DeLa’s elimination is not the first time that Drag Race has flipped the script on its fans. Throughout the varied herstory of the show, queens have been disqualified, queens have returned, rules have been re-written and audiences have been left speechless. In honor of our genuine state of shock from this week’s episode of All Stars 3, Billboard Pride has compiled a list of the 10 most shocking moments in RuPaul’s Drag Race herstory.
10. Eureka O’Hara is sent home — Season 9
Starting things off is this sad moment from season 9. Eureka had been killing the challenges and giving the fans everything they looked for in a contestant. Even when she was restricted to crutches, Eureka performed her ass off, which is more than we can say for some of the queens who weren't dealing with a torn ACL (*cough* Charlie Hides *cough*). The moment Ru told Eureka to sashay away due to doctor's orders, fans everywhere were heartbroken and face-cracked. [Eureka, of course, returns for season 10.]
9. The eliminated queens return — All Stars 2
Fans were given hints throughout All Stars 2 that the eliminated queens would get the chance to come back. But the way it went down was still a shocker. Phi Phi O’Hara started talking trash about the freshly eliminated Alyssa Edwards just before the lights came up to reveal Alyssa, and every other eliminated queen, was listening right behind the mirror. Confrontation, drama and general buffoonery ensued, giving this Drag Race moment a spot on our list.
8. The top four queens must lip sync for the crown — Season 9
While the queens have grown accustomed to rules changing throughout the seasons, we didn't expect the season 9 top four to have a lip sync battle royale to determine the winner. In a season where fans felt that Shea Couleé was being set up to win, RuPaul threw us a curveball that ended with Sasha Velour snatching the crown. And all it took was a few hundred rose petals.
7. Adore quits the competition — All Stars 2
While Eureka was forced to leave the show early, Adore decided it was her time to go all on her own. We’d seen queens give up during lip syncs or even nominate themselves to go home, but when Adore decided mid-episode that she was done with the competition and literally walked out, no one — especially not the girls on screen — knew what to do. Especially for a queen who is generally considered to be the number one fan favorite, this moment was a twist even the producers (maybe?) didn’t see coming.
6. Shangela returns to the competition — Season 3
Today, seasoned Drag Race fans are wary of when queens from previous seasons may return. That is entirely because the gag of season 3 was when Shangela Laquifa Wadley, the first girl to go home in season 2, was delivered via box back into the competition. Perhaps the most shocking part of this is that Shangela fared much better on season 3, making it all the way to 6th place before losing to the season’s lip-sync assassin, Alexis Mateo.
52. Honey Mahogany vs. Vivienne Pinay - Oops!... I Did It Again pic.twitter.com/LiMGYERuBN
— ------------ --?-- (@lgbtvelour) March 23, 2017
5. The double elimination of Honey Mahogany and Vivienne Pinay — Season 5
Again, fans today are prepared for double eliminations, and in some cases they even call for them (yes, we are talking about Pearl vs. Miss Fame). But back in season 5, after Honey Mahogany and Vivienne Pinay performed what can only be described as a sleepy rendition of Britney Spears’ “Oops! I Did It Again,” fans everywhere watched in awe as Ru went for the jugular and sent both of these queens packing. Ever since then, queens have been stepping their lip sync game up to avoid the wrath of Mama Ru.
4. The introduction of the Lip Sync for Your Legacy rules — All Stars 2
After the … interesting choice to have queens perform in pairs on All Stars season 1, fans were wondering what rule change RuPaul was going to enact for the show’s second season. But they were not ready for the shocking revelation that the queens would be eliminating one another. Dynamics changed, personalities shifted, the entire show’s vibe was different from seasons past, all because of a few boxes of lipstick.
109a. Nina Bo'nina Brown vs. Valentina - Greedy (Take 1) pic.twitter.com/UpY57hQ06s
— ------------ --?-- (@lgbtvelour) May 21, 2017
3. RuPaul asks Valentina to take her mask off — Season 9
Valentina’s elimination in season 9 was surprising, but after the performance she gave in that “Greedy” lip-sync, it would have been a shocker if she had been allowed to stay. What was truly stupefying was when RuPaul herself had to halt the lip sync to demand that Valentina remove her mask, and the queen responded with the words no fan will ever forget — “I’d like to keep it on please.” We’re surprised Valentina survived all of the daggers being shot at her from Ru’s eyes.
2. Willam gets disqualified for “cheating” — Season 4
In this tumultuous episode of season 4, fans were finally getting to see the lip sync they’d waited for — Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O’Hara, battling it out. Two enter, one leaves … at least, that’s what they thought. But from out of absolutely nowhere, RuPaul called Willam forward at the lip sync’s end and disqualified her on the spot for breaking the rules of the competition (sleeping with her husband throughout the show’s taping). This is the definition of a twist that fans could actually, physically not see coming. Speculation swirled for weeks after about why Willam was eliminated, what she did wrong, if she should’ve gone home, etc. This is almost as good as it gets when it comes to twists.
1. BenDeLaCreme Eliminates Herself — All Stars 3
Did you think that we were done talking about this? We. Are. Not. We were teased all season and told almost explicitly that the eliminated queens were going to return in some fashion. The subsequent reveal that one of the eliminated girls would be chosen by the challenge’s winner to replace one of the top five All Stars was gag-worthy enough. But BenDeLaCreme eliminating herself, the queen who won five out of six challenges and was basically a shoo-in for the crown, was the most shocking thing that has ever happened in Drag Race herstory. Hands down, no question. They told us that we wouldn’t see this season’s twist coming, and honey, they were right.