‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Eliminated Queens Will Lip Sync for $50,000 at Season 16 Reunion | Exclusive

“We wanted to create a new opportunity for the queens to have a second chance,” producer Tom Campbell tells TheWrap

Drag Race Season 16 reunion lip sync
"RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 16 Reunion (Credit: MTV)

You haven’t seen the last of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 16’s eliminated queens.

From fan-favorite art queen Dawn to queen of flips Mhi’ya Iman Le’Paige to our dearly departed Q — who was eliminated on Friday to place fourth behind our three finalists, Nymphia Wind, Plane Jane and Sapphira Cristál — the Season 16 reunion, airing Friday, April 12, is officially an extension of the competition. The 11 eliminated queens of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 16 will compete in a lip sync smackdown for a cash prize of $50,000, TheWrap can reveal exclusively. Who said losing couldn’t be a good thing?

While the move echoes of “Drag Race All Stars” all-winners seventh season, producer Tom Campbell touts the lip sync smackdown as the first of its kind on a regular season of the MTV reality competition series.

“The idea of doing a traditional reunion where people sit and go over the different things that happen during the season, in today’s world, that happens in real time online,” Campbell said. “So instead of just rehashing what’s already been put out there, we wanted to create a new opportunity for the queens to have a second chance.”

In addition to the $50,000 prize, the crowned lip sync queen will be named the Queen of She Done Already Done Had Herses.

The response from the eliminated queens was, unsurprisingly, gagged and ecstatic.

“They were thrilled. It’s great,” Campbell said. “I’ve had the privilege of seeing it already — it’s great. TV. Drag is so much more than than lip syncing, but ‘Drag Race’ has elevated the art of lip syncing, and it’s so much fun to watch. It’s so competitive. It’s so artistic. The queens enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it so much.”

As far as what makes a lip sync really stand out to Campbell as a producer, he advised drag queens everywhere to “live the song.”

“You have to believe that those notes are coming out of their mouth and their throat,” he said. “And then I think the great, great lip syncs are where they’re able to make it, not just recreate the vocal and the performance, if you will, but bring something new to it. Bring a piece of their soul, a piece of their drag, a piece of their personality into the song. It becomes this other other level of art. I know it sounds crazy, but I really do think sometimes a lip sync performance can supersede an artist performing their own song.”

Season 16 saw plenty of legendary lip sync moments, so Ru and his panel of judges definitely have some stiff contenders death-dropping and a-flipping for the $50,000. Campbell said to expect the unexpected.

“To anyone who gives me any predictions about ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ I say protect your heart,” he said. “No matter what you tell me, I just say protect your heart because anything can happen.”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on MTV.


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