We’re not far away from getting to know a whole new batch of Ru girls on Season 9 of TV’s best reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Unlike other reality competition show, Drag Race allows their contestants to truly build a post-TV career. Whether they are doing movies, stand-up comedy shows or modeling for fashion houses, there are Drag Race alums who’ve made a big mark on pop culture.
And of course, there’s the music world, in which many, many queens have dipped their toes: with a slew of RuGirl tunes to choose from, we’ve whittled down some of the essentials to get you in the mood for Season 9. Start your engines...
Willam, Courtney Act, Alaska Thunderfuck – "American Apparel Ad Girls"
This sly rework of Capital Cities’ "Farrah Fawcett Hair" is one extended drag in-joke turned into a weirdly compelling electro pop banger. The comedic quips of Alaska, Willam and Courtney mesh well, giving birth to the American Apparel Ad girls as a comedy drag trio that toured the world. The store selling their limited edition t-shirts may have gone bankrupt, but these drag powerhouses are certainly still selling something.
Bielfield - "Dance Again (feat. Courtney Act)"
Courtney’s time on Australian Idol and those undeniable vocal chops make her feel like a true pop star, and this recent team-up with American dance producer (and also opera singer!) Bielfield is a sleek, Major Lazer-style pop banger that could easily burn up at radio. Feeling more than a little Ace of Base, it could end being the perfect summer soundtrack for the discerning drag fan.
Tatianna - "The Same Parts"
The Drag Race alum won the hearts of fans all over again on All Stars 2, including her surprising spoken word piece, "The Same Parts." The moment became a fan favorite to quote and relive, and even fellow Drag Race gals like Katya freaked out over it. So, the single felt inevitable. The peak is the breathy delivery, just like the TV version, although the out-of-nowhere beat drop feels somewhat grafted on. Still, as turnt-up drag bangers go, you could do a whole lot worse than this.
Shangela – "Werqin' Girl (Professional)"
One of the best hustlers of all the Ru Girls, Shangela’s gig cannot be stopped. She was one of the first to really bring it home with a music release. A totally ridiculous and utterly enjoyable club stomper, "Werqin' Girl" is all catchphrases and in-jokes, and it will have you attempting a death drop about 30 seconds in. Yas gawd the house down boots mama, as the kids (probably) say.
Manila Luzon – "Hot Couture"
Manila’s runway game and quick wit were next level on Drag Race Season 3, and this pop nugget will get lodged in your brain. It treads familiar drag-pop territory: wigs, shoes, clothes and feeling fierce, but it's still hard to resist. You can imagine many a pop diva circa 2011 mining that hook for radio domination.
Sharon Needles – "Call Me On The Ouija Board"
A savvy entertainer and deserved winner of Season 4, Sharon Needles found a balance between sugary pop and broadening the potential themes of drag music on her debut album PG-13. Nowhere is that more evident than on this genius pop track, one that runs with spooky horror movies references and weaves it into a pitch-perfect mediation on making relationships work. Catchy, tongue-in-cheek and slightly strange, it’s a pretty perfect drag-pop song. Plus, the video is a love letter to horror movies only a spooky queen like Sharon could pull off.
Bob The Drag Queen – "Purse First"
Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen is a true talent with a quick wit and a fresh perspective that feels like the future of drag. She effortlessly turns the party on her debut single, a dense but danceable club cut that’s a little bit comedy, a little bit bitch track and more than a bit Paris Is Burning. Bob proves on this club banger that she truly does bring it to you every ball.
Willam – "Thick Thighs (feat. Latrice Royale)"
Willam’s dry wit and pop culture savvy worked a treat on her parody singles with drag-group DWV, as well as on her own tunes. But on "Thick Thighs," she plays it more straight (well, relatively) — and it works very, very well. An ode to those a little thicker, with a twerk-ready beat and Willam skillfully rhyming up a storm, it's a total party starter. Latrice interjects some club-friendly energy, but the pop-rap party anthem leg work here is all Willam.
Adore Delano – "I Adore You"
Her time on American Idol and her YouTube career showed us that Adore is every inch the star she is, but her pop career post-Drag Race suggests this is an act that could easily win over the mainstream charts with a bigger push. Delano’s breathtaking voice and winning personality work brilliantly on this anguished-but-feisty breakup bop. The neat switch of having the verses being sung and dramatic, versus the rapped punchy choruses, is a sign of her sharp ear. Adore has all the makings of a pop superstar, and tracks like this are a prime example why.
Alaska Thunderfuck – "Your Makeup Is Terrible"
Alaska’s All Stars win felt fitting after she’d used pop music to so skillfully set out her stall as a drag innovator. She may not have the pipes of Adore or Courtney, or the on-the-nose parody songs that other queens work with, but Alaska creates a self-referential lane that is utterly her own — and totally catchy. Her crowning music jewel is still this track though, a dance-pop cut turned into an extended drag commentary that is weirdly satisfying to sing along to at the club.