It’s a new year, and you know what that means: a new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race! The 12th season of the Emmy-winning series premieres on Feb. 28, and is set to feature 13 accomplished queens from all around the country competing to become America’s Next Drag Superstar. In the last few years, big-name celebrities have made their way to the judges’ table for the premiere episode, from Lady Gaga to Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus.
This year, Nicki Minaj is making her Drag Race debut in season 12’s supersized premiere. Whenever popular mainstream artists stop by the Drag Race main stage, the bottom two queens of the episode usually end up lip syncing for their lives to one of the artists’ songs right in front of them, making it the ultimate test of a true performer.
“Anaconda” and “Pound the Alarm” have made for some of the most memorable lip sync battles in the show’s herstory, which means Nicki’s long-awaited arrival on Drag Race will hopefully bring yet another entertaining performance to one of her songs. Here are a few tracks that we think would make for a great performance in front of the Queen.
The reason why BenDeLaCreme’s interpretation of “Anaconda” and Monét X Change’s “Pound the Alarm” were so successful was because the queens were able to inject humor into high-energy hip-hop numbers. “Stupid Hoe” is the perfect example of a Minaj song that can be easily dragged up into a side-splitting performance. Just picture one of the queens dipping in slow motion as Nicki says “I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish a b—h woooouuuuuulllllddddd!”
“Itty Bitty Piggy”
This early Nicki cut came a year before her chart-topping debut album, and proved that she can deliver a pure hip-hop track with her casual Queens attitude. Drag Race rarely tackles songs that consist strictly of rap verses, so challenging the bottom two queens in season 12’s premiere episode to deliver a performance in front of Minaj that would make her proud would be an exciting choice.
“Va Va Voom”
Nicki has perhaps the most extensive pop music catalog of any female rapper, with songs like “Starships” and “Super Bass” bringing her to the attention of new audiences at the beginning of the last decade. She recently expressed her dislike of some of songs including “Starships,” and given that the show has already seen a lip sync to “Pound the Alarm”—another hip-pop/EDM hybrid—a pure pop outing like “Va Va Voom” would make an easy number for a drag queen to put a fun spin on.
Given the recent rebirth of this song by way of meme, “Roman Holiday” would make an entertaining (if perfectly odd) choice for a Drag Race lip sync. The song is inherently theatrical, with Nicki’s infamous Grammy performance of the song being so memorable because the equally spooky and hilarious vibe. It’d be impossible for a Drag Race queen to not deliver a performance that’s just as memeable.
Nicki’s breakout 2010 single proved that a woman who raps could successfully bring her lyricism to pop music and create a whole new lane for artists like her. A lip sync performance of “Super Bass” would combine the pop sensibilities of many of the songs that drag queens are used to performing to with the added challenge of learning her quick-fire verses between each chorus.