So you want to start watching RuPaul’s Drag Race but have no idea where the frock to begin. You’re seeing the ads of RuPaul on the buses, and seeing his glowing face pop up every time you open up Stan. You’re tired of missing out on a huge queer phenomenon that always has people talking. Well, this is where I come in. Here is your guide to the best order to watch Drag Race if you’re a total newbie.
Introducing myself, PEDESTRIAN.TV’s resident Drag Race expert. I’ve seen every single season there is to watch (which is a lot), and I was responsible for writing the recaps for the Australian and New Zealand version of the show, Drag Race Down Under. If you’re a newbie, you probably haven’t ever had the desire to read those yarns, but you’re forgiven.
So, whether you’ve seen one season, watched half a season with your housemate or have no clue where to begin, this guide will be the ultimate helping hand for anyone looking to watch some killer episodes of Drag Race.
Without further ado, here is the best order to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. You can catch all of the following seasons on Stan now!
1. Drag Race Season 6
Ask anyone who is a Drag Race aficionado and they’ll probably tell you that Season 6 is their favourite. Either that or they’re lying.
This season is absolutely perfect for beginners. Season 6 is great at introducing people to the format of Drag Race, and has two premiere episodes, which means instead of being introduced to 12 queens at once, you get to meet 6 at a time, which is great.
The cast is immaculate, the challenges are perfection and the backstage drama is elite. It’s definitely an entertaining season for both beginners and anyone looking for a good old rewatch.
With every RuPaul’s Drag Race season comes Untucked, a 20-minute showcase of some of the back-stage drama. Unpopular opinion here but I think it’s usually worth skipping over, but I definitely recommend watching Untucked as you watch each episode of season 6.
So basically go: Drag Race Season 6 episode 1, Untucked Season 6 episode 1, and so forth. You’ll love it, trust me.
Also, Courtney Act, legendary Aussie drag queen appears on this season, and she represents us Aussies beautifully.
2. Drag Race Season 9 / Drag Race Season 5
Okay, now you’ve seen Season 6, the best of the best that Drag Race has to offer for newbies. There aren’t too many obscure references and the cast was phenomenal, especially the top three.
Now you need to decide what you’re looking for. Are you after some more drama, cattiness, kooky characters and weird challenges? If so, Season 5 is your next go-to for sure. A lot of the legendary queens from the Drag Race franchise come from this season, and you’ll get a real taste for their talents.
Looking for more lipsyncs, incredibly hot runways, powerful casts and pure gaggery? Then Season 9 is your girl. It’s the season that introduces the lipsync for the crown twist, which is continued in every season after it, and boy is it fkn exciting. Don’t look up any spoilers at all for this one.
Either way, you truly cannot go wrong with whichever season you choose. If you’re still feeling scared of the enormity of the franchise, I would watch 5 first. If you’re undecided, watch both, and you’ll be very entertained.
3. Drag Race Season 4
Obligatory viewing at this point, really.
Season 4 is the height of fuckery, drama and kaflamba. You’ll love it, and you’ll absolutely obsess over some of the iconic talents in this season like Latrice Royale, Willam and other legendary queens (some of whom we do not speak of due to them being problematic AF).
This is another season where watching the Untucked episodes is basically a necessity. There’s a whole lot of fights, bitchiness and wild interactions, it truly is a treat. Keep in mind that there are only a few seasons with any real ‘villains’, and this is definitely one of them.
4. Drag Race All Stars Season 2
You’ve seen Season 6, 5 and 4 by now, and that’s more than enough to prepare you for the glory that is All Stars 2, which may be the greatest season of Drag Race ever.
Drag Race All Stars takes the best of the best contestants from across the seasons and pits them against each other in spectacular fashion. Trust me, you’ll love this, even if you did skip some of the previous seasons.
There’s drama, there’s conflict, and there’s a whole bunch of queens from the seasons you’ve now watched! Thank me later, because you will have the best time with this one. Also, the lipsyncs? To die for.
5. Drag Race UK Season 2
Alright, you’ve had a taste for the original American iterations of Drag Race, and by now you may be starting to spot some trends and similarities between the seasons.
The show is verrrry formulaic, and so I’m trying to chuck in seasons that will keep you interested and always on your toes, because Drag Race fatigue is definitely a real thing.
Time to hop across the pond to one of the other best seasons of Drag Race, the second season of the UK version.
The brilliance of Drag Race UK is that it makes things feel incredibly fresh and fun, with a brand new sense of humour, a next-level sense of polish, and some truly brilliant personalities.
You’ll absolutely enjoy the hell out of this ride, and you may not want to even go back to the American format afterwards. Also that “Bing Bang Bong” song? It’s called ‘UK Hun?’ and it’s going to be stuck in your head for ages.
6. Drag Race Season 12
Time to head back to the American seasons, and we’re diving straight into Season 12.
Despite being known as the ‘COVID season’ and also having to edit out one of its contestants for being fkn gross, this season still manages to have one of the most elite casts of the whole series.
It’s rare for a later season to have every contestant be so likeable, but somehow, Season 12 managed it, even with the drama surrounding one of its members.
Also the top three? Perfection. The Snatch Game? Incredible. You’ll love this season.
7. Drag Race Thailand Season 2
The best outfits in the entire franchise, the best stunts, the most heartfelt lipsyncs and the most ICONIC twists I’ve ever witnessed in a reality show. This is absolutely my personal favourite season out of the entire Drag Race franchise. Welcome to Season 2 of Drag Race Thailand.
There’s fire on the fkn runway, disqualifications and so much drama. You can absolutely get over the small wall that is the subtitles, and dig in.
Also, the hosts are Art Arya and Pangina Heals, who do not waste any fkn time serving MAJOR lewks, and honestly, I prefer them over RuPaul and Michelle Visage (controversial I know). Plus, the runways are actually judged, and there is a winner for the runway, which is a nice touch that the American version lacks.
We’re skipping Season 1 because although it’s great, the show still hadn’t quite figured out its direction. Also, the first season isn’t even on streaming services, so… there’s that.
8. Drag Race UK Season 1
Did you absolutely love Drag Race UK Season 2? Well, do I have news for you: Drag Race UK Season 1 is just as good, if not better. The cast is perfection, the drama is elite, and the looks are sensational.
This is just another really good season of RuPaul’s Drag Race that feels fresh and shakes up the formula. I can guarantee you won’t get tired of watching non-US seasons, they are just so GOOD!
9. Drag Race Season 7
Also known as the fashion queen season, and one of the seasons that many people are divided on. However, despite the fan conflict, a lot of recognisable faces come from this season including Trixie Mattel, Katya, Miss Fame, Violet Chachki and other fashionable legends who we know and love. They’ve all made extraordinarily huge careers from their stints on the show, which is a testament to their Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent.
But yes, Season 7 has a huge cast of young fashion queens, and introduces the runway mini-challenge, which is one of my favourites ever. Just watch the first episode and you will understand why there are so many people who love this season.
And there’s a queen who talks back to RuPaul and pisses him the fuck off, and don’t we just love to see it?
10. Drag Race Season 8
One of my favourite seasons with some of the most charismatic queens ever. There’s rivalry, drama, villains, fashion queens, unique challenges, rollerskates and huge fuckups, and we love to see it.
Also, the first challenge of Season 8 includes all of the past winners, so you’ll be able to recognise most of the faces present, which is fun.
11. Drag Race Season 10 / Drag Race Season 3
If you’ve made it this far, you’ll be able to know what you like and what you don’t in Drag Race seasons, so it’s time to make an informed decision for yourself.
Do you prefer the more modern seasons with iconic Snatch Games, high-octane drama and some super quirky characters? If so, I highly recommend watching Season 10. It’s a fun amalgamation of all the good things that modern Drag Race seasons have, but perfected.
It has Miss Vanjie Mateo, the iconic meme queen, and the return of Season 9 queen Eureka. Also, Ru has a LOT of fun this season, which is often rare to see.
Or maybe you’d prefer to see some of the older seasons, go back to the roots and see the show when it was still figuring out the format. Season 3 is known as the torturous fashion season, because there’s like four design challenges with unconventional materials, and it’s insane. Definitely a season where watching Untucked is super necessary.
12. Drag Race All Stars 6
Look, I know we’ve just jumped a couple of Drag Race All Stars seasons, but there’s a method to my madness. This season is fkn great. Stellar. Untouchable. Flawless.
It’s a beautiful representation of all things RuPaul’s Drag Race, with a perfect cast. Just sit back and enjoy the glory. Words cannot capture this seasons stellar quality.
13. Drag Race All Stars 3 / All Stars 4
This is one of those choices that is really up to you. Just look up the casts of both shows and decide which one you’d rather watch. Either way, you can’t make a wrong decision.
All Stars 3 and All Stars 4 are pretty fun considering all the twists and chaos, but they just aren’t as good as All Stars 2 or All Stars 6. Honestly, you could skip these seasons if you don’t care for any of the queens, but you’d definitely be missing out on a whole lot of twists and chaos.
Think of these seasons as campy fun, and just don’t take them too seriously.
14. Drag Race Season 11 / Drag Race Season 2
Again, it’s up to you to choose a season here. Season 2 is incredibly poor in film quality, but is extremely entertaining, and Season 11 is full of whacky challenges, but is a lot of fun.
I personally love Season 11 more, and you’d be excused if you missed Season 2 completely. However, if the older seasons are your thing, definitely give it a watch.
15. Drag Race UK Season 3
Let the trailer speak for itself. Something about UK Season 3 is just… different to the seasons that came before it.
As always, the judging is excellent, the cast is incredible and the season feels like a fresh splash of water to the face compared to the normal American seasons, but Season 3 is arguably the worst UK season to date.
With an awful injury, strange eliminations and other shenanigans, this season feels a little bit off, but thankfully the cast redeems everything, they’re just SO charming.
16. Canada Season 2
Now that you’ve seen Season 11, get ready to watch contestant Brooke Lynn Hytes represent Canada as the HOST of this stunning franchise.
Season 2 of the show really knocked it out of the park with incredible challenges, amazing judging, gorgeous runways and some killer personalities.
Even though Season 1 was a bit messy, it’s safe to say Season 2 is one of the best seasons of this show. Hytes really brings an energy to the franchise that is polished, yet different enough (in a good way) to RuPaul from the American seasons.
17. Drag Race Season 13
The most recent completed season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and also the fkn longest. For some reason, this season decided to have, like, three premiere episodes, and just drags on forever (no pun intended).
In saying that, Drag Race Season 13 has one of the strongest final fours in a long time, and is just a very good season from start to finish. You won’t be disappointed in watching this one, but I just wouldn’t start off with it, y’know?
18. Canada Season 1
A lot of people enjoy this season because of the queens, and they’d be right, because this cast is absolutely unreal, and the winner is unbelievably charismatic.
However, during the first season of Canada’s Drag Race, the show was clearly finding out its identity, and host Brooke Lynn Hytes was still getting used to the role of hosting a show.
Not to mention there were multiple times when the other judges on the panel just became a little bit unbearable with their forced opinions. Being mean makes great television, but it’s all about the delivery, friends.
19. Drag Race All Stars 5
Now that you’ve filled yourself with all this RuPaul’s Drag Race knowledge and all the names of these queens, it’s time to watch All Stars 5, which is one of the most scattered All Stars seasons in terms of queen selection. You’ve got a lot of Season 3, Season 10, Season 9, Season 2 and Season 8.
It’s just a lot of fun, and plays into the All Stars format brilliantly. Probably isn’t the best All Stars on the block, but hey, it’s enjoyable.
20. Drag Race Down Under
G’day, g’day, g’day! Welcome to the third and final international season of Drag Race hosted by RuPaul and Michelle Visage!
Yep, Drag Race Down Under has that official tick of RuPaul approval. Although Season 1 had some amazing hits (the makeover episode is one of the best on any season) and wild misses (that were not at all the fault of these incredible queens), it’s still a very enjoyable watch.
It’s got Aussie humour, Aussie references and a whole lot of fkn drama, and we absolutely stan it. Also the winner of this season is incredible, and I’m in love with her.
21. Drag Race España / Italia
Nothing is more camp than an Italian drag queen, so buckle up and get ready for one ridiculous season full of wild antics, massive fights and show-stopping lewks.
I’d recommend Italia Season 1 for any superfan looking to get their international Drag Race fix because by now, you can predict everything that RuPaul is going to say on the main American show.
Maybe tell your nonna that this show isn’t about cars racing, before she has a heart attack.
As for España Season 1, well, this has to be one of my favourite international iterations of the show. It’s so fkn camp, and the host Supremme de Luxe (what an iconic name) is an absolute TREASURE.
22. Holland Season 1 / Season 2
Ahh yes, Drag Race Holland. Season 1 is a pretty decent watch, but the host (Fred van Leer) can be a little lacklustre at times, and it is very clear that the show was finding its footing.
Season 2 on the other hand may just have some of the best looks from any franchise of the show, but that’s about it. At times the season can feel like we’re just watching things play out the way producers want it to, which isn’t the most genuine Drag Race experience out there.
Overall, I’d only recommend this for super super fans. Sometimes RuPaul really is the ultimate host of this batshit show.
23. Season 1 / Drag Race All Stars 1
Just don’t bother. All Stars 1 is so bad that RuPaul has asked queens to reappear on other All Stars seasons because the whole show doesn’t even count as a real season…
Season 1 on the other hand hasn’t really aged that well, and the Vaseline filter can get a bit annoying at times.
24. Seasons to come
Because Mama Ru never sleeps, Drag Race Season 14 is airing literally as I write this. It’s fkn brilliant btw. We’re also currently waiting for the release of Drag Race France, Drag Race Philippines, UK Versus The World, All Stars 7, Drag Race Down Under Season 2, Drag Race Thailand Season 2 and many more.
The Drag Race train shows no sign of stopping, and it’s quite incredible to see an LGBTQIA+ focused show become so internationally renowned. Makes me quite emotional to be honest!
And that’s all of them (for now) good luck on your Drag Race adventure, and start your engines, mates!