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The Ball Challenge is a recurring challenge every season on RuPaul's Drag Race. It is traditionally the second-to-last challenge the queens compete in before the final challenge.

Typically, the ball challenge involves the remaining queens receiving two or three runway categories they must design outfits for, one of which must be designed from scratch out of some unconventional materials or based on a certain theme. In addition, the queens are usually required to perform a musical performance they must choreograph and rehearse themselves.

This challenge takes inspiration from actual drag balls, which often include multiple categories of outfits and some sort of dance performance. This ball scene is best shown in the documentary Paris Is Burning, which Drag Race takes much of its inspiration from.

For the first 5 seasons and the first season of All Stars of the show, the ball challenge took place at Final 4. However, starting with Season 6 it took place at Final 5, to accommodate for a queen being eliminated during the final challenge. Within the third season of All Stars the ball features as a challenge during the middle of the season as compared to the ending. In season 10 and 11, the ball was in the 4th episode and 5th episode respectively, meaning that there were 11 queens and 33 different looks.

Winners of the Challenge

All Ball Challenges

Absolut Drag Ball

See "House Ball" Looks

As this ball was sponsored by Absolut Vodka, the queens' 3 outfits each had to represent one of four flavors of Absolut Vodka: citron, mandarin, mango, and raspberry. As the winner of the mini-challenge, Nina Flowers got to assign the themes. Bebe Zahara Benet was the winner of this challenge, and Shannel was eliminated. 

Outfit Categories: 

  • Executive Realness 
  • Swimsuit 
  • Evening Grown Extravaganza 
Contestant Flavors Placement
Bebe Zahara Benet Raspberry

WINNER

Bebe61
Bebe62
Bebe63
Nina Flowers Mango

HIGH

Nina61
Nina62
Nina63
Rebecca Glasscock Citron

BOTTOM 2

Rebecca61
Rebecca62
Rebecca63
Shannel Mandarin

ELIMINATED

Shannel61
Shannel62
Shannel63

The Diva Awards

See "Diva Awards Ball" Looks

This ball took a different format: Rather than taking place under the context of a single ball, the setting given to the queens was one of an awards show. The girls had to perform an opening number as well as put together outfits for 3 different styles of award ceremonies. As the winner of the mini-challenge, Tyra Sanchez was tasked with choreographing the opening number. Tyra also won this challenge, while Tatianna was eliminated. 

Outfit Categories: 

  • Teen Diva Awards 
  • Diva D.C. Press Awards 
  • Diva Hollywood Extravaganza Awards 
Contestant Runways Placement
Tyra Sanchez TyraSanchezS2E9LookPart1 TyraSanchezS2E9LookPart2 TyraSanchezS2E9LookPart3

WINNER

Raven RavenS2E9LookPart1 RavenS2E9LookPart2 RavenS2E9LookPart3

HIGH

Jujubee JujubeeS2E9LookPart1 JujubeeS2E9LookPart2 JujubeeS2E9LookPart3

BOTTOM 2

Tatianna TatiannaS2E9LookPart1 TatiannaS2E9LookPart2 TatiannaS2E9LookPart3

ELIMINATED

RuPaul's Hair Extravaganza

See "Hair Ball" Looks

For the first of Season 3's two balls, the queens had to make three outfits centered around hair. Of these three looks, the last one (Fantasy Hair) had to be made entirely out of wigs. Yara Sofia was declared the winner of this challenge, and Shangela was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Historical Hair
  • Red Carpet Glamour
  • Fantasy Hair Extravaganza (made out of wigs)
Contestant Runways Placement
Yara Sofia FqMEjuW RwMWzxt ZJEfZYy

WINNER

Manila Luzon Fqf97a2 EnL8KpP WHHIbhj

HIGH

Raja CgReLiz SekYrLe 3OLcTlI

HIGH

Alexis Mateo 8ca6xIr Nh2bVPP EAfeoxP

BOTTOM 2

Shangela 1rTpiZI HfLv4lW WxiQnN0

ELIMINATED

Make Dat Money Ball!

See "Money Ball" Looks

Season 3's second ball featured money as a central theme. All three categories had to do with money and elegance, and one outfit had to be made entirely out of fake dollars and coins. In addition, the queens had to perform a musical number homaging 42nd Street, involving large coins as a prop. As the winner of the mini-challenge, Yara Sofia received an additional million dollars to work with, but was also tasked with choreographing the performance. Manila Luzon won this challenge, while Yara Sofia was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Swimsuit Body Beautiful
  • Cocktail Attire After 5
  • Evening Gown Eleganza (made out of fake money)
Contestant Runways Placement
Manila Luzon Zt0RHQS HZ1Hfg2 EudxksB

WINNER

Raja 5DVP2Dh GJfNa4u NKSXHii

HIGH

Alexis Mateo Oqima8U Wx9SFlN 67f79G1

BOTTOM 2

Yara Sofia L94j5rt 7pO58Od S8fW2k9

ELIMINATED

The Fabulous Bitch Ball

See "Bitch Ball" Looks

This season's ball took inspiration from dogs. The three looks were themed after dogs, and the third look had to be inspired by a dog assigned to each queen. For this third look the queens would walk the runway with their assigned dog. As the winner of the mini-challenge, Chad Michaels got to assign each queen her dog, but was also tasked with choreographing the opening number. Sharon Needles was the winner of this challenge, while Latrice Royale was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Daytime Dog Park
  • Pooch in a Purse
  • Canine Couture (inspired by assigned dog)
Contestant Runways/Dog Breed Placement
Sharon Needles HYJvesp ValXGX1 Poodle
AVAvkEZ

WINNER

Phi Phi O'Hara HgkKwv5 VBKGJ1M Bloodhound
XkwvBfu

HIGH

Chad Michaels 1OT21AE YZcyOyW Chinese-Crested
ZENSlLL

BOTTOM 2

Latrice Royale Fegh5Ml JZrh7T4 Pomeranian
AxsMuKM

ELIMINATED

Dynamic Drag Dous

See "Superhero/Supervillain" Looks

For the first edition of All Stars, each team had to present Superhero and Supervillain look, in addition to create a compelling legend that includes their backstory, missions, and superpowers. Chad and Jujubee play the superheroes of their teams, while Raven and Shannel play the villains.The two teams were also asked to choreograph a opening number to the original theme song. Team Shad was the winning team and, as the losing team, team Rujubee had to lip sync against each other, but in the end Ru called a double Shantay, and for the first time in the show, all 4 contestants moved on to the finale.

Outfit Categories:

  • Secret Identity
  • Superhero vs Supervillain
Team Contestant Runways Placement
Team Shad Chad Michaels
W2kE6Ro
R3u3ago

WINNERS

Shannel
KcKbaCd
ApyaQQT
Team Rujubee Jujubee
FiBvpqe
Olu3oAg

BOTTOM 2

Raven
EBGS00R
O0P0e4b

Sugar Ball

See "Sugar Ball" Looks

Season 5's ball was themed after candy, with a candy-centric opening number and candy-themed outfit categories, with a requirement that the third outfit of the ball be made entirely out of candy. As the winner of the mini-challenge, Alaska received additional time selecting her materials from the candy table before the other girls, but was also tasked with choreographing the opening number. Alaska would go on to win this challenge, while Detox was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Super Duper Sweet 16
  • Sugar Mama Executive Realness
  • Candy Couture (made out of candy)
Contestant Runways Placement
Alaska
4310254 orig
1102788 orig
AlaskaCandyCouture

WINNER

Roxxxy Andrews
7782251 orig
6133614 orig
6492552 orig

HIGH

Jinkx Monsoon
7827354 orig
6716579 orig
Jinkx Candy

BOTTOM 2

Detox
9937108 orig
1841634 orig
6472603 orig

ELIMINATED

Glitter Ball

See "Glitter Ball" Looks

This ball was inspired by glitter, jewels, and other precious materials. Each girl was tasked with creating an outfit inspired by a certain gemstone (diamond, sapphire, ruby, topaz, and rose quartz) assigned to them. As winner of the mini-challenge BenDeLaCreme got to assign each girl's theme, but also had to choreograph the opening number. This challenge was won by Adore Delano, while BenDeLaCreme went on to be eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Banjee Girl Bling
  • CEO Platinum Card Executive Realness
  • Dripping In Jewels Eleganza (inspired by assigned gemstone)
Contestant Runways/Gemstone Placement
Adore Delano
AdoreE11Banjee
AdoreE11Exec
Diamond
ZSavnpi

WINNER

Bianca Del Rio
BiancaE11Banjee
BiancaE11Exec
Sapphire
9OIgZ1O

HIGH

Courtney Act
CourtneyE11Banjee
CourtneyE11Exec
Ruby
QAGLDPH

LOW

Darienne Lake
DarienneE11Banjee
DarienneE11Exec
Topaz
XK11Vxp

BOTTOM 2

BenDeLaCreme
DelaE11Banjee
DelaE11Exec
Rose Quartz
6ztLVPj

ELIMINATED

Hello, Kitty Girls!

See "Hello Kitty Couture" Looks

Season 7's ball took a different approach: rather than requiring the queens to make 3 outfits, one from scratch, with an opening number, this ball had no opening number and the queens were only required to produce 2 outfits, with the caveat that both had to be made from scratch. As the week's special guest judge was Hello Kitty, both of the looks were Hello Kitty-inspired: the first was creating a new best friend for Hello Kitty in the style of a Hello Kitty character (with large, cartoonish blocky heads being given to each queen), and the second was a traditional outfit made out of Hello Kitty merchandise. Violet Chachki was the winner of this challenge, while Katya was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Hello Kitty BFF Realness (done in the style of a Hello Kitty character)
  • Hello Kitty Eleganza (made out of Hello Kitty merchandise)
Contestant Runways Placement
Violet Chachki
O76GOGt
IdQDHgz

WINNER

Ginger Minj
GBSOtzb
V2KRfau

HIGH

Pearl
ZXz6E4g
UnCwgQT

HIGH

Kennedy Davenport
XGy3dBn
Lk0obmt

BOTTOM 2

Katya
4HrtzQ3
Tu7VfFw

ELIMINATED

RuPaul Book Ball

See "Book Ball" Looks

Season 8 returned to the traditional ball theme, this time inspired by books. As RuPaul's semi-autobiographical novel had recently been released, Ru tasked the girls with telling their life story across three outfits, from being a child to a full-fledged drag queen. The final outfit came with the additional challenge of being made entire out of books. Further the opening number paid tribute to Strangers With Candy by having each queen perform as Jerri Blank. As winner of the mini-challenge, Chi Chi Devayne was tasked with choreographing the opening number. Kim Chi won the challenge, while Derrick Barry was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Baby Drag Realness
  • That's My Mama Realness
  • Book Couture (made out of books)
Contestant Runways Placement
Kim Chi
KimEP8BabyLook
KimEP8MomLook
KimEP8BookLook

WINNER

Chi Chi DeVayne
ChiEP8BabyLook
ChiEP8MomLook
ChiEP8BookLook

HIGH

Naomi Smalls
NaomiEP8BabyLook
NaomiEP8MomLook
NaomiEP8BookLook

HIGH

Bob the Drag Queen
BobEP8BabyLook
BobEP8MomLook
BobEP8BookLook

BOTTOM 2

Derrick Barry
DerrickEP8BabyLook
DerrickEP8MomLook
DerrickEP8BookLook

ELIMINATED


Gayest Ball Ever

See "Gayest Ball Ever" Looks

For this season's ball, Ru threw the gayest ball ever. Each of the outfit categories was based around traditionally "gay" symbols, and the opening number involved the "gayest Olympic sport of all:" ribbon twirling. One of the categories was based on the Village People, and for the look each girl had to create an outfit inspired by one of the Village People (construction worker, cowboy, cop, leather biker, and Native American) assigned to them. As winner of the mini-challenge, Sasha Velour got to assign the theme to each queen, and also had to choreograph the opening number. Shea Coulee won this challenge, while Alexis Michelle was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Rainbow-She-Betta-Do
  • Sexy Unicorn
  • Village People Eleganza Extravaganza (inspired by assigned Village People character)
Contestant Runways/Theme Placement
Shea Couleé
SheaE11Rainbow
SheaE11Unicorn
Construction
Worker
SheaE11Village

WINNER

Sasha Velour
SashaVE11Rainbow
SashaVE11Unicorn
Cowboy
SashaVE11Village

HIGH

Trinity Taylor
TrinityTaylorE11Rainbow
TrinityTaylorE11Unicorn
Cop
TrinityTaylorE11Village

LOW

Peppermint
PeppermintE11Rainbow
PeppermintE11Unicorn
Biker
PeppermintE11Village

BOTTOM 2

Alexis Michelle
AlexisMichelleE11Rainbow
AlexisMichelleE11Unicorn
Native American
AlexisMichelleE11Village

ELIMINATED


Pop Art Ball

See " Warhol Ball" Looks

For the top six of the third season of All Stars RuPaul threw the Pop Art Ball, also called the Andy Warhol Ball. In the mini challenge the queens had to get into quick drag and pose for Pop Art Portraits, which Aja won. For the maxi challenge the queens had to design two looks, one on a soup can that showcases their All Star brands with slogans and flavours, and the other a Studio 54 Dance Club inspired look, which was showcased with the queens riding in on a white horse. Trixie Mattel & Bebe Zahara Benet were the top two all stars of the week with Bebe winning the lipsync, while Aja was eliminated.

Outfit Categories

  • Soup Can Realness (Label made to advertise their brand)
  • Studio 54 Disco Eleganza (inspired by 70's disco)
Contestant Runways Placement
Bebe Zahara Benet
Fullsizeoutput f62
Fullsizeoutput f5f

WINNER

Trixie Mattel
Fullsizeoutput f64
Fullsizeoutput f66

TOP 2

BenDeLaCreme
Fullsizeoutput f5e
Fullsizeoutput f65

SAFE

Kennedy Davenport
Fullsizeoutput f5d
Fullsizeoutput f60

SAFE

Shangela
Fullsizeoutput f5c
Fullsizeoutput f63

BOTTOM 2

Aja
AjaSoupCanLook
AjaStudio54Look

ELIMINATED


The Last Ball on Earth

See "The Last Ball on Eart" Looks

This season, Ru surprised the queens by holding a ball early, while there were still 11 queens left in the competition. This ball was inspired by climate change, with the first two looks themed around climate change and the final look themed around leaving Earth. This final look (Martian Eleganza Extravaganza) had to be designed by the queens using intergalactic-themed materials. Due to this ball happening with 11 queens, there was no performance component to it. The winner of this challenge was Aquaria , while Dusty Ray Bottoms was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Alaskan Winter Realness (actually a swimsuit category)
  • Miami Summer Realness (actually a winter wear category)
  • Martian Eleganza Extravaganza (made out of space-themed materials)
Contestant Runways Placement
Aquaria
Aquaria Winter Look
Aquaria Summer Look
Aquaria Martian Look
WINNER
Kameron Michaels
Kameron Winter Look
Kameron Summer Look
Kameron Martian Look
HIGH
Miz Cracker
Cracker Winter Look
Cracker Summer Look
Cracker Martian Look
HIGH
Blair St. Clair
Blair Winter Look
Blair Summer Look
Blair Martian Look
SAFE
Eureka
Eureka Winter Look
Eureka Summer Look
Eureka Martian Look
SAFE
Mayhem Miller
Mayhem Winter Look
Mayhem Summer Look
Mayhem Martian Look
SAFE
Monique Heart
Monique Winter Look
Monique Summer Look
Monique Martian Look
SAFE
The Vixen
Vixen Winter Look
Vixen Summer Look
Vixen Martian Look
SAFE
Asia O'Hara
Asia Winter Look
Asia Summer Look
Asia Martian Look
LOW
Monét X Change
Monet Winter Look
Monet Summer Look
Monet Martian Look
BOTTOM 2
Dusty Ray Bottoms
Dusty Winter Look
Dusty Summer Look
Dusty Martian Look
ELIMINATED

The Monster Ball

See "Monster Ball" Looks

Following Season 10, the ball challenge was held when there was still 11 queens left in the competition. This ball was inspired by Halloween, with the first look being inspired by the idea of trick or treating and the second look being inspired by witches. The final look (MILF Eleganza: Monster I'd Like To Freak) had to be designed using halloween appropriate and themed materials. Due to this ball happening with 11 queens, there was no performance component to it. The winner of this challenge was Brooke Lynn Hytes and Ariel Versace was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Trampy Trick or Treater
  • Witch, Please!
  • MILF Eleganza: Monster I'd Like to Freak
Contestant Runways Placement
Brooke Lynn Hytes
BrookeTrickOrTreatLook
BrookeWitchPleaseLook
BrookeMilfLook
WINNER
Plastique Tiara
PlastiqueTrickOrTreatLook
PlastiqueWitchPleaseLook
PlastiqueMilfLook
HIGH
Yvie Oddly
YvieTrickOrTreat
YvieWitchPleaseLook
YvieMilfLook
HIGH
A'keria Chanel Davenport
AkeriaTrickOrTreatLook
AkeriaWitchPleaseLook
AkeriaMilfLook
SAFE
Nina West
NinaWestTrickOrTreatLook
NinaWestWitchPleaseLook
NinaWestMilfLook
SAFE
Ra'Jah O'Hara
RajahTrickOrTreatLook
RajahWitchPleaseLook
RajahMilfLook
SAFE
Scarlet Envy
ScarletTrickOrTreatLook
ScarletWitchPleaseLook
ScarletMilfLook
SAFE
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo
VanjieTrickOrTreatLook
VanjieWitchPleaseLook
VanjieMilfLook
SAFE
Silky Nutmeg Ganache
SilkyTrickOrTreatLook
SilkyWitchPleaseLook
SilkyMilfLook
LOW
Shuga Cain
ShugaCainTrickOrTreatLook
ShugaCainWitchPleaseLook
ShugaCainMilfLook
BOTTOM 2
Ariel Versace
ArielTrickOrTreatLook
ArielWitchPleaseLook
ArielMilfLook
ELIMINATED


The Ball Ball

See "The Ball Ball" Looks

Like the two previous seasons, Season 12's ball challenge was held early with 12 queens left in the competition. This ball took the "ball" theme literally, with the first two looks inspired by sports and the final look incorporating ball-shaped materials. Due to this ball happening with 12 queens, there was no performance component to it. The winner of this challenge was Gigi Goode, while Rock M. Sakura was eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Lady Baller
  • Basketball Wife Realness
  • Balls to the Wall Eleganza (incorporated ball-shaped materials)
Contestant Runways Placement
Gigi Goode
GigiBallBallLooks
WINNER
Jaida Essence Hall
JaidaBallBallLooks
HIGH
Nicky Doll
NickyBallBallLooks
HIGH
Crystal Methyd
CrystalMethydBallBallLooks
SAFE
Heidi N Closet
HeidiBallBallLooks
SAFE
Jackie Cox
JackieBallBallLooks
SAFE
Jan
JanBallBallLooks
SAFE
Sherry Pie
SherryBallBallLooks
SAFE
Widow Von'Du
WidowBallBallLooks
SAFE
Aiden Zhane
AidenBallBallLooks
LOW
Brita
BritaBallBallLooks
BOTTOM 2
Rock M. Sakura
RockBallBallLooks
ELIMINATED

The Charles Family Backyard Ball

See "The Charles Family Backyard Ball" Looks

RuPaul with her sisters (Rozy and Renae Charles) threw a Charles Family Backyard Ball and the top 5 queens had to present two fresh looks: one to represent a fake country cousin of RuPaul (an original play-cousin persona and crash the party with a comedic backstory) and a second to be assembled by hand using objects that can be found in a backyard. At the end, the Top All Star of The Week was Miz Cracker which meant that the other contestants were up for elimination by default. Cracker lost the lip sync for her legacy against the "Lip Sync Assassin" of the week (Roxxxy Andrews) and so the other 3 queens voted for Alexis Mateo to be eliminated.

Outfit Categories:

  • Country Cousin Realness (a play-cousin persona with a comedic backstory)
  • Backyard Eleganza (assembled with items that can be found in a backyard)
Contestant Runways Placement
Miz Cracker
MizCrackerCousinLook
MizCrackerBackyardLook

WINNER

Jujubee
JujubeeCousinLook
JujubeeBackyardLook
HIGH
+
BTM4
Shea Couleé
SheaCousinLook
SheaBackyardLook
HIGH
+
BTM4
Blair St. Clair
BlairCousinLook
BlairBackyardLook
LOW
+
BTM4
Alexis Mateo
AlexisMateoCousinLook
AlexisMateoBackyardLook

ELIMINATED

The Snow Ball

See "The Snow Ball" Looks

Outfit Categories:

  • Executive Holiday Party Realness
  • Après the Après Ski: Icy Walk of Shame
  • Ice Queen Eh-Laganza!
Contestant Runways Placement
Scarlett BoBo
ScarlettExecutiveHolidayLook
ScarlettApresSkiLook
ScarlettIceQueenLook
WINNER
Priyanka
PriyankaExecutiveHolidayLook
PriyankaApresSkiLook
PriyankaIceQueenLook
SAFE
Rita Baga
RitaExecutiveHolidayLook
RitaApresSkiLook
RitaIceQueenLook
BOTTOM 2
Jimbo
JimboExecutiveHolidayLook
JimboApresSkiLook
JimboIceQueenLook
ELIMINATED

Trivia

  • This is the longest running challenge in Drag Race herstory, being featured at least once in all regular seasons and in three All Stars Seasons.
    • All Stars 2 and All Stars 4 are the only seasons to not have a Ball Challenge, and had a makeover instead.
    • This makes All Stars 1, 3 and 5 the only All Stars to feature a ball (The odd number seasons).
  • Season 3's Money Ball, All Stars 1's Dynamic Drag Dous, Season 7's Hello Kitty Ball, All Stars 3's Pop Art Ball and All Stars 5's The Charles Family Backyard Ball are the only balls to have two categories walked in as opposed to three.
  • Season 3 is the only season to have two balls: the Hair Ball on episode 11 and the Money Ball on episode 13.
  • Yara Sofia and Shannel had the biggest placement difference between their two balls, Yara winning the Hair Ball but being eliminated in the Money Ball, and Shannel being eliminated in the Absolut Drag Ball but winning the Dynamic Drag Dous.
  • Bebe Zahara Benet is the only queen to win two Balls, winning Season 1's Absolut Ball and All Stars 3's Pop Art ball.
  • Season 3's, Season 4's, Season 5's, Season 6's and Season 7's balls were used as inspirations in the Design Challenge in episode 1 of Season 8.
  • Season 12's ball holds the record for most outfits shown on the mainstage in a single episode, with 36 outfits being worn.
  • Raja, Manila Luzon, Yara Sofia, Chad Michaels, Shannel, Raven, Bebe Zahara Benet, Kennedy Davenport, BenDeLaCreme, Shangela, Shea Couleé, Miz Cracker and Blair St. Clair are the only queens to have participated in two balls.
  • Alexis Mateo and Jujubee are the only queens to have participated in three balls.
    • Coincidentally, both of them were up for elimination every time they participated on a ball challenge.
  • Canada's Drag Race is the first foreign season to adopt the Ball Challenge from her American sister franchise.
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