Welcome to our weekly look at what has been going on in the Werk Room and Main Stage of Rupaul’s Drag Race stateside.
If you want to avoid spoilers for Rupaul’s Drag Race, stop reading now.
Season 13 has perhaps felt a little long winded at times and, I believe, had a record number of weeks where no eliminations were made. Now though, four queens remain to fight for the title of America’s next drag superstar and a cash prize of $100,000.
This episode is different to previous season finales (due to Covid restrictions) with just Rupaul and the four finalists – Gottmik, Kandy, Rosé and Symone – in an empty theatre. But don’t worry, fans are safely watching from a nearby drive-in where reigning champ Jaida Essence Hall is providing live link up. It’s not got the usual atmosphere but it’s the best that can be done in the current climate.
Right off the bat we are treated to three different catwalk looks; black and white, red all over and Grand Finale Extravaganza Eleganza. The first were particularly stunning with Rosé a standout. Gottmik and Kandy added some political statements to their outfits with BLM and AIDS awareness messages. Symone served the first of many interesting hair looks tonight including the biggest hair I think I’ve ever seen on Drag Race!
Later, each queen came on to the stage individually and had a montage video of their drag race journey as well as some sweet and funny messages from family members. It was really heart warming to see all the families being so supportive and positive of the contestants.
Ru then revealed that there would be two lip-sync battles with the winner of each going through to a final lip-sync face off. He also said that all three songs would be from Britney’s extensive back catalogue of hits.
A special wheel with the girls faces was spun on stage with Kandy the first queen selected. In the past the first queen selected would then get to choose their opponent, this time however, the wheel was spun again to decide who will go up against Kandy. As I nervously watched, I thought it would be either Symone or Gottmik (who I foresaw as the ultimate final two) and was shocked when the wheel narrowly missed Symone and stopped on Rosé instead.
As the pair lip-synced to ‘Work Bitch’, it was a solid, if a little pedestrian performance. Both had an outfit reveal, with Kandy’s being the most different to her starting outfit. Earlier in the show Rosé did say she had hurt her ankle so perhaps that’s why her performance saw her remain standing all the way through? In the end, it was Kandy who gave the more interesting routine. Ru agreed and sent Kandy through to the final lip-sync.
Next up, Symone and Gottmik lip-synced to ‘Gimme More’, but all I could think is whoever wins this is the overall winner. Any drama was gone from the finale now because I really couldn’t see Kandy winning.
Back to the lip-sync and Symone was dressed like a 90s Fresh Prince style dude and even grabbed his crotch like a man at first, then of course came the reveal of a dress and later a long wig. Gottmik clearly also had a reveal planned as her opening outfit looked like a bad baby doll dress. She quickly let it drop to become a bit of a flamenco style skirt. Wasn’t the most exciting lip-sync unfortunately, but as I said the winner, would likely take the whole competition so it was interesting to see which way Ru would go. He declared Symone to be the winner meaning she would go on to battle Kandy to ‘Til The World Ends.’
First, there was a tribute to past contestant, Chi Chi DeVayne who sadly passed away last year. Bob the Drag Queen, Kennedy Davenport and more appeared in a video montage, sharing their memories. It was a moving homage to a charismatic queen. Also Heidi N Closet came on stage to announce Miss Congeniality for this season over a zoom call as….. Lala Ri! I was surprised it wasn’t Olivia or Utica (as they probably were too!) but Lala is very likable and has actually come into her own, especially in last week’s strange reunion show.
The final lip-sync battle saw Symone in another boiler suit with weird tower like hair piece. Kandy was serving JLo vibes in a sparkly trouser suit with futuristic sunglasses; looking every part the popstar. As Britney’s party anthem played it was another acceptable but slightly unexciting lip-sync with Symone having an outfit reveal and then something popping out the top of her tower wig. I think perhaps Symone’s two looks for the lip-syncs felt too similar in some ways and you were waiting for the reveals rather than enjoying the performance.
Jaida came on stage ready to pass on the crown and it was no surprise that Symone was announced as the winner. It felt like it was her’s to lose from about episode 4, not that she isn’t a deserving winner; she has charisma by the bucketload, has served stunning looks and stands up for causes she believes in. Congrats Symone!
It has been an entertaining series and introduced some great characters. For me, it could’ve been a few episodes shorter, with fairer eliminations in places and more done to give drama in the final by changing the pairs for the initial lip-syncs.
Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 13 is available on Netflix in the UK.