Announcing Data For Progress's RuPaul-Predict-a-Looza

Data for Progress is launching the RuPaul-Predict-a-Looza (and winner), the first ever RuPaul’s Drag Race prediction competition that gives data dorks everywhere the chance to show their Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and T...tests.

We’re partnering with Alex Hanna, the computational social scientist who was the first to use data science methods to predict winners of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and an adviser to Data for Progress, to help make this happen.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race is a competition about survival, which is why it seemed so ripe for survival analysis, a type of statistical analysis used in explaining different types of health outcomes,” she explained.

The team with the most accurate predictions wins bragging rights and the ability to add one policy question on the next Data for Progress survey. The competition rules can all be found here, alongside an example model written by Shira Mitchell, a statistician and senior adviser to Data for Progress.

“The main goal with this project is to highlight how diverse and varied applications of data science there are in the real world,” said Hanna Haddad, a political analyst and senior adviser at Data for Progress. “There’s so much randomness episode to episode and between different seasons—countless synthetic variables that one can add to the base datasets we’ve created—that I think it’ll be a fair challenge.”

To make the modeling process simpler, Hanna Haddad has built a base dataset, which includes data on contestants, episodes, rankings, social media presence, and more.

In addition, right after each episode, we’ll be releasing a survey that will let you choose between two contestants and respond to the question:  “Between these two, who is more likely to win RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11?” The survey will be opened every Friday and closed every Tuesday. The very first survey can be found here.

To test human versus machine, we’ve asked the speaker of the New York City Council, Corey Johnson, to submit a weekly guess as to which queen will be eliminated in the episode.

“This is truly the gag of the season. I am gooped beyond belief that I have to select which queen will be packing her bags each week. This season the contestants are packing some serious talent and tucks. This is Season 11 and no one came to play, they came to SLAY!” said Corey Johnson.

The deadline for model submissions is two weeks from today: Thursday, February 28th at 5:00 PM EST (and every Thursday after).

In the words of RuPaul, “Good luck, and don’t fuck it up.”

Questions? Email