I can’t believe I’m about to watch Mamma Ru crown the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It feels like only yesterday the season nine girls made their way into the workroom (and our hearts). Even my therapist was surprised to hear the season was over so soon (yes, I talk about Drag Race in therapy…sue me). Just for fun, I reread the intro post I made about the season nine cast back in March. All I had to go on were google searches and Youtube videos (if you’re curious about their pre-Drag Race performances, be sure to check out the highlighted links I supplied for each of them). They started out as strangers, now they feel like friends. And one of them is about to become our Queen.
We start out with a parade of queens. They all seem proud to be a part of this moment. Not a sore loser in the bunch. It’s quite a welcome change from last week’s thorny reunion. It’s great to see everyone again but a few ladies steal the show. Eureka O’Hara, in elephant geish, takes my breath away. Darienne Lake did an elephant in season six but it pales in comparison to Eureka’s. The crowd goes wild. She’s going to be a big threat in season ten. I love Cynthia Lee Fontaine’s hair. We don’t often see her as a blonde and the wig itself fascinates me. Someone please explain it in comments. It reminds me of those foam Priscilla wigs but it’s made with hair. And
Miss Congeniality Fan Favorite Valentina gets the first standing ovation of the night. The winner hasn’t been crowned yet but, really, she has.
Finally we get the top four. Peppermint is stately in teal and white swirls. It’s nothing like her Club Kid look but it similarly evokes the sensation of her name. Sasha Velour is a bald Russian Tsarina. I love that she can reference her Russian roots without stepping in Katya’s footprints. Shea Couleé is gorgeous but I’m not feeling the love I usually do. Hmmm. Trinity Taylor, on the other hand, makes me smile. My lord, do I actually like Trinity? I think I might.
Suddenly, the stage is flooded with Secret Service men. In undies. No one makes an entrance quite like RuPaul. Well, not on this show, at least. She glows in what I’m assuming is a Zaldy (I only recently found out that he did all of Ru’s looks this season, not just the dress from the episode he appeared on). The crowd loses their collective minds. Ru struts down the stage as her Secret Service agents dance. Then she simply stands in place, giving face. Sure, she gives a tiny shoulder shimmy but for the most part she just stands and stares. And we all feel like we’re watching an amazing performance. Which we are. This, kids, is star power.
RuPaul tells the audience about the new lip-sync challenge (cue shocked gasps). I’m a little curious to see how this pans out. Usually the winner is chosen based on viewer feedback and who
production RuPaul thinks has the best winner storyline. It will be interesting to see if the queen who wins the lips-sync actually “wins” the lip-sync. Mama Ru introduces the top four and I freeze to type. As I look back at the screen, I chuckle. It’s Peppermint, Shea, Trinity, Sasha and Valentina. I’m sure it’s hard to get a shot of just the top four when the stage is packed with the entire cast but this feels like a visual Freudian slip to me.
The top four each get a little segment with RuPaul. Peppermint gets a special video message from Laverne Cox and the opportunity to talk about the inclusion of trans women in drag. RuPaul surprises her with a visit from Wintergreen, cameraman Sarge’s drag alter ego from the makeover challenge. The crowd goes wild. Wintergreen, like RuPaul, can entertain an audience with just a look. I heart Wintergreen. Sasha Velour tells RuPaul about my favorite meme: that if you look into a mirror and say sad things, Sasha appears behind you to give a queer history lesson. (OMG. I just saw my friend Alison in the audience. Lucky bitch.) Then Sasha gets a video message from Katy Perry. I guess Marlene Dietrich was busy (and dead). It’s super awkward because Sasha clearly couldn’t care less about Katy Perry. I love it.
RuPaul asks Shea Couleé who she doesn’t want to lip-sync against. She points out that since she and Sasha are such good friends, it would be super dramatic to lip-sync against her. Luckily, she’s a messy bitch who loves drama! Her special message is from Blac Chyna, of course. Cue an audience shot of a still pissed Nina Bo’nina Brown. Shady production. Trinity Taylor blames her difficulty making friends (and fans) on her resting bitch face. But it always turns around once people get to know her (hey, it worked on me). She introduces her hot new boyfriend, who she met
in church on a gay dating app. RuPaul brings up Trinity getting name checked by Chris Pine on Saturday Night Live. She gets really excited that her message is from him but it’s actually from frequent WWHL guest Bobby Moynihan. Wah wah.
Ross Matthews explains how the lip-sync face-off will happen. A spinning wheel will decide the first two competitors. The winner of that round will compete against the winner of the remaining two queens. It’s basically a bracket system and it explains why we have have a top four this year (although Ru’s “I can’t eliminate anyone” storyline was cute). RuPaul spins the big wheel and it lands on Trinity Taylor. She gets to choose who to go against. Trinity has big balls so she picks Peppermint. Ooh! This should be fun. Since Peppermint was selected, she chooses the song by picking box one or two. She doesn’t know what song is in either box so this whole thing is totally unnecessary. But I guess it’s showmanship or something. Anyway, she picks box two and gets Stronger by Britney Spears.
Trinity goes right into her dance moves but Peppermint seems a little understated. She’s slowly moving around the stage and pointing but we’re not getting the fierce Peppermint lip-sync we’ve come to expect. Trinity rips her mini-skirt off and shows us her cakes. She does have a fierce tuck. Meanwhile, Peppermint is giving me Charlie Hides flashbacks (it’s not that bad but you know what I mean). I’m kind of bored. Peppermint reaches behind her back and fiddles with her oddly fitting dress. Oh, she’s going to give us a tear away. As she spins, Peppermint’s short dress opens into a gown and she snatches her wig off her head to reveal what I’m hoping is another wig (not just her own hair). It’s happens in about two seconds and I’m fairly impressed. It also explains why she wasn’t moving before (she didn’t want it to pop before she was ready). Now she has some energy but I’m wondering if it’s too late. I honestly can’t say who won. But RuPaul can. It’s Peppermint.
Sasha and Shea perform Whitney Houston’s So Emotional. Sasha has a red rose that she tears apart as the song starts. It’s so cool to finally see her lip-sync. She’s good! She combines the weirdness of Sasha Velour with Whitney Houston’s sweet spunk. I’m trying to pay attention to Shea but Sasha has me mesmerized. Sasha pulls off her glove and a spray of red rose petals shoots into the air. I’m completely transported. Sorry, Shea. Even when Sasha’s not on screen she’s all I’m thinking about. She pulls her other glove off and we get another spray of red petals. She’s living this song, too. It’s not just gimmicks. Then she pulls her wig off and is covered in a cascade of red rose petals. I literally cheer and clap. My dog thinks I’m crazy but this is the best performance I’ve seen all season. Go, Sasha! She’s not playing it safe or drama-free tonight. I have chills. And the winner is: Sasha Velour! Eureka is literally weeping in the audience. I think Sasha just proved she’s a Queen.
As Peppermint and Sasha prepare for their final lip-sync, last year’s winner, Bob the Drag Queen, joins RuPaul. When RuPaul tells her it’s time to hand over the crown she says, “I’d like to keep it on, please.” In the audience, Valentina laughs. Then Bob gets to plug her upcoming comedy special, Suspiciously Large Woman, that will be airing on Logo (although they don’t give a date).
Finally it’s time for THE lip-sync. This should be epic. They perform It’s Not Right But It’s Okay by Whitney Houston. Sasha is wearing a weird, fashiony bone-like facemask. As soon as the music starts, she removes the piece covering her mouth. She’s very much in Sasha Velour mode. There’s no Whitney for this song. Peppermint’s performance matches the song better. Hmmm. Sasha removes the rest of her mask and gets into the song but it’s not thrilling me the way her previous lip-sync did. She’s gorgeous, and I’d go see her “do” Sasha Velour every day of the week but I kind of think Peppermint is winning. She just IS the song while Sasha is doing the song. No! We’ve come so close! Sasha deserves this win. But it looks like Peppermint is out-lip-syncing her. It’s an amazing performance by both of them but, as a hard core Sasha fan, I’m a little sad that she might lose it all based on one performance.
RuPaul announces the winner: Sasha Velour! What? And there we have our answer. The winner of the season won while the winner of the lip-sync lost. And I’m okay with that. Sasha is our Queen. Deservedly so. So now I celebrate. In the words of RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine winner Sasha Velour, let’s get inspired by all this beauty and change the mother fucking world! Now prance, kween. Prance.