RuPaul's Drag Race Queens Who Almost Didn't Make It To The Show

Long-time fans of "RuPaul's Drag Race" were up in arms when they discovered not all winners were invited to "All Stars" Season 7. In particular, fan favorites Bob the Drag Queen and Alaska were notable exclusions from the upcoming all-winners season which, as Deadline notes, includes queens from across the "Drag Race" franchise. Competing for the crown once again are Season 12's Jaida Essence Hall, Jinkx Monsoon, who won Season 5, Season 3 victor Raja, Season 11's Yvie Oddly, and sole international competitor The Vivienne, who emerged victorious in "Drag Race UK" Season 1. 

Returning "All Stars" champions Monét X Change and Trinity The Tuck, who shared the win in Season 4, will battle it out once more, alongside "All Stars 5" winner Shea Coulée. The prize money has been increased exponentially to $200,000. Although Jaida previously told the Gay Times she'd be happy to compete again just for the opportunity to be "stupid the entire time," there were several former winners for whom "All Stars" was a hard no, including UK Season 2 winner Lawrence Chaney, Bianca Del Rio, Trixie Mattel, and Sasha Velour.

Each queen reasoned that returning to "Drag Race" either wasn't necessary for their careers or would simply be too much work. Although, as fans, we'll never fully understand the machinations behind the show, it's worth noting that when it comes to casting, sometimes it's just the luck of the draw. 

Drag Race herstory would've been very different without these queens

During a chat on "All Stars 3" winner Trixie Mattel's YouTube channel, Season 13 runner-up Gottmik revealed that, originally, she got the call from "Drag Race" producers telling her she wasn't going to be on the show. Thankfully, just a few days after that initial disappointment, they got in touch to confirm Gottmik would be appearing on Season 13 after all. "Maybe you were an alternate," Trixie suggested, noting Gottmik's podcasting buddy Violet Chachki, with whom she hosts "No Gorge," "was famously an alternate — and she won."

According to Trixie, Violet was brought in for Season 7 only after another competitor pulled out. "Same with Jaida," Gottmik noted, referring to Jaida Essence Hall, who won Season 12. Even more impressively, as a result of being called in late, Jaida had less than a week to prepare for "Drag Race." Gottmik, meanwhile, made history as the first out trans male contestant in the show's herstory. She went on to make the final four, losing in a lip-sync battle to the eventual winner, Symone. Gottmik saw herself as paving the way for more trans queens to compete in the long-running reality competition.

Indeed, just a short while later, Kylie Sonique Love became the first trans contestant to win a season of "Drag Race," following her "All Stars 6" victory, per Decider

Jaida Essence Hall went on to win the entire show

Much like Violet Chachki, Season 12's Jaida Essence Hall emerged victorious after very narrowly making it onto the show in the first place. Jaida's win was doubly impressive because the season was such a shambles, with the finale filmed in lockdown and Sherry Pie disqualified from "Drag Race" right before it aired. Jaida found out she had won in her living room, where the talented performer also memorably did her final lip-sync. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jaida admitted to hating the space before, "But now, it's iconic." As for what she hopes her win means to those watching at home, Jaida shared, "I hope I can inspire so many young black people like myself who never feel like they're special or that what they offer the world isn't important. Hopefully, they see this and realize, 'What I am and who I am is enough, I matter, and I have something special to offer to the world.'"

Evidently, Jaida's victory solidified her talent, even though, as she admitted to Pride, it took a while for her victory lap to kick off proper. Winning doesn't always make everything better, however. There's a tragic story behind former "RuPaul's Drag Race" winner Tyra Sanchez, who now goes by James Ross, and has since quit drag completely. Maybe, sometimes, not being cast in the first place would've worked out better.