‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Mary J. Blige Has Had 2 Songs Used in Memorable Lip Syncs
RuPaul’s Drag Race has seen countless lip syncs in its day, with Mary J. Blige‘s songs providing the voice for a few of those performances. While she has yet to be a judge on the Emmy-winning show, Blige’s presence has been felt at various points throughout its run.
Mary J. Blige has soulful songs
Blige burst onto the scene in the early 1990s and was quickly deemed the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Many of her songs blend together elements of hip-hop, R&B, and soul to create something that is uniquely Mary J. Blige.
While many mid-tempo songs aren’t often used in drag numbers, there are two instances where Blige’s songs have been used to soundtrack big moments on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and Shuga Cain performed ‘No More Drama’
For over a decade, a Mary J. Blige song had never been used in a lip sync on RuPaul’s Drag Race or any of its spinoffs. That all changed in 2019 on season 11 of the show.
Fan favorite queen Vanessa Vanjie Mateo faced off against sugary-sweet queen Shuga Cain to Blige’s song “No More Drama.” The song was the second single released from her 2001 album of the same name, which contained her No. 1 hit single “Family Affair.”
“No More Drama” directly sampled “Nadia’s Theme,” which has been used as the opening theme for CBS’s iconic soap opera The Young and the Restless since its debut in 1973. Blige even nodded to the long-running show in the second verse by calling herself “young and restless.”
In 2008, Blige told The Telegraph that every time she sings “No More Drama” in concert, she relives much of the pain that inspired it. “You’re drinking the alcohol and doing the drugs and being abused by men, and the pain and frustration of not being able to stop it,” she said. “I rewind through that every time I sing it. I want to give people the real truth.”
Ultimately, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo ended up sending Shuga Cain home in a lip sync that RuPaul himself deemed “magic.”
Olivia Lux performed ‘I’m Goin’ Down’ on season 13
Blige was introduced to audiences in 1992 with her debut album What’s the 411?. Two years later, she released what remains perhaps her most beloved project to date: her sophomore album My Life.
One of My Life‘s most unforgettable tracks was the soulful “I’m Goin’ Down.” The song was originally performed by Rose Royce in the 1970s for the movie Car Wash. Blige covered the song in a new version co-produced by Diddy, and at the time, it symbolized just how much she was in love with K-Ci despite how tumultuous their relationship actually was.
“I’m Goin’ Down” finally made it to the Drag Race stage in the season 13 finale of the show. With most of the cast scattered throughout the United States due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the eliminated queens shared music video performances that they filmed in the comfort of their own cities.
Olivia Lux, once regarded as a frontrunner for the season who ultimately placed fifth, performed a cut-down version of “I’m Goin’ Down” that even featured some of her own piano playing.