A Lip Sync Performance, most commonly referred to as a Lip Sync For Your Life, is a crucial aspect of RuPaul's Drag Race. Lip-sync performances have made an appearance at the end of almost every episode, and are used as a way for Ru to determine which queen to eliminate from the race.

A lip-sync performance consists of two queens (with some exceptions) lip syncing to a song by a female vocalist, with the expectation that they will dance and pull other tricks while this is going on. This performance is then edited down into a 2-minute clip for use during the episode.

Throughout the series several lip-syncs have resulted in memorable and controversial moments; lip syncs are often the source of the most publicity for the show.

Lip Sync For Your Life

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A Lip Sync For Your Life is the most common style of lip sync used on the show. It has so far made an appearance on every non-All Stars season of the show.

At the end of each episode, the two queens who performed worst in that week's challenge will be placed up for elimination, indicating that they must lip sync for their life. Before the lip sync begins, Ru will state the following to the queens:

"Two queens stand before me. Ladies, this is your last chance to impress me, and save yourself from elimination. The time has come... for you to lip sync... FOR. YOUR. LIFE. Good luck, and don't fuck it up."

Following the lip sync, the queen who (in Ru's opinion) performed best will be told "Shantay, you stay," while the eliminated queen will be asked to "Sashay away." In the case of particularly good lip syncs, both queens may be saved by Ru, and in the case of particularly poor lip syncs, both queens may be eliminated.

Final Lip Sync

While still referred to as a "Lip Sync For Your Life", the final lip sync of each season follows a slightly different format, depending on the season.

Lip Sync For Your Lives

The Lip Sync For Your Lives was a special variation of the Lip Sync For Your Life used during All Stars 1. It was created to deal with the season's unique "teams" twist, and also introduced the panic button, which was only used during this season.

At the end of each episode, the two teams that performed worst in that week's challenge would have to select one of their members to represent the team in the lip sync. Before the lip sync began, the two teammates not lip syncing would step off to the side of the stage, and Ru would say the following:

"Two All Stars stand before me. Ladies, this is your last chance to impress me, and save your team from elimination. The time has come... for you to lip sync... FOR. YOUR. LIVES. Good luck, and don't fuck it up."

During the first minute of the lip sync, if the teammate not lip syncing felt that her partner was under-performing in the lip sync ("having a she-mergency," as it was referred to on the show), she would have the option to hit a "panic button" and take her partner's place in the lip sync. However, each team was allowed to use the panic button only once during the season.

Regardless of whether or not the panic button was used, following the lip sync Ru would announce the safety of the team he felt performed better in the lip sync with "Shantay, you stay," and would ask the team that was eliminated to "Sashay away."

Final Lip Syncs

The final two lip syncs of this season followed a different format than the one laid out by the rest of the season. In both cases, the two queens performing were lip syncing for themselves rather than on behalf of their team. As a result, these two lip syncs were referred to as a "Lip Sync For Your Life".

Lip Sync For Your Legacy

A Lip Sync For Your Legacy was a special style of lip sync used during All Stars 2. Notably, this format led to the queens eliminating each other rather than Ru eliminating them.

At the end of each episode, Ru would announce the two queens that performed best in that week's challenge as the "Top All Stars of the week." Ru would also select the 2-3 queens who performed worst in that week's challenge to be up for elimination. After this, the bottom queens would be given the chance in the workroom to defend their case for remaining in the competition to the Top 2 of the week. The Top 2 would then select a tube of lip stick bearing the name of one of the bottom queens, representing who they would eliminate if they were to win the lip sync. Next, all the queens would return to the main stage, with the Top 2 queens standing at the front of the runway, and Ru would say the following:

"Two top All Stars stand before me. Ladies, this is your chance to impress me, win $10,000, and earn the power, to give one of the bottom queens the chop. The time has come... for you to lip sync... FOR. YOUR. LEGACY. Good luck, and don't fuck it up."

Following the lip sync, Ru would select the queen he felt did the best in the lip sync as the winner of the week's challenge, saying "You're a winner, baby." The winning queen would then reveal who she had chosen to eliminate, and that queen would be asked to "Sashay away" by Ru.

Final Lip Sync

While still referred to as a "Lip Sync For Your Legacy", the final lip sync of this season followed a slightly different format. The All Stars of the season compete in the last "Lip Sync For Your Legacy", with Ru selecting a winner based on the lip sync, as well as each queen's performance throughout the entire season.

Lip Sync For The Crown

The Lip Sync For The Crown was a unique twist on the lip sync format used for the Season 9 finale. Rather than Ru simply stating the winner during the live finale, it was revealed that the remaining four queens would have to compete in a bracket-style lip sync tournament in order to win the season.

At the beginning of the finale, a large wheel displaying the faces of all four queens was brought out. The queen selected by this wheel was given the chance to choose who she would compete against in the first round of the bracket, with the two queens not chosen lip syncing against each other in the second match-up of the first round. Each of the two performances began with Ru standing at the front of the stage, the two queens behind him, and announcing to the audience:

"Two queens stand behind me. Ladies, this is your last chance to impress me and save yourself from elimination. The time has come... for you to lip sync... FOR. THE. CROWN. Good luck, and don't fuck it up."

At the end of the two matches, Ru announced in front of the live audience which of the two queens performed better with the familiar "Shantay, you stay." The eliminated queen would be asked to "Sashay away," this time with the applause of the audience behind them.

The second round of the tournament consisted of the winners of the first two match-ups (at this point the Top 2 queens of the season) lip syncing against each other in the final lip sync of the season. The performance began again with Ru at the front of the stage with the two queens behind him, this time announcing:

"Two queens stand behind me. Ladies, this is your last chance to impress me, and prove to the world that you are America's Next Drag Superstar. The time has come... for you to lip sync... FOR. THE. CROWN. Good luck, and don't fuck it up."

Following this performance, Ru chose the winner of the season based on this final lip sync as well as each queen's performance throughout the season.

Lip Sync Performances - Drag Race Franchise

RuPaul's Drag Race

See: List of Lip Sync Performances/RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars

See: List of Lip Sync Performances/RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars

RuPaul's Drag Race UK

See: List of Lip Sync Performances/RuPaul's Drag Race UK

Drag Race Thailand

See: List of Lip Sync Performances/Drag Race Thailand

Canada's Drag Race

See: List of Lip Sync Performances/Canada's Drag Race

Drag Race Holland

See: List of Lip Sync Performances/Drag Race Holland

Spin-Off Seasons

For RuPaul's Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular and RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race's list of lip syncs, See: List of Lip Sync Performances/Spin-Off Seasons

Lip Sync Performances - Other Series

La Más Draga

See: List of Lip Sync Performances/La Más Draga

Trivia

  • Three out of the six Madonna songs lip-synced on the show were used in Snatch Game episodes.
  • The majority of artists/bands have only been lip-synced to once, with some notable exceptions:
    • RuPaul with 25 songs (one with Martha Wash, two with Big Freedia).
      • RuPaul has been performed 28 times as Covergirl, Born Naked, and Sissy That Walk have all been used twice.
    • Madonna with six songs.
    • Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and Ariana Grande (one as a feature) with 5 songs respectively.
      • Although Spears has been performed 7 times as Stronger and Toxic were used twice.
    • Lady Gaga, Paula Abdul and Nicki Minaj (one as a feature) with 4 songs respectively.
      • Although Gaga has been performed 5 times as Born This Way was used twice.
    • Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Miley Cyrus (one as Hannah Montana), the Pointer Sisters, Donna Summer, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera & P!nk with 3 songs respectively.
      • Jackson has also been performed 4 times as Nasty was used twice.
    • Wynonna Judd, Patti LaBelle, Martha Wash (one with RuPaul), Pussycat Dolls, Cher, En Vogue (one as a feature), Blondie, Gladys Knight (One as Gladys Knight & the Pips), Katy Perry, Diana Ross, Big Freedia (Both Features), Fantasia, Robyn, Chaka Khan, & Michelle Williams (one with Destiny's Child) with 2 songs respectively.
      • Eurythmics have been performed twice as Would I Lie to You? has been used twice.
  • Besides RuPaul, Britney Spears is the first artist to be lipsynced two separate times (in Season 1 and Season 4), quickly followed by Donna Summer (in Season 3 and Season 4.)
    • Spears is also the first artist besides RuPaul to have a song used twice, being Stronger in Season 1 and Season 9.
    • Spears is also the first artist besides RuPaul to be lipsynced twice in the same season on two separate episodes, with I Wanna Go and Stronger in Season 9.
      • She was followed by Nicki Minaj in Season 10 with Pound the Alarm and Bang Bang.
  • Whitney Houston is the first artist to be lipsynced twice in the same episode, with So Emotional and It's Not Right But It's Okay from season 9's Grande Finale.
    • She was followed by Janet Jackson with Nasty and If from the season 10 Grande Finale.
  • Besides RuPaul, Miley Cyrus is the first artist to have one of their songs used for two different premiere episodes, Party in the USA in Season 5 & (as Hannah Montana) Best of Both Worlds in Season 11.
    • If counting international seasons this would be Lady Gaga, with Applause in Season 8 & Born This Way in Drag Race Thailand (Season 1).
  • All Stars 2 marks the first season where the last lipsync is not a RuPaul song, with 'If I Was Your Woman' by Gladys Knight & the Pips being used.
    • Since then every other final lipsync has not been a RuPaul song, with Whitney Houston in season 9, Miley Cyrus in All Stars 3, Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj in Season 10, Christina Aguilera in All Stars 4, Lady Gaga in Season 11, Destiny's Child in Season 12 and Janelle Monáe in All Stars 5.
    • Alternatively, the lipsync before each finale episode until Season 10 was a RuPaul song, with Step It Up, U Wear It Well, Freaky Money, and Call Me Mother.
  • Currently, only seven episodes and one special have contained more than one Lip Sync for your life/legacy/crown, those being:
    • Season 9 Episode 14 "Grand Finale" with 3.
    • Season 10 Episode 14 "Grande Finale" with 3.
    • Holi-Slay Spectacular, with 5.
    • All Stars 4 Episode 6 "LaLaPaRUza" with 4.
    • Season 11 Episode 14 "Grand Finale" with 3.
    • Season 12 Episode 14 "Grand Finale" with 2 and 3 individual performances.
    • Season 13 Episode 1 "The Pork Chop" with 6.
  • Season 11 and All Stars 5 are the only seasons of Drag Race/ Drag Race All Stars where a RuPaul song isn't lip-synced to.
  • Excluding Top 4 and finale episodes, Season 12 was the first regular Drag Race season to include a Top 2 lip-sync (used in the two premiere episodes). However, unlike the All Stars format of naming both of the Top 2 challenge winners, the winner of each respective lip-sync was the overall winner of the episode (these being Widow Von'Du and Jaida Essence Hall respectively).
  • Born This Way is the first song that was used three times. The first time in the fourth season of the american version of the show, the second in the debut season of Drag Race Thailand and the third in the first season of Drag Race Holland.

Apple Music Playlist

Listen to every lip sync for your life song on  MUSIC.

Spotify Playlist


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