Rupaul’s Drag Race is halfway through its sixth all stars season. Drag queen contestants who failed to snatch the crown the first time re-enter the competition for another chance at becoming America’s next drag superstar.
The second (or third) time around, “Drag Race” girls have an established brand they usually wish to further promote with their exposure. All Stars 4 winner Monét X Change established herself as a sponge queen; All Stars 4 runner-up Monique Heart’s brand revolved around cows. More often than not, to accompany and promote the image, and regardless of singing ability, the queens drop a single, usually on the same day as their season premiere.
Drag queens making music is not new. Primarily thanks to “Drag Race,” over the years, drag music has become more and more prevalent to a wider audience. There are certain clichés attached to this particular genre: silly lyrics, mediocre singing, crudeness. In short, no one’s winning any Grammys anytime soon. There’s also a lot of queens making music. Sifting through a lot of noise, and in honor of Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars 6, here are five great songs by former “Drag Race” contestants.
5. “Hot Couture” – Manila Luzon
Manila Luzon is one of the franchise’s most fashionable queens. Competing three times over the years, Manila has served nothing but iconic looks. Who can forget her pineapple dress on season 3 or her silver evening gown on All Stars 4? “Hot Couture” is an embodiment of what Manila does best. She doesn’t shy away from the fact she’s a drag queen, but also gives the song a sense of seriousness, not allowing it to be written off as typical drag queen fare.
4. “Supersonic” – Detox
Another iconic fashion queen, Detox competed on the fifth season and second All Stars of “Drag Race.” Before drag entered the mainstream and the rise of Instagram queens, Detox was doing drag the old-fashioned way, performing at bars, lounges and clubs. Her song is a club anthem, perfect for a sweaty night on the dance floor. The lyrics are catchy and there’s a killer music video to match.
3. “Mama Don’t Make Me Put On The Dress Again” – Trixie Mattel
Trixie Mattel is a true underdog story. Originally eliminated in the fourth episode of season 7 (only to come back later in the season and place 6th overall), Trixie Mattel managed to overcome the stigma of an early-eliminated queen and build herself a drag empire. After her season 7 run, Trixie went on to start a successful web show with fellow “Drag Race” alum Katya, win the crown in All Stars 3, and develop a music career.
Trixie stays away from the expected club tracks and focuses on a country sound. Trixie avoids the typical drag music clichés of crudity and creates music with real depth. Being a country singer only further distinguishes herself in a crowded field.
2. “Hold On” – Jinkx Monsoon
Jinkx Monsoon, the “Drag Race” winner of season 5, is most remembered for being bullied by her fellow competitors, narcolepsy, and her killer vocals. Jinkx takes a theatrical approach to her music which is evident in this song. Taking the persona of a middle-aged woman who’s trapped in her role as a wife and mother, Jinkx delivers a vibrant but sullen number fit for Broadway.
1. “Boy Is A Bottom” – Willam Belli, Detox, Vicky Vox
Drag, at its core, is about mimicry and parody. Drag queens mimic and parody women, specific artists and gender constructs. With 25 million views, this viral hit, a spoof of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” is drag. It’s fun, silly, cheeky and pokes fun at a cultural experience. It has no interest in being “real.” Sorry Alicia Keys, but sometimes a copy can be better than the original.