11 seasons. Four All Stars off-shoots. 113 queens. That's a whole lot of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, mama.
But not all RuPaul's Drag Race queens are created equal.
With season 12 just around the corner (not to mention AS5 and the new Celebrity Drag Race due at some point int he future) and iconic queen Alyssa Edwards celebrating her 40th birthday on Thursday, Jan. 16, we thought the timing was right to open the library and read these queens to filth to determine which of Mama Ru's girls deserved to be in our Top 20. Why? Because reading is fundamental. (And also, because any opportunity we get to talk about Drag Race as "work," we'll take it.)
Which queens made the cut and which had to sashay away? It wasn't easy narrowing this down. The sheer magnitude of talent among the amazing drag queens that RuPaul has introduced the world to is truly a force to be reckoned with. This show hasn't spawned an industry unto itself, complete with a yearly bi-coastal weekend-long fan convention, for no reason. And as you take a look at our list, you'll notice that simply winning a season wasn't enough for some queens to make the cut.
As the show has evolved and grown, so too has the talent, making it harder and harder for those early queens to edge their way in. Not that they're not trailblazing and legendary in their own right. It's just that, when you're whittling the list down to 20, you've got to make some cuts somewhere.
So without any further ado, it's time to put your reading glasses on and find out which of Mama Ru's girls made our Top 20—and which one came out on top.
Can we get an amen?
RuPaul's Drag Race returns to VH1 later this year.
(Originally published on February 8, 2018 at 11:57 a.m. PT.)