What started as an underdog competition show with a weird filter in 2009 on Logo has now become one of the most beloved series all over the world. RuPaul’s Drag Race alone has celebrated fourteen entertaining seasons, with a fifteenth recently confirmed, and launched over twenty different international versions and spin-offs.
Currently, Canada’s Drag Race, Drag Race Philippines, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, and RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race are airing. There’s more to anticipate including new international series for Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and Sweden. The global phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down, allowing more and more LGBTQ+ audiences to see themselves represented in all their glory. Spanning across every version thus far, these are considered to be the best based on IMDb ratings.
10 Season 9 – 8.1
Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race is by far one of the most memorable and iconic series. That’s not just for the relentlessly quoted tirade by Aja at Valentina’s expense during Untucked or the beautiful moment during the finale when Sasha Velour crushed Shea Couleé’s dreams with an assortment of rose petals.
The season started like no other, with a guest appearance by Lady Gaga, setting a precedent for a major celebrity guest judge. This season sports some of the most unforgettable queens like Valentina, Eureka, and runner-up Peppermint and is the season with the best representation in the winner’s circle after both Trinity the Tuck and Shea Couleé went on to win their All-Stars seasons.
9 UK, Season 1 – 8.1
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is not the first international venture for the franchise, but it helped launch what would become a queer global domination. The first season remains an entertaining masterpiece and a perfect introduction to many in America as to the differences between American and British drag and humor.
The season ended with the crowing of The Vivienne, who had previously appeared in an episode of season 8 as the first UK ambassador for drag. Many of the queens returned for the inaugural season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs. The World, with Blu Hydrangea taking home the illustrious crown and scepter. Season 1 is also best remembered for the amazing “red wig and a silver dress, I don’t think…” moment between The Vivienne and runner-up Davina de Campo.
8 Season 5 – 8.1
In retrospect, season 5 was an utter miracle. The show was able to maintain the exciting momentum that the previous seasons established, but the ridiculously stacked cast skyrocketed it in popularity. Frankly, with the likes of Jinkx Monsoon, Alaska, Roxxxy Andrews, Detox, Coco Montrese, and the legend that is Alyssa Edwards, season 5 has one of the best casts in the entire franchise.
This season saw the first double sashay elimination, only to be repeated four other times in different seasons and versions. It was instrumental in growing the reception and viewing of the franchise, especially for Untucked.
7 France, Season 1 – 8.2
Drag Race France only just concluded its first season and yet it has already beaten out over thirty other seasons. Like Canada’s Drag Race, this series saw the return of a past contestant as the main host, season 12’s Nicky Doll. A second season was quickly announced and will probably arrive next summer.
The season ran for eight episodes, covering all the classic challenges from the talent show to Snatch Game to the make-over. In the end, Paloma prevailed, but overall the season was so well-received for the enticingly creative runaways and thrilling lip sync performances. Interestingly though, due to copyrights, some international audiences haven’t actually been able to hear the music they performed to, but many were so sensationally entertaining that that didn’t matter.
6 UK, Season 2 – 8.2
Second seasons can often have a lot of pressure holding them back. They’re going to want to repeat the formula of what worked but in a distinct way. Some faltered, while others excelled. In the case of season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, it was definitely the former. This is a special season, as it had started filming during the early days of the pandemic and had to take a half-year break, so there are two distinct parts to the season.
It ended with Lawrence Chaney beating out front-runner Bimini Bon-Boulash and true lip sync assassin, Tayce, for the crown. Between the three of them and Tia Kofi, season 2 has many of the funniest queens in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. The season is by far best remembered for the amazing girl group challenge and the song “UK Hun”, along with the tragic moment Joe Black brought up H&M on the main stage much to the anger of RuPaul.
5 Season 6 – 8.3
To many, the definitively best season of the original series would be season 6, and according to IMDb ratings, that’s certainly the case. The season started with the first-ever split premiere, although unlike in recent seasons, the eliminated queens were actually eliminated. It had another stacked cast with a beloved top three of Bianca del Rio, Adore Delano, and Courtney Act, all of whom have gone on to incredible things over the years.
Other popular season 6 queens include BenDeLaCreme, Trinity K. Bonet, and Laganja Estranja. The performances throughout the season from the Snatch Game to the Rusical sets it apart, and subsequent seasons were found a bit lacking in comparison.
4 España, Season 2 – 8.5
Like Drag Race France, Drag Race España quickly dominated the fanbase with its first season. The second season was able to replicate that magic, and hopefully, the upcoming third season will be able to do the same. This season proves that audiences should not be sleeping on Drag Race España nor should a potential language barrier limit viewers from engaging with the beautiful artistry available to them.
This season has one of the best talent shows overall and the winner, Sharonne, clinched a record-breaking perfect game – never once placing lower than safe. The looks and fashion are remarkable, leaning more into the freakier and avant-garde side of things.
3 All Stars, Season 7 – 8.5
For years, fans were clamoring for an all-winner season to see the best of the best compete, and finally got it with the announcement of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars season 7. Eight of the most beloved and decorated queens returned to discover who would be the “Queen of All Queens”. What made it so fun to watch from week to week was the choice of no eliminations, allowing all the queens to showcase everything they have without the fear of going home holding them back.
It was season 5 powerhouse Jinkx Monsoon who ended up winning, beating Monet X Change in the final lip sync, and having conquered five of the main challenges, she dominated the competition.
2 España, Season 1 – 8.6
The success of Drag Race España has many fans remarking that it is clearly the best international version, and the numbers back it up on IMDb, with the first season being the second highest-rated season. Supremme de Luxe shines as a fantastic main host, not copying RuPaul but emulating her poise and humor. Like Sharonne, the winner, Carmen Farala utterly conquered, never landing in the bottom once.
Season 1 currently stands as the highest-rated non-All-Stars season, international season, and inaugural season – a truly impressive feat. There are high hopes that some of the cast like runner-up Sagittaria and/or Miss Congeniality Pupi Poisson will return to compete in an All-Stars season, perhaps even in the upcoming Canada’s Drag Race: Canada vs. the World.
1 All Stars, Season 2 – 8.8
It seems right that the seminal second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars would take the crown. While the first season was entertaining and featured legendary queens, it was addled by a poor structure and strange challenges. However, season 2 refined and established the All-Stars format all while uniting the single best cast yet to be seen.
Fan favorites include Katya, Alyssa Edwards, Tatianna, Detox, and of course, the winner, Alaska. Theirs is not one weak moment in the season between the actual challenge performances and all the drama off-stage since the queens had to decide who to eliminate themselves. While subsequent seasons have been deeply entertaining and have reworked elements to shine, RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars season 2 outshines them all.
NEXT: 15 Best Lip Sync Performances On Drag Race & All Stars