A scientifically correct ranking of every rusical from RuPaul’s Drag Race
Rewatch Trump: The Rusical or pull my own teeth out? Tough choice
The staple, seasonal Drag Race rusical is a tricky and varied beast.
Since Shade: The Rusical debuted the challenge type in season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the rusical has reared its (occasionally) ugly head at least once a season in some way, shape or form. The rusical type seems to alternate. Sometimes the queens just lip-sync to an already arranged track sang by studio session vocalists. Sometimes they have to record their own vocals, but get to lip-sync it on the main stage rather than face the nerves of live vocals. And sometimes they have to stand up there and sing and dance simultaneously with only one chance to not croak or fuck it up!
There’s a lot of pressure on a rusical and a lot of moving parts, which has resulted in some of the best Drag Race telly of all time and some of the absolute WORST. SO LET’S RANK THEM!
13. PharmaRusical (Season 10)
PharmaRusical is so bad that it almost made me an antivaxxer.
It is truly shite. It’s so shite, there’s not even a video of it on YouTube. And the above video of the audio has had to turn the comments off. The season 10 cast are really talented, so it’s not even their fault. The fault is the theme. It’s built around comedy gold lines such as “Erm, Ru? Is there an… ANAL option ;)”. Drag Race at its WORST.
I just need to know who walked into the Drag Race storyboarding meeting and said you know what will make a great rusical? Big pharma!
12. Trump: The Rusical (Season 11)
Here’s an idea: STOP MAKING RUSICALS ABOUT CRAP TOPICS!
Literally the last thing I want is to spend 10 minutes listening to a badly written satire of the Trump administration, performed by a cast who are all over the place and to songs that parody … Grease? It’s dismal, it makes NO sense and the whole thing is just bewildering to watch and I HATE that I had to rewatch this pile of shite in order to do this ranking.
11. Social Media: The Unverified Rusical (Season 13)
Another AWFUL theme! Why would we want this? It feels aged and cursed, like when schools and workplaces try to do workshops on social media safety but just end up sounding old and out of touch. Theme aside, at least we get some vocals from the queens – and they mostly do a good job across the board. Utica is quite wow. Rosé, the self proclaimed fashion clown who’s neither fashionable nor funny, does what she’s best at: big vocals.
Like the rest of season 13, it feels like it goes on for 100 years. But shit topic aside, it’s really not too bad.
10. Divas Live (All Stars 3)
A bit of a weird one that I didn’t know whether to include or not, because as far as Drag Race Rusicals go it just doesn’t feel like a rusical. It feels like a Snatch Game but with lip syncs. Everyone does pop star impressions to RuPaul songs, kind of like Bitch Perfect but a bit less charming and a lot less successful.
It’s not a disaster, though. Shangela’s Mariah is so funny and Ben’s Call Me Mother in the style of Julie Andrews IS iconic.
9. Kardashian: The Musical (Season 9)
The only one not called rusical despite it literally being a rusical… but anyway!
The mashup of Kardashians and Hamilton-esque music stylings works so well. It succeeds in every way that Trump: The Rusical mashed up with Grease doesn’t. The music is really fun, and there are some big iconic performances courtesy of Peppermint’s Britney, Alexis Michelle’s Kris Jenner and Shea’s Blac Chyna. A solid entry to the rusical catalogue, even if Eureka’s absolutely haunting North West is the most terrifying thing to ever grace a television screen.
8. Bitch Perfect (Season 8)
One of the best episodes of season eight.
The choice to do a rusical in the style of Pitch Perfect’s iconic riff offs but with RuPaul music is so inventive and fun, and Ru’s songs are mixed so well into the acapella sound the film franchise is so famous for. The Lady Bitches group are quite cursed, with messy outfits and Cynthia Lee Fontaine kicking her shoe off into the sky and breaking a light mid performance, but the Shady Bitches are legendary (with the exception of Dax and her Karen hair wig).
Thorgy is so on point for the whole thing and the adrenaline running through her body moment is a WOW, Naomi serves legs and fierceness and the late, great Chi Chi DeVayne steals the show with her upside down, legs akimbo lip sync moment.
7. Glamazonian Airways
A nonsense concept, but one I just have a huge soft spot for. Sue me!
It’s a laugh a minute this one. Katya not knowing a single word but blagging it anyway, Ginger Minj calling Violet’s team “aryan airways”, the absolute bops in the audio that slap my tits every time I listen to it? Love. Sasha Belle is an absolute disaster here. Wearing two wigs but both are bad. Miss Fame strumming the guitar is hilarious without her even knowing. But Glamazonian Airways belongs to one woman, and one woman only.
Mrs. Kasha Davis. Mrs. Kasha Davis deserved a Tony for this. She is iconic from start to fin. The “work it bitch!” march, click and wink is one of the best things to ever happen on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
6. HERstory of the World (All Stars 2)
Six: The Musical owes HERstory of the World some serious coin.
I love the concept of reimagining iconic females from history as pop stars, and the audio slaps so hard with this one. Pair that with the best cast of any season of Drag Race ever and you’ve got a rusical that just doesn’t miss a beat. How they managed to make a bottom two for this is mental. Everyone really shines, not just in their sections but also by performing so strongly backing up other people. Alyssa’s Annie Oakley is SO FUNNY. I could watch it on loop forever. It’s comedy gold.
The only way this could be better if it was recorded with the queens’ vocals, because it just makes the rusicals feel so much more of a feat on the whole in my humble but correct opinion.
5. Cher: The Unauthorised Rusical (Season 10)
Oh, we’re wowing.
Singing LIVE whilst dancing? Paying tribute to Cher? OUTFITS!? AUTOTUNE!?
I don’t even care that Asia and Vixen make a bit of a car crash of it. I love Eureka’s bit for comedy value even if she wasn’t intending it to be so funny. Aquaria gives me angina in her section because she nearly falls to her death and trips over her cape 60 times but she’s such a star that it works. Kameron Michaels opens amazingly, Monet X Change absolutely NAILS it and is so vocally great and then Miz Cracker comes through with the Believe-esque autotune magic that is so good it’s illegal she didn’t win the challenge.
4. Rats: The Rusical (Drag Race UK S2)
Rats: The Rusical is really cursed, but in the best way. Its inspiration is, of course, Cats. And Cats is harrowing.
Everyone is incredible in this. Vocals are great completely across the board, especially knowing it was all sung live. Veronica is OF COURSE the scene stealer with her sexy and seductive rat bite fever moment. Bimini and Awhora are THEE pop punk princesses. Ginny is pure chaos and I love every second. Was a bit of a toss up between Cher and this for fourth place. Cher: The Rusical has better songs but is more messy. Rats took fourth place because the queens absolutely nail it, and it’s a major testament to how incredible the Drag Race UK season two cast are.
3. The Hall of Fame Halftime Show (All Stars 6)
THIS. Is what I’m talking about. This is the Drag Race rusical format at its most thrilling. When Ru said the theme was going to be his own songs done in the style of a Super Bowl halftime show, it was a bit of an eye roll moment. We’ve had Bitch Perfect, with Ru songs done like Pitch Perfect, and we had Divas Live which was essentially the same concept. But the queens of All Stars 6 soon shut me right up, and proved exactly why this season is becoming such a fan favourite.
Everyone is pretty spectacular. Rajah and Scarlet do great jobs, A’Keria is judged unfairly for a rather iconic Prince, Yara embodies Shakira’s movements so well even if the lip sync is off. Jan’s Gaga is spectacular, her attention to detail is phenomenal and you can really feel her hunger for the win that she’d deserved for a long time. And of COURSE, Trinity K Bonet’s showstopping Beyoncé – a performance that instantly went down as one of the most legendary Drag Race performance moments in the show’s history. It’s incredible.
2. Shade: The Rusical (Season 6)
Back where it all began! And it’s still SO great to this day.
The cast of season six are just pretty much all stars, and it doesn’t even matter that the vocals are a bit of a train wreck because they all perform the absolute hell of it. Courtney Act is of course the absolute WINNER here, but BenDeLaCreme isn’t far behind her with that iconic villain role. Adore and Bianca nail their bits, the rest of the queens are a bit chaotic but in an endearing way. And then we have Milk’s hilarious raggedy cat thing that is just so funny and sings every line cursed.
It’s such an important Drag Race moment, milestone and challenge. Shade: The Rusical is just iconic.
1. Madonna: The Unauthorised Rusical
Madonna is my favourite artist of all time. So there was a lot riding on this to be great.
But THANKFULLY, both the queens AND the material deliver in every way, that make it the most satisfying and impressive rusical of them all. This whole episode was absolute perfection. Jan absolutely NAILS the first era of Madonna and then her reaction to not winning the whole thing is obviously now a legendary meme. Jackie probably does the worst of the bunch, but still delivers. Gigi is a force to be reckoned with and had us all gasping in our seats when we first watched it.
Brita doesn’t do too badly, Jaida does the Erotica era so sexily that my jaw remains on the ground to this day and Crystal makes up for her shit vocals with a high energy and hilarious parody of Ray of Light. Widow and Heidi do solid jobs too. It’s all just great. It functions as both an amazing showcase for how talented the season 12 queens are and as a really thoughtful and loving tribute to Madonna and her legacy as an artist and queer icon. I actually get really emotional when they get to the final segment and namecheck all the Madge references in the style of Vogue’s spoken fashion name bit – it’s so moving as a fan and so slick to watch.
This rusical remains the one to beat.