DRAG STRIP

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap Realness: Last Queen Standing

rpdrfinale 01There’s simultaneously a lot and almost nothing to cover. Sure, the show was long and eventful, but like every reality finale, it was over an hour of stalling for the announcement of one name.

Ru opens the show with a runway presentation from each of the eliminated contestants. My hopes that this would lead into interview segments, like previous seasons, are quickly dashed. My immediate disappointment that the Top 3 are the focus of this episode really says something about this season’s Top 3.

Rather than the traditional Q&A (which does happen later), the beginning of the end this time around involves full-on live performance. Ru announces (as the unruly crowd hollers at the finalists) that each hopeful will lip sync a song written especially for them. It’s nice that an actual drag show has been integrated into this drag show, and merciful that Pearl and Violet weren’t asked to sing, and honestly gracious of Ru not to use this as an opportunity to hock her own music, but it still feels off somehow. Like, drag queens having singles written for them isn’t really a thing. Then again, drag queens being famous isn’t usually a thing, so I guess we’ll just have to keep blazing new trails.

rpdrfinale 02Ginger kicks us off with “Pray and Slay,” a high-energy gospel number that plays to her campy strengths. Following her performance, she sits down for a chat with Ru, where she is asked about her occasionally salty demeanor. The Minj does a lot of queefing about how drag helped her find her voice after a repressive upbringing and it all comes from a place of love, but the truth is that she only gets away with it because she wasn’t as stank as Violet.

Next up is Pearl, whose song “Sleepwalking” reminds us that this queen’s defining quality is her lifelessness. At least someone taught her how to bend her arms at the elbow before the lip sync. The interview segment is funny because auxiliary material is provided: a video segment on “The Curse of Pearl” gets a great audience reaction, as does the running “joke” that everyone wants to sleep with her, but Miss Flazéda retains her signature pothead passivity. Though she earns points for the admission that if crowned, she’d spend her winnings on wigs. Not inspirational, but certainly practical and honest.

Violet’s sync delivers arguably the biggest surprise of the night. “So Many Daddies, Not Enough Time” gives her a chance to show off some classic burlesque moves to go with her classic styling, and while she doesn’t land every detail (you twirl your titty tassels, darling, don’t just let them hang there), she projects an unexpected amount of star quality.

rpdrfinale 04The interview questions aren’t exactly revelatory: she has been sewing for a long time, she decided to be confident and that was that, she encourages young drag queens to practice behind locked doors in the middle of the night. When Mimi Imfurst (that “behind locked doors in the middle of the night” isn’t just for the young ones, Mimi) elicits the reveal that Ms. Chachki voted for herself for Shadiest Queen, I’m not shocked. An award’s an award and this girl came to win.

And then at long last it’s time to bring the other contestants out, but only to spend five minutes delivering droopy quips and tying up loose ends. Tempest reassures us that she and Kandy are friends, removing a huge weight off the shoulders of the three or four people who were worried about that. Sasha is a superfan who not only thought she cracked the code, but also hosts her own local Drag Race. I’m not going to say anything mean about her here because I get the impression that she is definitely reading this. And, like, every other recap out there. Jasmine says her most exciting moment was meeting Kennedy. Not meeting Ru, mind you: meeting Kennedy. She was inspired by Patti LaBelle and OH MY GOODNESS MISS PATTI SENT A VIDEO MESSAGE HOLD ON IMA NEED A MINUTE. Following that triumph, Mrs. Kasha Davis delivers a rock solid little comedy routine and provides evidence that she is in fact married in the form of a bow-tied husband. Though it was pretty shady of Ru to ask if that man was real.

rpdrfinale 03After Kandy admits, as we all suspected, that she only recently learned how to paint her face, Ru gives Max precisely seven seconds to talk about how she’s not a prude before moving on. Her haste has a solid motivation, at least: she needs to make someone else cry. This time Jaidynn is her target. After a reminder that Ms. Fierce hasn’t discussed her sexuality with her family, they play a taped confessional from Mama Diore. She doesn’t go as far as to say that she accepts her gay son, but she does promise never to abandon him, and that reassurance is enough.

Fame brings a live chicken onto the stage. A live chicken. Chicken. Live.

Though Trixie’s impersonation of RuPaul doesn’t seem worthy of the roars it elicits from the crowd, Katya deserves whatever praise she gets. It hardly matters what she gets asked; she’s going to give a barely coherent, wildly profane response that I’m glad has been recorded for future generations to appreciate and study. Since Ru can’t make Kennedy cry with mama drama, she wonders aloud whether her pussy breaks during the splits. (No, we are told: it does not.) More queens from previous seasons read note cards, but their presence is just a sad reminder that previous seasons had better queens.

Finally, we reach the home stretch and start handing out some actual dollars. First up is Miss Congeniality, presented by last year’s winner BenDeLaCreme and her conjoined-at-the-boobs-a-la-Ginger-and-Sasha sister Michelle Visage. It is of course a victory for Katya because she is an angel from filthy drag heaven and everyone should kiss her toes.

rpdrfinale 05That leaves only one crown to be distributed. (And a scepter, if we’re gonna be picky about it.) To bestow the honor, Bianca Del Rio emerges in head-to-toe silver glitter. It is a breathtaking entrance that leaves no doubt who the real Drag Superstar is. All three of this season’s finalists don’t add up to one Bianca Del Rio. But someone has to follow her, and that someone is…

Did Ru just say Katya’s name? Oh God Katya is walking out YOU GUYS IT’S HAPPENING I’M PEEING THERE’S PEE EVERYWHERE SHE’S GONNA-

…ask for water.

After that false alarm, Violet’s crowning doesn’t even seem like a climax. It’s like giving someone an iPad box full of chocolate. Like, sure, this chocolate is delicious, but I thought I was getting what I really wanted. Anyway, congrats, Miss Chachki. You’ve got style, you’ve got grace, you give good face, you’ve got a small waist. Guess it wasn’t time for a plus-sized winner after all.