While plenty of our pop cultural touchstones have changed since 2009, some things have stayed just as potent as they were back then; Taylor Swift was the No. 1 artist of the year both then and now, Kanye West kept being controversial and Sunday Night Football and NCIS remained two of the most–watched television shows in the country.
One other show that’s resisted the creep of irrelevance is RuPaul’s Drag Race; 15 years ago today, on Feb. 2, 2009, the now-beloved reality competition series debuted its very first episode on LogoTV. In the intervening decade-and-a-half since the series premiere, Drag Race has transformed into a cultural behemoth, spawning nearly two-dozen international franchises, three major fan conventions and launching over 600 drag performers to new heights of popularity.
Even executive producer Tom Campbell expressed his shock at the show’s mainstream success during an interview with Billboard in 2023. “Drag Race itself is like a healthy tree that grew through a crack in the sidewalk — it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t fit the algorithm, but it touches people’s hearts and and that’s what’s important.”
With all that’s changed about the franchise since its inception, one element of the show has endured; the Lip Sync for Your Life. To celebrate the show’s 15th anniversary, Billboard is taking a look back through 15 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race to determine once and for all which lip syncs from each season deserve tens across the board. In determining just how legendary each lip sync was, we looked for three determining factors: the choice of song, the dramatic storylines affected by placing these two queens in a showdown, and just how sickening each performance was.
Check out our picks for the best lip syncs from every main season of RuPaul’s Drag Race below:
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