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Ranking the House Down:
 The Queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race, from Worst to Best (Part Six: The Top 10!)

Television
by Gregory Rosebrugh
February 24, 2014 11:56 AM
18 Comments
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2. Raven (Season 2, 2nd runner-up; All Stars, 2nd runner-up)

Raven outshines almost all the queens on this list in singularity, gaudiness, sexual excess, crudeness, and bitchiness. This queen has had an altercation of some sort with almost every queen she has crossed paths with, and somehow kept us rooting for her (?!). Watching Raven in season two and All Stars feels like we’re watching Mean Girls, only if we were rooting for Regina George. Wait, maybe we were rooting for Regina George... I digress. The point I am making here is that Raven took us to our darkest sides. She brought out our viciousness and our schoolyard cattiness. If this list was ranked in accordance to queer values and utopianism, Raven might be ranked in the middle, and Jinkx and Ivy Winters would be numbers one and two. But the ugly truth is we watch Drag Race, and reality TV shows in general, to satisfy our vice for gossip—and Raven never held back in those respects.
I mentioned earlier that I thought season three might be the most complex narrative trajectory of all seasons. I may stick to that assessment, but I am now reminded of how complex season two became after its sweetest queens (Sahara, Jessica, Pandora) were eliminated. That was a mean top four, folks. I mean, depending on your angle in season two you could have especially hated any of Tyra, Tatianna, or Raven—there was no clear antagonist! Even Jujubee, the most darling of the top four in that season, was not lacking in nerve (see: “Here Comes the Bride”). Somehow, and somewhat to my perplexity, as the show has aged we have continued to prefer Raven over Tyra and Tatianna. How has Raven pulled this off? How have we labeled Phi Phi O’Hara as the arch villain of drag, and to a lesser extent marked Roxxxy Andrews and certain Heathers as the respective villains of their seasons, but not included Raven in their category? Is it as simple as that we thought Raven was right all the time, or is it that when Raven was mean we didn’t care because no one was particularly innocent? Regardless, we love Raven, even as we’re afraid of her. 

Raven often preached that this is Drag Race and not “Rupaul’s School for Girls”, and there was a feeling that Raven was always criticizing fellow contestants from a higher level of experience. That’s remarkable given that Raven is still a fairly young queen, but then again she always backed up her T and shade with pristine runway presentations. She knew how to work her padding to some of the most absurdly biomorphic effects. She appeared to literally beat her face with makeup—I mean it always looked swollen (and you know by this point in the top ten how much I love queens who have undergone cosmetic facial reconstruction). In fact, the versatility with which she has painted her face may only be matched by the #1 queen on this list. Most impressive of all, she never repeated a mug in any of her ensembles (take notes, Jinkx and Alaska), but still kept her timeless Raven signature: smokey eyes + puffed out lips = dive bar blowjob queen. 

Best line: her dishes on Tatianna were the most barbed: “Everyone thinks you’re pretty? I do think you’re pretty. I think you have a wonderful face... for radio.”

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18 Comments

  • Jay | June 18, 2014 3:46 PMReply

    I LOVE Detox - Thedragstore dot com sells her autographed posters!!!

  • Aaron | May 30, 2014 9:40 PMReply

    Lmao raven got 2nd place AGAIN

  • TY | May 31, 2014 1:32 AM

    LMAO! I didn't even notice.

    (I also gave her the runner-up spot)

  • Ty | May 27, 2014 10:17 PMReply

    My List:

    #1 Sharon Needles (All stars 2...please!!!)
    #2 Raven (Should have won All-Stars and Season 2)
    #3 Manilla Luzon
    #4 Alyssa Edwards
    #5 Raja
    #6 Jinxx Monsoon
    #7 Alaska
    #8 Latrice Royale
    #9 Nina Flowers
    # 10 Willam

    Adding season 6:
    - Bianca Del Rio places #2 (it's hard to choose between her and Sharon!)
    - Willam knocked out of top ten :(

    Other:
    - So...why is Detox in the top 10?
    - Roxxxy? Top 20? lmao
    - I like Jujubee and Chad, but I'd place them in the 11-20 range.

  • SB | May 24, 2014 5:45 AMReply

    Your clearly an idiot for placing roxxy andrews in the top 20.

  • Stephen | May 21, 2014 1:06 AMReply

    So, tell me... Where does Bianca Del Rio fall on your list?? How closely does she come to shaking Sharon Needles off that throne??

    (I'm curious where on this list you'd insert all of season six's queens?? Please, oh please, an addendum?!?)

  • Glenn | April 7, 2014 3:35 PMReply

    I love Raven so much she is my fav of the six season!!!

  • Johnny | March 5, 2014 12:17 PMReply

    I dig the list but you're missing Nina Flowers, Tammie Brown and Raja! Three of the greatest!

  • Abby | March 4, 2014 9:33 PMReply

    GREAT list - as a Drag Race obsessive, I can't believe how much I agree with your assessment. Yes Dida served the BEST LIP SYNC IN DRAG RACE HERSTORY. Yes Phi Phi ruined the duet with Sharon. Yes Sharon is the best queen to have graced the show. I could go on. (End note: Can we now say that Magnolia Crawford is the worst queen in six seasons?)

  • Megs | March 3, 2014 8:20 AMReply

    I get you re: Detox. I thought the judges just read attitude from her and while sometimes that was true, I think she was engaging with what they were saying - she just didn't always agree, but she had the insight to see where they were coming from. It wasn't just attitude for attitude's sake, like our newbie LaGanja.

  • gato | February 26, 2014 9:02 PMReply

    OOPS meant **could READ your writing all day

  • gato | February 26, 2014 9:01 PMReply

    I could your writing about Drag Race ALL DAY. Don't agree with everything, but LOVED these articles. GREAT WORK

  • Raven | February 25, 2014 6:38 PMReply

    RUNNER UP AGAIN?! HA HA HA! Just kidding! Thank you love, I was following this article the entire time. Not only did you rank, you also have good reason as to why you ranked and where. I truly do appreciate your kind words! XOXO

  • Mikhael | February 25, 2014 8:02 AMReply

    Great list (although I missed Pandora Boxx in the top 10). As a correction, Latrice's infamous line is "Get those nuts away from my face" complete with Abby Lee head-shaking sass.

  • Dominique | February 24, 2014 11:28 PMReply

    No Raja?! No Alyssa Edwards?? No Carmen Carrera?? No Shannel from Season One??!!! This is a sham, everyone walk away slowly...........#smokingonthatgood #theymustbe #fromourbitchpleasedesk

  • Tom | February 24, 2014 8:57 PMReply

    Awesome top 10! So excited for the new series, just not sure how I'm going to watch it out here in Australia...

  • Julio | February 24, 2014 8:43 PMReply

    So a top ten list without Nina Flowers??.....

  • Paul | February 24, 2014 6:18 PMReply

    Having just watched sesion 5 afain I have to say I am so glad that Jinx was the winner.
    Roxie and Detox are 2 bitter qyeens that were nothing but ignorant all through the show. Detox os uglu, Roxie may be pretty once in awhile.l but her persoanlity ruins it..

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