Acceptable Ethnic Targets: Asian and Hispanic queens in particular are the target of racial jokes regarding their culture or accents. For example, Yara Sofia was criticized numerous times for her thick Puerto Rican accent.
N-Word Privileges: Most of these jokes come from the queens in question. Stretched quite a bit: Manila Luzon liked to rely on Asian stereotypes for comedy, and is of Filipino descent, which caused the other queens to roll their eyes when she impersonated continental Asian people not of her own culture. Korean queen Kim Chi of Season 8 also uses many controversial Asian stereotypes for humor, but in her case she admits fully her sense of humor is kind of fucked up.
Accidental Innuendo: It's always difficult to tell if any innuendo on this show is ever accidental, however during All-Stars Tammie Brown and Nina Flowers were teamed up and given the Portmanteau Couple Name of "Team Brown Flowers". As it gets pointed out during the show, a "Brown Flower" is also another word for an anus.
RuPaul herself falls into this. Is Ru coming into the workroom to see how the girls are doing meant to help push them in the right direction or is it meant to shake them up and scare them to make more drama in the main challenge? Her infamous "staredown" with Season 7's Pearl has only served to further polarize this issue with fans.
When Gia Gunn is comforting Laganja Estranja backstage into not quitting the competition and to give it her all, was she doing so as a good friend despite the fact that Laganja might be lip synching against her and one of them would be going home, or was she sure that Milk would be in the bottom two instead of the both of them, so she did not see the harm in pushing Laganja to try her best?
Regarding Magnolia Crawford's attitude towards the show, especially as seen setting up for the Reunion; is she really that bitter about going home first, including refusing to watch her own season and keeping the experience 'hers alone'? Or is she just faking it as another attempt to get people to talk about her and boost her ego with negative fan recognition?
Laganja Estranja has actually given three separate reasons in regards to her over-the-top behavior during the show; first she claimed that the way she was acting was her "real" personality, the way in which she acts with her close friends (which may also have been a dig at her 'friend' Adore Delano). Then, during the reunion, she insinuates that her on-air personality was fake, and that she was trying to be funny for the camera, but doesn't outright take back her previous statement either. Finally, perhaps in response to accusations from the fans, she also claims that her behavior was the result of marijuana withdrawal, when she says she's much calmer during the reunion because she's 'medicated'. In the end, no one really knows what was up with Laganja's kiki "OKRRR" personality and quick-to-tears drama.
Max is another one that could be taken a number of ways: is she a classy Nice Guy who genuinely tries to avoid drama and stay positive? Or is she just as bitchy as the other girls, but expresses these thoughts off-camera? In the 6th episode of Untucked Ginger and Kennedy claim Max is the latter although there was no evidence of this characterization ... until the next Untucked episode where Max is talking trash about Ginger and/or Jaidynn behind their backs to Pearl and Violet. One time fluke for an otherwise nice queen from her nerves getting the better of her? Or is this how Max really is when she thinks the cameras aren't watching? She later elaborated that she wanted to keep her appearance PG and sweet because her family was watching. It should be noted that outside of the show, Max's style is occasionally very focused on leather-gothic and bondage looks, so she was definitely trying to push a specific image just for Drag Race. (Fans have also consistently reported that during and after gigs, she's the sweetest and most attentive person ever.)
Ginger Minj, was she being genuine in that dancing and sewing are her weakpoints and she was really struggling through these challenges? Or was she Obfuscating Stupidity and trying to pretend she had vulnerability? The fact that outside the show she has a theater background and is credited as a choreographer and a costume designer has led a lot of people to believe she was faking her breakdowns to try to appeal to the judges and fans. Ginger was questioned about her costuming experience during the reunion though, and she claimed that not only was her resume 16 years old—meaning Ginger was 13 at the time—but it was intended for a children's theater group where "Costume Designer" could translate to buying costumes on the cheap from the local thrift shop.
Michelle and Ru's critiques of Derrick in the first episode of Season 8 are possibly this. Michelle says she wants to see more than the Britney Spears impersonation Derrick is known for, while Ru says it's okay for her to do Britney if that's her style. Are they really in disagreement, or are they intentionally making her question how she wants to move forward in the competition?
Naysha Lopez: A sympathetic queen who left too soon, when she had so much more to show? Or a condescending pageant bitch who can't dance and was sent home right on cue? Her return is similarly split for the same reasons, for those who are glad she was given a second chance, and those who believe she was sent home for a reason and it was a waste for her to return (especially since said return was built up beforehand, making many people think someone else was going to join the cast instead), as she was promptly eliminated again in the next episode.
Alaska repeatedly saving Roxxxy Andrews from elimination in AS2: Was she just being a loyal friend and saving Roxxxy because she really believed she had more to offer and deserved to stay? Or was she trying to covertly eliminate some stronger competitors (Alyssa and Tatianna) and keep Roxxxy in the game because she knew she could beat her in the final? Tati's second elimination is especially suspect, as Alaska goes on at length about how fierce and talented Tati is before eliminating her, but says nothing about Roxxxy.
Anvilicious: Sometimes the queens going into their Dark and Troubled Past, whether it be about their families or finding love or what have you, can feel really scripted and forced. Many a reviewer has conjectured that when a queen suddenly starts talking about her abusive childhood or a loss in their family, that off-camera a producer just pointed at them and said "ok, now give us a tragic backstory"note This was actually confirmed at an Untucked Panel at the 2016 Drag Con, when the queens reveal at one point while trying to do their make-up in a very short period of time, a producer came up to one of them and said 'now tell us about your dead mother', and that this was actually a very common occurrence..
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: At the same time, the queens are still exposing raw nerves to a national audience and sharing their lives with troubled gay youth. Tempest DuJour has even said if their stories can help one gay kid considering suicide to live another day, then it was all worth it.
Arc Fatigue: Season 5's Alyssa vs Coco rivalry sure felt this way for a lot of fans. Many got the notion that Ru was hoping for a repeat of the Sharon vs Phi Phi dynamic that was so popular from the previous season, but as Alyssa and Coco never really got into the details of their falling out, add to that the fact neither were all that fantastic when it came to comedy or acting which consisted of the majority of the challenges in Season 5, a lot of viewers just got sick of their feud and hoped one or both of them would finally go home and end it.
Badass Decay: Nina Flowers in her original season was a powerful and intimidating (but likable) genderfuck queen, come All Stars she seems to have lost her edge, the judges say outright they don't see the same badass Nina Flowers they came to admire from season one.
You could make a case for any time one of the queens who was previously eliminated that season is brought back, as with Season 3's Carmen Carrera or Season 4's Kenya Michaels. Although they were fierce competitors prior to their elimination (which is why the judges brought them back in the first place) they seem a bit out of their element once they returned, and are once again eliminated the same episode they are brought back. This may also be the reason Ru skipped this little twist in Seasons 5 and 6.
Roxxxy Andrews was Top 3 in Season Five with 2 wins under her belt. Now in All Stars 2 she's been in the bottom four times with only one win.
She even experiences Badass Decay within All Stars 2, winning the first challenge and first Lip Sync For Your Legacy. Then the rest of the season happens...
Base-Breaking Character: Oh boy. Grab an Absolut Vodka and sit down. This'll take a while. And due to the flexible/nonexistant nature of fourth wall on the show most of these apply both in-universe and out.
Bebe Zahara Benet is either an elegant diva or a total bore who stole the crown from Nina Flowers.
Shangela is either hilarious the second time around and much more polished, or an annoying mess who still didn't deserve to be in the competition.
Raja is either one of the fiercest queens in the history of the show, or a talentless washed up old model whose only claim to fame is Tyra Banks.
Sharon Needles is either a spooky queen who's not afraid to be different, or her brand of humor is a little too tasteless for comfort.
Phi Phi became one in universe, due to her verbal attacks on the other queens.
Coco and Alyssa. You either support one and hate the other, wish both queens and their drama would sashay far away, or consider their feud the most interesting thing about Season 5. Roxxxy Andrews echoes the thoughts of many fans when she tells them both to their faces that she wishes one (or both) of them would just go home already since she's sick of the drama.
Detox's lip-sync "mouth wiggle" is either hilariously genius or an annoying gimmick that got her further in the competition than it should have. There's really no middle ground, you either adore it or abhor it.
Milk and Vivacious. You either love or hate their high-concept drag acts. With Vivi, even the judges argue over whether she continues the tradition of the 90's New York City rave scene, or is an outdated relic thereof. With Milk, you either think she's a hilarious comedy queen with her own style or that she tried too hard to be The Weird One. (Fans do agree that, no matter what you think of them, their looks were downright unpolished.)
Happened again in Season 7 with Max, whom many people are referring to as Milk 2.0 (kooky and interesting, but may also be trying too hard to be "The Weird One"). Fans either think that she is a very versatile queen and that her tendency to wear grey hair is a trademark or that she is very one note and has not been showing a lot of versatility and that the grey hair is just lazy.
Even within her fanbase her departure from the show caused a second rift, between those who genuinely felt for her during her breakdown, and those who saw it as a shallow attempt to dodge critique and to 'take advantage of the moment' And then afterwards Max revealed on Twitter that Ru asked her to sing to calm her nerves, and that she didn't just do it out of no where as the Manipulative Editing made it seem.
Bianca is either hilarious or hateful, in universe or out.
Adore is either a spunky ingénue honing her skills and rising to the challenge of Drag Race or a sloppy queen coasting on her charisma who might have been a better competitor a few more seasons later.
Courtney Act is either the fishiest queen in Drag Race history, or she looks and sounds so much like a woman that it's no longer drag. (She's genderfluid, so unlike most of the other queens, Courtney isn't just playing a woman.)
Trinity K. Bonet: Tyra Sanchez 2.0 or an underdog who got eliminated just as she started to show her true potential?
Victoria "Porkchop" Parker has become one, due to her inflation of appearances on World of Wonder. Some fans enjoy Victoria, since she is the first queen to ever be eliminated from Drag Race and therefore is a sentimental favorite ... on the other hand, some people think she was eliminated for good reason and feel her popping up is just Ru trying to turn Porkchop into a Forced Meme.
Kennedy Davenport is either The Dancing Diva of Dallas or The Wicked Witch of the West depending on how you feel about her attitude and critiques.
Season 7 is a true oddity in that none of the final three are stand-out fan favorites or reviled scrappies, all of them are pretty much Base Breakers:
Ginger Minj is either revered as the most successful queen of the season (which was mostly acting and comedy), as well as finally being a big queen worthy of the crown, while others think her talent doesn't balance out her rudeness and shitty attitude towards the younger queens, and that her fans are overplaying the "Big Bitch" card to get her a win she doesn't deserve.
Pearl is either the queen who came out of her shell and grew the most throughout the season, really pushing herself to be a champion, or she's still half-asleep, and can't sing, can't act, can't dance, can't take direction ... and pretty much can't do anything that a Drag Superstar should be able to do. And then there's her infamous staredown with Ru during the award show challenge. Was Pearl awesome for standing up for herself, or was she disrespectful and deserved every word of Ru's harsh critique and then some?
Violet Chachki is either the prodigy of this season, having a flawless fashion sense as well as being the most consistent of the season with three wins and never having been in the bottom 2, as well actively growing as a person to be less of a bitch ... or she is still a huge bitch who is basically the Tyra Sanchez of Season 7.
Acid Betty: Great reality television villain or unnecessarily mean bitch who has no real justifiable reason to be the way she is? There's also some disagreement on if Betty is getting the shaft from the Manipulative Editing, or if what we see of her really is an accurate representation of her personality.
Bob the Drag Queen: Hilarious and bombastic queen who just naturally outshines her competition with her quick wit and confidence? Or a shameless showboater who is just more loud and obnoxious than actually funny?
Thogy Thor, in particular her elimination. Some fans are up in arms about her Shocking Elimination, having had Thorgy pegged as a top three contender early on and citing her rather strong showing up until her final episode, calling it a repeat of the Katya conspiracy from Season 7. Others, however, note that strong performance or not, Thorgy had no challenge wins under her belt, and her final episode really was elimination-worthy, having the most disjointed political ad of the bunch that didn't meet the criteria of the challenge, and not conveying the same emotion as her competitor, Chi Chi, during the proceeding lip-synch for her life.
Kim Chi is either a stunning avant garde queen who is taking drag into bold new directions, or she is purely a visual artist whose creative makeup can't hide the fact that she can't sing, act, dance, or even walk in heels.
Adore again due to her exit from All Stars 2. Was she justified in leaving the show in order to stay true to herself and her personal drag style, or was she a quitter who knew exactly what she was getting into and should have never agreed to do it in the first place if she didn't want to be critiqued? However, given the drama and tension that only kept escalating after she left, the general consensus seems to be that she was smart for getting out when she did.
Alaska in All Stars 2 has started to suffer a Broken Pedestal among the base for eliminating Tatianna twice. Although Tatianna and Roxxxy's commercials were generally accepted as the weakest of the challenge, most thought Tatianna had the stronger runway look with her tribute to TLC. Was Alaska really valuing her friendship with Roxxxy or was she getting rid of the bigger competition threat? Given that Alyssa was eliminated by Detox in the following episode, most of the base now believe that the Rolaskatox clique is an alliance this time to eliminate their competition, despite Roxxxy's weaker performances.
Phi Phi O'Hara from All Stars 2 in skipping the Reunion. There is very bad blood between Phi Phi and the show, with Phi Phi calling Manipulative Editing while Ru and the show claims otherwise, and as such Phi Phi decided that despite contractual obligations she would not associate herself with World of Wonder production. Some fans are upset Phi Phi didn't go, whether to stand up for herself, or to stop being a bad sport about the show. Others, however, are glad she isn't going; on the positive side that Phi Phi isn't letting herself be put in a situation where she knows there'll be a lot of negative energy, and on the negative side fans who really dislike her and are glad they don't have to deal with her excuses and accusations anymore.
The middle of Season 7's award show challenge, which takes a little break from the comedy writing to go into detail about Miss Fame growing up on a chicken farm. It splices together multiple interviews and makes her look like a total Cloud Cuckoolander.
Another example from Season 7, for the leaf blower mini-challenge all of a sudden Moby shows up to participate in the challenge. This seems really out of place since the challenge had nothing to do with Moby (or music in general), nor was Moby in any way involved with the rest of the episode. He just shows up for a guest spot, gets blown by the Pit Crew, and leaves.
Episode 7 of All Stars 2 has Anastasia of Anastasia Beverley Hills Cosmetics come in to show the queens and their loved ones how to do their eyebrows for about five seconds. She then leaves and this is never spoken of again.
Pageant queens vs comedy queens is a frequent one, both in-universe and out. Ru lampshades this in Season 6's musical theater challenge.
Veteran queens vs Ingenue queens has become more prominent in recent seasons. As drag has become more mainstream, older queens accuse younger queens of being lazy as they are granted many opportunities to boost their career. In contrast, older queens have had to find drag mothers, work in the underground and perform in clubs for many years before finding success. Also, older queens will state that younger queens don't take drag seriously or that they are all focused on aesthetics instead of performance ability. Younger queens hit back saying that the older queens are being bitter and take drag, which is meant to be fun and exciting, too seriously. Furthermore they will state the older styles are becoming outdated and are not as fresh as what a younger queen can offer. This has divided the fanbase as well, with some thinking that veteran queens should respect newer styles of drag whilst others believe that ingenue queens do not offer as much as the veteran queens.
Among the queens, the idea of having a romantic/sexual relationship with another drag queen ("kai-kai"). Some do it all the time and imply that it's a turn-on, while others see it as no better than sleeping with a woman. Sharon Needles' and Jiggly Caliente's argument in Season 4 is a great example of this divide, with Jiggly saying how gross she finds it, which offended Sharon because she was in a long-term relationship with Alaska at the time.
Who was the Designated Villain of Season 2? Rude and snarky Raven? Pretty but boring Tatianna? Lazy bitch Tyra Sanchez? While Tyra may be considered The Scrappy of Season 2, it's hard to really claim her as the "villain" (especially since she won the season). In the end, it usually comes down to whichever queen fans have a personal issue with, and not the editing for once.
In addition to being a Base Breaker, Milk's out-there genderfuck drag has become a hot topic among the queens, judges, and fans. In two of her runway struts (Party Box Eleganza where she wore a billy goat beard, and the RuPaul Runway in which she dressed as boy Ru) the judges say outright Milk is either absolutely brilliant or completely off the mark in delivering too much masculinity and weirdness in her look.
The removal of the "You've got she-mail" soundbite in the wake of the "Female or Shemale?" controversy. An appreciated gesture towards the transgender community, or Political Correctness Gone Mad? Flame wars over the loss of this two-second clip got ugly.
Trans contestant Monica Beverly Hillz speaking out against the term "Ladyboy", which has always been an accepted nickname for a naturally feminine queen out of drag and is a translation of "kathoey," the Thai term for a trans woman or effeminate gay man (hence why a lot of Asian queens are known as such). While "She-Male" and "Tranny" are understandably offensive, is trying to dismiss ladyboy as an acceptable term taking things too far?
On that topic, the question of whether or not transgender women belong on the show. Ru has explicitly addressed it and stated that the only requirement for being cast is to be fierce. Some of the queens, however, have spoken out against casting trans women, saying that this is unfair competition since they get to rely on hormones and surgery, and that it's a show about men dressing up as women, not women dressing up as women. It should be noted that transgender women have always been part of drag culture and history, plus many of the cis contestants look fishier than the trans ones, and a whole of lot the queens aren't cis and identify as genderqueer (Raja, Jinkx, Courtney, Violet, to name a few) so there's no clear point to draw the line. Plus, a number of the queens (Detox, Chad, Venus, etc.) are cis and have had plastic surgery to look more feminine, so the point is moot in the end.
The fact that since Season 4 RuPaul asks for fan input regarding who they think should win has caused a split in the fandom. Half the fans enjoy the change, believing it is important for a queen to be considered the "Next Drag Superstar" they need to be popular with the fans, and avoid a winner that will ultimately be considered The Scrappy (See: Tyra Sanchez). On the other hand, the other half of the fandom firmly believe They Changed It, Now It Sucks applies here, and that despite Ru stating the choice is her's alone, she's influenced to pick the fan favorite as the winner which is what Miss Congeniality was supposed to be, and that the winners are, in the end, not the best choice.
The permanent teams twist that was shoehorned into All-Stars was unpopular with a lot of fans, since it often seemed superfluous at best, and completely unfair at worst, especially in the light of fan-favorites Latrice Royale, Nina Flowers, and especially Pandora Boxx being eliminated in the first few episodes. Tom & Lorenzo of Fabulous & Opinionated, who do one of the most popular online recaps for the show, didn't hide the fact they pretty much hated the season and considered it the weakest in the history of the show. However, this has not stopped fans from begging Ru for an All-Stars 2.
The trailer for Season 7 has caught some flack from fans who question why Ru decided to do something so minimalist and without an obvious theme, especially when compared to the last few seasons (Season 4 had a gold and silver robotic theme, Season 5 had the queens as Grecian Goddesses, and Season 6 was awash with purple). While some fans have decried the trailer as underwhelming and evidence that the show is running on No Budget, others defend the whole "Realness" as its theme, and that Ru is trying to bring Drag Race closer to its roots, or that the trailer was going for an American Apparel-style look.
The new Untucked format introduced in Season 7 has divided the fandom. While many fans like the documentary feel and see it as more real and intimate, others think it has No Budget, is far less polished, and it seems to lack the little games and video messages from previous seasons. Others have questioned the purpose of making it online-only since the swearing is still bleeped, even though being "Uncensored" was a selling point.
Did Trixie Mattel deserve to be the queen who returned in Season 7, in comparison to veteran queen Mrs. Kasha Davis who almost won the challenge, or Max who previously had two wins under her belt? #JusticeForTrixie or not, the fact Trixie didn't really show anything noteworthy after she came back and was re-eliminated just two episodes afterwards certainly made her return seem like a waste.
Season 4's "RuVealed" re-airing has irked a number of fans. Many fans assumed when the season would be re-released it would be with real commentary similar to what was done with several of the Season 7 episodes, instead it is exactly the same as how they re-released Season 1, with RuPaul pop-ups and random trivia about the queens or themes of the challenge. While there are those who enjoy the additions and love learning new bit of knowledge to be gleamed about their favorite queens, there are those who feel Ru's inserts are nothing more than in-character buzzwords that add nothing to the substance of the season, and the trivia isn't anything someone couldn't just find online. In fact, some have even gone as far to say the RuVealed cut ruins Season 4 and makes it nearly unwatchable.
As a side note, it was also not helped that Ru re-dubbed the "You've got she-mail" quote that was in this season with the new one made in light of criticism from the transgender community, already a hot button with fans. Add to that the fact Ru herself gets some of her facts about the Season wrong, such as saying the wrestling challenge was in episode 4, when it was in episode 2, giving the impression she doesn't really care about the re-airing.
The reason for Season 7's failure. Most fans agree that it wasn't the show's shining moment, but everyone has their own opinion as to why. Some felt that there were no memorable or likable queens; others felt the queens by themselves were fierce but they lacked chemistry with each other; others felt the editing didn't flatter anyone; still others felt that there were a few too many acting challenges, which didn't play to everyone's strengths. And of course plenty think it's a combination thereof.
With Season 7 and 8's Snatch Game, the argument of whether the acceptance of "boy drag" in the challenge after Kennedy Davenport's Little Richard and Thorgy Thor's Michael Jackson is a good thing or not. Some argue that 'drag' was never supposed to be about being a convincing woman, and 'genderfuck' and 'boy drag' have as much substance in the community as 'fishy' drag; not to mention these fans cite the only clear rule Ru has ever made on Snatch Game is the contestants just need to make her laugh (it doesn't matter who you play, but how you play them). Other fans, of course, argue the show is called Drag Race so it should be featuring Drag Queens, and that since Season 4's Milan and Season 5's Alaska got read by the judges for doing boy drag, so why is it suddenly alright in Snatch Game?
Ever since Season 4 when Ru decided to open the Top 3 to fan input, the bickering over who should win has gotten insane. Every season, there are generally two queens who are in the running and a third who is either the Scrappy or plainly in third place. The most epic fandom battles thus far have been Sharon vs Chad, Jinkx vs Alaska, and World War 3 aka Bob vs Kim.
All Stars 2's cast being revealed is already causing a break in the fandom; some fans love the cast as is, and are excited to see the chosen queens return, while others are unhappy with the fact half the cast is from season 5, with only two queens prior to then (Phi Phi from Season 4 and Tatianna from Season 2), and no Season 8 queens at all! (although, some fans do understand it was unlikely the Season 8 queens would be included since their season only just wrapped up before AS2 would be filming) Some fans instead argue that Coco Montrese is the only real issue, as her inclusion is the clear tipping point of Season 5's over-representation, and that she should have been omitted for perhaps another Season 6 queen (such as Courtney Act or Bendelacreme) since Adore Delano is the only queen from that entire season to be included.
Of course, the fact that Phi Phi O'Hara, Roxxxy Andrews, and Ginger Minj were the villains of their seasons causes some fans to still resent them now, wishing they would have been left out of the cast. Others, however, are well aware of the fact these queens have grown a lot since their seasons, and are thrilled they are being given a chance to redeem themselves.
The controversy with Phi Phi O'Hara and All-Stars 2 has brought up another fan-splitting topic in regards to just how staged and forced the show is, and how much editing really plays into it. After her once-again portrayal as the major villain of AS2, Phi Phi has said the producers would ask a lot of leading questions, outright stitched together replies from different confessionals, and even at points yelled in her face to stop talking or not try and lay blame on them to the other queens when she went against what they wanted on-camera. Of course, there are many fans who feel Phi Phi is grossly exaggerating the lengths the show went to turn her into the bad guynote for episode 3 Phi Phi said Alyssa's positive runway critiques were actually for Detox while Ginger's negative critiques were geared towards Alyssa, but the show has released an unedited version of said critiques to display what was actually on the show is really how it went, and that Phi Phi is just trying to pass blame to the producers for her behavior. Others, however, say between Phi Phi's recount, as well as criticism levied against the show by previous queens like Willam, Laganja, India Ferrah, Jasmine Masters, and Darienne Lake, that they are starting to see the cracks in the show and can very well believe the producers set up Phi Phi for failure, promising her a redemption arc only to tear her down for entertainment purposes. The fact Ru herself threw shade against Phi Phi on Twitter before abruptly unfollowing her certainly makes some fans scratch their head, as it seemed strange and even immature on Rupaul's part. There are also a third league of fans who think both parties are at fault, that the show did go out of their way to give Phi Phi an unnecessarily harsh edit, but that Phi Phi still said the things she said and gave the producers the footage to use in the first place.
Quite a few fans have accused All Stars of just being an excuse to give Chad Michaels a crown after losing Season 4 to fan favorite, Sharon Needles. Some say the same is true for Alaska in All Stars 2.
It's pretty clear that BenDeLaCreme only won Season 6's Miss Congeniality because fans were still upset that she didn't make the Top 3. Before her elimination, Joslyn and Trinity were the most likely candidates.
Santino initially came into the public spotlight on Project Runway, and as a judge on Drag Race frequently ends up playing the Michael Kors role in terms of critiquing the runway presentations and snarkiness.
For that matter, most judge roles on Project Runway seem to have a Drag Race counterpart. Michelle Visage shares this with Nina Garcia, in that both are deeply embedded in the culture they judge while not actually being a part of the core culture (Nina is a fashion editor, not a designer, and Michelle is a drag show MC, but not herself a drag queen), while also being considered too mean/bitchy in their critiques by fans.
Ru meanwhile covers two bases; Workroom Ru, who wears fine suits and gives helpful guidance to the queens as they work, fills the role of Tim Gunn. Judge Ru, on the other hand, is a lot like Heidi Klum in that Ru is the face of the show, and is considered the 'nice one' in comparison to the other judges, not to mention they are both models. Only difference is, Ru is the lead judge and can make any decision without input from the others, whereas Heidi can be outvoted.
Creator's Pet: Some controversy regarding favortism occured after Raja was crowned, when it was revealed that not only had RuPaul and Raja worked together in the past, but were reportedly friends in real life.
Some argue that Rebecca Glasscock was this in the first season, as Ru admitted outright she was 'blinded by her beauty' and the judges state on-camera that they think they probably gave her a pass when she just wasn't anywhere near the same level as Nina and Bebe.
Invoked in all but name in-universe when the queens were certain Willam was this to the judges, as she constantly received high marks for what they considered to be nothing more than a talent for buying shoes and label dropping. Regardless of if this accusation had any merit, it did not save Willam from being disqualified for breaking the rules.
Invoked, discussed, and ultimately averted when Michelle Visage was asked if she chose Carmen Carrera to return to the show because she was from New Jersey, like she is. Michelle balks at the notion that the only reason she would like Carmen was because of where she lives, and says the very idea is just silly.
In a subversion that is more like "Sponsor's Pet", Roxxxy Andrews was apparently adored by then sponsor Absolut Vodka. It's even rumored that they had demanded that Roxxxy be the winner of Season 5, and when the crown was instead given to Jinkx, they dropped the show come Season 6.
Adore Delano. There been multiple times where she was safe when she arguably should have lipsynched, but saved due to her raw charisma, or as Ru would sometimes call it, her "It Factor".
In Season 7 Violet Chachki started out as the unlikable bitch, and seemed to develop over the season and show her Hidden Depths. However, a few fans have noticed that Ru really seemed to spoon-feed the audience this so-called 'depth', explaining what she assumed were Violet's quirks and reasons for acting the way she does, with Violet just nodding and agreeing with her.
Surprisingly averted in two of Drag Race's Spinoff shows, Drag Center with Pandora Boxx and Alyssa's Secret with Alyssa Edwards. Darienne Lake is Pandora's drag mother and ex, and Alyssa is drag mother to Laganja Estranja, and although given clear opportunities to shill them, Pandora and Alyssa show no bias towards Darienne and Laganja, and don't even mention their relationships outside of the show.
The fans believe Alaska Thunderfuck is this for All Stars 2.
In Season 5, Alaska was criticized by RuPaul, the judges, and the other queens for dressing like a man in a competition to stage a children's show parody. However, if the comments on Logo's website are any indication, most viewers loved her "Buffalo Bill" persona and felt that the "drag only" critique was against the spirit of the show, as RuPaul herself often says "We're born naked and the rest is drag."
Something extremely similar happens in season 6 with Milk. While it still is very hypocritical Milk could have probably been more Genre Savvy about this considering the response to Alaska doing the same thing. However Milk probably didn't get faulted as hard because she was still dressed as Ru.
In Season 6's Glitter Ball, BenDeLaCreme's "Platinum Card Executive Realness" look inspired by Bette Midler from the movie Big Business was hated by the judges, Michelle saying outright although it's pretty, it's a cocktail dress and did not fit the challenge. The fans, as well as both of RuPaul's official recappers, John Polly and Pandora Boxx, adored the look and were upset that the judges not only outright ignored the Midler reference, but sent DeLa home for it.
Furthermore, the judges also hated her "Dripping in Jewels Eleganza" showgirl costume, calling it basic and predictable from DeLa at this point in the game. Raja and Raven, who have been reviewing the runway fashion each week, loved the look and singled it out as their favorite.
The second season of All Stars shows Michelle Visage reading Adore Delano to filth on-stage for her outfit while seemingly dismissing the song Adore herself wrote and sang live, leading Adore to be in tears backstage. Seeing how Adore is one of the most beloved queens of the show fans were livid with Michelle, calling her a bully. Even the queens backstage agreed the critiques were very harsh, and Katya has said afterwards on her Youtube channel that she was shocked at the display, also stating she felt Michelle was outright bullying Adore.
In the Snatch Game for the second season of All Stars, Alyssa was deemed safe for her take on Joan Crawford, when many fans felt she should have been in the top three that week. Detox was placed in the bottom for her take on Nancy Grace, but fans and the other queens felt otherwise. Alternatively, many fans also thought Phi Phi deserved to be on the bottom for her Theresa Caputo and swimsuit/rubbery ducky runway as opposed to her spot in the top three, especially over the aforementioned Alyssa and Detox.
Designated Hero: For any queen that receives an unusual amount of favorable editing to make them look like an underdog/darkhorse, this may apply. For example, Sharon Needles, despite a very large fanbase, constantly got into screaming matches with Phi Phi (with all the blame usually lumped on Phi Phi), was all for the plan to bribe Latrice to send Willam home, and has said herself she likes to stir controversy, regardless who she ends up offending.
Designated Villain: On the flip side of Designated Hero, some queens will get an unusual amount of negative editing to make them look more shady than they may actually be (at least compared to their competitors). An example would be Roxxxy Andrews, who although doesn't deny the things she said, seems to always have a negative cam session interjected into any scene to make her look bad, especially if said scene was with Jinkx.
Phi Phi O'Hara got this HARD in Season 4. While she certainly had moments where she was manipulative and needlessly bitchy, the two queens she had the most conflict with were Sharon Needles and Willam, who by many accounts are not the easiest people to get along with. Her return to All Stars 2 had her hoping to shed this designation, but it didn't work out. Although in the case of AS2, fans are more split on if Phi Phi was really getting a bad edit, or if she has more fault then she's willing to admit and is trying to pass blame onto the show.
Season 6 Facebook favorite Darienne Lake was also hit hard by this, especially against BenDeLaCreme, whom seemed to have her more egotistical side edited out in favor of making her look good, and Darienne look like a jealous bully. During the show DeLa actually admitted outright she let her wins go to her head and that she considered Darienne an extremely talented queen, and many of the queens after the season have said Darienne is actually a wonderful person.
Pretty much whenever there's a conflict between a pageant queen and a comedy queen, the editing will make the pageant queen out to be a petty, close-minded bully and completely gloss over any apologies or legitimate gripes.
In Season 7, Jasmine Masters suffered from this when it was made it look like she was going off on several younger queens for no reason other than being bitter, when afterwards she has had the chance to explain her comments were not unprovoked, it was just the parts beforehand were edited out. To make matters worse, the unflattering editing and her subsequent elimination caused many fans to lash out at her on Twitter, using racial slurs and making death threats (to the point Jasmine legitimately feared for her safety). Eventually RuPaul herself had to step in to tell fans to back off.
Invoked by Acid Betty in season 8 who outright stated in her confessionals that she was a such a bitch that "even Bianca Del Rio wouldn't mess with her". She also made it a big deal to be rude to the queens and throw them under the bus if she could. However Betty started showing a softer side and was a very Graceful Loser so it's clear that it was more of a Jerkass Fašade.
Whenever a queen would have been up for elimination if she didn't have immunity after winning the previous challenge. Tyra Sanchez in particular stands out. The judges flat-out said she would have been on the line after failing the punk rock challenge if she hadn't won the week before. Instead, she went on to win the second season without ever landing in the bottom two. As of Season 6, however, Ru has done away with immunity.
Rebecca Glasscock, who was widely considered to have avoided elimination due to luck and her pretty face.
Phi Phi O'Hara, especially when she beat fan-favorite Latrice to the final three.
Coco and Alyssa. A more cynical viewer might think Ru has only kept them over other queens who put on an equally-strong lipsync (particularly Jade Jolie and Ivy) because of the drama they stirred up. It's also notable that Coco gets eliminated only one week after Alyssa, which might be taken as the result of her no longer having Alyssa to play off of (though it was her fourth time in the bottom 2).
Inversion: One could argue that Coco didn't deserve to be up for elimination for the Telenovela challenge, and that Ru simply took that moment have Coco and Alyssa square off.
More than a few online comments have accused Roxxxy Andrews of this. After lipsynching against Alyssa, she tearfully confessed being abandoned by her mother when she was a child, which ultimately led to RuPaul in tears announcing that both she and Alyssa would not be eliminated that week and no one would be going home.
Roxxxy gets hit with this even harder in All Stars 2, though unintentionally on her part. She placed in the bottom five times, more than anyone ever has, and coasted through into the top 4 since neither Alaska nor Detox were about to eliminate their friend over their more competitive opponents. Poor Roxxxy seemed just about ready to finally leave every week, too.
Shangela being saved from elimination in the first episode of Season 3 has been sited as this, which is also unfortunate for competitor Venus D-Lite, whom many fans believe was set up for failure in having to lip synch against Shangela. It's obvious the judges would show at least a little bias towards Shangela since it was her second time on the show (and nearly her second time being eliminated for the same challenge).
Come Season 6 we have Adore Delano, who in the first challenge was read on having the hands-down worst dress of the group, yet doesn't even get put in the bottom two for an "It Factor" the judges like from her. Happens again in her next challenge, where she avoids the bottom two despite being the team leader and miscasting April and Vivacious in their roles (which landed them in the bottom instead), as well as having an un-cinched waistline on the runway (again, with April delivering a flawless runway look). A more cynical viewer could argue the point that Ru gave Adore a pass on the first two challenges to make sure she would make it to episode 4's Musical Theater challenge, in order to play up the "Battle of the Idols" between her and Courtney Act.
Although no one was too surprised when she sent Magnolia Crawford home, Darienne Lake has been cited for performing badly in a number of challenges (including the Musical, rap challenge, talk show, and wedding makeover challenge) and not being in the bottom two when she arguably deserved to be. She also sent home fan favorite BenDeLaCreme, who the majority of Drag Race fans felt was a stronger queen than Darienne.
Kandy Ho, who has been a non-entity for most of Season 7 but has managed to hold her own in two Lipsynchs (sending home veteran queens Tempest DuJour and Mrs. Kasha Davis in the process, both of whom arguably brought more to the table), and somehow avoided Lipsynching for the Spoof (There It Is!) challenge when many fans agree she deserved to be more than Trixie Mattel.
Miss Fame has taken Kandy's place, she's pretty much a non-entity in any acting or comedy challenge thrown at the queens (and Season 7 has quite a few), but seems to be saved purely by her runway looks. She's avoided the bottom 2 several times, which is probably a good thing for her since Fame has said outright she is not a performer and doubts her ability to survive a lip-synch (which ends up being the case when she finally had to lip synch in Episode 9)
Certainly a Broken Base depending on if you like her or not, but Pearl has been very lucky it seems, either avoiding lip-synchs even if she performs poorly, and when she couldn't avoid them, she manages to make it through despite her odd and limited dance moves. The first time vs. Trixie she pulled through since at that point the judges hadn't seen her dancing yet, and against Fame, Fame just wasn't a performer and was wearing a very movement-limiting costume. Even the other queens have called her out on her dancing, calling it "PEARL SMASH!" (fans, on the other hand, like to refer to it as the "Stoner Robot").
Ensemble Darkhorse: All of the contestants are met with a sizable following to some degree, but none so much as Sharon Needles. Although in recent years her popularity has waned after circumstances regarding alleged racism and drug abuse has come to the light, not to mention her break-up with the also very popular Alaska.
RuPaul calls this trope by name when describing Alaska (partly for arriving to the show wearing a horse mask), due to the fact she was coming on the coattails of her boyfriend, Sharon Needles.
Alaska has come in at #2 in RuPaul's Drag Race: 15 Fan Favorite Queens of All Time, beating both her ex-boyfriend Sharon Needles and her season's winner Jinkx Monsoon (who both didn't even break the top 10). In fact, the show even asked Alaska to provide running commentary on Season 4 and 5's Untucked episodes and two episodes of season 7.
Anyone who wins Miss Congeniality has to be a fan favorite to win the voting.
RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race had previous contestants voted on via Facebook by fans. Not surprisingly, Sharon Needles was at the top of the list, with Season 2 Miss Congeniality, Pandora Boxx, right behind her.
Jinkx Monsoon in season 5, especially in light of criticisms from the other queens. Especially since she won the entire season.
Mimi Imfurst. Despite being hated by pretty much all of the queens in Season 3, she had the third-highest votes to be brought back for All-Stars, much to the disbelief of the other queens.
This seems to have worn off. Fan polls for casting All Stars 2 has Mimi dead last.
Tammie Brown. Despite being the second queen eliminated in Season 1 (even Mimi lasted longer in her season), she was popular enough to be voted back on for All-Stars.
Latrice Royale. Aside from her larger than life positive personality, she quickly became this for her strong sense of sisterhood and level of polish not quite seen with any of the big girls in past seasons. She even mentions on the reunion being overwhelmed with fanmail!
Milk. While her style didn't win her many points with Ru, she became a hit with fans.
It certainly helped that she's good friends with last season's winner and darkhorse Jinkx, but BenDeLaCreme was loved by the fans for her campy drag persona and showgirl-style fashion, and was a favorite for top three from the very first week ... which made it even more of a shock when she was sent home by Darienne Lake before even hitting the top four.
Despite her Base Breaker status during her season, Adore Delano took the #1 spot on RuPaul's Drag Race: 15 Fan Favorite Queens of All Time out of every single drag queen from the past 6 seasons.
Max was an early standout for Season 7 for a few reasons due to being one of the most unknown queens (she only has a Twitter and Instagram) and for her goth/old Hollywood style and quirky personality. This was only further cemented in the show proper when she has gone out of her way to be one of the most optimistic and least shady queens of the entire series (even if her dislike of "crude and sexual humor" has gotten her a bit of flack).
Katya was originally a Willam wannabe from the first trailers, but the moment she made her surreal Tumblr and her CoverGurlz video premiered she shot to likely one of the most popular Season 7 queens. Her hammy personality and good attitude during her actual season has only further inflated her fanbase.
Trixie Mattel was eliminated in episode 4 of Season 7, yet so many Drag Race fans felt her departure was a Shocking Elimination that they bombed social media with #JusticeForTrixie. It was little surprise that fans were overjoyed when she earned a spot back on the show in Episode 8 (many claiming the fan outcry had something to do with it ... despite the fact the show was filmed months in advance).
Chi Chi DeVayne is Season 8's darkhorse in the most traditional sense. Several queens this season already had substantial fanbases before appearing on the show, while Chi Chi was a local queen unknown outside Shreveport, Louisiana. Her good nature, creativity with unconventional materials, and fierce dancing skills cemented her place on the show, and her struggles with poverty made fans want to see her do well and make a name for herself. The fact that Chi Chi makes a rather handsome man doesn't hurt either.
Cynthia Lee Fontaine is another Darkhorse, as fans loved her kindhearted, sweet, outgoing nature, calling her "diabetes in human form". In fact, despite only lasting three episodes she won the title of Miss Congeniality for Season 8.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: A rather odd one given the usual open-mindedness the show tries to convey, but when a Drag Queen refuses to show what the judges want to see as 'versatility' (i.e. giving into the judges' aesthetic) they are usually critiqued negatively for it. Guest judge and superfan Gillian Jacobs has even pointed out that when a queen decides to 'stay true to themselves' they usually get sent home pretty soon thereafter.
This is could be another Broken Base, since many argue that queens who claim to be "staying true to themselves" really do use that as an excuse for not being versatile. For example, while Sharon Needles is normally a goth queen, she was able to produce different looks when necessary, and went on to win Season 4.
Fan Nickname: When a queen is not in drag, the fan will sometimes refer to them as being in "Boy Mode".
"She-MaleGate" in response to the 'Female or She-Male' mini-challenge from Season 6, which is still a sensitive topic to this day. Some people also refer to the incident as "TrannyGate", although that term is derided by the trans community.
Fanon: Beginning with Season 4, the winner is crowned from the Top 3, with no final placement announced between the runners-up. However, fans can generally agree who was second and who was third for most seasons. For example:
Chad Michaels clearly placed second in Season 4, evidenced by the fact that she came back for All Stars (and won), while Phi Phi O'Hara was one of only two runners-up (out of eight at the time) who did not.
Courtney Act admits on her "Besties For Cash" episode on WOW Presents that Adore came second in Season 6. Once again, Adore returned for All Stars 2, Courtney did not.
Ginger Minj was, for many, the implicit frontrunner of Season 7, to the point that Violet's win was quite shocking at the time; Ginger was quite clearly second. That said, Violet is of the opposite opinion, believing the Top 3 should've included Katya in Ginger's place, who she thinks probably would've beaten her. Once again, Ginger (and Katya) returned for All Stars 2, Pearl did not.
It's a bit murkier for Seasons 5 and 8, as both seasons had a Top 3 who were there for very different reasons, and had different strengths, talents and weaknesses. And we don't even have the All Stars system for comparison. Both Alaska and Roxxxy returned for All Stars 2, and neither Kim Chi nor Naomi did (as the seasons were filmed basically back-to-back, it seems it just wasn't feasible to bring back any S8 queens).
Fan-Preferred Couple: From Season 5, Jinkx Monsoon developed a crush on Ivy Winters, which caused the fans (and RuPaul) to ship them. Come Season 6, many fans shipped Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano due to the friendship the two had during the show. For the record, both sets of queens were questioned about this during their reunions, and both have denied anything going on. Fans continue to ship them, of course.
Forced Meme: Vivacious' alien headpiece, Ornacia, seemed to be heading in this direction at first. It garnered a little popularity online since it's reveal, but not even a week after Viv's elimination, RuPaul conducts a full interview with the bejeweled Styrofoam head, and Vivacious is slinging Ornacia T-shirts on the World of Wonder website for $35 a pop. As of 2015 however, Ornacia has joined Lil' Poundcake as one of the most popular non-living drag queens on the show.
Laganja Estranja was desperately trying to emulate her Fountain of Memes drag mama, Alyssa Edwards, in Season 6, as she continuously spouted would-be catch phrases, like "Come on <whatever>!" and "Gag on my ele-ganja!". In the end all she ended up doing is coming off as fake and annoying, being called out as such by the judges and the other queens.
She even (perhaps unintentionally) tried to emulate Roxxxy's famous wig-under-the-wig. However Laganja's version lacked the subtly and drama of Roxxxy's.
For better or for worse, "Come on Season __, let's get sickening!" will probably be brought back at the start of each season for the rest of the show's run.
Friendly Fandoms: With Project Runway, partially due to the presence of Santino Rice on both shows and the fact that the two shows combined may have the most LGBT contestants on television.
Fountain of Memes: Alyssa Edwards, who continues to be quoted well into Season 6. Her drag daughter Laganja tries to invoke this herself, and while fans were heavily resistant to her at first she eventually joined her drag mother in being one of the most memorable and quoted queens on the show.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Manila talking fondly about Sahara in the first episode of All Stars becomes this since Sahara died right around the time the episode aired, while it had been filmed some time before she died.
Sharon and Alaska's relationship. They both spent their respective seasons talking lovingly about each other, and how they both feared that their drag careers would cause their relationship to end. Come 2013, the couple has officially split up, with many fans speculating it was at least in part to Sharon winning Season 4, and Alaska finishing as runner-up in Season 5.
In the first episode of Season 6 the girls are asked to make outfits based on several popular TV shows, including Duck Dynasty ... filmed before the incident involving Phil Robertson making comments against the gay community.
In a similar vein, Darienne's Paula Deen impersonation for Snatch Game was filmed literally the day before Deen's racism scandal exploded across the media.
Season 7's Mrs. Kasha Davis doing an impromptu Joan Rivers impersonation, likely filmed just before or just after Rivers tragically passed away.
Growing the Beard: Season 3 was arguably where the show really took off. Season 1 had a much lower budget and was filmed at a different location and even though Season 2 began to resemble the current Drag Race, it was still a diamond in the rough, and a lot of the iconic, Ensemble Darkhorse queens came in season 3, marking how the show would start becoming known for the larger-than-life personalities.
Harsher in Hindsight: In season 2, as Sahara Davenport and Morgan McMichaels are about to lipsynch for their lives to "Carry On" by Martha Wash, RuPaul tells them why the song is special to her: she played it "incessantly" around the time her mother died of cancer. She concludes by saying: "I want each of you girls to know that even through adversity and death, love and energy lives forever." Sahara Davenport would pass away in 2012, making the speech doubly heartbreaking.
Detox's jokes about the various plastic surgery she's gotten become this when she reveals that she had to get major reconstructive surgery on her face after a horrific car accident that nearly killed her, and can't grow her left eyebrow as a result and has to paint it on. Generally, the joke line is drawn where the reconstructive surgery ends and the purely cosmetic surgery (ab implants and so on) begins.
Jinkx Monsoon being delegated to play Mimi Imfurst in the spoken lipsync challenge, it wasn't soon after that Jinkx started getting the same criticisms every week of being too camp with no glamour that Mimi had been getting her entire run of the show.
Meta examples: Both sets of drag couples that have appeared on the show—Sahara Davenport and Manila Luzon; Sharon Needles and Alaska—have gushed about their respective relationships, leading to some heartwarming moments. Both relationships have now since ended after their seasons have aired: Sahara and Manila's due to Sahara's death in 2012, Sharon and Alaska breaking up in 2013.
In an early season 6 episode of Untucked, the queens get into a discussion about who would sleep with whom. Darienne Lake insists sleeping with a drag queen is disgusting and Trinity K. Bonet looks almost hurt by her statements. A few episodes later, Trinity reveals she is HIV positive, casting the whole discussion in a different light.
Darienne Lake's status as a Scrappy in Season 6 becomes painfully ironic when you remember that she was the contestant voted in by fans.
During the build-up to the Season 7 Grand Finale Ginger Minj during one of the many interview Youtube videos on WOWPressents sheepishly but jokingly asks fans to please like her. As it turns out, the fans really didn't like her that much due to her antagonistic attitude towards the younger queens on the show (#AnyoneButGinger), and this arguably was the main reason she lost the season, despite the majority of season 7 playing to her natural strengths of comedy and acting (not to mention a lot of people felt it was time a Big Beautiful Woman won the show, which was also Ginger's major selling point for the crown).
Heartwarming in Hindsight: RuPaul's parting words to Shangela in Season 2. "I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of you yet. Good luck my dear. Now, sashay away."
Hilarious in Hindsight: Upon arriving in her monster getup, Raja was scoffed at and judged for being "not on the same level" by the competitors. She went on to win.
In Season 4, Phi Phi O'Hara commented that Sharon Needles was the weakest and would be sent home on the first day. Sharon ended up winning the first challenge, three more challenges in future episodes, and then the entire season.
Even more hilarious, Sharon Needles herself has said she fully expected to be sent home the first week of the competition, feeling that the judges wouldn't get her spooky-weird drag style.
In Season 4's "Queens Behind Bars" sitcom challenge, celebrity guest Max Mutchnick wasn't a fan of Sharon either, saying "I hate the name, I hate the look, nobody wants to go to a drag show to see the little girl from The Ring!" Sharon not only won the season, but is one of the most popular winners to date. Even if she hadn't won, Mutchnick's statement was extremely uninformed; goth drag has been around for ages. Though to be fair, Sharon did clash with him during the challenge and he may have still been agitated from that.
In Season 5's "Can I Get an Amen?" Coco Montrese and Jade Jolie lip synced for their life to "I'm So Excited" by The Pointers Sisters. That same year, Pedro Almodovar's film "I'm So Excited!" was released, featuring an extended sequence of three male flight attendants entertaining passengers by lip syncing to the same song.
Also in season 5, Alyssa Edwards once proclaimed that America's Next Drag Superstar wouldn't be traveling the country "being a comedian" as a way of excusing her own shortcomings in comedy. Cue Bianca Del Rio winning the very next season and doing just that.
In response to her Lil Kim-inspired Hip-Hop drag, Michelle Visage tells Alexis Mateo that her outfit to her seems more like Hannah Montana does Hip Hip, much to Mateo's confusion what with her cut-outs and (fake) breasts exposed with pasties on them. Fast-forward to Miley Cyrus now and the comment takes on a new hilarious depth!
Michelle Visage makes it no secret that she hates breast plates and once flashed her own boobs to show how real ones (her implants notwithstanding) look completely different. Fast forward to season 6's woman-or-drag-queen mini challenge, and Darienne thinks an extreme close-up of cleavage has to be a drag queen because it looked obviously fake, "like one of those awful breast plates." Turns out it was Michelle! Ru was hysterical at that.
While impersonating Paula Deen for the Snatch Game Darienne calls Ru a peach, to which Ru jokingly asks "what did she just call me?" As mentioned above, this was filmed the day before Deen's racism scandal hit the news, in which Deen calls someone else something that would give them pause ...
The first episode of any season consists of an unconventional materials sewing challenge, where the queens are tasked in making a fabulous dress in just a few hours using random fabrics, thrift store clothing, and sometimes even holiday decorations. For Project Runway fans, they will recognize the unconventional materials challenge as a rather difficult task for even professional designers, and again, this is the first challenge of Drag Race, with Ru knowing full well many of her queens can't sew. This can border on Harsher in Hindsight at times, especially when an otherwise capable queen (such as Victoria Parker and Kelly Mantle) get eliminated in their premier episode.
Kelly Mantle in season 6 says she won't 'go around quoting her IMDB page like some previous queens' and she's right... she got eliminated her first episode.
During Season 7 Ru fakes out the other queens by making it seem like she's bringing Trixie Mattel back into the competition ... before she brings all seven of the eliminated queens back for a chance at coming back. As this was filmed months in advance, the fake out becomes doubly hilarious as Ru could only have guessed Trixie's elimination would have caused such a ruckus in the fandom as well.
During the reading mini-challenge in season 7 Trixie says that she doesn't believe that Violet stole Sharon's crown and that states she doesn't think Violet will be taking the season 7 crown. Fast forward to the reunion...
Hollywood Pudgy: This goes hand-in-hand with the concept of "gay fat", where a man is under a lot more scrutiny to not even be slightly overweight if he is homosexual due to social standards and expectations.
in Season 2 Raven would be read on her weight by the other queens (Jujubee in particular: "And you, legendary you think you are. Legendary, looks like Leg and Dairy."), despite the fact that although she might be 'stocky', she was not fat.
In season 5, Roxxxy Andrews keeps going on and on about being a "big girl," but she looks like an average-sized person in and out of drag. She might be curvy, but not fat by any means, especially compared to previous queens who were considerably heavier.
In the same season as Roxxxy, Jade Jolie claimed Alyssa Edwards was overweight when she said Alyssa had "backrolls?!" In reality, Alyssa has a very average build, and while the outfit she was wearing at the time wasn't the most flattering, she certainly was not one of the heavier girls in season 5.
Adore Delano, of all people, is a victim of this trope due to having a weird proportion that gives her what she likes to call "hog body".
Season 7's Sasha Belle may have been a bit chunky, but Pearl goes as far as to refer to Sasha as looking like "John Goodman in a wig".
Season 8 really didn't have a 'big queen', and as a result the biggest of the queens, Kim Chi, was often referred as the 'big girl' of the season by default. This is actually a bit harsh when you realize Kim used to weigh over 350 pounds before dropping a lot of weight, and didn't really consider herself as 'fat' anymore (coupled with the reveal she has low self-esteem due to her previous high weight). Near the end of the season she actually accepts this is how people view her though, and turns it around to shame the gay community for degrading what they see as "fats" (in addition to "femmes" and "Asians").
Sharon Needles. Come the end of Season 4 Miss Needles was probably the most fan beloved contestant of Drag Race ever and she gained quite a bit of exposure ... and then the whole N-Word Privileges in Germany happened. None of this was at the fault of the fame going to Sharon's head either, this was the way she had always acted as an underground goth queen ... only now, everyone was watching her.
Alaska, one of the most beloved queens prior to All Stars 2. Then the season aired, and many watchers grew upset with how the show seemed to be just handing Alaska the win on a silver platter, giving her lipsynch wins that many fans argue she didn't deserve, and the judges seemingly ignoring any of her shortcomings while constantly nitpicking her competition. After her temper tantrum in the penultimate episode Ru urged viewers to post on social media for who they wanted to win, but despite an overwhelming online support for Katya, Alaska was still crowned. What was worse, it seemed the finale and Alaska's crowning were already decided months ago, leading many fans to feel the request for social media support was completely pointless. Despite winning the whole season, Alaska may actually come out of All Stars worse in the eyes of fans than when she entered.
Hypocrite: RuPaul caving under the pressure from the transgender community in Season 6, after she has derided several celebrities for the exact same thing (like when she laid into Lance Bass after he issued a public apology over his use of the word "tranny").
The singing challenges. The queens are expected to sing flawlessly while RuPaul in her own songs is Autotuned to within an inch of her life. Although this is to a lesser extent, as Ru will normally target queens who underperform before those who just can't sing but still have fun with it and give it their all (Compare Katya with Trixie and Pearl in the SPOOF! episode).
Informed Real Life Fame: Courtney Act was runner-up on Australian Idol, and even went on the tour afterwards, touring around Australia to millions of fans ... in the U.S. however she's just another drag queen, so her shilling of her Aussie fame can come off as an informed attribute (and a bit arrogant).
Season 3's Stacy Layne Matthews was another one, especially in light of her as a likable but nervous Country Mouse being bullied by Raja and her "Heathers" for being, as they put it, a "Booger".
Jerkass Woobie: Laganja Estranja is loud, arrogant, and resentful, and rubbed most of the other queens the wrong way during her season, but during her last Untucked she felt personally attacked when Michelle Visage and RuPaul, and then Bianca and Adore, get on her case for her annoying voice and fake personality. It ends up with Laganja screaming at the girls that they've finally broke her down and leaving the gold lounge sobbing, looking desperately in need of a hug ... of course whether this was a genuine breaking point or Laganja just trying to get more attention even the queens weren't totally sure of.
Magnificent Bastard: RuPaul herself deserves this title for Season 7, in which she announces she plans on bringing back a previously eliminated queen back into the competition. Despite the fact the title of the next episode ("Conjoined Queens") was common knowledge by this point, everyone just assumed Ru would pick a queen a bring back, meaning there would be four teams of two ... instead, Ru brings back every single queen eliminated that season, pairs them up with the remaining half, and has them earn the spot back into the show through having to win the main challenge.
Mystique Summers' love for a two-piece (fried chicken) and a biscuit.
Alyssa Edwards' "backrolls??"
Courtney Act's rat testicle note She said "right," but her thick accent caused DeLa to hilariously ask why Courtney had a rat testicle
After Trixie Mattel got a rather early elimination from Season 7, fans started bombing social media with #JusticeForTrixie. Soon After, whenever a queen would get eliminated, you'll be sure there'll be a similar (although normally smaller) reaction, such as #JusticeForMax, #JusticeForFame, etc.
Many of the queens' catch phrases, such as Alaska's "Hieeeeee!", Laganja's "Come on Season _!", and Violet's "Come throooooough!"
Purse Purse Imfurst, Bob's gaudy curtain clutch he made in the first challenge, and subsequently the phrase "walk into the club purse first!", exploded on the Internet and has successfully evolved beyond the fandom, where it became a trending search on Google and was referenced by Anna Kendrick before the 2016 Met Gala.
Carson's reaction to Violet's reversible tartan jumpsuit. The sheer campiness of his gestures has made it a popular .gif
Coco Montrese's "I'm not holding shit back... Oh, at all!" line from her elimination in All Stars 2.
Misblamed: Often happens when a season favorite gets sent home, the fans will usually berate and attack the queen who was up against them when they were eliminated (Darienne Lake against BenDeLaCreme, for example). However, it is much more rare for the fans to place blame on RuPaul, despite the fact she has said time and time again that every decision on the show is hers, and her alone.
Mondegreen: From Season 5's "Beginning"; "This is the beginning of the rest of July!" or "...of the rest of your life." (the actual lyrics are: This is the beginning of the record you like!)
"Iveeeeeeee Winterrrrrrrs." It was cute when Ru did it the first time, but she does it every time she announces Ivy for anything, making it grate on the nerves. As sad as it was to see Ivy get eliminated, at least it meant not having to hear Ru say it three times an episode.
Finally gets an explanation in the Season 5 finale. Ru was referencing, of all things, LaToya Jackson introducing Edgar Winter at a concert in 1988. LaToya herself barely remembered.
Similar to her Iveee Wintuuuurrrs schtick, Ru's low, drawn-out "Mag-nooooolia Crawford". Thankfully, Magnolia was first to be eliminated, saving the viewer from hearing it too much.
Joslyn Fox's voice and laugh, which gets compared to a dial up modem in the reading challenge.
Langanja Estranja's hyperactive "kiki" Verbal Tic that seemed entirely forced. "NO MOMMA, C'MON GURRL, OKRRRR?"
Mimi Imfurst lifting up a screaming India above her head during her lipsync.
Phi Phi deliberately sabotaging Jiggly in the Dragazines challenge
Santino mocking Trinity's speech impediment on the runway as described earlier is made out to be this, necessitating Ru to interrupt the show to clarify what Santino supposedly really meant. Apparently, in six seasons Santino waited until he was in front of a queen with well-known speech issues to make fun of Ru's speech barely-noticeable lisp. Lying Creator or worst timing ever?
While Tyra Sanchez may be the most hated winner in the show's history, she does have a few devoted fans. However, her comments about suicide being "cowardly" and attacking fans andDrag Race queens online when they called her out has killed off a huge chunk of her fanbase (such as it was). Considering the LGBT community has long struggled with high rates of depression and self-harm, the backlash against her has been swift.
Michelle Visage's unusually harsh critiques of Adore Delano's dress during the first challenge of All Stars 2, which caused the latter to have a breakdown. Worsened by the fact that the main challenge was to showcase a talent and not a design challenge. Notably, both Katya and Phi Phi felt that Michelle was bullying Adore.
N-Word Privileges: There's an ongoing argument on the use of words like "tranny" and "cross-dresser", especially when they are used moreso as playful insults hurled between the queens, as the transgender community will take issue on whether the culture of drag has right to use those words as freely as they do.
Narm Charm: Possibly the reason the show is so popular, is that although the show in and of itself is Serious Business, it does not take itself seriously, and has no problem flaunting it's Camp and hilariously narmy humor proudly for it's fans to enjoy.
RuPaul: "Drag never, ever takes itself too seriously!" note BACKROOOOOOOOLLS!
Mimi Imfurst and her infamously lifting another drag queen over her head during a lip sync. When she is invited back to take part in RuPaul's All Star Drag Race, even though she said she's put the incident behind her, it's obvious the other queens have not.
The "Night of a Thousand Kimonos" for Thorgy, Kim, Derrick, and Naomi.
Outright invoked by Magnolia Crawford, who said she had no desire to even try and win Season 6. Magnolia had no aspirations for the crown or the money, she just wanted to boost her ego with fan recognition, even if she had to make a fool out of herself during the show to do so.
One-Scene Wonder: Doubles with Early-Bird Cameo. In a Season 4 episode of Untucked, Alaska steals the show in a video message to then-lover Sharon Needles, introducing her famous "Hiiiieeeee!" and trashy style of drag.
Probably the most successful rescued scrappy has to be Alyssa Edwards. During Season 5 many fans were sick to death of her feud with with Coco, her not-funny shade, and lack of acting skills ... but after her season between her Stupid Statement Dance Mix and her hilarious Youtube show on WOWPresents "Alyssa's Secret" she is now one of the most popular and referenced Drag Queens of all time on the show.
While Phi Phi O'Hara is one of the most infamous "villains" in Drag Race history, since the show she has gained a substantial online following due to her cosplay and nerd culture references in her drag. This never made it onto the show because contestants are forbidden from referencing copyrighted characters, but she is quite Proud to Be a Geek.
Serena ChaCha, despite coming off as elitist and borderline racist during Season 5, actually has seemed to learn from her mistakes and better herself and her art of drag. She's actually pretty well accepted in the drag community now, with many queens (even from the same season) admitting while she was an unbearably annoying bitch during the show, she took the criticism afterwards and matured considerably.
Violet Chachki quickly spiraled to sprappydom with fans and the other queens after just the first episode due to her arrogance and the fact she's always giving, as the other queens put it, "stink face". However as the season progressed she was called out on her bitchiness and she noticeably worked to improve herself. In the end she was still a bitch, but more of a Bitch With A Heart Of Gold, and ultimately became the Ensemble Darkhorse of the final three, winning Season 7's crown.
Retroactive Recognition: Alyssa Edwards was featured on a documentary called "Pageant", following the Miss Gay America contestants. Drag Race viewers surely know what happened with that.
Phi Phi O'Hara for MANY fans in Season 4, it got so bad that viewers created a special Facebook page called "Phi Phi O'Hara, Sashay Away" in support of her getting the boot from the show.
Rebecca Glasscock in Season 1, due to her poor attitude and lack of character beyond just being a 'pretty face'. She and Phi Phi were the only runners-up who weren't voted back for All-Stars, and unlike Phi Phi she also wasn't invited to participate in All-Stars Season 2.
Shannel to a slight lesser extent than Rebecca, she even comments on her return to All Stars how everyone thought she was an arrogant bitch during her season.
Season 3's Mimi Imfurst was disliked by almost the entire cast of other queens, mostly for living up to her drag name by always acting self-entitled and needing to cut the other queens off to make everything about her. By the time she's eliminated after lifting India up against her will during the lipsync, it looked like the judges had had enough of her as well.
Her scrappy status haunts her when she joins RuPaul's All Stars, as immediately none of the other queens want to be teamed up with her, stating that she is not an All Star and shouldn't be there. When Pandora Boxx is forced to take Mimi as her partner, Pandora pretty much stops putting in any effort to win, and they end up being sent home in the first episode. .
In season 5, we have Serena ChaCha, who wasn't liked by any of the queens for being elitist, classist, and borderline racist; she harped about being in art school whenever she could, acted as if she were better than the other queens since she had a college education, and outright stated that the rest of the queens were uneducated by repeatedly telling them to "read a book". She also didn't seem to understand drag culture as anything more than an academic exercise; she got fed up with the other queens using terms like "sickening," told them it made them sound "ghetto," and then got rightly read to filth for it.
Season 5's Roxxxy Andrews, as far as Drag Race's online community is concerned. Many commenters have called Roxxxy out on her well timed emotional breakdown right before she looked like she was going to be eliminated, as well as her sudden apology for constantly picking on or putting down Jinkx Monsoon, when earlier in the same episode Roxxxy gleefully reveals she was purposely playing on Jinkx's insecurities to throw her off her game.
Of the season winners, Tyra Sanchez is the most hated by far, as most viewers feel that her flawless runway looks did not balance out her poor attitude, and she conveniently had immunity when she would have been in the bottom two. Ru seems to have learned her lesson; one of the benefits of letting the season run before choosing a winner is being able to consider fans' opinions before making her choice.
Season 6 gives us Magnolia Crawford. She horrified the other queens when she got in a heated argument with the judges, flat-out refused to consider the judges' critiques and thinks queens who adapt are spineless, and said she was only on the show for the exposure and to boost her ego with fan recognition (Trinity even explained to her how she could have phrased that without sounding like an entitled bitch). Then there's the fact that she entered the challenge claiming she loved to be a trashy queen, and shared a kinship with Peg Bundy... but completely gave up when handed a Hoedown theme for the Party Box Runway Challenge, bitching about how she couldn't possibly work with things like denim and red checker and instead taking the stage in a rather uninspired cow-print dress. Unlike Kelly Mantle, Magnolia's elimination wasn't the least bit controversial.
As if the producers wanted to cement her into scrappydom, in a later episode of Untucked they once again show Magnolia in the Confession Cam complaining that she doesn't like celebrity impersonation (a fan favorite) and hates Cher (after the episode featuring Cher's son and mother). To add insult to elimination, Adore Delano then quips that although she never met Magnolia, that she sounds dumb.
Gia Gunn isn't very popular with fans or the other queens, coming off as airheaded, elitist, unpolished, rude, and downright annoying. The only Pet the Dog moments she has are usually with Laganja, and only when Laganja is making a scene and no one else is buying her Attention Whore bullshit. It also doesn't help that she's Pandora Boxx's personal least favorite contestant in Season 6 as seen in her recap series, Drag Center.
Darienne Lake took Gia's spot as the bitch of the season, when she suddenly Took a Level in Jerkass towards the other queens and was spared from elimination by Ru more than once despite poor showings in challenges and on the runway. The viewer hate was taken up to eleven when she sent home fan favorite BenDeLaCreme.
Laganja Estranja seems to be a bit of this in-universe. Her immaturity, insecurity, and constantly jumping between a loud bombastic (and arguably grating) personality and sniffling, crying, overly emotional child drove fellow competitor Bianca Del Rio up the wall. Even her friend Adore Delano was concerned because, to quote, she didn't act like this in real life at all.
After Season 6 and the transgender controversy, Season 3 contestant Carmen Carrera came under fire with fans after she spoke out and said she was "disgusted" with the show for not respecting the transgender community. Many fans called her a hypocrite since she never expressed any issue with the show beforehand, and even during her season had no qualms dancing to the song "Tranny-Chaser" (a song many transgendered people found in poor taste well before Season 6). This only got worse after the edits occurred from Season 7 onward, fans again partly claiming Carrera for the changes.
Season 7 had quite a few:
Jasmine Masters got this hard due to the shade she constantly threw, to the point that she received actual death threats and ethnic slurs on Twitter that caused even RuPaul to step in and say enough's enough.
Kandy Ho, due to her Elimination Houdini status for the first half of Season 7. Plus, not only was she rude to Tempest about her age, she even later bragged about sending home the two oldest contestants after lipsynching against Tempest and Kasha. Thankfully, Ru has an unspoken "Three strikes you're out" rule, and Kandy's luck runs out against Jaidynn.
In the first season of All-Stars, Alexis Mateo and Shannel were generally disliked by fans, which is sad since they were something of fan favorites otherwise. The reasons for this range between the two being The Load in their individual teams (with Yara Sofia and Chad Michaels, respectfully) to some viewers just having the opinion that the two had no right to have made it as far as they did in the season over "true" treasured favorites like Latrice Royale and Pandora Boxx who were eliminated early on.
Derrick Barry from Season 8, which is a bit of a surprise because as a Britney Spears impersonator she was well-known and highly anticipated to appear on the show, only to be a piddling performer with an overall bad attitude, constantly failing to grasp that the judges want to see more from her than just Britney. Add to that the fact she was constantly in the bottom three and just avoiding having to lip-synch, and the only challenge she won was when she was paired with Bob.
Subverted by Acid Betty, who was initially dubbed "Asshole Betty" due to her abrasive nature. But as the season went on, she displayed a few Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments and was surprisingly a Graceful Loser about her elimination. The other queens, on the other hand, were glad to see her go.
Seasonal Rot: Season 7 (besides the new Untucked) is generally not as well-received as the previous seasons, with many citing the preponderance of team challenges (the most of any season thus far aside from All Stars) and that the show's started referencing itself too much rather than satirizing pop culture or the reality competition show format. Other people just think this particular season is a miss due to a lack of dynamic queen relationships, as there's been a serious void of any true rivalries (like Sharon and Phi Phi, or Alyssa and Coco), any deep friendships (like Raven and Jujubee, or Adore and Bianca), or a presence of a Team Mom (like Chad, Latrice, or, again Bianca).
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.
Pandora's elimination remains the biggest one of all the seasons when many fans expected her to at least reach the final three. The trope is called out by Ru herself during the reunion.
Vivienne Pinay and Honey Mahogany were the victims of the show's first double elimination.
Kelly's elimination in the season 6 premiere was quite a shock, as she was an early fan favorite and was expected to make it to the final three before the season had even started.
According to the fans, Ben's elimination is on par with Pandora's. Ru said that her elimination caused the fans to "flip the fuck out" when she didn't even make it to the top four, even though she was an early favorite to take the whole competition.
Season 7 saw early favorite Tempest DuJour eliminated the first episode, when many fans thought with her theater background, her campy style, and college professor smarts she would have been a real contender for the season.
Trixie's elimination, as many fans loved her quirky style and thought her lipsynch was much stronger than Pearl's. "#justicefortrixie" became a running joke online. Fortunately for those fans, she gets to return in episode 8... and then leave two episodes later through yet another controversial lipsynch against Ginger Minj.
When Max got eliminated for a poor showing on the Snatch Game, even fans who were sure she was going to hit a wall sooner or later didn't think the theater queen would be sent home for what was basically an acting challenge of all things.
Although the rumours throughout the season turned out to be true, it still didn't stop Katya's elimination form being this, the elimination of arguably the season's most popular and social media-savvy queen put a lot of fans off the rest of the season, despite even Katya herself insisting that her time was up.
Ginger Minj losing the crown to Violet Chachki, as even fans who didn't like Ginger just assumed this was her season to win, since it played heavily to her strengths of acting and comedy. Add to that the fact many viewers thought Ru would want to finally crown a Big Beautiful Woman, as fans have been complaining for years that Ru's neglected her plus-sized queens when it comes to picking a winner.
Dax ExclamationPoint and Laila McQueen were the second double elimination for the same reason as the first: a deeply lackluster lipsync that made Ru send them both home.
Thorgy Thor. Many fans had Thorgy pegged as top 3 material but were surprised when she only placed sixth. She was also a fan favorite and many felt she did well all competition up until episode 7. This of course is one of many conspiracy theories about season 8.
Inverted by Naomi Smalls and Chi Chi DeVayne. Michelle and Ross both admitted that they never would have predicted that the two of them would have made it to the top 4. Of course, this was phrased in such a way to praise their growth, and not to throw shade.
Shocking Swerve: When the 3rd Season gets down to its final 4 competitors, RuPaul announces that spoiler: the judges will select a previously eliminated contestant to come back and compete.
She did this again in Season 4, so when she announced in Season 7 she would be bringing back a queen again, no one was all that surprised ... until Ru brings back every queen eliminated in the season so far, pairs them off with the remaining half of queens still in the competition, and announces the only eliminated queen who gets to stay is the one who wins the main challenge!
Willam's disqualification in season 4. It's not the first time Ru decided not to send anyone home from the Lip Sync before, sure, but...
In the fourth episode of season 5, Ru sends both Honey Mahogany and Vivienne Pinay home for underperforming.
Season 6 has two in just the first episode! First, the premier was split into two episodes as the queens were split into two groups of seven, to help avoid queens who fly under the radar during the early competition. Second, there's no immunity awarded ... at all! Every queen will be eligible for elimination each week.
When the season came down to the last four contestants, Ru made all four lipsynch for their lives. Less shocking was the decision to eliminate Darienne. A similar situation also occurred in Season 7, with the elimination of Kennedy decidedly more shocking as many believed her to the best dancer in the music video.
Squick: The "Chicken or What?" mini-challenge where, among other things, the queens had to eat deep fried cow brains. Worst is when Morgan McMichaels vomits and forces herself to keep eating to win the challenge. Ru herself has admitted the challenge made her nauseous, and it's telling that there has not been an eating mini-challenge since this.
Averted by Jujubee. Half the time, after being told what she was eating, she just nodded and kept going ... at least until Morgan vomits on her.
Moments before her disqualification, Willam's stomach turning and her vomiting over the side of the main stage, the editors didn't show the vomiting itself, but were kind enough to give us all the sound effects, as well as a close-up of Willam as she spat over the side of the stage afterwards.
During the Season 6 make-over challenge Joslyn Fox's drag bride, "Bradonna Fox", had to excuse himself off-stage before he also started to throw up from the stress brought on by his feminine transformation. Again, although nothing was actually shown, the audience still gets to hear all of the sound effects.
In reaction to Joslyn's tuck on the runway, wearing what was basically akin to a crotch and asscrack pastie: "That was a meaty tuck."
Season 7's "Leaf-blower" mini-challenge in which the girls have to give face while being blown in the face ... normally right into their mouths to give a wide shot of all their teeth and gums. Special squicky mention goes to Miss Fame, who looks like she ate Oreos right before her turn with the leaf-blower.
Not for the show per se, but for the reunion. Starting Season 4, the reunion has been filmed in front of a live audience as opposed to the intimate studio setting of the first three seasons, and engages in much more filler and is significantly less insightful regarding the contestants. Furthermore, since the reunion is filmed ahead of its airing, each of the final three are filmed as being announced of the winner (with the actual winner's crowning sequence being aired), causing the reactions to look rehearsed and fake. Sharon herself admitted that she didn't feel anything during filming the crowning since it felt very fake to her.
The reunion took a drastic shift again in Season 7, where the eliminated queens were given a major push to the sidelines to make room for the final three to give one last original performance. Although unlike the above, this one was more of a Broken Base, as some people are fine with more spotlight to be given to the final three.
Some of this is because months pass between the rest of the season and the finale, giving the queens plenty of time to mend fences in private.
As of Season 6 all signature challenges have been moved an episode earlier than they normally appear, which means fan favorite Snatch Game was played with 10 queens, instead of the normal 9. At first glance, this would appear to be a good thing, an extra queen to play the game ... however, the show seemed to have serious issues with time management, and most queens barely got to answer one question (or in the case of Darienne Lake, no questions at all!). What's worse, there was no bonus footage offered for the Snatch Game this season, so what we saw during the show is all we're going to get, it seems.
In Season 7 they moved Snatch Game back an episode instead, possibly in response to Season 6, so now it was only played with 8 queens, giving every queen more spotlight. However, this also meant there was an extra challenge before the Snatch Game, and since almost every challenge from Episode 2 to the Snatch Game was a team comedy/acting challenge, many fans grew tired with the tedium in waiting for their favorite challenge.
Come All-Stars 2, Snatch Game was moved to the second episode; since the season only had 10 queens to begin with, it seems it's meant to be played with 9 queens again. However, due to Adore Delano's unforeseen departure at the beginning of the episode, it was once again played with only 8.
The removal of the You've Got Mail segment (which was itself a rather unfortunate play on the phrase) as mentioned above was removed in attempts to show more sensitivity towards trans people has been received an extreme amount of backlash. Even a large amount of queens from past seasons have complained about it. What's truly strange about it is that the segment in question is only 20 seconds and isn't necessary to the show yet it has probably received the most fan backlash of any change made to the show.
Season 7 lacking a challenge dedicated to society education, as every previous season tried to have at least one challenge with a focus on a current event in the world (Season 1's Viva Glam challenge where the queens had to film an AIDS PSA, Season 2's makeover challenge with elderly gay gentleman, Season 3 and 5 having a challenge focused on gays in the military, etc,) It made Season 7 seem a little too self-referential and somewhat shallow as a result.
While for the most part Season 8 seems to have been winning back fans after a controversial Season 7, come the final elimination episode, many fans were not happy that there was no Tic-Tac lunches with Mama Ru, after every previous season had given the final queens a chance to sit with Ru and really open up and normally make them more appealing to the fans. Granted, this season didn't really seem to need that since final four queens had spoken about their issues multiple times before, it was still an unwelcome change from the normal flow of things.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Many fans feel this way about the inclusion of high fashion/high concept queens like Miss Fame, Violet Chachki, and Max in Season 7, since the season seemed to focus a lot more on Camp, acting, and teamwork as opposed to fashion and glamour. Ironically, the exact opposite was the complaint about Pandora Boxx in Season 2, as her campy comedy and acting skills were an ill-fit for a season more focused on fashion and polish.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The teams twist that was added to All-Stars can come across like this, as Ru claimed it was to force her queens to be teamed up with someone with talents and traits the other lacked and vice-versa ... but then let her queens pick their own teams. Most of the queens expectedly picked a partner that was already similar to their style (Chad and Shannel are both Vegas Showgirl queens, Yara and Alexis were both Season 3 Peurto Rican queens, etc.) which meant the dynamics that Ru seemed to be hoping for were ultimately subdued (or outright lost) with some teams.
With the announcement by Ru that she would have a new queen entering the competition after the second double elimination in the history of the show many fans got excited at the possibility of a new queen entering the competition. However once episode 3 leaked it was revealed that the new queen was actually Naysha. While some felt that it was good that she was getting a second chance many agreed that it would have been more interesting for someone new to come into the competition.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Ru and Michelle both rubbed the queens (and, in Michelle's case, fans) the wrong way in the All Stars 2 premiere; Ru by announcing that the contestants would be eliminating each other, quite possibly the most transparent effort to build up drama for TV in Drag Race history (and one that was met with not just the usual incredulousness that Ru's twists bring but actual sadness and disappointment by the queens), and Michelle by reading Adore's outfit to filth and dismissing her original song (the outfit was very typical to Adore's style), showing an inability to accept queens without an established aesthetic.
Took a Level in Kindness: Roxxxy Andrews and Phi Phi O'Hara, two of the more detested queens of their respective seasons, both admitted in the All Stars 2 premiere that they were too competitive and bitchy in their seasons and strive to be friendlier. Roxxxy even says the editing of season 5 didn't really distort anything; she really did act like that and she really is sorry. Goes on to prove it when she meets one-on-one with the bottom 3 prior to their elimination and feels extremely guilty when she makes her choice.
In the case of Phi Phi, the show's editing says this is Subverted, but Phi Phi disagrees. See Broken Base above.
Trailer Joke Decay: Happened in Season 6 with Laganja Estranga's "Come on Season 6, let's get sickening!!! *death drop*", as it was played in just about every preview trailer before and during the season. Especially annoying in that afterwards it became obvious Laganja was purposely trying to invoke herself as a Fountain of Memes, and most likely said the line because the clip would be trailer-bait.
Also happens with runway outfits. Courtney's angel wings would have been absolutely stunning if we hadn't seen them in every preview.
As pop culture is typically a huge part of both gay and drag culture, this is unavoidable. Some challenge themes and lip-synch songs will only be popular in the moment that season is airing, and really have no staying power after the fact.
Can end up being one in the case of popular drag trends, as many queens of a particular season may utilize an up and coming technique that previously wasn't as mainstream. For example, seasons 3 and 4 had many queens using silicon breast plates, while seasons 7 and 8 show more queens painting breast cleavage on their chests instead, which has risen in popularity since the previous seasons.
The Untwist: Every season since Season 2 during the themed Drag Ball the queens have to perform in an original Broadway-style lip-synch, and every single season the queens act like this is the biggest twist ever, acting nervous and upset that they are being taken away from their dressmaking for the challenge, and that it's a totally unexpected twist they are expected to perform in the number.
Lampshaded by Pandora Boxx during her review show, Drag Center, complete with air quotes when talking about the so-called "twist".
Values Dissonance: RuPaul still considers sewing and dressmaking to be a pivotal skill for the 'Next Drag Superstar', which is moreso derived from her own generation when drag was much more underground, and queens had to make or tailor their own dresses, or find rare hole-in-the-wall shops that catered to drag queens. Nowadays, between internet shopping and drag becoming much more mainstream, it is a lot easier for queens to build a wardrobe without needing to learn sewing skills, leading to a lot of otherwise capable queens being eliminated just because they can't get past the first challenge on the show (which is usually an unconventional materials sewing challenge, consisting of anything from thrift store goods to holiday decorations).
It seems more from annoyance that you would even tryout if you know you won't be able to get past the first challenge. For some of the alumni queens and fans, not knowing how to sew when you know that the show would include a sewing challenge is just plain poor judgment.
Inverted in Season 7, many fans were unhappy with the relative lack of sewing challenges relative to the previous seasons.
Vindicated by History: During the Season 4 Zombie Apocalypse challenge Phi Phi O'Hara was upset when her outfit, a costume modeled after a sort of road warrior drag queen complete with battle scars, went ignored by the judges and was only deemed "safe". Later that season during the look-back, Phi Phi's battle queen outfit was actually one of the top looks according to RuPaul, and even better, during a series of top lists regarding all of the past 5 seasons, Phi Phi's look again makes it onto the list.
Season 6 sees a similar situation involving Darienne Lake's Tony Awards inspired dress, in which the judges don't give it much positive feedback. During the top 10 outfits of the seasons, Darienne's "pond-scum green" outfit makes an appearance.
Wangst: Coco Montrese and the whole Alyssa Edwards thing, although Alyssa instigates it as well it never seems to bother her much, whereas for Coco it was always a Berserk Button. Many Drag Race fans got tired of watching Coco rant and cry and bitch about it every episode, and Alyssa even calls Coco out on the fact whenever things get too real she'll turn on the waterworks.
Win Back the Crowd: Season 8 seems to be going for this, with two extended episodes, a more even spread among screentime for queens, and the first challenge not needing to be blurred out. Also helped that Queens with an already devoted fan following - Such as Kim Chi and Bob the Drag Queen - were cast as well.
The Woobie: Jiggly Caliente. So much. To put it mildly, Jiggly was in over her head as far as the sewing and costuming challenges, and hadn't fully processed her mother's death and her own emotional issues. She's also transgender, which was never mentioned in the show at all. The other queens were fairly ruthless to her, with an almost Once an Episode screaming match in the interior illusions lounge. It got so bad that Kenya Michaels sent a letter several episodes after Kenya was eliminated continuing to trash her. And ultimately she is undone when Phi Phi O'Hara sabotages her by picking on her body image. In her final Untucked, she looks practically broken. And then you get to the reunion, in which Jiggly talks about how she and Phi Phi lived together and how they were sisters and how betrayed she felt when Phi Phi sabotaged her. All Phi Phi could do was bounce it off saying that this was a competition and she was in it to win it. It legitimately hurts to watch how much she seems to adore and support Phi Phi O'Hara after the competition. After the show though, they became friends again.
Also, several of the queens become this when they tearfully recount difficult pasts such as abusive or dead parents, childhood bullying, dead boyfriends, etc.
Joslyn Fox after her hero Courtney Act continuously insulted her drag. Courtney later explained that she was just making jokes that would be acceptable in Australian culture, and that she felt very guilty watching the show and realising how mean she had come across as.
As much as people considered Magnolia Crawford The Scrappy in part due to her attitude, her style, and the fact she refused to watch her season, many viewers actually felt for her when she finally was coerced into watching her elimination. The look of regret and embarrassment is pretty evident on her face, and afterwards she officially quits doing drag altogether. Magnolia also doubles as a cautionary tale towards fans who think they can pull a Shangela and start doing drag and immediately get on the show, if your heart isn't in it then you shouldn't take the chance away from a queen who really does want it.