Over the course of 12 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and 4 seasons of the All Stars spin-off, we’ve seen a lot of fierce queens competing for a crown. Unfortunately, there’s (almost) always just one winner, which means that a lot of incredible contestants end up losing the crown despite having a very strong track record.
In this list, we will explore some of the very best Drag Race contestants that, for one reason or another, fell short of taking the crown on one or more seasons. If you were looking for a deep dive on the queens that have been “robbed” on RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’ve found it!
10 Brooke Lynn Hytes
Brooke Lynn Hytes entered the Drag Race werkroom with a giant reputation to uphold. The queen had won the highly-coveted Miss Continental title in 2014, and since moving from Canada, Brooke had also developed a solid rapport with U.S. drag performers.
To the surprise of no one, Brooke Lynn Hytes won the very first Maxi Challenge on season 11 of Drag Race. Then, she won two more challenges. Despite landing in the bottom twice, Brooke arrived to the finale with the highest number of wins.
There’s no denying that Yvie Oddly won the season 11 crown fair and square, but that doesn’t change the fact that Brooke Lynn Hytes instantly became one of the best Drag Race contestants ever who didn’t take the crown.
9 Adore Delano
The vast majority of Drag Race fans were charmed by Adore Delano from the very first moment that she came on screen. Despite her unconventional, grungy aesthetic and her angsty teen energy, Adore proved the judges wrong week after week, making her way to the Top 3 of season 6.
It’s hard to argue that Bianca Del Rio didn’t deserve to be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar after her impeccable track record on season 6, but Adore Delano certainly carried an exciting underdog momentum. Then, when Adore was cast on All Stars 2, she was yet again one of the favorites to take the crown. With that said, it’s unfortunate that Adore Delano gave up on All Stars.
8 Ginger Minj
We hadn’t had a confident and fashion-forward winner since season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Thus, at the time, fans seemed to have a hard time wrapping their heads around Violet Chachki winning season 7. Alternatively, Ginger Minj was a theater freak like Jinkx Monsoon and had a strong sense of humor like Bianca Del Rio, which made her a strong contender to win.
In hindsight, it seems baffling that any queen could’ve taken the crown from Violet Chachki on season 7. However, it’s important to point out that Ginger Minj is one of the best Drag Race queens in history to lose the crown. Moreover, it’s very strange to think that Ginger went home so soon on All Stars 2.
7 Courtney Act
Courtney Act placed 13th on the first-ever Australian Idol, made Top 3 on season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, won season 21 of Celebrity Big Brother in the U.K., and was the runner-up on season 16 of Dancing With The Stars in Australia. With such an impressive reality competition resume, it’s impossible not to think of Courtney Act as one of the very best Drag Race contestants to lose the crown.
While it seems like Courtney Act hasn’t expressed any desire to compete on an All Stars season, fans definitely have wondered how this perfectionist queen would do if she decided to go back to the werkroom.
6 Kim Chi
To some, Bob the Drag Queen steamrolled the competition on season 8 of Drag Race. To others, Kim Chi was an equal frontrunner who could’ve easily taken the crown that year. Bob arrived to the finale with 3 Maxi Challenge wins and one time in the bottom. Comparatively, Kim Chi won 2 Maxi Challenges and never landed in the bottom.
The past is in the past and Kim Chi is doing just fine with her very own makeup brand, but it’s only fair to look back at Kim’s track record and give her the props she deserves. Overall, Kim Chi is one of the fiercest queens in the Drag Race franchise who could’ve easily been crowned a winner.
Katya’s drag, sense of humor, backstory, and personality were some of the best things that came from season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. By the time we got to the finale, Katya’s momentum was undeniable. Consequently, she won the title of Miss Congeniality and even participated in a skit with RuPaul just as the host was about to announce the winner of the season.
On All Stars 2, Katya just became even more popular with fans and the judges, making her way to the Top 4 and tying with Detox as a runner-up. Yet again, it is hard to argue against Alaska taking the crown that year. With that said, Katya was also very deserving of winning a crown.
4 Shea Coulee
Shea Coulee arrived at the Drag Race season 9 finale with the best track record within the Top 4. The queen had 4 Maxi Challenge wins and only one time in the bottom, making her the clear frontrunner.
However, the finale rules changed that year, introducing the Lip Sync For The Crown format. To the tune of “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston, Sasha Velour gave fans one of the best lip sync performances of all time, beating out Shea in a shocking turn of events.
With the new rules in place, Sasha Velour’s win was absolutely fair. However, that didn’t stop some fans from having a bitter taste left in their mouths about Shea Coulee, the clear frontrunner, not becoming America’s Next Drag Superstar.
3 Manila Luzon
Since season 3, fans have been echoing the sentiment that Manila Luzon could’ve won any season of RuPaul’s Drag Race that didn’t have Raja on it. However, the contestants were forced to compete in pairs during All Stars 1, which turned out to be yet another obstacle for Manila to take the crown.
When Manila Luzon came back for All Stars 4, everyone was pretty sold on the idea that she would win. Then, the queen started winning a bunch of Maxi Challenges (a total of 3), and the stars seemed to be aligned. Unfortunately, Manila was sent home during the one time she fell in the bottom. All in all, there’s no denying that Manila Luzon should have won a Drag Race crown at this point.
Shangela won over the Drag Race fans after going home first on season 2, then made it very far on season 3, then came back yet again to compete on All Stars 3. After BenDeLaCreme sent herself home, there was a palpable sense that Shangie was the queen to beat. Except, RuPaul asked the eliminated queens to decide which contestants would make it to the Top 2.
It is shocking that Shangela wasn’t voted to move forward to the Top 2 and get the chance to Lip Sync For The Crown. With so many career accomplishments since she first competed on season 2, Shangie was the perfect fit to enter the Drag Race Hall of Fame.
Raven is perhaps the most influential and consequential runner-up in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race. To make matters even more complicated, Raven was “robbed” twice: on season 2 of Drag Race and on season 1 of All Stars.
Looking back on Drag Race season 2 and All Stars 1, it only seems fair that Tyra Sanchez and Chad Michaels were respectively crowned. However, given Raven’s impact in the drag community with her makeup skills and signature nose contouring, it’s very strange to think of her as a contestant who never managed to win Drag Race.
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About The AuthorBernardo Sim is a content creator who resides in Miami, FL. He is interested in business, media, art, and traveling, having explored North and South America, Europe, and Asia while learning how cultures connect differently through art and technology. His experiences took him a long way from Manaus, Brazil, an exceptional metropolis inside the Amazon forest, where his life began. He seeks to understand different cultural and artistic perspectives and is fascinated by languages, being fluent in English and Portuguese and proficient in Spanish. As a content creator, Bernardo has worked in a variety of mediums. He has written lyrics for several songs that have charted on iTunes Brazil, produced music videos for American and International artists, conducted interviews with prominent chart-topping pop stars and rocks bands, and expanded social media-based Internet startups. He is a contributor at Screen Rant and also a recurring columnist and special correspondent for Brazil’s #1 pop music news website, POPline. Bernardo Sim has a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Business and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University, as well as an Entrepreneurship MBA degree from Nova Southeastern University.
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