the eight best 'rupaul’s drag race' contestants who didn’t win

Ahead of tonight’s 'Drag Race' finale, we take a look at our favorites from seasons past that we had to see sashay away!

by Jack Sunnucks and i-D Staff
16 May 2016, 6:39pm

Still from Alaska Thunderfuck's 'This Is My Hair'

What does it take to win drag race? Charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent (obviously) -- but what those things actually mean is unclear. While she may consult with the judges about them, the final decision is RuPaul's to make. With season eight's finale looming tonight like a diamante iceberg towards a gay cruise, here's a look at some of the Queens who -- while may have not have not taken the top spot -- have definitely won our hearts and minds forever.

Alaska Thunderfuck

Frankly, America's northernmost state was robbed when season five's title went to Jinkx Monsoon. Not that Jinkx isn't great, but Alaska is just so brilliant, even if it's hard to put a finger on why. She couldn't really sew, or dance, or act. She was -- however -- mistress of the carefully arched eyebrow, the sneering putdown, and saying "Hiiiiii" for a really long time. Revenge is a dish best served cold as her home, and Alaska seems to be the stealth winner of all seasons ever. She's the most likely to have her t-shirt worn by contestants, and has the biggest Instagram following. See also: Nebraska.

Adore Delano

Another one who wasn't really good at anything per se -- and she really needed to get a waist cincher -- but Adore Delano was just so funny (see her legendary Anna Nicole impression for Snatch Game). Her slurred, Cali girl delivery was always so on point, even when her outfits were a hot mess and a half.


Never has any contestant thought so much of themselves. Willam had the worst attitude in the history of Drag Race from the moment she stormed in through those pink doors, and all because she'd been on a few episodes of Nip/Tuck. Just as good as her time on the show was her exit, where she inexplicably vomited and then was asked to leave (apparently it was due to conjugal visits, which are prohibited). Since then she's released a slew of hit singles (they're hits to us) including This Boy is a Bottom and Chow Down (At Chick Fil A), and broadcast her frankly evil Beatdown webisodes on YouTube.


Has there ever been a moment more shocking than when Shangela jumped out of that box, nearly giving everyone a heart attack, in season three? Shangela Laquifa Wadley, to give her her full title, was the greenest queen on season two, booted out all too quickly. Thus RuPaul, in her endless wisdom, brought her tight body and extravagant wigs back for season three. Notable catchphrase: "Halleloo."

Latrice Royale

Large and in-charge, chunky and funky, bold and beautiful, baby! The shining light of season four, Latrice was the first plus-sized queen to really have a chance at snatching the title with her magnetic personality and triumphant spirit. The audience fell in love with her "curves and swerves" but alas it wasn't meant to be, as she was just pipped to the top 3 by Sharon Needles, Phi Phi O'Hara, and Chad Michaels. She'll forever be in our hearts. Remember to get those nuts away from her face!

Alyssa Edwards

Never has one queen made as much of a microcosm of sensation than Alyssa Edwards. From the 'facecrack of the century' the minute Coco Montrese walked in, to her back rolls debacle with Jade Jolie, Alyssa had the face, the catchphrases, and the wit and with it -- unintentionally one of the funniest RPDR queens of all time. While she didn't take home the crown, her lip-sync versus Roxxxy Andrews to Willow Smith's Whip My Hair means she'll "always and forever" be one of Drag Race's most iconic queens.


EVERYONE loved Jujubee. And for good reason -- she had everything a drag superstar needed: a beat mug courtesy of her incredible makeup skills, flawless garments, and capital C for charisma. She was wickedly funny and her rock-solid friendship with her fellow contestant Raven made for the best moments of season two. She also coined the term "Memoirs of a Gay-SHA" that in itself was the making of a legacy that lasts a lifetime!


Raven had the unshakeable confidence required to be America's next drag superstar. She was also hell-bent on winning, kinda scarily so, actually. She and Jujubee were like a monster truck tearing down any queen that dare come in their wake in season two (though it wasn't enough to take down Tyra Sanchez, the other Tyra). The real gems from Raven came courtesy of the Untucked episodes where she cut into Tatianna, and well, everyone that season. But despite her icy exterior, Raven remains Drag Race royalty to this day.


Text Jack Sunnucks and Lynette Nylander

Drag Race
RuPaul's Drag Race
Ru Paul's Drag Race