|RuPaul's Drag Race|
This article contains spoilers and/or upcoming content, and therefore may be incorrect and will change from time to time. Continue reading at your own discretion.
The first season of RuPaul's Drag Race, later referred as The Lost Season, premiered in the United States on February 2, 2009, on Logo. Nine contestants were selected to compete in the running of becoming "America's Next Drag Superstar".
The winner of the first season won a lifetime supply of MAC Cosmetics, was featured in an LA Eyeworks campaign, joined the Logo Drag Race tour, and won a cash prize of $20,000. One of the nine contestants to compete on RuPaul's Drag Race was determined by an audience vote via the show's official website. The results were announced in early September 2008. The contestant to win this honor was Nina Flowers from Bayamón, Puerto Rico (currently Denver, Colorado). Nina Flowers went on to win Miss Congeniality. The theme song playing during the runway every episode was "Cover Girl" from RuPaul's album Champion.
The winner of this first season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Bebe Zahara Benet. In late 2013, Logo re-aired the first season, which was titled RuPaul's Drag Race: The Lost Season Ru-Vealed, and featured commentary from RuPaul.
(Ages and names stated are during time of contest)
| Ep. 7|
| Ep. 8|
| Ep. 9|
|BeBe Zahara Benet||Nea Marshall Kudi||28||Minneapolis, MN||SAFE||SAFE||WIN||HIGH||BTM2||WIN||N/A||WINNER||RTRN|
|Nina Flowers||Jorge Flores||34||Bayamón, PR||WIN||HIGH||HIGH||HIGH||LOW||HIGH||N/A|| RUN|
|3rd||Rebecca Glasscock||Javier Rivera||26||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||LOW||HIGH||SAFE||BTM2||WIN||BTM2||N/A||ELIM|
|4th||Shannel||Bryan Watkins||29||Las Vegas, NV||SAFE||HIGH||BTM2||LOW||HIGH||ELIM||RTRN|
|5th||Ongina||Ryan Ong Palao||26||Los Angeles, CA||HIGH||WIN||HIGH||WIN||ELIM||RTRN|
|6th||Jade||David Sotomayor||25||Chicago, IL||SAFE||SAFE||LOW||ELIM||RTRN|
|7th||Akashia||Eric Flint||24||Cleveland, OH||BTM2||BTM2||ELIM||RTRN|
|8th||Tammie Brown||Keith Glen Schubert||26||Long Beach, CA||SAFE||ELIM||RTRN|
|Victoria "Porkchop" Parker||Victor Bowling||39||Raleigh, NC||ELIM||RTRN|
- █ The contestant won RuPaul's Drag Race.
- █ The contestant was eliminated in 3rd place & did not compete in final lip sync.
- █ The contestant was the 1st runner-up.
- █ The contestant won the main challenge.
- █ The contestant was one of the best but did not win the main challenge.
- █ The contestant was a member of a winning team but did not win the main challange.
- █ The contestant was one of the worst but did not place in the bottom two.
- █ The contestant placed in the bottom two but was not eliminated.
- █ The contestant placed in the bottom two & was eliminated.
- █ The contestant was voted "Miss Congeniality" by viewers.
- █ The contestant returned and appeared on Episode 9, the reunion special.
- Season 1 is the shortest season in series' history, with a total of 9 episodes.
- Season 1 is the season with the least contestants, with a total of 9 contestants.
- Bebe Zahara Benet is the first season winner in series' history.
- Nina Flowers is the first ever fan voted contestant to compete of the show.
- Nina Flowers is the first contestant in series' history to never place in the bottom two on any episode.
- Nina Flowers is the first winner of the Miss Congeniality award.
- Victoria "Porkchop" Parker is the first contestant in series history to be eliminated.
- Akashia is the first contestant in series history to survive a "Lipsync for your life".
- Episode 7 is a recap episode and features highlights and unseen footage from the last 6 episodes.
- Episode 9 is the reunion special where Nina Flowers is announced as "Miss Congeniality".
Episode 1, "Drag On A Dime"
The nine queens arrive in costume and size up the competition. They are then immediately thrust into a car wash photo shoot, portraying sex appeal while posing with two men, with Mike Ruiz as their photographer. Afterwards, everyone takes off their makeup for the first time and gets to know each other as their real-life selves, with most people being stunned by Nina's tattoos and questioning if Rebecca has had plastic surgery.
The queens' first challenge involves making an outfit out of thrift store clothes and accessories from a 99 cent store. At the judging session, which includes Bob Mackie, Santino Rice, Mike Ruiz, Merle Ginsberg, and Ru herself as judges, the queens are judged on their outfits and photos. Following their runway presentations, Tammie, Jade, BeBe, and Shannel were all called safe. Ongina and Nina score well, with Nina being declared the winner, while Akashia and Victoria are put in the bottom two, with Rebecca being declared safe. For their final test, Akashia and Victoria have a lip-sync battle set to RuPaul's signature song, "Supermodel".
In the end, though Akashia's attitude is negatively noted, Victoria's less-than-stylish outfit and questionable potential as an international star make her the first queen to be eliminated.
- Main Challenge: Sexy Photo Shoot & Thrift Store outfits
- Main Challenge Winner: Nina Flowers
- Bottom Two: Akashia & Victoria Parker
- Lip Synch Song: "Supermodel" by RuPaul
- Eliminated: Victoria "PorkChop" Parker
Episode 2, "Girl Groups"
The eight remaining queens are given a mini-challenge in which RuPaul has them act out certain emotions and take pictures of themselves with a digital camera. He deems Akashia and Ongina the winners and makes them the group leaders in the next challenge, a girl group task.
Ongina selects Shannel, Nina, and Rebecca for her group while Akashia selects BeBe and Jade and is stuck with Tammie, admitting she didn't want Tammie on her team because their personalities clash and because she thought she was too weird. The groups would each be responsible for their own hair, makeup, costumes, and choreography and must each perform to a Destiny's Child song.
|Serving Fish (Ongina, Shannel, Nina & Rebecca)||Say My Name|
|3D (Akashia, BeBe, Jade & Tammie)||Independent Women|
Frank Gatson and singer Michelle Williams (former member of Destiny's Child) are the guest judges.
As the challenge progresses, Akashia creates pressure when she steamrolls over her teammates' decisions while doing little work herself. Tammie, frustrated with Akashia and admitting to the fact that the competitiveness is getting to her, considers her place in the competition. On Ongina's team, the girls get frustrated with Shannel when Shannel tries to make decisions for them. The girls are also concerned with Ongina's tricky choreography.
At judging panel, each group performs their number and the judges feel Ongina's group was the better of the two, naming Ongina the overall winner. With Akashia's group, the judges felt BeBe and Jade stood out while Akashia was a mess with a bad attitude and Tammie was just out of sorts. During their last chance lip-sync battle, set to Michelle Williams', "We Break The Dawn", Akashia gives a fierce performance while Tammie chooses not to lip-sync due to her not being prepared to lip-sync the song. In the end, Tammie is sent home when it seemed like she was giving up.
- Mini-Challenge: Act out certain emotions and take pictures of themselves with a digital camera.
- Mini-Challenge Winners: Ongina & Akashia (Team captains; got to select their group)
- Main Challenge: Destiny's Child girl group battle
- Top Group: Serving Fish (Nina, Ongina, Rebecca, Shannel)
- Overall Winner: Ongina
- Bottom Two: Akashia & Tammie Brown
- Lip Synch Song: "We Break the Dawn" by Michelle Williams
- Eliminated: Tammie Brown
Episode 3, "Queens of All Media"
The seven remaining queens are told their next task is to emulate Oprah Winfrey. Shannel is bowled over because she's a huge Oprah fan, Nina is worried because she has never seen Oprah's show, and Jade takes the challenge too literally at first by trying to look like Oprah. Each queen is allowed to pick a costume from a bin supplied for them, choose a costume they brought, or make their own on the spot, although Rebecca is the only one to take the latter choice.
The challenge is in three parts, representing three stages of Oprah's career. The first task is a newscaster challenge where the queens must read mock news stories from a teleprompter. The next task is to sell products as Oprah does on her "My Favorite Things" specials. The third task is to interview Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott. Tori and Dean think most of the girls do a good job, though Shannel talked over them and Akashia neither stood to greet them nor said goodbye, instead walking off once the task was over.
For their next judging session, Howard Bragman and Debra Wilson serve as the guest judges. The queens were allowed to wear their own pre-made costumes and were judged on that plus videos of their performances in the Oprah challenge. Most of the girls got good marks all around, with the judges citing Ongina and Nina's bubbly personalities and Rebecca's beauty as standouts. The judges declared BeBe the winner for her regal presence, confident hand in the Oprah challenge, and fierce runway presentation.
The judges placed Shannel and Akashia in the bottom two, Shannel for not showing any vulnerability throughout the competition or listening to criticisms and Akashia for her poor performance in the Oprah challenge. For their lip-sync battle, the two had to sing Whitney Houston's, "Greatest Love of All". In the middle of the performance, Shannel's wig falls off, but she earns points with the judges for continuing on with the song. In the end, Akashia cannot avoid elimination for a third time and she is sent home.
- Main Challenge: Chanelling Oprah
- Main Challenge Winner: BeBe Zahara Benet
- Bottom Two: Akashia & Shannel
- Lip Synch Song: "The Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston
- Eliminated: Akashia
Episode 4, "Mac Viva-Glam Challenge"
Upon entering the workroom after the previous elimination, the girls notice all the mirrors have been covered and became nervous. For the mini-challenge, Ru pairs everyone up and gives each person 30 minutes to do their partner's makeup. Ru likes the makeup job Shannel, Nina, and Jade did for their partners, naming Jade the winner.
The next task involves the girls putting together a commercial for MAC's Viva Glam makeup, a cosmetics line which Ru once modeled. The winner of the challenge will become the new face of Viva Glam. The girls must use the commercial to explain who they are as queens, why they are beautiful, and inform people of Viva Glam's help for those living with HIV. Each girl gets ten minutes to film their spot, though Jade gets an extra five minutes for winning the mini-challenge. Most shoots go smoothly, except for some flubbed lines and Shannel over-doing her lines. However, Rebecca, upon thinking of a friend who has HIV, becomes emotional and walks off the set with time left on the clock. She cries, but because Rebecca has had a wall up since the competition began, some of the girls question her sincerity.
At the judging panel, Gordon Espinet and Jenny Shimizu serves as guest judge and the judges look at each girl's commercial. They give high remarks to BeBe and Nina, but Ru names Ongina the winner. Upon hearing the news, Ongina cries and collapses to the floor. She reveals that she has been living with HIV for the last two years, but was afraid to admit it on national television, and is moved by the opportunity to represent a company noted for its support of HIV-related charities and organizations. Ongina says "life is a Celebration, you have to live your life and keep going" and Ru calls her an inspiration.
Despite her commercial being criticised, Shannel's runway presentation is lauded over and she is safe, leaving the bottom two as Rebecca and Jade, both for their lagging progress and star potential. They have a lip sync battle to, "Would I Lie to You?" by the Eurythmics and Jade is eliminated. In her exit interview, Jade has some tough words on the subject of being eliminated over Rebecca, saying Rebecca is the fakest bitch she's ever known.
- Mini-Challenge: 30 minutes to do partner's makeup.
- Mini-Challenge Winner: Jade (Won 5 extra minutes in the Main Challenge)
- Main Challenge: Film a Mac-Viva Glam commercial in 10 minutes.
- Main Challenge Winner: Ongina
- Bottom Two: Jade & Rebecca Glasscock
- Lip Synch Song: "Would I Lie To You?" by The Eurythmics
- Eliminated: Jade
Episode 5, "Drag School of Charm"
The day after elimination, most of the queens feel Jade should have stayed and Rebecca should have gone home. For the episode's mini-challenge, Ru brings in five female fighters to put the queens through an exercise and endurance challenge. The last queen standing wins the challenge and that queen is Rebecca.
Ru then tells the queens that their main challenge will be for each of them to make over one of the fighters in their own image and teach them the secrets of drag. Rebecca, having won the mini-challenge, gets to select her partner and with whom the others work. Rebecca selects Tempele and then pairs everyone else up as follows: BeBe/Michelle, Nina/Mia, Ongina/Jarrett, Shannel/Sweepee.
The challenge commences and the fighters admit to not being very feminine while the queens grow frustrated with transforming the fighters. Halfway through the day, Ru shows up to inform everyone that the queens must also coach the fighters on how to give a lip sync performance, which they must do to Beyoncé's song "Freakum Dress".
On judging day, Lucy Lawless and Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin serve as guest judges. BeBe emphasizes culture with Michelle, Rebecca makes over Tempele in her own image, Nina puts her own 'Nina' spin on Mia, Ongina plays the masculine role to Jarrett's feminine touch, and Shannel goes for high glam with Sweepee. The judges love Shannel and Rebecca's output and name Rebecca the winner.
Conversely, the judges are on the fence with Nina and aren't so thrilled with BeBe and Ongina's interpretations of the challenge. BeBe and Ongina are in the bottom two and have a lip sync battle set to Britney Spears' song "Stronger". After a fierce performance, Ru feels the decision is too tough to call and leaves the set for a minute to collect her thoughts. Upon her return, Ru says BeBe performed with a power that the judges hadn't seen before and did something she didn't think was possible: she outshined Ongina. Ru lets BeBe stay and eliminates Ongina, but not before saying she thought Ongina had the potential to win it all.
- Mini-Challenge: Exercise and endurance challenge.
- Mini-Challenge Winner: Rebecca Glasscock (got to select her partner and with whom the others worked with).
- Main Challenge: Transforming a female fighter in their own image
- Main Challenge Winner: Rebecca Glasscock
- Bottom Two: BeBe Zahara Benet & Ongina
- Lip Synch Song: "Stronger" by Britney Spears
- Eliminated: Ongina
Episode 6, "Absolut Drag Ball"
The queens meet Ru on the runway for a vogue battle mini-challenge. Ru deems Rebecca and Nina as the strongest posers and has them participate in a further pose-off, which Nina wins.
For their main challenge, the queens are informed that they will have a drag ball. Each queen must come up with three looks: Swimsuit, Executive Realness, and Evening Wear. Marco Marco provides fabric for the queens to work with. Ru also informs the girls that Absolut is sponsoring the event and thus, they must each portray one of four pre-selected flavors: citron, mandarin, mango, and raspberry. As the winner of the mini-challenge, Nina selects her flavor and pairs everyone else up.
|BeBe Zahara Benet||Raspberry|
Nina, Rebecca, and Shannel get right to work while BeBe, unsure of what to do, takes a while to start. Shannel is unsure of how to make swimsuits, Nina doesn't think her green fabric fits the "Executive" category, and BeBe asks for construction advice. When Ru checks in with the queens, Shannel wonders how much more of herself she can give when the judges aren't responding favorably to her output. Rebecca keeps a lot of information to herself and, to the camera, Shannel comments on Rebecca's gameplaying and lack of drag knowledge. Nina reveals that her inspiration is her late mother, whom she says was her best friend. Midway through the day, Ru lets the queens take a break by throwing a cocktail party with special guest Charo. The queens have a blast, but aren't so thrilled when Ru adds the extra twist of telling the queens they must literally use their assigned fruits as part of their runway presentations.
On the runway, Jeffrey Moran, image consultant of Absolut, and María Conchita Alonso serve as guest judges. In the first category, Executive Realness, BeBe goes first and Ru asks why she should win. BeBe speaks of having dignity in drag and being taken seriously. When Nina goes up, she says she has dedicated herself to female impersonation for 15 years and wants to inspire others. Shannel talks of having pride in one's self and Rebecca says she has the drive and determination to win. The judges are further pleased by each queen's swimsuit and Evening Wear presentations.
The judges love BeBe's evolving looks, make-up, and restrained style. Nina's demureness and femininity are highly regarded. Shannel is once again knocked for not connecting emotionally while Rebecca's costume construction is negatively noted. When asked who should go, Rebecca says she should stay, but when pressed, she once again names Shannel (having done so once before when the question was asked back in episode 2). Nina picks Rebecca due to lack of experience, BeBe picks Rebecca because BeBe thinks Rebecca is on a lower level than the rest of the queens, and Shannel falls on her own sword and quits because she's been judged harshly from the beginning. She slams the judges extensively for not noticing her personality and for all the negative critiques, but Ru tries to convince her to stay.
In deliberations, the judges are torn with Shannel, wanting to take her display of emotion of seriously, but still questioning it. The judges love BeBe's presence and outfits, think Rebecca is the weakest queen, and like Nina's work. When the queens are called back, BeBe is announced as the winner and part of the final three. Nina is also told she is part of the final three, leaving Rebecca and Shannel as the bottom two. Despite Shannel's earlier request to quit, the two have a lip-sync battle to, "Shackles (Praise You)", by Mary Mary. Afterwards, Shannel is eliminated though Ru assures her that her contributions have not gone unnoticed.
- Mini-Challenge: "Vogue" posing challenge.
- Mini-Challenge Winner: Nina Flowers (got select her flavor and pair everyone else up).
- Main Challenge: Drag Ball featuring three different looks
- Main Challenge Winner: BeBe Zahara Benet
- Bottom Two: Rebecca Glasscock & Shannel
- Lip Synch Song: "Shackles (Praise You)" by Mary Mary
- Eliminated: Shannel
Episode 7, "Extra Special Edition"
In this episode, RuPaul takes a look back through the first season. Clips include unaired audition videos from the queens who made it and some who didn't, backstage antics, and an inside look at the final three. Among the queens featured who didn't make it are those who would go to become contestants on future seasons such as Raven, Pandora Boxx, Sahara Davenport, Nicole Paige Brooks, Detox, and Alaska (going by her full name Alaska Thunderfuck). Merle Ginsberg and Santino Rice were also on hand to deliver their Top 10 picks for the most memorable fashions of the season.
Santino and Merle's Picks for Top Ten Fashion Moments (judging panel fashions only except noted otherwise)
- 10. Tammie Brown, Episode One
- 9. Jade, Episode Three
- 8. Rebecca Glasscock, Episode Two
- 7. BeBe Zahara Benet, Episode Four
- 6. A tribute to Nina's hair and makeup throughout the season
- 5. Ongina, Episode Four
- 4. Shannel, Episode Three
- 3. BeBe Zahara Benet, Episode Three
- 2. Nina Flowers, Episode One
- 1. RuPaul's various judging panel gowns
Episode 8, "Grand Finale"
Merle and Santino come in to inform the final three that their last challenge will be to appear in RuPaul's latest video for her song, "Cover Girl (Put The Bass In Your Walk)". They will do a group dance, record a verse with rapper Cazwell, and film a solo for Ru's video.
To get them prepared, choreographer Ryan Heffington takes the final three through the planned dance routine. None of the queens adapt easily, but Rebecca in particular struggles with the dancing required. Afterward, each queen gets an impromptu sit-down with Ru. Ru tells Nina that she likes her sweetness and Nina shares the struggles she's had with her mom's death. Then, BeBe meets with Ru and Ru wonders what she'll do after the show. BeBe speaks of reaching out to the community and talks of the AIDS crisis in her homeland of Cameroon. Rebecca talks about the cattiness she's faced with the other girls and Ru wonders if she herself had anything to do with that. The girls record their verses with Cazwell and Nina and BeBe do a good job while Rebecca struggles again, but eventually gets it.
The scene switches to Ru filming her video, with episode one photographer Mike Ruiz as director, and the three girls run through their group dance number. Mike loves BeBe's energy, thinks Nina is a great performer, and compliments Rebecca's beauty. Each girl then gets a solo and Nina goes first. BeBe goes second and when it gets to Rebecca's turn, she's late back to set. Unhappy with her look and taking extra time away to fix it, Rebecca struggles for a third time.
For the final runway show, there are no guest judges and the girls pull out all the stops. The judges look at clips of each girls' performances in the video shoot, starting with BeBe. Santino loves her eye contact, Merle liked her lyrics, and Ru says BeBe is a moving piece of art. With Nina, Santino felt her lyrics and delivery were dated, and Ru says she likes her personality on and off set. Ru also points out that Nina is the only one who never had to lip sync for her life. Rebecca is asked about her tardiness and what she discussed with Ru earlier. As for her performance, Santino thought the choreography was weak and Merle wanted more individuality.
In deliberations, the judges think BeBe is graceful and womanly. Nina is a grand performer, but her outfits seem similar to each other and her grasp of the English language can hinder her. Rebecca's beauty is praised, but the judges feel she's at a lower level than the other two. On the runway, the judges eliminate Rebecca and the decision comes down to Nina and BeBe. The two have a final lip sync battle to Ru's, "Cover Girl." Afterwards, Ru announces BeBe as the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race Season One.
- Main Challenge: Recording a verse and filming a spot for RuPaul's latest video
- Eliminated: Rebecca Glasscock
- Top Two: BeBe Zahara Benet & Nina Flowers
- Lip Synch Song: "Cover Girl (Put the Bass in Your Walk)" by RuPaul
- Runner-Up: Nina Flowers
- Winner of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 1: BeBe Zahara Benet
Episode 9, "Re-United!"
The nine queens gather once again to chat about the season behind them and their current lives. Starting with Victoria, Tammie, Akashia, and Jade, Ru asks Victoria if she enjoyed her short stay and if she felt she could've done well in the later challenges, Tammie discusses her quirkiness, Akashia's anger and tearful exit are touched on, and Jade voices her frustration with Rebecca and her joy in meeting the other girls.
Ru then brings out Ongina, Shannel, and Rebecca. Ongina talks about her progression as a drag artist and her controversial outing as an HIV positive person in Episode Four. Shannel's overconfidence and her elimination against Rebecca are discussed. The girls talk about Rebecca's fakeness and attitude, causing arguments to ensue.
Finally, Season One runner-up Nina Flowers and Season One Winner BeBe Zahara Benet are brought out. Nina talks about finishing second and says the Oprah challenge was the toughest for her. Nina also says the audience reception for her has been favorable. BeBe talks about winning and the audience reaction in Cameroon. Ru asks BeBe if she was surprised that Rebecca made it to the final three and when asked for hands, most queens feel she shouldn't have. Nina is surprised that Jade was eliminated over Rebecca and Jade takes the chance for closure by extending an olive branch to Rebecca.
Ru then gives the girls some viewer questions. Akashia is asked about upgrading her hooker style, Rebecca is asked about the friend she mentioned in the Mac Viva-Glam challenge, and Shannel is asked if her wig falling off in the episode three lip sync battle was staged. Shannel admits that it was intentional and Ru is surprised. Ongina is asked about going from winning a challenge to lip syncing for her life, Nina is asked about what lead her to choose an androgynous drag style, and all of the girls are asked about hiding razor bumps and stubble.
Merle and Santino are then brought out to discuss their experiences on the show. Merle talks about everyone's ideas of femininity and Santino discusses the fashion and his judging style. The girls are then allowed to get into the judges' heads and Shannel says she left the show because Santino made her feel like crap every week. The two argue and Ru intervenes to tell Shannel not to let someone else's opinion get her down. Ongina says negative critiques can sometimes override positive ones and Akashia says she had never had problems with Santino. Ru says negativity exists and Tammie argues that they don't need to feed into it, arguing with Ru on the subject. Ru gets upset and takes the girls to task for taking the negativity too hard, telling them they need to build themselves up and not rely on others holding their hands.
- Miss Congeniality Winner: Nina Flowers
Emanuel Palmer • Max "The Body" Philisaire