The cast of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9.
The cast of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9.
Courtesy of VH1

RuPaul's Drag Race: The Queens Talk Beyoncé, Ariana, Britney and More

As the competition on RuPaul’s Drag Race gets fiercer, the show is becoming more popular than ever. Nearly a million people tuned into the show’s premiere on it’s new home at VH1, and the show’s creator, RuPaul, was just named as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in its annual list.

Taking a break from their hectic touring schedule, the season 9 Drag Race contestants share memories from their first time in drag ("I made $42.00 in tips!," Cynthia Lee Fontaine said) and talk about Ariana Grande-fatigue: “queens could stand to chill on ‘Into You.’”

Shea Couleé
What’s the first song you did drag to?
I did “Suga Mama” by Beyoncé for a sold out 200-seat theater and got a standing ovation. So I guess it went alright. I could've worn bigger lashes.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
“I’m Every Woman” by Whitney HoustonIt is such a classic song. It brings back memories driving with my mother to get her hair done, and both of us singing along.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
I would say “Into You” by Ariana Grande. But best believe that I will get my life every time it plays in the club.

Eureka O'Hara
What’s the first song you did drag to?
“Pedestal” by Fergie. When I went out to perform, I was so nervous that I carried my purse on stage and stood in one spot. The crowd could see I was nervous and scared so they cheered. In that moment of encouragement was when I knew I could do this, and I have yet to stop.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
My favorite song is “Momma Knows Best” by Jessie J. It’s my favorite because my mom always knows what to say and do to make every moment better. I model myself after my mother, so I try to represent this song to the fullest.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
The song I'm tired of hearing is “Turn Me Out” by Kathy Brown. It's a dance song that queens over-perform. I am from the South and we love a dancing queen, so I’ve literally have seen queens perform this song hundreds of times.

Sasha Velour
What’s the first song you did drag to?

The first song I performed to was "Why Don't You Do Right" by
Julie London -- as a striptease. My music taste has always been so current, right? It went pretty well, all things considered. Perhaps because I forced my friends to come and scream at the top of their lungs.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
My favorite song to perform right now is
Shirley Bassey's live recording of "My Way." I never really liked the Frank Sinatra version, but somehow Dame Shirley infuses it with this strength and honesty that I really connect with. She's an incredible singer. I love breathing and feeling right along with her.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
I love hearing the same songs over and over again -- as long as queens challenge themselves to come up with new ways of performing them.

Trinity Taylor
What’s the first song you did drag to?
My first song was “One Day In Your Life” by
Anastasia. It was terrible. I looked a mess and it was for a talent show. I obviously lost. But I will never forget how being on stage felt -- I was instantly hooked.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
My go-to song is “Go All Night” by
Gorgon City and Jennifer Hudson. The audience always seems to get into it. It's a fun, upbeat song and I can flip my hair to it.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
Anything Beyoncé. Don't get me wrong -- I love B. But every drag queen does her music. I learned a long time ago to not even try learning her music. It's always a Beyoncé concert at any drag show.

Jaymes Mansfield
What’s the first song you did drag to?
The first song I ever lip synced to was “Global Warming” by Vermillion Lies. It was at a Christmas show and me and a puppet were dressed like Eskimos.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
My favorite song to perform is the 1980's teen tragedy-parody “The Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun” by Julie Brown.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
Kathy Brown's epic drag mix of “Turn Me Out.” I don't hate this song, but it's such a standard that it loses it's effect when two girls perform the same mix. Let's keep it to one per night. Though it is highly enjoyable to watch when the CD skips.

Nina Bo’nina Brown
What’s the first song you did drag to?

Ciara’s “Work” and it wasn't that cute. But nobody does their best the first time.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
I don't have a favorite as of yet.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
I don't have a song I'm sick of seeing drag queens perform because I haven't been to enough shows.

Farrah Moan
What’s the first song you did drag to?
Oh my god, my first performance was “That Don’t Impress Me Much” by
Shania Twain and it was a hot mess and a half! It was a country-themed night for a drag contest so that's the song II did. I can't believe it's still on YouTube.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
Anything
Christina Aguilera -- I love her voice and emulating her mouth movements, and her amazing looks.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
I think everyone should just express themselves however they want and not care what anyone thinks. If you love a song, perform it.

Valentina
What’s the first song you did drag to?
My debut was at a club called Whorehaus in LA. I performed "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse and the audience lived!

What’s your favorite song to perform?
"Asi Fue" by Isabel Pantoja. This song means so much to me. It was specially written and composed by
Juan Gabriel for Isabel Pantoja. I perform this song everywhere I go. It's such a magical song and the audience and I feel it every single time.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
"Big, big, booty / cause she gotta big booty…." I don't even know what the song is called, to be honest. I’ve seen it performed so many times in a leotard, thigh high boots and fringe. I'm over it.

Alexis Michelle
What’s the first song you did drag to?
“Ironic” by
Alanis Morissette, at my middle school dance. I was barely in drag but it was epic.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
It's always changing, but “I Got Love” from Smash, sung by JHud, gets me right together!

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
I love me some Ariana, but queens could stand to chill on “Into You.”

Charlie Hides
What’s the first song you did drag to?
For my drag debut I sang
Khia's "My Neck My Back" at my grandmother's funeral. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Such a fitting send off for a spinster librarian.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
At the moment, my favorite song to perform is my new single "The Dame."

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
I'm sick of seeing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” It's been done to death.

Cynthia Lee Fontaine
What’s the first song you did drag to?
My first song was "Como Si No Nos Hubiéramos Amado" by Laura Pausini, an Italian singer, and it went phenomenal. I mean: I made $42.00 in tips!

What’s your favorite song to perform?
My favorite songs to perform of all time are Shirley Bassey’s “This Is My Life," and, in Spanish,
Thalia’s "Olvídame.”

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
"I Will Survive" by
Gloria Gaynor and "Man, I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain. People love these songs because they represent going out of your comfort zone and feeling free.

Kimora Blac
What’s the first song you did drag to?

My first song ever was
Chelley’s “Took The Night.” It was in San Francisco at a club called The Crib.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
I am a vixen, so usually my songs consist of sexual moves, seduction and fierce-ness. My favorite signature song I do is “Sex Shooter” by
Apollonia 6.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
If I had to choose a song that I am sick of, it definitely has to be
Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch.” I love Britney, but that song is just played out by queens that perform it. I only love it if you're a Spears impersonator. An iconic song like that needs to have the choreography and the look.

Aja
What’s the first song you did drag to?

The first song I remember doing drag to was "Judas" by
Lady Gaga. It was a huge mess. But I somehow knew the choreography.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
My favorite song to perform is definitely "Look at Me Now" by
Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne. This song just teaches you the importance of knowing your words. I know every breath in this rap track.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
There's not just one song: it's more-so that I'm tired of seeing queens do songs they don’t want to do! Sometimes I think it's easy to do what's super popular, but the crowd will always live for the queen who's at the beat of a different drum.

Peppermint
What’s the first song you did drag to?
One of the first songs I performed in drag was “Zion” by
Lauryn Hill. I dressed myself up like a pregnant Supergirl and was singing to the clothing stuffed in my shirt. I was performing a ballad in a huge dance club. All things considered, it went surprisingly well.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
“If” by
Janet Jackson. The music is so energetic and it really brings me back to Summer 1993. The dance is iconic and I feel like Janet Jackson every time get on that stage.

What’s a song you’re sick of seeing queens perform?
I love Queen Bey. I do not want the Beyhive to come after me, but I would like to see drag queens at least do old school
Destiny's Child. Enough with the Beyonce over and over and over again.

RuPaul's Drag Race airs 8 p.m. Fridays on VH1. 

Gay Pride Month 2017