Top 10 Moments from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 1



Top 10 Moments from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 1

VOICE OVER: Lisa Yang WRITTEN BY: Hannah Collins
Let's go back to where it all began! For this list, we'll be choosing the best and most memorable moments from the show's earliest episodes - also known as “The Lost Season.” We won't be pulling anything from “Untucked” - or, “Under The Hood” as it was called then - as those deserve a list of their own. Be warned if you haven't watched this season of “Drag Race” yet as there will be spoilers ahead!Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Best Moments From Season 1 of Rupaul's Drag Race.

Top 10 Moments from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 1

Let’s go back to where it all began! Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Moments From Season 1 Of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

For this list, we’ll be choosing the best and most memorable moments from the show’s earliest episodes - also known as “The Lost Season.” We won’t be pulling anything from “Untucked” - or, “Under The Hood” as it was called then - as those deserve a list of their own. Be warned if you haven’t watched this season of “Drag Race” yet as there will be spoilers ahead!

#10: The Legendary Nina Flowers

A lot of legends have sashayed through the Werkroom doors over the years, but there’s never been one quite like Nina Flowers. Not only did this Latin queen have a unique, ‘80s-inspired, androgynous style but over 15 years worth of drag experience made her a polished performer, too. And to top it all, she never let all that talent go to her head. Her warm personality made her not only the first contestant voted onto the show by fans, but also the first Miss Congeniality. She was also the first main challenge winner and the first to make it to the finale without lip syncing. The only thing missing from this superstar is a crown.

#9: Tammie Brown’s Early Exit

It became pretty clear pretty quickly that Tammie Brown marched to the beat of her own drum. As Season 1’s resident “weirdo,” the vintage-loving queen confused and delighted viewers in equal measure. Her quirkiness rubbed fellow contestant, Jade, the wrong way in the second episode when they were teamed up for the Girl Group challenge, and Tammie didn’t seem to fit in with the others, either. She failed to impress the judges in the final performance and appeared to give up altogether when she had to lip sync for her life. Considering how popular and successful she’s become, it’s shocking she only lasted two episodes. She repeated this record later on “All Stars.”

#8: BeBe Zahara Benet Sends Ongina Home

Nobody wanted to see these two in the Bottom 2, but in the fifth episode of Season 1, BeBe Zahara Benet and Ongina were forced to square off. The episode was the first ever makeover challenge, with each queen tasked in turning muscular women into their drag daughters. There seemed to be a bit of confusion over what the end result should be, with Ongina and BeBe’s interpretations not going down well with the judges. Their performance in the lip sync, however, was so fierce that RuPaul needed a break to think on it. When she returned, she announced that BeBe had done the impossible: “outshined Ongina,” before telling the crushed Ongina:

#7: BeBe Zahara Benet Becomes the First Winner

A lot has changed since “Drag Race” premiered in 2009. Back then, the winner’s prize pot was a mere $20,000, there were just nine episodes in the season, and a criminal lack of Michelle Visage! Since then, the show has become an international smash-hit with a global drag army of fans, a bi-annual convention in the US, and been a springboard for the careers of dozens of fabulous queens. Of course, only a select few have the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to snatch the crown, and BeBe Zahara Benet was the very first. Not only that, but in “All Stars 3,” BeBe became the first “Drag Race” winner to re-enter the race.

#6: The Origin Of PorkChop

It’s become a “Drag Race” tradition for RuPaul to give a shout-out to “PorkChop” at every season’s grand finale, a custom that might leave a lot of newer fans very confused. For those lacking in their herstory, Victoria “PorkChop” Parker was the very first queen to be eliminated from the show. The challenge was “Drag on a Dime,” which saw Season 1’s contestants digging for gold in a 99 cent store to create runway outfits. Victoria fell into the bottom alongside Akashia, lip syncing to Ru’s signature song, “Supermodel.” The judges eliminated Victoria because they didn’t feel she had star potential, but that running gag every season has ensured she’s gone but never forgotten.

#5: Shannel’s Headdress ‘Mishap’

Shannel was a big presence in Season 1 - both in the size of her personality and the size of her ego. She also knew exactly how to play the game. In the third episode, Shannel landed in the bottom for the first time where she suffered a dramatic wardrobe malfunction during her lip sync against Akashia: To the judge’s delight, she powered through and was saved from elimination. Because she’d previously been criticised for not being “vulnerable” enough, some found the timing of this “accident” suspicious. Those suspicions were confirmed by Shannel in the reunion episode when she admitted it was a planned stunt. You gotta give her props for such a ballsy move!

#4: That Season 1 Filter

Wait… who’s that? Is it RuPaul? Why is she so… blurry? Perhaps in an effort to hide the low production budget, the first season of “Drag Race” was cloaked in a strange, glowing filter that airbrushed everyone on screen until they looked more like CGI models than real human beings. Maybe this is why it’s now known as the “Lost” season - a warning about the visual quality. This has retrospectively been dubbed the “Season 1 Filter.” It’s so infamous, in fact, that RuPaul herself has referenced it in the show a couple of times since then, proving that - if you can’t laugh at yourself, how in the hell are you gonna laugh at someone else?

#3: Shannel Nominates Herself to Go Home

Oh, Shannel... Though the Las Vegas showgirl was a fierce queen and an even fiercer competitor, a few stumbles here and there meant she never quite made it to the top. So when RuPaul asked the remaining contestants in the sixth episode who they think should go home, Shannel jumped at the chance to voice her frustrations. She shocked everyone by nominating herself to leave, stating that the judges never appreciated her beauty or personality, and that her critiques were way harsher than others. Ru assured her that her “contributions” were noticed, but, in the same episode, Shannel got her wish: She did get a second chance in the first “All Stars,” though.

#2: RuPaul & Tammie Brown’s Showdown

When we think about the biggest fights in “Drag Race,” we tend to think of the later seasons as being the best for drama. But, one of the show’s most heated exchanges happened all the way back in Season 1. As a whole, the first ever reunion episode was overflowing with hot T - Shannel vs Santino, Jade vs Rebecca Glasscock, and… everyone else vs Rebecca Glasscock. Tammie Brown, who normally stays out of confrontations, echoed the other queens’ complaints that the judges had been too down on them. She was met with an angry response from RuPaul, who passionately defended the critiques and told the girls they needed to rely on their own strengths.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

The First Ever Sewing Challenge

A Look Into “Drag Race”’s Future

Rebecca Glasscock Botches the Final Challenge

#1: Ongina’s Heartbreaking Confession

We lived for Ongina’s gender-bending style and sparkling personality in Season 1, and in episode 4 she gave us another reason to root for her. For the “Viva Mac Glam” challenge, the contestants had to write and shoot a commercial to promote the makeup brand’s campaign to spread awareness of and help those living with HIV. While some took the task a little too seriously, Ongina made her ad life-affirming and fun. When RuPaul announces her as the winner, she breaks down and confesses that she herself is HIV positive but was terrified to come out on TV. She tells the audience that, “you have to celebrate life,” and Ru calls her an “inspiration.”