Ranking the 10 International Seasons of 'Drag Race'

by Barry Levitt

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday October 15, 2022
Originally published on September 28, 2022

The Vivienne and Carmen Frarala
The Vivienne and Carmen Frarala  

"RuPaul's Drag Race" has taken over the world — no, literally, it's taken over the world! After dominating airwaves (and streaming) in the United States for years, "Drag Race" has consistently and constantly expanded around the globe with a slew of international franchises. Countries like Thailand, Italy, and Canada have all gotten into the "Drag Race" craze. There's more on the way, with Mexico, Sweden, and Belgium all confirmed for international seasons.

With the world dominance of "Drag Race," let's get into the nitty-gritty of which of the international franchises reigns supreme.

10. "Drag Race Italia"

This isn't a slight on the queens of "Drag Race Italia" — they consistently brought plenty of drama and excitement to the show. The real reason "Drag Race Italia" is at the bottom of the list is that everything just takes so long! There may have only been 6 episodes of the franchise, but each episode is the length of a feature film. Monologues describing challenges seemed to go on for eons, which led to rushed runways.

There was also some genuinely bizarre judging — and speaking of judging, the host Priscilla seemed entirely disinterested and cold, which is the opposite of what you'd want from the host of your show. If the editors can get more excited about trimming things down, "Drag Race Italia" will likely rebound in its upcoming second season.

9. "Drag Race Holland"

The first season of "Drag Race Holland" was a good time, and it introduced us to some excellent queens, including creatives like Chelsea Boy and Sederginne, and Envy Peru, who absolutely dominated every episode on her way to a well-deserved, if obvious crowning.

Then came Season 2. Things started wonderfully, with a really exciting talent show with lots of different kinds of performances that ran the gamut of what the queens of "Drag Race Holland" could do. Then judging got in the way. Things got weird — host Fred basically told Ivy Elise Monroe that she won a lipsync, but he was going to send her home anyway for...reasons? The greatest injustice of all came with eliminating Keta Minaj, who had been dominating the competition, to keep a girl who broke the rules. It was all very strange, and consistently awful judging decisions all but evaporated the show's goodwill.

8. "RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under"

Before the second season of "RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under," this series was firmly at the bottom of the list. The first season felt dead on arrival with low production values, uninspired challenges, and judges (including Ru and Michelle) that seemed to have no interest in any of the queens, making plenty of questionable judging choices. They seemed bored, which didn't exactly thrill the viewer.

Thankfully, the second season fixed a lot of the first season's issues. The judges seemed happier with the second batch of queens, and the seasons included plenty of drama, sex appeal, and endless bounds of charisma. The producers better have sent extra money to Spankie Jackzon, season two's winner, because her incredible joy elevated this franchise to new heights.

7. "RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World"

Admit it: you completely forget this season even existed, and it happened in 2022! This six-episode series was essentially an international "Drag Race All Stars," and my goodness was it ever weird. Jujubee returned for the 9,000th time and underwhelmed at every opportunity, and the challenges were deeply uninspired (especially the awful Rusical).

Still, "UK vs. the World" brought together some top-tier queens from all over the world and some phenomenal looks (especially from Blu, Pangina, Jimbo, and Mo Heart). What the show brought more than anything else though, was drama. Controversial eliminations kept pouring in, none more shocking than Blu Hydrangea sending home her biggest competition in Pangina Heals. It was the gag to end all gags. It was also completely justified, especially given Pangina did the exact same thing the previous week by eliminating Jimbo. A wacky fever dream, "UK vs. the World" struggled to justify its own existence, but at least we got a fantastic addition to the winners' circle (even if the prize is the worst ever).

6. "Drag Race France"

There were some doubts when "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 12 queen Nicky Doll was announced as the host of "Drag Race France," but it didn't take long for Nicky to squash any doubts that she was a great host. She has the passion, expertise, and looks to really shine in her native language, and the first season of "Drag Race France" impressed across the board. The queens were exceptional, and the top three of Soa de Muse, Le Grande Dame, and Paloma were all worthy winners, though Lolita Banana didn't get nearly enough love.

Passion is a key word when describing "Drag Race France." There was so much desire and love from the contestants, and the drive to win and succeed was evident. The franchise really made its mark with some tremendous looks, and one of the most emotional lipsyncs we've ever seen. We can't wait to see what the show does in future seasons!

5. "Drag Race Philippines"

The first-ever season of "Drag Race Philippines" isn't even over yet, but this show has made a major impact. Production values are sky-high, and this group of queens has really brought it to every challenge. Runways are frequently jaw-dropping — we don't think we'll ever get over Viñas Deluxe's horror runway, which delivered an optical illusion we've never seen before.

"Drag Race Philippines" is really letting its contestants shine, and it's genuinely impossible to tell who's going to win, with wins being spread around evenly. It's not very often there isn't a clear frontrunner, and it's allowed the show to be genuinely exciting. The challenges are being performed at an extremely high level — the girl group challenge, for example, is one of the best we've ever seen. The judges are also consistently strong, though we'd like to see some of the harsh critiques scaled back a bit as they seem overly harsh at times.

4. "Drag Race Thailand"

Double shantays, double sashays, double returns — there's nothing "Drag Race Thailand" won't throw at its queens. The franchise has some of the best hosts in the game. Art Arya and Pangina Heals are extremely knowledgeable and care so deeply about every queen that makes a refreshing change from some of the other "Drag Race" franchises.

Everything in "Drag Race Thailand" feels big, but the episodes are well edited so things rarely feel like they're lagging. This is also the franchise that gave us our first ever plus-sized winner of "Drag Race," and the first trans winner with the phenom Angele Anang obliterating the competition in season two to the tune of five wins, amazing looks, and absolutely beautiful lipsync performances.

3. "Canada's Drag Race"

"Canada's Drag Race" took some time to find its feet — the judges in Season One were overly harsh and they all had equal hosting and judging duties, which made things confusing. Thankfully, the queens were more than excellent enough to make this a non-issue, and Priyanka is one of the most charismatic, gifted winners the show has ever seen.

The show has improved over its three seasons, with lots of talent, and some of the best runways in the "Drag Race" universe. The circus runway from Season 2, and the art runway from Seson 3 are especially jaw-dropping. So many great queens have come through "Canada's Drag Race," and host/judge Brook Lynn Heights has gotten better and better with each passing season. This is a show consistently on the rise.

2. "Drag Race España"

Is this the best judging panel in "Drag Race" herstory? We say absolutely! Host Supremme, along with judges Ana Locking, Javier Ambrossi, and Javier Calvo absolutely love their jobs, and it shows. They have tons of fantastic insight and have a genuine desire to watch the queens succeed, and watching them consistently losing their minds over amazing performances, looks, and lipsyncs is such a treat.

Season One gave us plenty of excitement with one of the best winners in "Drag Race" herstory in Carmen Frarala, but season two took everything to new heights. The talent show episode is the best talent show we've ever seen, and every single queen had something exciting to offer the show. There was an astonishing amount of talent in season two, which easily ranks as one of the best seasons in the entire "Drag Race" universe.

1. "RuPaul's Drag Race U.K."

There's only one franchise that can beat "España, and that's the U.K., which recently began its fourth season, being the longest running international franchise. Season One was a ton of fun and gave us a drag masterclass with winner The Vivienne. The third season of the show struggled to keep up momentum, but it still offered lots of entertaining moments, and some truly great queens like Choriza May, Vanity Milan, and Krystal Versace.

The real reason "U.K." is number one is for Season 2, which is quite possibly the best "Drag Race" season from any franchise. The cast is stacked to the nines — absolutely any of the contestants would have made for a worthy winner. The challenges were great, especially RuRuVision, which gave us the unforgettable original song "UK Hun." A perfect season for a show at the top of its game.