While many formats have come and gone throughout the storied history of RuPaul’s Drag Race, one fundamental tradition on the show has remained since the very beginning — the lip sync.
Whether it’s a lip sync for your life, a lip sync for your legacy, a lip sync for the crown or another variation, the lip sync has become the most inextricable cornerstone of the reality show’s brand. Watching two (or occasionally more) queens battling it out while dancing and mouthing the words to some of our favorite songs is part of the reason why Drag Race has essentially become the unofficial sporting league of the LGBTQ community.
Debates have long been held in the Drag Race fan community as to what constitutes a great lip sync; is it the high-octane dance moves, death drops, duck walks and various other stunts that boost performances to success? Is it the number of reveals — either in costumes or wigs — that a queen can successfully pull off? Is it as simple as how well a queen can convey the spirit of a song?
As valid as all these points are, there is one factor to a successful lip sync that doesn’t often get its due — song choice. Picking the right track for staging a no-holds-barred battle is crucial to the ultimate success of a lip sync. So, the question remains: which recording artist’s songs have soundtracked the most lip syncs on Drag Race?
Below, Billboard breaks down the artists whose songs have been featured the most times in lip syncs on RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, and why their music has become an essential part of the Drag Race experience.