2017 was a big year for drag culture. RuPaul’s Drag Race reached new heights after Viacom moved the hit series from Logo to VH1, and that move towards the mainstream proved that drag has become bigger and better than ever. We look back on 2017 and remember the best drag moments of the year.
Below are the 10 best drag moments covered by Hornet in 2017:
This year, Drag Race wasn’t the only opportunity for fab drag queens to get some major face time on television. Fusion TV broadcasted a new 12-part, half-hour reality series called Shade: Queens of NYC that focused on the city’s diverse drag community.
One of the year’s best drag moments, the series moved past the glam, glitz and lip syncing and provided viewers an intimate look inside the lives of some of New York’s hardest working queens.
New York drag queen Gilda Wabbit experienced a strange moment of internet fame thanks to a photo of her riding the subway in full drag next to a burka-clad woman, captioned, “This is the future liberals want.” The pic went viral and backfired as it showed two people with starkly different political beliefs — expressed via their dress — coexisting peacefully.
In August, Dracmorda Boulet — one part of the infamous drag duo The Boulet Brothers — said of their TV show, “Season 2 promises to be the most wild and shocking queer series ever to be broadcast.” Dragula Season 2 has pretty much been just that. The premiere alone featured body bags, a blood-chugging contest, some serious shade from the contestants in the workroom and a mainstage runway that blew us out of the water.
Season 2 is still airing, and there has yet to be a new winner crowned, but we’re eager to find out who will walk away with the title on this captivating and very queer piece of drag entertainment.
With all their success already under their corsets, they took their gig on the road together to perform songs from the album they released and to meet with fans. Despite having hectic schedules to work around, the trio made it possible and played 15 cities in two countries.
Also, the show was some of the best work we’ve seen from the three queens, with huge set pieces, choreography, costume changes and elaborate medleys and music mashups.
That wasn’t all that happened for the trio in 2017. They also appeared in British girl group Little Mix’s video for “Power.” In it, the three dance and laugh in bright colors and high heels outside of a club with singer Jade Thirlwall, who happens to be a major Drag Race stan herself.
With Drag Race entering new mainstream heights this year, nothing was more evident of that success than the massive turnouts at RuPaul’s DragCon in both Los Angeles and New York City — really two of the year’s best drag moments.
Both weekends saw hoards of Drag Race fans attending informative panels, nighttime shows and lots of meet-and-greet events with their favorite queens.
Viceland — the cable network of Vice Media that has brought us some of our favorite shows, like Balls Deep and Ellen Page’s Gaycation — added The Trixie & Katya Show to its lineup, featuring two of our favorite RuPaul’s Drag Race alumnae.
The series, which premiered on Nov. 15, was born out of the hilarious drag duo’s web series UNHhh, which has thus far been presented by World of Wonder, the L.A.-based production house that gives us Drag Race (and will continue to be produced by that team’s EPs, including RuPaul herself). It’s a show where the girls have discussed literally anything and everything. (As the tagline goes, it’s “the show where we talk about whatever we want, because it’s our show, not yours.”)
So far the season has been exactly what we hoped for, with the duo tackling everything from hooking up to porn to death with their candid and crass take on things. They will return on Jan. 24 with new episodes.
One of the best drag moments of 2017 was the rise of children in drag. During a stop on the Werq the World tour, Bianca Del Rio brought a little boy in drag onstage. Her name was Lactatia, and she was serving a look that proved she just may be fit for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 18.
Since then Lactatia has been profiled by many news outlets, and she made an appearance at DragCon alongside some other kids who love to do drag. RuPaul even had one of them, known as Desmond Is Amazing (pictured above), help her cut the ribbon at DragCon New York.
While we were really upset that Valentina was sent home from Drag Race, it was one of the best drag moments of the year (and maybe ever), showing that no matter how high you may be flying all competition long, anyone is only one big mistake away from being eliminated.
Valentina’s emotions after getting cut also raised the stakes. So many queens aren’t overwhelmingly upset when they are sent home because their goal was just to get on the show. Not this queen. She wanted that crown. Watching her intense breakdown after her loss reminds us all that this is a competition.
While she’d been fearless all season long, in this instance she let her fear overtake her at the most important moment. It was a reminder why RuPaul’s Drag Race makes such great TV.
Sasha Velour never got to show off her lip sync abilities on the last season of RuPaul’s Drag Race because she was never in the bottom two. But when she finally did get the chance during the season finale lip-sync off, she did so with so much gusto that it was obvious she would be the winner of the season.
During the first round against Shea Couleé, set to Whitney Houston’s phenomenal track “So Emotional,” Velour stood onstage with a red rose. As the number progressed, she threw red rose petals into the air by revealing they were hiding in her gloves. She already had the crowd wowed, but going into the song’s second chorus was a jaw-dropping moment that brought the audience to their feet in ovation. Velour took off her wig to reveal dozens more red rose petals, cascading over her.
Since that night, fans everywhere have been recreating the iconic Drag Race moment. Velour even tweeted that “So Emotional” had a 650% bump in Spotify streams following her performance.
This year saw Phi Phi O’Hara use her platform for some serious good. After the devastating destruction that Hurricane Maria had on the island of Puerto Rico, O’Hara — whose husband is Puerto Rican — assembled a benefit concert with her fellow Drag Race royalty. All funds went to Somos Una Voz, the relief initiative created by Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. The show featured prominent Puerto Rican queens like Cynthia Lee Fontaine, Yara Sofia and Kandy Ho alongside Drag Race winners like Chad Michaels and BeBe Zahara Benet, with countless other fan favorites.
“It was just beautiful to see these girls come together and have fun,” O’Hara told us after the big night. “A lot of us haven’t even worked together. It was really cool to see the connection we all had. It’s hard to explain because I’ve done so many of these tours and this was just really a beautiful experience, as cheesy as it sounds.”
In the afterglow of an event that’ll go down in drag herstory — and without a doubt the year’s best drag moment — we asked O’Hara how she felt, the day after such a wild ride. “Accomplished,” she said. “It feels really amazing.”
O’Hara and all the queens successfully raised $80,000 for the Somos Una Voz relief initiative.