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The Ball Challenge is a recurring maxi challenge appearing throughout the most of RuPaul's Drag Race franchise. The queens have to walk the runway in several (usually three or two) categories, providing a corresponding look to each of those. The contestants have to design a look themselves to at least the last category, using the materials provided to them by the show. The ball always follows a specific theme that all of the looks have answer to.

Originally, the challenge took place at the end of the season with Top 4 queens taking part up until Season 6 and Top 5 queens up until Season 9. Additionally, the queens were usually required to perform a short opening number they had to choreograph themselves and rehearse in the middle of their look-creating sessions.

As of Season 10, the ball takes place at the beginning of the season, usually within the first five episodes. Season 14 currently holds the record for most looks shown on the runway in a singular episode as the Top 14 queens showcased a combined 42 looks in total. These early-in-season balls also no longer feature an opening number.

The challenge has also been featured in All Stars 1, All Stars 3, All Stars 5 and All Stars 6 with Top 4, Top 6, Top 5 and Top 12 respectively taking part. It was also featured as a Top 4 challenge in Season 1 of Canada's Drag Race.

This challenge takes inspiration from actual drag balls, which also 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.

Challenge's Timeline

Show Season
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
US
AS
DRT
UK
CDR
DRH
DRDU
DRES
DRvsTW
DRF
The challenge never appeared in the season.
The challenge appeared in the season once.
The challenge appeared in the season twice.

Drag Race Franchise

Other Series

Trivia

  • This is the longest running challenge in Drag Race herstory, being featured at least once in all regular seasons, in four All Stars Seasons, once on Canada's Drag Race and once on the UK Series.
    • All Stars 2 and All Stars 4 are the only US seasons to not have a Ball Challenge. Both had a Makeover instead.
      • This makes All Stars 1, 3 and 5 the only All Stars to feature a Ball (the odd number seasons).
        • However, this tradition was broken with All Stars 6 featuring a Ball, the Blue Ball.
  • The Ball Challenge and the Makeover Challenge are the only challenges to be included on every regular season since Season 1.
    • However, Season 14 does not include the Makeover, making the Ball the only challenge to be included on every regular season since Season 1.
  • Season 3's Make Dat Money, All Stars 1's Dynamic Drag Duos, Season 7's Hello Kitty, Girls!, 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.

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