We all know and love the format of Rupaul’s Drag Race. Where in recent seasons it’s become easier to read into storylines pushed by production, in earlier seasons, some unforgettable reality television moments were created with the twists and turns that happened due to the shows format. That’s not to say that recent seasons weren’t also full of draw dropping moments.
There have been a few eliminations throughout Drag Race herstory that just haven’t sat well with viewers. Whether they were fan favorite queens or the elimination just seemed outright unjustifiable, there’s been some head scratching moments that have come out of the show. Let’s take a look at nine of the most questionable eliminations in RPDR herstory, regular seasons and All-Stars alike.
9/9 Ongina: Season 1
Ongina has and will always be such a superstar. She came onto our screens during Season 1, a true OG through and through. Her shocking and heartbreaking elimination came very close to the season’s finale, where she was definitely a frontrunner to snatch up the shows first crown ever. Being so open about her HIV status on such a massive platform allowed fans to really connect with her vulnerability, and everyone instantly fell in love with her. Her elimination felt a little mucky, but we’ll always remember the amazing time that Ongina had on Season 1 of RPDR.
8/9 Willam: Season 4
For the first time in Drag Race herstory, during Season 4, a queen was disqualified for reasons outside of the competition. We all know her and love her: that queen was Willam. Willam’s exit from Drag Race felt so random and so weird, there literally was an entire lip sync conducted before Rupaul announced that Willam was disqualified for breaking the rules. At the reunion, Willam chatted with Ru and told viewers that the reason she had to leave was for seeing her man mid-filming, but she’s gone on to say that that just wasn’t the case. Will we ever know what really happened? Probably not. Will we always remember this elimination? Absolutely.
7/9 Trixie Mattel: Season 7
Season 7 introduced the one and only Trixie Mattel. Trixie went up against Pearl in an interesting lip sync, to say the least. Trixie has even publicly stated that she was almost 100% certain that she won the lip sync against Pearl, so when she was eliminated, it shocked her and viewers. She ended up coming back to the competition later in Season 7 before she joined the cast of All-Stars 3, where she ended up winning.
6/9 Katya Zamolodchikova: Season 7
We think it’s safe to say that everyone loved Katya Zamolodchikova when she first appeared on our TV screens during Season 7. Her elimination just a few episodes ahead of the finale was devastating, and it hurt even more that she did so well in her final lip sync against Kennedy Davenport. Rupaul gagged everyone at the Season 7 finale with a bit where she called Katya’s name after pronouncing, “the winner of RPDR, America’s next drag superstar is… Katya.” It was a moment that fans around the globe were hoping was real!
5/9 Shea Coulee: Season 9
Shea Couleé’s exit from Season 9 is arguably one of the most overwhelming eliminations in all of Drag Race herstory. Though Shea was eliminated in the finale, the elimination still stings the same as a normal episode would. During the lip sync for the finale twist, Shea went head to head with her best friend, Sasha Velour. No one could have prepared for the performance that Sasha was going to deliver to “So Emotional” in the first round of the lip syncs for the Season 9 finale.
Sasha showed out, we all know that, but it was devastating to see the season’s frontrunner, Shea, walk away. Shea came into the finale with four wins, and many believed she would be the crowned queen of Season 9. Sasha’s lip sync win was iconic and deserved, but everyone still felt pain when Shea was eliminated.
4/9 Alyssa Edwards: All-Stars 2
Okay, Alyssa Edwards did end up getting eliminated twice during All-Stars 2, but we’re going to be discussing the second time in this roundup. Alyssa had just made it back into the competition a week before she was sent packing again, and it was one of the most controversial eliminations ever in the herstory of Drag Race. After the makeover challenge, if you weren’t in the top two, you were placed into the bottom. Detox ended up winning the episode’s lip sync for the crown, and chose to save her two friends Alaska and Roxxxy, eliminating Alyssa in the midst. Detox said that she couldn’t bring herself to eliminate Roxxxy even though she said she regretted that decision to choose Alyssa. It was a moment, that’s for sure!
3/9 BenDeLaCreme: All-Stars 3
This might have been the most bizarre and unexpected elimination because it was a self-elimination. That’s right: We’re talking about BenDeLaCreme during All-Stars 3. After dominating most of the competition, DeLa explained that she felt she’d already proven herself and that the felt like the other queens wanted the win more. She ended up writing her own name on another lipstick with whiteout… which has become an iconic moment from the series.
2/9 Shangela: All-Stars 3
After DeLa eliminated herself during All-Stars 3, the stage was set for Shangela to snatch up a win. She had the most wins (three) of the season by the finale, and fans were hoping to see her as the crowned queen from the season. However, a shocking jury twist changed the fate of the season instantly, with past eliminated queens having to vote for the top two they wanted to see. Our hearts were crushed when Shangela was not voted into the top two, losing her shot at the crown.
1/9 Manila Luzon: All-Stars 4
Like Shangela’s elimination in All-Stars 3, Manila Luzon’s just didn’t feel right. Eliminated during the makeover challenge just like Alyssa, Manila slipped into the bottom two, something that hadn’t happened during the course of All-Stars 4 yet. With three challenge wins before she exited the competition, Naomi Smalls eliminated her in the infamous “life’s not fair” moment, sending the franchise into a frenzy! Naomi changed the way that All-Stars would be played forever.