The cornerstone upon which RuPaul’s Drag Race is built has always been the Lip Sync For Your Life — fans look forward to seeing the queens duke it out in a high-stakes battle-to-the-end in nearly every single episode.
So, what could be more fun than getting to see eight of those lip syncs in a single episode?
On Friday’s episode of Drag Race (aired Feb. 17), the 10 remaining queens entered the proverbial Thunderdome for the series’ third-ever “Lalaparuza” — for the uninitiated, a tournament-style lip-sync battle royale that forces every queen to show off their performance skills.
While All Stars 4’s Lalaparuza offered eliminated queens a chance to return, and season 14’s gave the girls a chance at redemption for one of the worst Snatch Games in the show’s history, season 15’s challenge merely aimed to see which of the girls could take a song and make it completely their own.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Drag Race if there weren’t a few twists and turns involved. From giving one queen the power to pick their opponent and the other the power to choose their song, to the final two being decided in one of the funniest (and shadiest) confessionals of the season, the Lalaparuza managed to entertain and shock viewers — especially after prove lip sync superstar Jax ended up going home.
But of the eight lip syncs fans were treated to on Friday night, which ones stood out as the best of the best? Below, Billboard takes a critical look at all eight performances from season 15 episode 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and ranks them from worst to best.
Malaysia Babydoll Foxx vs. Spice: Camila Cabello, “Don’t Go Yet”
A wise drag queen named Shea Couleé once famously said: “She. Doesn’t. Know. The. Words.” Of course, when Shea said it, she was referencing only one queen — Valentina — out of the two performing on the stage. For Malaysia and Spice’s low-energy rendition of Camila Cabello’s “Don’t Go Yet,” it very much applied to both sides — these two tried their best to hide their lack of lyrics, but it became very clear early on that neither had any idea what it was they were supposed to be mouthing. Add onto that a pretty lackluster performance on both sides, and you have a recipe for a not-great lip-sync.
Loosey LaDuca vs. Spice: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)”
In the immortal words of RuPaul; “Meh.” While Loosey LaDuca declared in a confessional that she “murdered” this lip sync performance, we simply couldn’t help but feel like the only thing being killed here was time. Given such an intense, rocked-out track like Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” we were expecting levels of energy from both performers that went through the roof. Instead, we got Spice rolling around on the floor and missing her words, while Loosey did marginally better by at least remembering her lyrics and serving some semblance of camp. In short, this performance was the epitome of “go girl, give us nothing.”
Anetra vs. Luxx Noir London vs. Jax: Vanessa Williams, “The Right Stuff”
The problem with having three girls lip-syncing at once is that it becomes difficult to keep track of who’s doing what. That certainly was the case for this Anetra-Luxx-Jax joint, especially because all three girls pulled out their best stunts to try and send the other two packing. Between the splits and dips and flips and kicks, it all became very chaotic and difficult to differentiate. All three girls managed to give a slept-on song a worthy performance — the problem was, those performances got lost amongst one another.
Luxx Noir London vs. Salina EsTitties: Celine Dion, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”
Salina EsTitties did what Loosey LaDuca thought she was doing in her Joan Jett lip sync. Given the chance to perform one of the campiest pop songs in recent memory, Salina hit every comedic and emotional beat she needed to in order to win over the judges. Every word, every sound effect, every moment was wielded with surgical precision by Salina. While Luxx’s ballet-inspired performance was certainly commendable, it didn’t stand a chance against the camp stylings of her competitor.
Anetra vs. Jax: CeCe Peniston, "Finally"
In the final lip sync of the evening, Anetra and Jax were doing everything in their power to try and stay in the competition — comedy, dance, emotion, you name it. Both girls were giving their all; the problem was, when you’ve had to lip sync three times in a row, there’s not a lot of gas left in that tank. Still, both of these lip sync stars managed to deliver the goods, with Anetra’s decidedly funnier performance eventually earning her the win.
Malaysia Babydoll Foxx vs. Marcia Marcia Marcia: Anitta, “Boys Don’t Cry”
Being the underdog has its advantages, as Marcia Marcia Marcia proved in this fiery performance. Being the first queen chosen to lip sync against Malaysia, Marica was expected to deliver a safe, if not all that exciting, performance. Instead, Marcia ate this Anitta lip sync up, perfectly capturing the bossed-up energy the Brazilian star brings to the song while also backflipping and front-rolling her way to victory. Malaysia did a decent job kicking things (literally) into a higher gear as the song went on, but she was simply no match for Marcia in this excellent start to the Lalaparuza.
Mistress Isabelle Brooks vs. Jax: Taylor Dayne, “Tell It To My Heart”
Talk about a close call. Mistress and Jax both did an excellent job bringing Taylor Dayne’s classic track to life, but ultimately, we agree with the judges that Mistress had just the slightest edge. Jax, unfortunately, had already pulled out the majority of her lip sync tricks throughout the competition thus far, meaning that when she started flipping and splitting through this song, it was something we’d already seen. Mistress, meanwhile, didn’t need to rely on stunts (well, save for a quick costume reveal) — instead, she exuded pure star power throughout this fantastic performance, earning her spot in the competition, and proving definitively that she is a major threat to the other girls.
Anetra vs. Sasha Colby: Fifth Harmony, "I'm In Love With A Monster"
For anyone questioning why we continue to have the Lalaparuza as a returning format; it is so we can get moments like this. Long-foreshadowed and desperately-asked-for by fans, the Anetra vs. Sasha Colby moment did not disappoint. Everything — from the song choice, to the occasionally-synchronized moves, to the hair flips to the booty bounces — was simply perfect. Anetra “walked that f–king duck,” Sasha served some of the best hairography in Drag Race herstory, and they both ate this lip sync up. We half expected the judges to simply end the Lalaparuza and let these two keep lip-syncing against one another for pure entertainment value; and we wouldn’t have complained if they did.