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Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 12 The Finale recap

It’s the end of season 12 and three queens remain to battle it out for one last time. Who will walk away America’s Next Drag Superstar?

Drag Race s12
Credit: Twitter/@RuPaulsDragRace

   

It’s the finale of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 12 and because of lockdown things are being done a but differently. There’s no live audience, no production crew and no make up team; not a problem for the contestants, but seems mama Ru has decided she’d rather just wear a succession of facekinis.

Season 12 has been, for the most part, a great season. It has been marred by the controversy around Sherry Pie, which led to her disqualification from the finale she earned her place in.  Some of the challenges and catwalks really soared (Madonna rusical, colour purple) whilst others didn’t really work for me (World’s worst, Night of 100 Michelles).

Rock and Jan were sent home too early in my opinion and Brita hung on for far too long. As we got to the tail end of the competition, Ru praised the queens for being some of the best queens that have ever appeared on the show.  Despite the constant, “This isn’t Rupaul’s Best Friend Race” comments, this bunch genuinely seemed to get on, especially the last 6 or so.

From Day 1, it was obvious Gigi would be a finalist and Jaida also had some early wins before showing that she had star power even when struggling (for example the stand up challenge). Crystal is perhaps the most surprising finalist.

Early on Ru seemed a bit obsessed with Crystal’s mullet, but her quirky approach didn’t seem to go far enough and landed Crystal in the bottom end of the competition at the start. All that changed in the makeover challenge (when she clearly should’ve been the winner) when her Bert and Ernie look gave a real insight into Crystal’s unique style. It gave her the confidence to be herself and since then shes been beautifully bonkers.

As the Finale began, we saw all of the contestants (bar Sherry) at home or in their garden or rooftop.  Many of the queens had upped their game with Dahlia giving a nod to Miss Brocolina and Black Widow going full spider.  Crystal went full Pinata, Gigi wore conical bra dress and blue velvet helmet and Jaida served us the universe with her stars and planets mobiles.

After a short montage of video messages declaring that the show had been the saving grace of lockdown from previous guest judges including Whoopi Goldberg and Adam Lambert, Ru then spoke individually to each of the finalists.  They had all changed outfits with Crystal wearing a bit of a confusing pink, hairy-chested body suit with pink face and a purple glittery nose.  Was she a troll perhaps?  There were nice videos from the finalists family members and each girl had to give their younger self a message as is tradition on the show.  I was most moved by Gigi who hinted that her dad hadn’t always perhaps fully accepted him as a child and his love of drag.  Thankfully, it seems that he’s now come to terms with it.  Was also fun to see Jaida’s big brother and father giving their support.

One of this year’s stand out stars, and my personal fave, Heidi N Closet then gave us a video piece about how to social distance.  It was a bit cringey, but you can’t help but love her!

Then it came down to business, the three finalists first task was to deliver a close up lip sync to Rupaul’s song Bring Back My Girls.  Seeing the three girls on a split screen was really interesting as it allowed you to see simultaneously how each was performing.  This one I’m giving to Gigi, whose eyelashes beat impeccably to the beat. Jaida and Crystal also gave good face, but I just couldn’t take my eyes from Gigi.

 

 

As an interlude, the girls of season 12 transformed Cover Girl into a song pushing Americans to register to vote, with some of the vocals better than others.

Next up each finalist had to choose a song to lip sync, create a set and film it with the help of someone from their household. First up was Crystal and what a performance. She performed I”m like a Bird by Nelly Furtado dressed as the head of a mama bird puppet talking to her egg. Then she played the part of the newly hatched chick puppet. It was amazing, like Seasme Street on drugs and included Mama bird regurgitating green slime into baby bird’s mouth. The bar was set amazingly high.

 

 

Gigi had created a brilliant comic book back drop for her recreation of A-ha’s Take on Me which eagle-eyed viewers will note had Crystal on too (the two are rumoured to be dating).  She wore a white jumpsuit covered in writing which halfway through she jumped and it changed to a black jump suit in reverse. It was a crisp, on-point performance.

 

Finally came Jaida who opted to start on her sofa in a robe as she lip synced to Ciara’s Get Up. Unfortunately following the previous two, the production looked really amateurish but her dance moves were incredible as she revealed a figure hugging,  black sequined catsuit and high kicks galore.

 

Ru was supposed to send one girl packing after this but instead, after positive feedback from Michelle, Carson and Ross, she sent all three through to the final lip sync.

Before that, there was a funny video conversation between Nina West and Dolly Parton, before Nina joined the Season 12 queens over Zoom to announce this year’s Miss Congeniality title.  No surprises that it went to the lovely Heidi;  she stood up for fellow queens like Aidan and herself and was just a ray of sunshine on the show.

 

Then reigning champ Evie Oddly sent a video montage and made me realise we’ve not seen much of her this season or for the celebrity series.

On to the final lip sync and each queen had the same backdrop sent to them and the screen was split into three so we could see all their performances simultaneously.  Jaida had a cloak on so we knew there was at least one reveal coming. The track was Destiny’s Child’s Survivor and all three lip synced for the crown.

As suspected Jaida’s cloak came off to reveal an orange catsuit with cut outs. Crystal was a blast of colour and Gigi looked a little like a stylish milk maid with her gingham dress and bunches.  She did pull out a surprise peel down to change the grey dress to a blue one and pulled off her black boots to reveal ruby red slippers in a nod to Dorothy from Wizard of Oz.  Jaida ended with another reveal; a surprise crown on her cape that appeared to float over her head as the song finished.

 

I wasn’t expecting this format to work but actually as the show progressed, I began to forget that the format was different to normal.  Before the show started, I thought Jaida would win but equally either of the other girls could take it.  Based on this finale alone Gigi was the clear winner for me.

Rupaul declared the winner as Jaida! I would’ve been happy with that result before seeing the final, but unfortunately this format put Jaida 3rd for me, then again its not Rupaul’s production star is it?

Condragulations Jaida and to all the other queens and team behind the show, it’s been a thoroughly entertainting show!

 

 

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