It had been sunny and humid for days. Then, on Monday, the sky opened and it poured. Of course it did! I had tickets to the RuPaul’s Drag Race Coronation across town. I gritted my teeth and headed into the wet. It’s all for drag. At least I don’t have to tuck my “between me down there” with duct tape. All I’m risking is cold toes and wet hair. Priorities, girl! When my cab pulled up outside Stage 48 in Hell’s Kitchen, the enormity of my adventure hit me. This is RuPaul’s Drag Race, serious stuff. The line wove around the corner, 2 square blocks in total. The super fans were out in force. I cringed at the thought of the umbrella I left back at home. My attempt to be unencumbered was biting me in the back and the front and the top… Suddenly the rain wasn’t hitting me anymore. I turned around to find that the sweet boy in line behind me was sharing his umbrella, unasked. I was with my people. Where talking shade is an art form and even the meanest bitch will give you the shirt off her back. Or half of an umbrella in my case.
The line moved quickly and I was ushered upstairs. The entire downstairs was filled with people willing to stand in the rain for hours. I looked for a spot with a view of the stage. Even that was a challenge. At least I could see part of the stage. So I waited, wondering how I was going to make it thru the night without a seat (even if I could afford it, I couldn’t imagine paying $400 for a VIP table). Since I can’t drink and was scared to lose my position, I decided to people watch. It was a great mix of gay boys, lesbians, straight girls and even a few straight couples. Some were dressed up. Others were dressed down. I batted my fake eyelashes and listened to the chatter all around. Looking towards the stage, I saw blonde hair. Lots and lots of blond hair. It was Lady Bunny! She was the DJ for the night. I took comfort in that big blonde wig. This was going to be fun.
Then the music changed and the show was starting. I heard a familiar voice over the speakers. It was Shangela, giving a surprise performance to “Don’t Believe Me.” Every time I see her she gets better and better (certainly light years away from seasons 2 and 3). She definitely deserves her place in the House of Edwards. Her dancing is on point, even after rolling her knee a few years ago. Shangela was followed by last year’s winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race and our host for the night, Bianca Del Rio. Bianca in one funny bitch. And she can pull off green hair, in case you were wondering. Suddenly it was time to watch the finale episode. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. There were hundreds of noisy fans in one room and I take my Drag Race seriously. But they turned up the volume and we were fixated on the screen. Luckily, everyone took their Drag Race seriously.
If you’ve never seen the show in a large group, I definitely recommend it. The energy kept growing like we were feeding off of each other. Max was obviously a popular Queen. She got a lot of love. When Katya came on screen, the crowd really went wild. Even though she was locked away from view, I know she heard it and that makes my heart happy. Unfortunately, Ginger was a bit overlooked by the crowd. I put that down to editing. As Jessica Rabbit said, “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.” The crowd went a lot crazier for Pearl, the hometown Queen. She wasn’t the crowd favorite, though. Overwhelmingly, everyone was #TeamViolet. When she was finally named the winner the whole place broke out in pandemonium. I saw a guy standing next to me frantically looking for his friends to share the moment with. He couldn’t find them so I opened my arms and we hugged it out. “I knew it! I knew it!” he kept shouting in my ear. It was like the photo of the sailor and nurse kissing when WWII ended, but on a smaller scale.
Once the lights came up, Bianca Del Rio came back onstage to entertain us while the top 3 finished filming and photos. And she brought another surprise guest: Jinkx Monsoon, winner of season 5. Jinkx told the crowd to take pictures of her with Bianca. “I want the Facebook likes.” Other Queens can get away with being self-deprecating but it bothers me when Jinkx does it. It’s like she believes it too much. Bianca pointed out that Violet hadn’t been crowned on the show like the six Queens that preceded her (I was so swept up in the moment that I hadn’t even noticed that all she got was a scepter). According to Bianca, they have stopped crowning at the finale because it messes up the winner’s hair (and we can’t have that). Which meant we were going to see Violet get her crown for the first time (I guess they warned the girls to be hair appropriate for the coronation).
And then it was time. First Pearl came out. She was in fine form, spunky and silly. Then Ginger Minj joined her in a long, form-fitting gold dress. Finally, Violet Chachki appeared. Jinkx Monsoon gave Violet her scepter and Bianca Del Rio crowned her. My favorite quote of the evening came from Violet: “I cannot believe that there’s a RuPaul’s Drag Race Crown on my fucking head… again!” Bianca and Shangela struggled for quite a while to get the crown on (probably the real reason they didn’t do it on the finale). It took so long that Pearl made her way in front of Violet to make it look like she was the one wearing the crown. Pearl was having fun, for sure. And all the while, two men from Logo were being pushed all over the stage trying to give Violet her oversized check. It couldn’t have been funnier if it was a choreographed slapstick routine. Violet made a lovely speech, dedicating the moment to every queer individual out there. She encouraged everyone to be brave and go after whatever they really want. “If you want something, go fucking take it!” Pearl decided to take her advice and pretended to grab the crown.
With the crowning over, it was time for some performances from the season 7 girls. It was also whe my camera died so you’ll have to use your imaginations (or youtube). We were told we’d only get the top 6 but we were surprised by a couple of extra NY Queens. After a lengthy musical delay that irritated Bianca Del Rio, Mrs Kasha Davis lip-synced to “Chapel of Love” against a background of photos from her own wedding (not in drag, naturally). This performance morphed into another retro tune but I’m not a huge Mrs Kasha Davis fan so I can’t remember the name.
Trixie Mattel put a lot of thought into her performance. She started out to Sissy That Walk by RuPaul. She looked fabulous in a corset and stalkings. All of a sudden, RuPaul’s voice told Trixie that she had to lip-sync for her life. She stretched and dived right into “Dreaming” by Blondie. Then she got eliminated so she performed to “It’s Not Fair” by Lily Allen. RuPaul again interrupted, bringing Trixie back to Drag Race so she did “My Boyfriend’s Back.” Not surprisingly, RuPaul interrupted that song to have her lip-sync for her life again, this time to “Show Me Love” by Robin S. Finally, RuPaul sends her home with a final performance of “I’m a Loser.”
Miss Fame was the last unannounced performer of the evening. In case you didn’t know, Miss Fame has released a single titled “Rubber Doll.” Well, she chose to sing it live the same way Kim Zolciak sings live, i.e.: over her own track. Unfortunately, Miss Fame doesn’t quite have the professionalism of Miss KZ so she ended up squawking the song in between exhortations to the crowd to get into it. Miss Fame looked great but I wouldn’t necessarily call her a singer. She had some choreographed back-up dancers to interact with but overall it was pretty sad. As Bianca Del Rio scoffed, “Back-up dancers?”
One of the best performances of the evening was Katya lip-syncing to the Russian version of “All that Jazz.” I’ve seen videos of her doing that song in the same dress she wore but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment at all. Katya lived the song right in front of us. She’s a true professional. I’d get behind her brand any day. The crowd loved her and Katya stayed in character even as she collected tips. By the end of her performance, not only was the floor covered in tips but a bouquet of flowers from an admiring fan. Another fan gave her a hat that read “Cool Mom” (her nickname is mom) which she promptly put on. Even Bianca Del Rio couldn’t say a bad word about her (and that’s saying something).
When Bianca Del Rio introduced Kennedy Davenport she called her “the Queen that should have been in the top 3.” After watching her performance at the coronation, I can see why. Kennedy started off to a slow version of “Roar” by Katy Perry but, like Trixie, was interrupted by RuPaul sending her home. So she tore off her coat and went crazy to “Accept Me” by Vernessa Mitchell. Kennedy is an amazing dancer. She gives her all to that song. She kind of reminds me of Mystique Summers Madison in the way she throws herself into her performance. Kicking, kicking, running, splits. Powerful. And she does it all in heels.
At this point in the evening I can’t even imagine what Pearl’s state of mind was. She crawled onto the stage in 80’s workout gear (think Ramona Singer’s thong leotard) and high, high, high-heeled sneakers. The song started slowly so she kind of swayed in place, doing a slowed down version of her “Pearl Smash” moves (if you can imagine that). She was having a hard time staying upright in her shoes but to give her credit, she never fell. I wasn’t sure what the song was but it sounded like Dead Can Dance or one of those other bands I listened to in college. It wasn’t. It was from Pearl’s new album, “Pleasure.” She’s going to give Miss Fame a run for her money. I love Pearl but that performance was hard to watch. Maybe I wasn’t drunk enough. Or high enough. I don’t know if I’ve ever been high enough.
Full disclosure: I left during Pearl’s performance. My poor old lady legs couldn’t take it anymore. My toes were frozen to ice cubes and all I could think about was heating up my leftover Thai food and crawling into bed. It’s too bad because I missed Ginger Minj singing “Wig in Box” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Jinkx Monsoon even joined her onstage. And watching Violet Chachki’s silk arial performance to “Desire” by Meg Meyers on youtube isn’t as exciting as seeing it in person. But that Thai food sure was was good. And I didn’t have to amputate any toes. Please don’t tell anyone I left early. I don’t want to lose my Drag cred…
Once again, A HUGE thanks to Lady Cocotte for all her hard work this season!
If you missed any of her recaps, make sure to go back and read them here.
For her story on Tyra Sanchez’ custody battle READ HERE.