Spoilers ahead for the finale of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5’
At long last, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 has come to an end — after a smashing performance to RuPaul’s new song “Clap Back,” and one final lip sync to Janelle Monáe’s “Make Me Feel,” RuPaul declared the winner … season 9’s Shea Couleé!
Considered a favorite to win from the moment she entered the work room, the 31-year-old drag star proved each episode why that was the case. Snatching two challenge wins, and winning every lip sync she performed in, Couleé was considered such a threat that there was even a plotline about queens potentially conspiring to eliminate her as the biggest threat in the competition.
“My drag, in its purest form, is a love letter to black women,” Couleé explained on the main stage shortly before her win. “Honestly, Ru, I would be remiss if I did not tell you how much I appreciate you and everything that you’ve done. You are a constant inspiration, you are an example of continuous love, and I thank you for helping me make my dreams come true.”
Along with consistently showcasing her excellent fashion, Couleé proved to be a fierce musical talent as well — in honor of her new crown, Billboard is taking a look back at five of Shea Couleé’s greatest musical moments while on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The time she slayed the role of Blac Chyna in Kardashian: The Musical
Nina Bo’nina Brown may still believe she should’ve been Blac Chyna, but there is no denying that from the moment Shea Couleé stepped out onto the stage for Kardashian: The Musical in season 9, she earned her win. From the lip syncing, to the dance moves, to her sickening embodiment of Chyna’s essence, Couleé took home her second challenge win of the season, cementing her place in fans’ hearts as one of the fiercest competitors in the show’s herstory.
The time she flexed her rap skills in “Category Is…”
By the time the final mainstage challenge of RuPaul’s Drag Race arrived, fans were convinced that Couleé would be taking the crown home — but her verse and performance in RuPaul’s “Category Is…” made it a near certainty. The star’s presentation offered rapid fire bars, slick lyrics and some expert-level dancing. Had it not been for a few fistfuls of rose petals, many fans still believe that this challenge was the moment Shea truly earned the season 9 crown.
The time she did a gravity-defying pole dance to her own song
From the moment she entered All Stars 5, Couleé stayed true to her original tagline: she did not come here to play. For the opening variety show of the season, Shea decided to offer up something fans had never seen from her by delivering an incredible pole dance routine. What makes it even better? The song she was performing to was her own new single, “Collide,” featuring fellow queer talent GESS and Mykki Blanco. With one performance, Couleé set fans’ expectations high, and still managed to earn her crown in the end.
The time she made Chadwick Boseman an offer he shouldn’t refuse on “I’m In Love”
Just one week after wowing fans with her pole-dancing skills, Couleé snatched her first challenge win of All Stars 5 thanks to her expert-level songwriting for the “I’m In Love” challenge. She penned the strongest verse of the song to Chadwick Boseman, telling him about how she wanted to be the queen to his King T’Challa, before uttering the now-iconic line “I’m dreaming about Wakanda life we’ll lead.” There was no doubt in anyone’s mind who was winning the challenge after Shea’s verse ended.
The time she snatched the All Stars 5 crown with “Clap Back”
With one final challenge to face for the crown, Shea Couleé proved why she deserved her spot in the Drag Race Hall of Fame. After being given the hardest choreography for her verse of “Clap Back” for the All Stars 5 finale, the drag star still slayed her way through the intricate number, offering hand-ography, some twerking, and even a cartwheel from one person’s shoulders to another’s. With this stunning performance, it became clear that nothing could stop Shea Couleé from snatching the crown.