For the queens who attend RuPaul’s DragCon, this weekend is essentially the Olympic Ceremony of drag — seeing as the Olympics are clearly RuPaul’s Drag Race. Queens choose or create some of their best outfits, put on their best faces of makeup, and in this case, give some of their best performances to date.
That fact was evident on Saturday night (Sept. 28). After spending hours at New York’s Javits Center meeting with their most ardent fans, speaking on panels and posing for countless pictures, the queens of season 10 appeared at the nearby Playstation Theater to put on their “Battle on the Runway” show. Each queen showed their skills at lip syncing, dancing, and getting a crowd hyped up.
When you call an event a “battle,” though, it’s only fair that a few winners are chosen. Here are 5 of our favorite performances from the post-RuPaul’s DragCon “Battle of the Runway” show.
Kameron Michaels’ spot-on Cher impersonation
During season 10, the queens got the opportunity to do their own imitations of Cher during a musical challenge, and Kameron Michaels emerged the victor. If anyone in the world disagreed with that ruling, then Kameron’s post-DragCon performance proved them wrong. Taking the stage to the tune of “Welcome to Burlesque,” Michaels looked and acted the part of Cher almost perfectly. Complete with an outfit reveal and a traversal of the pop goddesses catalogue (from “Believe” all the way to her cover of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”), the drag star slayed the stage and left it challenging her fellow queens to “follow this, bitches.”
Monét X Change’s supreme lip syncing skills
Even though she was eventually eliminated by all-but-crowned lip sync assassin Kameron Michaels, Bronx-based superstar Monét X Change proved herself to be one of the most talented lip sync artists ever to grace the stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race in season 10. That trend continued during “Battle on the Runway,” where Monét performed a high-energy (and occasionally hilarious) rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Let There Be Love.” From another fake jump split to some seriously-skilled dance moves, Monét showed off all of her chops to the crowd, leaving them screaming for more.
Mayhem Miller’s moving rendition of a Whitney Houston classic
There were two queens who performed excellent renditions of Whitney Houston songs on Saturday night. Asia O’Hara had a near perfect look and an extremely-precise performance of the superstar’s gorgeous “All the Man That I Need.”, Mayhem Miller not only brought the power of Houston’s fan-favorite ballad “I Have Nothing,” but she performed every inch of that song with the rawest, purest emotion possible. Ranging from sweet and tender to scorned and near-hysterical, Mayhem practically destroyed the stage with the sheer drag athleticism of her performance. A job very well done by both queens, with extra kudos to Mayhem’s powerhouse performance.
The Final Four’s epic wrestling-style showdown
To close the show, host Michelle Visage invited the four finalists of season 10, Aquaria, Eureka O’Hara, Kameron Michaels and Asia O’Hara to give a literal show-stopping performance. In a nearly-15 minute mashup of everything from Rachel Platten’s empowering “Fight Song” to Destiny’s Child’s banger “Lose My Breath,” each of the queens showed off their natural skills wearing almost-identical ’80s-style wrestling outfits. It was the perfect way to end the show, and easily one of the most entertaining moments of the night.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo’s perfect Beyoncé fantasy
Long live Miss Vanjie. The first queen to go home on season 10 proved that she has much more to give than a simple catchphrase at Saturday night’s show, with what was easily the best performance of the evening. Dancing, lip syncing and slaying her way through some of Beyoncé’s biggest hits, including “Formation,” “Crazy in Love” and a particularly inspired version of “Diva” (“I’m a — a Vanjie” the track played), Miss Vanjie earned 10’s across the board. She interacted with her audience, nailed every word, performed some of the most sickening dance moves of the evening and even went full rockstar and ran through the crowd to perform for those in the back. She may have been the first out on season 10, but she was the undisputed first-place finisher at “Battle of the Runway.”