The Fiercest Moments Of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 15

Since the '80s, RuPaul Charles has been a trailblazer in the drag community: He is the first drag queen to land a major cosmetics campaign, the first to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he created the world's first and most prominent televised drag competition aptly named "RuPaul's Drag Race." Over 200 episodes and 15 seasons later (not to mention over a dozen American and international spin-offs), the Emmy Award-winning series is showing no signs of slowing down. For the first time ever — correction: for the first time in "Drag Race" herstory — 2023 saw 16 queens competed in one season. That's almost double the number of queens in Season 1.

From the fashion to the performances to the fights, Season 15 was one of the fiercest seasons yet. And a season of firsts. Malaysia Babydoll Foxx is the first contestant from Miami, Loosey LaDuca, Amethyst, Jax, and Robin Fierce are the first queens representing Connecticut, it's the first time the prize is $200,000, and — spoiler alert — Sasha Colby is the first former Miss Continental and the first Hawaiian contestant to take the crown in the original series. 

Needless to say, this was a season for the books. Here are some of the moments of "RPDR" Season 15 that left us floored. 

Anetra's talent show number

There have been a lot of iconic talent show performances on "RuPaul's Drag Race": from Tatianna's spoken word piece to Aja's epic dance number, the queens often bring the heat. However, no one was prepared for the multidisciplinary performance that Anetra brought to Season 15.

Like a majority of the talent show numbers, Anetra was performing an original song that started off both fierce and funny at the same time. The track began with her spelling out her name and listing how many vowels (why? Who knows!) are in it, and then, very smoothly, she began duckwalking down the runway, and lip synced to the now iconic phrase, "You better walk that f***ing duck!" When she reached downstage center stage, she dipped and twirled back up, repeating the unexpectedly goofy phrase again. Unbeknownst to the audience, she had an even more gag-worthy moment approaching. The self-proclaimed stunt queen sauntered over to Bryce Eilenberg, a beloved member of the Pit Crew, and proceeded to karate chop a board he was holding for her. And she didn't only do it once, but twice, first with her arm and next with her leg. Finally, the queen then walked back to downstage center stage and dropped into a split.

Her exciting, clever, and beyond impressive performance won her the first challenge of the season, and everyone has been "walking that duck" ever since.

Jax jumped rope with her hair

Fortunately, the talent show challenge that was originally a "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" exclusive has made its way to the regular seasons. Ostensibly, this segment helps the judges critique the queens' areas of expertise right out the gate rather than something out of their comfort zone like a design challenge. And it happens to be wildly entertaining.

On "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 15, Connecticut and New York queen Jax took full advantage of this opportunity to strut her stuff. She grabbed viewers' attention by choosing to utilize the show's new and expansive budget and performed to Leikeli47's playful track "Attitude." Like Anetra, Jax busted out moves from different disciplines: The petite performer started off by busting out dance moves with high energy while wearing an adorably fierce fit, consisting of stoned overalls, knee-high socks, stiletto boots, and, most importantly, long blonde braids that doubled as a jump rope. Yes, you read that right: Jax gagged the girls and jumped rope with her braids, rolling her eyes as if this were just an everyday gig, and not missing a beat of the lip sync. She then proceeded to unhook the longest part of the braids and enter into breakdancing and four consecutive backflips. And all so gracefully, at that.

She wound up in the top for such an electrifying performance and solidified herself as someone not to lip sync against. What a way to start the season.

Sugar and Spice's Werk Room entrance

The Werk Room entrance has become a critical branding moment for every queen who walks through it. The entrance is a queen's first introduction to the fans (well, after the cast ruveals) and their competitors. Successful entrances have become so crucial that fans compile and rank them. The first impression is everything.

For every season in every extension of the franchise, the competitors have entered one by one. But, for the first time in "RuPaul's Drag Race" herstory, two queens trotted in at the same time on Season 15. And not just any queens: These queens are identical twins Sugar and Spice whose incredible transformations, goofy segments like "Bad Advice with Sugar and Spice," and well-crafted video transitions skyrocketed them to TikTok fame. Upon entering the Werk Room, Sugar (the more Barbie and pink twin) said, "Well, this doesn't look like the toy store;" to which Spice (the more Bratz and punk twin) growled, "Sweetie, that was my line!" From the get-go, we knew the twins were going to bring canned bits galore.

The two life-size dolls were "bedroom queens" who didn't grow up in the club scene like most of their castmates, which rubbed some fans and competitors the wrong way. However, their dedication to all things ditzy and doll-like won people's hearts, so much so that Mistress Isabelle Brooks adopted them into her drag family with Malaysia Babydoll Foxx as their stepmom/auntie. Congratulations to their growing family.

Ariana Grande walked into the Werk Room

On Season 10 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," Lady Gaga became the first extra special guest judge to sneak into the Werk Room. Some of the queens thought she was just a really good Lady Gaga impersonator, but she was revealed to be the real deal and their first judge of the season. Following Gaga, Miley Cyrus snuck into the Werk Room disguised as a crew member on Season 11. For the first episode of Season 14, Lizzo made a surprise appearance through RuPaul's "Hello, hello, hello" doors. And for Season 15, Ariana Grande made her way into the Werk Room in her own iconic way.

Fans had been teased about and excited for Grande's appearance in this season's premiere episode, especially after she's truly blossomed into the superstar she is today since her first appearance on the show on Season 7. And from her entrance, she did not disappoint. After the first batch of queens entered the Werk Room, a 7th followed, dressed in a replica of the entrance look worn by "Drag Race" Season 6 alum Vivacious, complete with the foam head Ornacia and the zip-up top that hides the queen from view. Grande even struggled to unzip the garment as Vivacious did, truly paying homage to the iconic entrance. 

But once Grande revealed herself and announced, "Mother has arrived" (again, as Vivacious did), the room was shook. Truly a superfan.

Loosey LaDuca's impression of Joan Rivers

Snatch Game is a "RuPaul's Drag Race" staple and has cemented itself as one of the most important challenges in the competition. As Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio once quipped, "This challenge is the one that's gonna separate the talented ones from ... the other ones?" In a lot of ways, Bianca wasn't wrong. Snatch Game winners often become propelled to the forefront as the ones to beat, even if it's their only challenge win. As a parody of the classic game show "Match Game," the criteria are to impersonate a celebrity, improvise, and, most importantly, make RuPaul laugh.

If the whole purpose of the challenge is to get laughs, then choosing a comedian might seem like the obvious decision; the funny's already there, right? In reality, imitating a comic successfully is easier said than done — especially when the comic is an absolute icon. So when Loosey LaDuca announced she was performing as Joan Rivers on Season 15, the bar was set higher than her hair. And from the first moment, she delivered. 

Loosey was quick with a witty insult and brilliantly improvised with Ru, the other queens, and Pit Crew members Bryce Eilenberg and Asaf Goren. Her attentive and respectful homage to the late comedy legend won her first win of five wins ... er, two main challenge wins and three minis, but Loosey considered those minis just as important. 

Sugar and Spice lip synced for their lives

When Sugar and Spice were announced to be on "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 15, it seemed safe to assume the two would be pitted against each other in a lip sync at some point, whether it was for the Lip Sync Lalaparuza or for a Lip Sync for Your Life. Well, fans got the latter. In the same episode where Loosey LaDuca won her first challenge, Sugar and Spice landed in the bottom two for their, to say the least, interesting portrayals of Trisha Paytas and Miley Cyrus, respectively. In their confessionals, the twins didn't voice their determination to beat each other but promised the audience a good show. "This is not about to be a regular, shmegular, degular lip sync for your life," Spice declared in her confessional. "This is about to be a 'twin sync' for your life."

Standing on opposite ends of the stage wearing the same outfit in different color stories, the identical queens immediately broke out into the same moves and put on a goofy synced show once Pat Benatar's "You Better Run" started to play. From simultaneously walking backward to Sugar chasing Spice around the stage with her shoe, for the first time in "Drag Race" herstory, it would appear the bottom two choreographed their duel. Or maybe they were just so in touch with each other that they knew each other's moves? 

Either way, it became one of the most memorable lip syncs of the season.

Luxx Noir London's fashion constantly delivered

Every season, queens pull up to the Werk Room not knowing how to sew, which occasionally works out in their favor; BenDeLaCreme made beautiful garments with "hot glue and desperation." But, most of the time, the inability to use a needle and thread lands queens in the bottom and can earn them the Golden Boot Award (like LaLa Ri in Season 13 and Maddy Morphosis in Season 14). Sometimes, queens have great taste in fashion and wear gorgeous garments on the runway only to falter once they have to make something themselves. This was not the case for "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 15 contestant Luxx Noir London. 

Luxx first showed off her crafting chops in the "House of Fashion" episode, where the queens were split into fashion houses inspired by regular judges Ross Mathews, Carson Kressley, and Michelle Visage. Luxx got her fellow Garden State diva Visage for this challenge, and the animal prints, rich purples, and golds originally inspired a Marie Antoinette-like dress. Luckily, Luxx changed her mind and opted for a sleek pair of zebra-print pants, accompanied by a long, flowing purple blouse (constructed of curtain rod hooks and bedsheets) and a turban wrapped around a bun of braids to match. She was the only member of her group to take full advantage of the luscious purple and the only one in the cast to make pants. 

Her ambition paid off and the garment helped her snatch her first win.

Metalgate rocked RuPaul's Drag Race

At the start of "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 15 episode "Old Friends Gold," Luxx Noir London and Mistress Isabelle Brooks critiqued Malaysia Babydoll Foxx's look from the previous episode. And this was just the beginning of the now infamous "metalgate".

The queens were broken up into three groups for their granny girl group challenge, where they had to play old ladies performing to either a hip-hop, country, or metal song. One of the three teams were happy to go with hip-hop. The two other teams, however, both wanted the same genre, and this proved to be an issue. Malaysia was on one of the two teams that wanted metal, and Luxx and Mistress were on the other. And the three got into it. "We already chose that we're doing metal," Luxx told Malaysia. "So you just adapt to the situation and make country fierce!" Mistress seconded this, and the ping-ponging continued. Finally, they picked their genres from a hat. Malaysia got her metal.

In "Untucked," Malaysia expressed that she felt Luxx and Mistress were being bullies, and Mistress said she didn't realize it was such a big deal. Malaysia shut down; Mistress then told her drag sister that she shouldn't talk behind her back and the two could've had an understanding conversation. Malaysia shot back and declined to apologize for feeling how she felt, and Mistress did the same. The tensions were high, but the two managed to work well together in the next challenge and ended up in the top.

Danny Trejo's Drag Race cameo

Many celebrities have made cameo appearances during "RuPaul's Drag Race" challenges: Big Freedia popped in for an "All Stars 2" acting challenge, the late great Leslie Jordan starred in the Season 14 Rusical, Jeffrey Bowyer Chapman played a prince in Season 13, and plenty more have surprised both the queens and the audiences at home. But this may be the gaggiest cameo yet.

The Season 15 queens were challenged to act in the sequel of the flatulent Season 14 soap opera "The Daytona Wind." They were split into three rival families all mourning the death of Big Daddy, a faceless character who was referenced in both seasons. When the final cut of the acting challenge aired on the main stage, Big Daddy proved to be alive — and he was portrayed by none other than the B-movie extraordinaire Danny Trejo. The "Machete" star walked on set and dropped a reference to series alumni Alyssa Edwards and Detox: "I'm back, back, back again officially!" 

Nobody expected to hear "Drag Race" quotes come out of Mr. Trejo's mouth! And in outtakes, Trejo also quoted Laganja Estranja and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, making Ru and the queens all fall out. In "Untucked," Trejo later shared how much fun he had filming and his daughter's apparent jealousy: "When I told my daughter that I was going to be on this show, she actually started cussing me out. You are her favorite show." A most unlikely guest made for such a lovely surprise.

The Anetra vs. Sasha Colby lip sync

It is important to note that not all drag queens lip sync, but lip syncing is a critical part of "RuPaul's Drag Race," as it is a historically significant part of the art form. In your average episode, two queens (or, occasionally more than two) are up for elimination and have to give a show-stopping lip sync performance to a preselected song (aka lip sync for their lives) in order to stay in the competition. A Lip Sync Lalaparuza Smackdown, however, is a cast-wide battle. 

The rules are as follows: A randomly selected queen (Loosey LaDuca) is chosen and then gets to pick her opponent (Spice), who then gets to choose their dueling song. This format encourages both strategy and lip-syncing skills. Oftentimes, queens choose a "weak" opponent for an easy win, which leaves the queens everyone was afraid to go up against last. On Season 15, those two were Anetra and Sasha Colby.

From Anetra's talent show number and Sasha's reputation in the scene, everyone knew those two would be tough competition. Both in fierce fits, long hair, and thigh-high boots, they were geared up for a fight. To the Fifth Harmony hit "I'm In Love with a Monster," the dynamic battle was full of duck-walking, backbends, voguing, and dips, all smooth, controlled, and sexy. It was probably Sasha's ponytail hair whips and rhythmic twerking that won her the challenge, and the two would later go head-to-head in the show's finale.

RuPaul's Drag Race's 200th episode

"RuPaul's Drag Race" celebrated its 200th episode (of the original series) on Season 15. In honor of this epic milestone, "Drag Race" hosted a Crystal Ball, where the queens were assigned to flaunt looks in three different categories: Start Your Engines (a recreation of RuPaul's racing suit featured during the opening theme), My Favorite Ball (an outfit inspired by a previous ball challenge), and Crystalized Eleganza, a look made from scratch in the Werk Room out of Zelouf Fabrics that must be fashionable and dripping in crystals and jewels. The ball is a test of fashion taste and crafting and sewing skills. 

The competitors brought creative reimaginings of Ru's racer fit. Queens like Anetra and Mistress Isabelle Brooks took the time to bring fits that showcased their communities, with Mistress' red suit patched with quotes from big girls' past and Anetra's green bodysuit patched with flags to represent her family's roots, while Sasha Colby turned the suit into a full-on gown. For My Favorite Ball, a true standout was Luxx Noir London's take on Season 3's Hair Ball: She made and wore a Mugler-inspired look made entirely out of braiding hair.

And finally, Crystalized Eleganza showcased Mistress' stunning white and silver look literally dripping in crystals, Sasha's golden Hawaiian two-piece, and Anetra's jaw-dropping gown with a spine made of large crystals — all made in the Werk Room. Sasha conquered and won her second challenge. What a stunning way to celebrate.

The Marcia Marcia Marcia vs. Anetra lip sync

After the standup comedy challenge, the Vegas native Anetra and Broadway performer Marcia Marcia Marcia were in the bottom two. Anetra had been showing off her lip sync chops all season, with her incredible talent show performance and three lip syncs in the Lalaparuza. Marcia, however, was not considered a threat. She'd been criticized for her makeup, got unfavorable reviews on her fashion from her competitors, and her lip sync abilities were underestimated. She finally got to show off her true performance chops during her battle against Malaysia BabyDoll Foxx in the Lip Sync Lalaparuza Smackdown. Although Malaysia did not say it, it was suspected that Malaysia chose Marcia as her opponent thinking she could beat her. Marcia came out on top in that fight, however, and showed the queens she was not to be messed with.

Once the track "Boss B***h" by Doja Cat started, the queens sprung into action. Anetra showed off some tricks from the jump, while Marcia built up to a surprise back bend. And better yet, she started to walk in that position toward the judges. As if the moment couldn't get better, Anetra ran from her position on the stage and jumped over her opponent and into a barrel roll. Wowza. Contestant Salina EsT***ies compared the epic move to the "Free Willy" poster. The queens kept up the battle with splits, dips, twerks, and a final pose that left the judges exclaiming in praise and excitement. 

Michelle Visage called it her favorite lip sync of all time.

Who should go home tonight and why?

Almost every season, RuPaul asks the queens for their opinion on who should be eliminated and why. This question forces the performers to share how they truly feel about their competition. After performing in "Wigloose: The Rusical," RuPaul asked the dreaded question, and the top six had to answer. 

Some queens go by which queen has been in the bottom the most. On "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 15, that was Loosey LaDuca and Anetra's reasoning for saying Salina EsT***ies should go home. The LA queen got back at Loosey and shared she didn't see her as the future of drag. Mistress Isabelle Brooks and Sasha Colby both gave their pageant answer and told the judges that their biggest competitors should go home (which is a pretty flattering answer). Luxx Noir London also said Loosey but gave an unexpectedly long answer. Luxx went down the line and shared why she believed each of her competitors are strong drag queens and gave them high praise, adding, "However, Loosey's drag — I would have to say, for lack of a better word — is a little on the more generic side." Gaggy.

At the reunion, Loosey apologized for saying Salina's name and claimed she would have said Luxx instead because Luxx struggled the most with the choreography. Luxx shot back and named other queens she thought struggled. The two seemed to have a combative season — they argued over fashion, fought for the same role, and even lip synced against each other — but hopefully these queens have since reconciled.

The teacher makeovers didn't disappoint

The "RuPaul's Drag Race" makeover episodes have become a fan favorite. The queens to turn others, usually non-drag artists, into members of their drag family. Queens of seasons past have made over gay veterans, the cast of "Little Women: LA," grooms-to-be, social media influencers, and on Season 15, school teachers. As a way of honoring the educators that have positively impacted their lives, "Drag Race" brought kindergarten to high school teachers into the Werk Room for the final five to transform. After being paired up, the transformations began.

All five of the queens were successful at putting their respective teachers in their likeness. Loosey LaDuca and her partner, Mrs. Wallace — now LaLa LaDuca — were practically identical twins on the runway. Sasha Colby is known as a body queen, aka a queen who does not pad for a feminine shape, but per her partner's request, the two were padded for the gods and looked like perfect sisters. Mistress Isabelle Brooks turned her new daughter, Madame Thang — formerly Ms. Tang — into a fierce pageant queen who gave the same sassy energy as her drag mother. Their bond was so close that Mistress shared Tang's Amazon wishlist on Instagram. Although Luxx Noir London's teacher did not share her likeness, their outfits were, not surprisingly, stunning together. Anetra took the win with the breathtaking transformation of Alektra.

The best part? the teachers got to perform on the main stage to Mama Ru's song "Champion," completing their "Drag Race" fantasy. 

Mistress Isabelle Brooks vs. Loosey LaDuca

When Loosey LaDuca felt discounted by the other queens, she reminded them that she'd won a main challenge and two mini-challenges. Mistress Isabelle Brooks laughed at this, saying, "Sometimes I can't help but laugh at Loosey because I know she's being fake." The glamorous Texan further claimed that Loosey was "entering [her] b***h era." Yikes.

Throughout Season 15, Mistress teased Loosey for her seemingly never-ending upset over losing challenges, saying Loosey has a case of "drag delusion" (a phrase that became a Mistress staple). Other queens jumped on the bandwagon, but Mistress led the brigade. Their feud went to a head in the "Wigloose: The Rusical" episode. When Loosey was particularly passionate about getting the lead role over Luxx Noir London, arguing that the character description fit her best, Mistress wasn't buying it and believed Loosey only wanted the lead because she thought it would give her an automatic win, telling her, "I just feel like you're not being real." The Connecticut queen took major offense to this accusation, and the tensions grew higher.

At the reunion, Loosey revisited the Lalaparuza challenge and told RuPaul that she believed Jax won the battle between her and Mistress. Mistress waved it off: "I mean, we see who's at the end and who's not." The plus-sized bombshell then doubled down on her previous claim about Loosey not being truthful and revealed she still thought her competitor remained disingenuous. When accused of being a pot stirrer, Mistress exclaimed, "Of course! I'm Mistress!"

Drag Race Season 15's dazzling finale

Since Season 4, "RuPaul's Drag Race" has dedicated its finale to celebrating its top three or four contestants with a high-production show in front of a live theater audience. And each year, it just gets better and better. All 16 queens debuted stunning looks on the runway, including Aura Mayari, who unfolded a massive fan to reveal the message, "Drag is not a crime," in the wake of the anti-trans legislation and drag bans being introduced around the U.S. Mama Ru lip synced her song "Courage to Love," the final four delivered high-energy, super fun lip syncs to original songs, and the final lip sync battle of the night did not disappoint. 

Unlike past seasons, this finale made time for multiple special guest appearances and moments. Orville Peck and Leland sang the Wigloose original "Built on Drag," Season 5 and All Stars 7 winner Jinkx Monsoon stopped by from her historic run as Mama Morton in "Chicago" and performed a song, "Drag Race" gave out the first-ever Giving Us Life-time Achievement Award to fashion idol Bob Mackie, and Malaysia Babydoll Foxx was voted Miss Congeniality by her castmates. 

On top of all that, the finale encouraged fans to donate to the ACLU's Drag Defense Fund, during a time when LGBTQ+ culture, art, and individuals are being targeted by the aforementioned drag bans and transphobic legislation. Overall, the season finale was fashionable, ferocious, and filled with love.

Season 15 was the Sasha Colby meet-and-greet

From the moment she entered the Werk Room, Sasha Colby — the trailblazing trans titan of drag — was the one to beat. And no one could do it. The former Miss Continental never landed in the bottom two, walked into the finale with four challenge wins, and received high praise from the judges and the fans. After the "Blame It on the Edit" music video, the world's most famous drag queen, RuPaul, told Sasha, "I'm the motherf***ing queen of drag! I'm amazed by you!" 

Sasha consistently showed her versatility. She won an acting challenge, the ball, the interview challenge, and the final music video challenge. And even in the challenges she didn't win, she was a standout. In the Rusical, she stepped out of her comfort zone and played a dorky husband, which made her practically unrecognizable but hilarious. Her runway looks were always showstoppers and earned her seven Top Toots from the "Drag Race" web series "Fashion Photo RuView." For the finale, Sasha was carried onto the stage for her solo performance "Goddess," wearing a detachable snake tail and long braids that ended up being incorporated into the choreography. Her final head-to-head battle against Anetra was fierce, but Sasha peeled ahead and won the gold. She dedicated her win to her trans community.

When we met Sasha Colby in the "Meet the Queens" video, she confidently told the world, "I am your favorite drag queen's favorite drag queen." And now, she is America's Next Drag Superstar. Condragulations!