of the names given to the non-drag queens the competitors make over. Raven's and Pandora's drag mothers are Golda Lamé and Litter Boxx, respectively; and Sharon Needles rechristens her DILF, "Robin Mansions."
    • Taken Up to Eleven in RuPaul's Drag U, which includes such gems as Candy Graham, Paya La Renta, and Sarah Tonin.
    • Some of the gay military veterans in Season 5's makeover challenge had names to match their drag mothers. Detox's partner was "Beth Adone,"note , Coco's was Horchata, and Alaska made her vet into "Nebraska." And since Ru would always introduce Alaska as "the 49th state," she appropriately added "...and Nebraska, the 37th state".
    • Zig-Zagged by Season 6 contestant Courtney Act. She's originally from Australia where her name is a pun on "Caught in the act," but this is lost on American tongues. Many of her pre-Drag Race fans in the US didn't even know her name was a pun until she explained it on the show. But whenever Ru and the other queens announce Courtney for something, they say her name with the accent, so that the pun is always present.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: It's been said in the show outright that it takes a real man (with some really big balls) to dress up in women's clothing and be a drag queen.
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: Averted. The queens appear to stay in hotel rooms, and are usually not shown in activities outside of the competition.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Brought up in season 5 where Alyssa Edwards says that she was unprepared for the Snatch Game challenge and bombed it since impersonation "isn't my thing", but the other Queens point out that the show has done it so often that she should have been expecting it and prepared beforehand.
    • Ditto for Lineysha Sparx, who didn't know whether she wanted to do Michelle Obama or Celia Cruz and only had half-formed ideas for both. She ends up doing Celia Cruz but falls flat, leading to her elimination.
    • When Jiggly Caliente was complaining that she didn't know how to sew at all, Lashauwn Beyond's response was, "This is not the first season," and that she can't use that as an excuse because she should have been aware sewing challenges are a staple of the show.
      • In the Season 6 opener, Adore Delano can't sew either, and Ru herself expresses bewilderment at how sewing is a lost art among younger drag queens.
    • Whenever a queen in the later seasons complains about the acting/comedic challenges. By now it should be clear that Ru wants a well-rounded queen who can be both glamorous and campy.
    • Courtney Act gets called out for her Stripperiffic "Republican Party" ensemble, since Michelle has spent three seasons telling queens not to rely on their body and a pretty face.
    • In season 6, Joslyn Fox gets to pick the line-up for a comedy challenge. All the other queens expect her to try to sabotage Bianca Del Rio (a professional comedian) by putting her on first. Instead, she puts Bianca on last and puts herself in the worst spot of all, right before Bianca. Bianca, predictably, kills the challenge and wins the week while Joslyn is directly called out by the judges for this blunder and forced to lip synch.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: During one season 2 challenge the queens had to play both the bride and groom in a wedding photoshoot, and Pandora Boxx comments that the challenge felt like this.
    • Also apparently what Milk was going for with her "Workroom Ru" (i.e. dressed as man) look. While it visibly puzzled the judges it didn't land her in the bottom either.
  • Reunion Show: Once a Season after the show has aired, where the queens get to air out any lingering drama among them, as well as crown the season's Miss Congeniality. As of Season 4 onward, the Reunion is also when the Awesome Moment of Crowning for the actual Drag Race winner takes place.
  • The Rival: In Season 4, Sharon Needles and Phi-Phi O'Hara. In Season 5, Coco Montrese and Alyssa Edwards, who previously competed in Miss Gay America where Alyssa won but was dethroned, leading to runner-up Coco unexpectedly taking the crown. Their bad blood becomes a driving plot in the season.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: In season 6's makeover challenge, one of the men is a pro basketball player who is visibly uncomfortable with the process and worries about how his teammates will react. The episode was filmed shortly after Jason Collins became the first active openly gay professional athlete in the four major US team sports. Before the episode aired, some other athletes followed his example and it was a major topic in the sports media for months.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: In the first episode of every season, where the queens are challenged to make dresses out of random junk, the end result ranges from stunning to this.
  • Running Gag: Ever since Season 3, whenever the queens are told there will be a surprise at the start of the season, or there's a big box, they will panic that Shangela will be popping out of it.
  • Sadistic Choice: The most difficult elimination choice in the show's history was in Season 1 between Bebe Zahara Benet (a strong contender throughout the season) and Ongina (the underdog who had come out as HIV positive and won the previous challenge) when they landed in the bottom two. Ru even excused herself from the judges' table for a minute because it was such a difficult choice (obviously she kept Bebe, considering she went on to win the season). In later seasons, she'll simply keep both queens when faced with such a choice.
    • Inversion: She will eliminate both queens if neither one impresses her in the lipsynch, as Vivienne Pinay and Honey Mahogany learned the hard way.
  • Sassy Black Woman: It's a show about drag queens hosted by RuPaul; even the non-black contestants have the attitude down cold.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Season 1's Shannel left the show due to the overly and (in her opinion) unfairly negative critiques she received from the judges (Santino Rice, in particular) week after week. She is the only queen to date to ask to leave the show.
    • Delta Work came very close to being the second queen to ask to leave the show, after deciding she did not want to lip sync for her life for a third time in season 3, Raja however convinced her not to give upnote .
    • Alexis Mateo also came close to leaving the show in the penultimate episode of Season 3, when she left the studio for several minutes during her Heroic BSOD.
    • After being told several times she did not deserve to be on All Stars, Mimi Imfurst left the studio ready to quit. That is until her partner, Pandora Boxx, convinced her to get her butt back in there and not ruin both their chances on the shownote .
    • Tammie Brown in the second episode of Season 1. She was already in an uphill battle since the Destiny's Child-inspired challenge was not her style, and she wasn't getting along with group leader Akasha, who ignored her ideas and made her sew the outfits since Akasha didn't know what else to do with her. When the two had to lipsynch against each other, Tammie didn't even try since she was just ready to go by that point.
  • Screw Yourself: By implication in the season 2 wedding challenge that involved the queens posing as both the bride and the groom in a photoshoot.
  • Self-Deprecation: Very common among the queens.
    • Detox admits to having "some work" (i.e. plastic surgery) done and cheerfully refers to herself as having so much plastic in her that she belongs in the Glad line of products.
  • Serious Business: Many of the girls have celebrities whom they idolize (and occasionally) impersonate. They take them very seriously, to the point where some will refuse to mock them and threaten those who do.
    • Most obviously in Season 4 with Chad Michaels, who has perfected Cher to such a degree that US Weekly has confused him for the real deal.
    • And in season 5 Alyssa Edwards botches her impersonation of Katy Perry so badly that Ru makes her tweet an apology to Perry herself, and it's heavily suggested that the only reason she wasn't on the bottom was because she had immunity from the previous week.
    • Alyssa has this attitude towards drag in general, looking down on queens with a more comedic style like Jinkx and Detox.
    • Roxxxy also goes on a rant in the second-to-last episode about this, lashing out and Alaska and Jinkx for their more comedic styles and claiming they're denigrating the art form through it. Jinkx's response is that she takes the comedy itself very seriously, like any other comedic performer.
  • Sexy Secretary: Inevitable whenever the competitors are asked to give an "Executive Realness" look.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: RuPaul has no qualms about working her own pop songs into the challenges (and of course, makes a grand entrance to "Covergirl" Once an Episode). Totally gets away with it by staying on the right side of Camp.
    • Willam, although funny, plays this straight. He constantly brags about all the shows he's been on. It can get annoying.
  • She's Back: Shangela, who returned to the competition in Season 3 after being the first competitor eliminated in Season 2.
  • She's Got Legs: Raja. DiDa Ritz. Alyssa Edwards. Also, Season 6 in particular may be the leggiest season of Drag Race ever.
  • Shocking Elimination:
    • Ongina. It was particularly heartbreaking since just the week before, she had won the Viva Glam challenge and confessed to having lived with HIV for two years.
    • Jessica Wild, who also went home the week after winning a challenge.
      • Stacy was also sent home the week after winning a challenge, although this was less shocking as she had been an underdog for most of the season, but was praised when she finally "came out of her shell" during the Snatch Game.
    • Kenya Michaels being eliminated, when she was a major favorite for Top 3 in Season 4.
    • Also in season four; Willam, who actually won the challenge the week she was eliminated, since she was disqualified for having conjugal visits with her husband.
    • And in the first episode of All Stars, Pandora Boxx and Mimi Imfurst, the former being more shocking.
    • In Season 5, Honey Mahogany and Vivienne Pinay both get eliminated in episode 4. This one is more understandable, since they both underperformed in the lipsynch, but it was still the first double-elimination in the series.
    • BenDeLaCreme, as she was the first Season 6 queen to win two challenges and was considered by many a shoe-in for the Top 3.
  • Signature Move: Laganja Estranja performed a "death drop" (Dropping backwards limp onto the floor) as her first action on the show. After being put in the bottom two of the snatch game, she pulls out the move again during the Lip Synch and immediately lampshades it in a voiceover.
  • Sleepyhead: Jinkx Monsoon from Season 5, who has narcolepsy. In the first episode he's shown to have dozed off on a couch at one point, prompting the other queens to ask about it, and then later he seems to fall asleep when in front of the Confession Cam, prompting someone offscreen to ask he's okay. He also explains that it's "not like on TV" where someone falls asleep right away, and that he can feel it coming and usually tries to get to a couch or someplace similar.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Many of the challenges present this conundrum to the queens, whether they should take the challenge seriously, or make it funny and campy. A great example would be in Season 5 during the perfume challenge. The queens were split right down the middle in silly vs. serious, half of them making professional-looking (if boring) perfume ads, while the other half made funny, goofy ads.
  • Small Annoying Creature: The other queens from Season 5 describe Serena ChaCha as this, since she's physically very tiny and also very loud, especially at one point where she starts singing randomly and Jade visibly winces.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: A lot of contestants throughout the show's run come off as having this, though it really may be part of an act.
  • Small Reference Pools: Something Ru worries about frequently when it comes to Queens impersonating characters who are lesser known. In season 5 when Jinkx Monsoon announces that she'll be Little Edie from Grey Gardens Ru questions whether enough people will get the reference. These fears luckily prove to be unfounded as Jinkx completely steals the show and actually wins the challenge.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The judges' opinion on Jessica Wild's interview during the Absolut Acai Berry/book challenge. invoked
  • Stage Names: Used by most of the queens, but rejected by Alexis Mateo, Chad Michaels, Willam, Kelly Mantle, and RuPaul herself.
  • Soap Within a Show: Season 5's Telenovela challenge, complete with Chewing the Scenery and fake accents galore.
  • Spicy Latina: Jessica Wild, Yara Sofia, Alexis Mateo, to name a few. Season 5 also has several, including Monica Beverly Hillz, Serena Cha-Cha and Lineysha Sparx.
  • Spin-Off: RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked. It showcases the time between critiques and the elimination, where the queens discuss the challenge and often get into arguments, brought to you by Absolut Vodka (in more ways than one).
    • Drag U was another spin-off in which former Drag Race contestants give ordinary, plain women drag-tastic makeovers.
    • There's also Drag My Dinner Party, a Cooking Channel one-shot where Raven, Jujubee and Manila help a man prepare a romantic dinner for his girlfriend. It may have been meant to be a full series, but given its less-than-stellar reception with fans, it's probably not happening.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Coco and Alyssa's feud in season 5 takes up a disproportionate amount of screen time to the point that the other queens get annoyed by it and mince no words telling them both to get over it.
  • Statuesque Stunner: As Drag Queens, many of the men qualify while in their female personas—especially the ones north of six feet—but none moreso than RuPaul herself, who stands a towering 6'4 before platform heels and big hair!
    • Latrice Royale stands as the tallest queen in Drag Race herstory, measuring in at 6'4.5, a half inch taller than even RuPaul herself!
  • Sticky Situation: In the season 6 premiere, Adore Delano is forced to hot glue her outfit together because she cannot sew. She accidentally glues the whole outfit to the dress mold and has to yank it off in a panic shortly before the runway segment.
  • Stripperiffic: Many queens have gone down the runway in outfits that would qualify as such, but Carmen Carerra regularly tops herself.
  • Stunned Silence: The judge's response to Milk coming out in the "Night of a Thousand Rus" challenge dressed as Workroom Ru — i.e. dressed as a man.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Whenever a heterosexual-identified male judge appears on this show, he's almost guaranteed to have this reaction. Highlights include Wayne Brady of all people.
    • The straight jocks that appeared on the show to be transformed into a Drag Queen for a day had these moments in abundance. One jock seemed to be flirting with his partner, Alexis Mateo, throughout the show, and most of them admitted to a crush on Carmen Carrera. And of course, their reactions to the extremely sexual lipsync at the end.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Oh Alyssa...
  • Stylistic Suck: Sometimes. Very often on RuPaul's Drag U.
  • Subverted Kids Show: A common part of the competition is to have one of these performed by the queens, complete with cramming as much innuendo as possible into the sketches.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: During the rap challenge in Season 6, Courtney Act's verse ended with "Looking like this ain't a goddamn stunt, all you other bitches better lick my... foot."
  • Super Dickery: In true reality show fashion, many promos take conversations out of context to make the queens look more aggressive than they really were. Alaska's "I WILL WHOOP YOUR FUCKING ASS!" was playful acting, and Alyssa's "It's not personal, it's drag" was part of a civil conversation and not the cold blow-off it was made out to be.
    • This extends to the judges as well. Many of their comments in the "After the break" previews are made to sound negative ("You reminded me of a savage beast"), but turn out to be praise.
    • In the opening to Season 4 of Untucked!, the normally very kind and motherly Latrice Royale is shown aggressively saying "Take your hat off, bitch! You balding bitch!" followed by a quick cut to Willam sheepishly taking off a hat. It was actually cut together from two separate episodes; Latrice was venting about what she wanted to say to judge Santino (who wasn't in the room), after he harshly criticized her look. The shot of Willam was even mirror-flipped to look like Latrice was talking to her!
    • Season 6 Bianca Del Rio's "I will show you versatility when Santino wins a sewing competition and Visage wears a fucking turtleneck!" was shown in previews inter cut with shocked reactions from the two judges. In the actual episode it was part of Bianca's stand up comedy routine and both Santino and Michelle laughed at it, while their shocked reactions were actually from when Milk came down the runway in "drag" as Workroom Ru.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The very first photo shoot in the fifth season was underwater, but not all the queens could swim...
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Henry Rollins admits in his spoken word tours that he, uh, remembers some of the girls he judged during his cameo appearance.
  • Take That:
    • During All-Stars, guest judge Vicki Lawrence comments that Manila Luzon's celebrity impersonation of Madonna was spot on ... because Madonna is "so full of shit".
    • Kelly Mantle is an actor and has appeared in several tv shows prior to Drag Race, but she promised that she won't read off her IMDB page at every challenge "like a certain previous contestant" (ie, Willam).
  • Technician Versus Performer: Can be said of many queen dynamics, but can really be seen between Chad Michaels, a veteran queen and a drag technician to perfection, and Sharon Needles, a spooky but lovable little monster and a performer the fans adored.
  • Teeth Clenched Team Work: Displayed by Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara in the "frenemies" challenge. It doesn't work and they end up lipsynching for their lives.
    • Also displayed by Pandora Boxx and Mimi Imfurst in the first episode of All Stars. It also doesn't work and they both go home.
    • Despite hating each other, Coco Montrese chose Alyssa Edwards for the No RuPologies ballet challenge because dancing is Alyssa's biggest strength (she's a professional choreographer out of drag). Their history also works to their advantage since they wind up playing the black swan and the white swan during a section of the ballet, and the tension between them (especially when Coco pretends to strangle Alyssa near the end, which judging from the sound Alyssa makes may have been a bit too real) isn't entirely acting.
    • Happens to them again when Detox puts the two of them on the same team during the original song challenge, though this time their ire gets directed more at Detox than each other, at least on Coco's part.
    • It then happens to them a third time in the Telenovela challenge, this time adding Jinkx Monsoon to the mix, who had several times that season gotten into arguments with both Alyssa and Coco over their dismissing her as just a 'comedy queen'.
    • Seemed to be done on purpose for Season 6's "Glamazon By Colorevolution” challenge, although this time without the lie detector excuse used in Season 4's "Frenemies" challenge. DeLa gets paired with Darienne Lake, who's said outright she thinks Ben has a big head and needs to be sent home, Trinity gets paired with Bianca, who personally begged the universe not to pair the two up again due to Trinity struggling with anything acting related, Joslyn is paired with Courtney, who while the former adores Courtney, the latter considers Joslyn and unpolished 'low-rent version' of herself, and finally, Adore and Laganja who although they have worked together in the past, Laganja also considers Adore a Poor Man's Substitute of herself, with Adore fully aware Laganja resents how well she's doing in the competition. Most of the pairs do end up making it work though despite the friction, so well in fact, that RuPaul does not send anyone home during this episode.
  • Tempting Fate: Thanks to the plethora of Confession Cam sessions, its quite simple for the editors to inject one or more queens going "I hope it's not an X challenge today" right before Ru will reveal that, in fact, it is an X challenge that day.
  • The Runner Up Takes It All: Both Nina Flowers and Raven, the runner ups of Seasons 1 and 2, seem to have enjoyed greater success than the actual winners.
    • This may have something to do with the winner's prize including a headline slot on the Drag Race tour, which would seem to be a fairly time-consuming engagement, while the runners-up are free to take on other, more high-profile jobs.
    • Pandora Boxx seems to have found the most success of all, seeing as she's now omnipresent on just about every Logo show.
    • Shangela may have found the most mainstream success, having guest-starred in shows such as The Soup, Community, Glee, and 2 Broke Girls
    • And in terms of the judges, recurring judge Santino Rice came in second on his season of Project Runway but is probably now more well known than the actual winner of his season, Chloe Dao. Alyssa Edwards gets a Kick the Dog moment about this during the RuPaul Roast when she says that the thing that both Coco and Santino have in common is being runners up.
    • Speaking of Coco and Alyssa, this is the major source of tension between them, since Coco came in second in the Miss Gay America pageant that Alyssa won, but wound up taking over the crown after it was taken from Alyssa for unspecified reasons.
  • This Is A Competition: "This isn't RuPaul's School for Girls!"
    • Stacy Layne Matthews and India Ferrah's most common criticism.
    • Alyssa Edwards also gets "It's not personal, it's drag."
  • Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Roxxxy Andrews after Alaska left Rolaskatoxxx, and Alaska noticeably drifts away from her after Detox gets sent home while getting closer to Jinkx. The Reunion episode helps explain this by stating that Detox and Alaska already knew each other, and Roxxxy also knew Detox from before, accounting for her and Alaska drifting apart after Detox was sent home.
  • Throw It In: Invoked while the queens were filming a music video with RuPaul in the second season. Tyra mishears "act hurt" for "act hood" due to the director's thick accent. When she asks for clarification, the director and Ru both agree that they like Tyra's version better.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The pre-season trailer and the Untucked opening will show clips from several episodes ahead. Any fan with a keen eye can easily pick out outfits the queens are wearing, and it can spoil some of the bottom two lipsynchs since obviously if the queen on the bottom was in one of the those clips wearing an outfit she hasn't worn yet, she's obviously going to be sticking around until she wears it.
  • Transsexual: While most of the queens identify as men out of drag, season five introduces the first transsexual contestant, Monica Beverly Hills. There are also Sonique and Carmen Carrera, who began transitioning after their seasons ended. When asked during the season 5 reunion about the difference between trans and drag Monica explains that drag is what she does but trans is who she is, and Ru explains that the rules only state that contestants cannot have undergone any feminizing surgery like breast implants or genital reassignment (presumably to keep the competition fair).
  • True Companions: Several queens know each other from before the show and have this type of bond with each other. Shannel and Chad Michaels, for instance, have known each other for over 15 years. Raven and Jujubee also describe themselves this way, which makes it excruciating for them both when they're forced to lip sync against each other in the penultimate All Stars episode.
    • Ru also invokes this idea after Roxxxy Andrews breaks down on the stage after recounting how her mother abandoned her, saying that as gay people they get to create their own families.
    • Pretty much every season, usually in an Untucked episode or the behind the scenes special in the first season, there'll be at least one point where the remaining queens say they're like sisters and have formed a bond, even if they're still competing and may fight with each other at times. A lot of the queens who have met through the show have gone on to regularly work together and perform in shows with each other after their stint on Drag Race too and continue to stay in contact and remain friends in real life.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked when Ru says that Coco's rendition of a ventriloquist puppet should be "More Pinnochio, less the doll from Saw."
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup:
    • One challenge in season 5 involves the queens having to put on their makeup in the dark. The results range from passable to this.
    • In Season 6's bridal makeover challenge, Joslyn was tasked with making over a black man and failed miserably. Whether it was due to lack of experience working with dark skin, or lack of dark makeup altogether since the last black contestant—Trinity—had been eliminated, her partner ended up looking "metallic." Or as Bianca put it...
    "She looks like that girl gremlin. Remember that one girl gremlin? Don't get her wet, you do not want her multiplying!"
  • Understatement: The producer for the Season 5 original song challenge: "Coco Montrese and Alyssa Edwards have strange chemistry."
  • The Unintelligible: Every season there's at least one contestant—usually from Puerto Rico—with a flawed grasp of English and an extremely thick accent, meaning the other queens have no idea what she's saying half the time, and due to the language/culture barrier, certain jokes and references might fly over her head. Yara Sofia was well aware of this and actually used it as a joke in several challenges.
    • Eloquent In My Native Tongue: Upon elimination, the unintelligible queen of the season will give an eloquent and perfectly clear farewell speech in Spanish in her last interview. The one exception is Season 1's Nina Flowers, since she made it to the Final 2.
    • In season 6, Trinity K. Bonet is criticized for her enunciation, due to the false teeth she wears in drag.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Fish" or "Fishy" for convincingly faking a woman. Unusual to the mainstream, anyway. It's been gay slang (especially among Blacks and Latinos) for decades.
    • The Ruphemism "Peanut Butter" refers to a gorgeous set of legs, as in "smooth and easy to spread". Jinkx Monsoon makes up her own euphemism during a read, "Crunchy (peanut butter)", in regards to a queen who has obvious face stubble under her makeup.
    • "Reading" a queen means you're poking fun at or insulting a queen based on their looks or talents, whereas "Reading for/to Filth" is a more severe and less humorous version (at least for the recipient) of this term.
    • Also the term "Ruphemism", which is basically an Unusual Euphemism popularized by RuPaul herself.
    • "Kai-kai", for when two queens have sex.
    • Asian drag queens on the show are often called "ladyboys"note  or "gay-sha"note 
  • Up to Eleven: More of a meta example, RuPaul has said time and time again that she would rather see her queens go too far and have to be pulled back, than to not go far enough and play it safe. She even mentions this trope by name during the Rock & Roll challenge, where she wanted to see her queens 'turn it up to eleven!'
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Several queens who know each other before the show have this dynamic. Raja and Manila from season 3 are one of the more obvious examples, with Manila making potshots at Raja's age and Raja firing right back. After Raja is crowned the season's winner Manila got in one last zing by saying that at least if Raja died of old age she could take over the crown as the runner up.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Jade Jolie and Willam both have extremely soft and feminine voices that work really well while in drag, but become this while in boy mode. When Jade portrays Taylor Swift in the Snatch Game challenge, the judges say that it's a perfect match.
    • Inversely, several queens have deep male voices that they make no attempt to disguise when in drag. Rebecca Glasscock, Tyra Sanchez, and Raja come to mind. Ironically, all three were often praised for their feminine presentation (Tyra and Raja won their respective seasons and Rebecca made the Final Three in hers), though the judges often lampshaded Tyra's contrabass voice.
    • Intentionally invoked by Detox in the perfume commercial challenge, where she starts out using her usual feminine voice and switches to a deep masculine voice when saying the name of the perfume, Heroine.
  • War for Fun and Profit: During the runway presentation, Ru likes to ask the queens who they think should be sent home, knowing full well it will lead to backstage drama for Untucked.
    • Ru also also likes to try doing this during the Reunions, like in Season 5 when she asks Jade Jolie about the "backrolls" incident involving Alyssa Edwards, hoping to stir up drama. When Jade doesn't take the bait and just states sweetly that she thinks Alyssa is fabulous, Ru abruptly ends the interview and moves things along.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The first queen eliminated in each season: Season 1's Victoria "Porkchop" Parker, Season 3's Venus D-Lite, Season 4's Alisa Summers, Season 5's Penny Tration (which was particularly disappointing since she was the one voted in by fans), and in Season 6 (due to the fact the initial cast was split between the first two episodes) Kelly Mantle and Magnolia Crawford. Averted with Season 2's Shangela, since she got to return for Season 3.
    • The second queen eliminated arguably has it worse. Whereas the first queen is remembered simply by being the first and will leave fans wondering What Could Have Been, and the third queen lasts just long enough to gain a following, the second queen is practically forgotten by all. So far only Tammie Brown and Vivacious have managed to buck this trend.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Coco and Alyssa, who refer to the fallout from the Miss Gay America pageant as ending their friendship.
  • Wham Line: When Ru announced at the start of Season 6 that there would be no immunity this season. That is, winning a challenge one week won't protect a queen from being in the bottom two the next.
    • The sting was later taken out of this when BenDeLaCreme was spared from elimination after a particularly bad week due to her previous successes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Jiggly and Willam to Phi Phi in the Reunion episode over her actions throughout the season.
    • Coco towards Detox for deliberately putting her on the same team as Alyssa during the original song challenge, knowing their tensions and difficulty working together would put at least one of them up for elimination. Detox's Wounded Gazelle Gambit where she acted like she didn't realize it (which would suggest she's been blind and deaf for the entire competition up until now) didn't help.
    • Judge Michelle Visage expressing her disgust at "Rolodex" (RuPaul: "You mean 'Rolaskatox?'" Michelle: "They're 'Rolodex' to me.") ganging up on Jinkx when they're in the top four.
    • Visage called out her queens again after All Stars after she got to watch exactly how they were treating Mimi Imfurst backstage, she said she was disappointed in Pandora for given up on her partner, and appalled at how the other queens could outright bully one of their own.
    • Michelle even expressed her disapproval towards Ru when she named Adore and Laganja as the winners of the makeup commercial challenge, since Michelle (and most viewers) thought Bianca and Trinity had the superior commercial.
      • And for a double dose of this trope, immediately after Michelle's quip, both Laganja and guest judge Leah Remini call Michelle out on her bad attitude about the win, Leah even pushing Michelle and playfully calling her a "hateful bitch".
  • What The Hell Casting Agency: The other queens' in-universe reaction to team captain Adore's casting choices in Season 6's Scream Queens challenge, such as casting April as a Butch Lesbian despite not being the least bit butch, or not casting Vivacious as the mother even though she was the oldest one in the group. Oddly enough, this lands them in the bottom two instead of Adore.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: During a lip sync for her life Shannel lost her wig and headpiece, having to perform the entire song without her hair. In the Reunion special she admits to having done this on purpose, as the judges had just told her they wanted to see more vulnerability from her.
    • Willam breaking down in tears and talking about all the friends she'd made during the competition came miraculously well timed as earlier in the same episode the judges had told her they wanted to see more emotion from her. Despite claiming the tears were real, the other queens (namely Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O'Hara) called them out as Crocodile Tears.
    • The other queens would accuse Jinkx Monsoon of this when she complained about her critiques on the runway, since she always seemed to perform well in the challenges (she was constantly in the top three). Possible aversion, as Jinkx has stated that her insecurities were genuine, and not a ploy to play the other girls.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In season 4, Dan Savage guest hosted and judges a politically-themed episode, complete with a mock presidential debate. While most of the competitors initially tried to camp it up, Dan kept criticizing them and their proposals as if they were legitimate candidates. Several queens were flustered by this and turned in sub-par performances.
    • During Season 5's perfume challenge, Aubrey O'Day would constantly criticize the queens while they tried to perform in their commercials when she felt they were being too campy or silly (acting like the queens were actually making real perfume ads). The comedy queens seemed to just ignore her and did their own thing, but the more serious queens appeared shaken by this and ended up turning in less than stellar commercials as a result.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Pandora Boxx, Lenysha Sparx, Jinkx Monsoon, Roxxxy Andrews, Monica Beverly Hillz, and so on.
  • You Are Fat: Alyssa Edwards had some of this directed at her, but mostly from other queens, particularly Jade, retorting after being read.
    • Delta Work and Jiggly Caliente were targets of this during their season's respective reading mini-challenge. Delta even points out that since this is about the only read the other queens could give her, the insult had lost it's punch.
  • You Keep Using That Word: The term "Realness" when talking about certain assigned runway looks, avoiding the obvious joke that there is no realness involved with men dressing as women, the judges are just as likely to praise a highly unconventional look as they are a 'real' one. An example would be Phi Phi O'Hara's "Dog Park Realness", that got high marks despite looking like an Anime Magical Girl with a pink-glittered pooper scoopernote .
    • The term realness itself goes back to the ballroom scene and originally meant that someone could pass for straight/cisgender to non-queer people. How the term got bastardized to what is note  to this point is unknown.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Gets thrown around between the drag queens, especially towards a pair of bitter rival queens who are usually told at least once to "stop the drama and just fuck already!"
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Inevitable, given that it's a show about drag queens, but Untucked especially often features this. Lampshaded at one point by Jujubee after a particular emotional conversation where she asks if anyone has any eyelash glue.
    • Intentionally invoked in the mini-challenge in the season 5 episode "Drama Queens," where the queens are tasked to cry in front of RuPaul.

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alternative title(s): Ru Pauls Drag Race
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