EW‘s Tanner Stransky snuck into the taping of RuPaul’s Drag Race last night at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, where all 13 contestants kiki’ed, kai-kai’ed and threw shade before a live studio audience (for the first time in the show’s history).
But how would producers film the real finale—when this season’s Next Drag Superstar was crowned—without the audience running to Facebook, Twitter and street corners to spoil the surprise?
Well, rather than sequester dozens of chatty homos, they shot three different endings!
After a couple laborious hours of taping, Ru — dressed to the nines in gold slingback heels, wildly curly ‘do and a fluttery red number that she said was “a little something she sewed up back stage” — lined the three finalists — Phi Phi O’Hara, Sharon Needles, and Chad Michaels — up, pageant-style, and grabbed a tiara, ready to crown one of the ladies. “America’s Next Drag Superstar is…” Ru said, dripping with drama and a dramatically long, long pause. “Chad Michaels!”
The crowd went wild, Chad took a minute to address the crowd and walk the runway like any good pageant queen, and then, Ru dropped the bombshell: The audience was to remain in the seats, as the production team would be retaping the ending two more times with both Phi Phi O’Hara and Sharon Needles as winners, too. Needless to say: Sharon and Phi Phi’s faces did not convey the idea that they were happy about what was happening.
Stransky wasn’t sure if the three contestants knew they’d be taping three different winners and given how much makeup they wear, it was probably hard to read in on their faces. He posits that perhaps Chad Michaels was the actual winner, since her “win” was filmed first and got more genuine reaction. But really, after umpteen years of reality TV, we’ve come to expect massive edits before anything makes it to air. You might see the audience “reacting” to one queen when they were actually cheering for another.
How else would they prevent all the boos and hisses when Phi Phi wins. (We kid, We kid!)
Phi Phi’s crowning was probably the most hilarious, actually, as she dropped a huge diamond off the corset she was wearing and her tiara fell off. She owned it all, though, and went about her business, commenting after the taping was done, “That was a mess.” Indeed.
The reunion segment of the finale does answer everyone’s questions about Willam—why was she booted off, why did she throw up, why did she refuse to wear undies?—but we’re not gonna spoil them here. We get enough hate mail as it is!
Check back tomorrow morning when we recap the finale and share photos tonight’s Drag Race event at XL in New York.
Photo: Aaron Young for Logo