'RuPaul's Drag Race' Recap: Episode 14 'Grand Finale'
Brittany:Well, we’ve finally made it. The grand finale where one queen is crowned to rule them all—or at least until next season. But before we get to the four queen bees, let’s talk about the eliminated queens. The 11 other contestants had one last chance to strut their stuff on the runway, and girl did they deliver. I can’t believe I’m saying this after her monstrosity of a runway look in the first episode, but Soju served us a gorgeous modern geisha look in deep red. I also loved Ariel’s bubblegum pink tulle getup. It was so fun, and her whole look was the epitome of “life-size Bratz doll.” And of course Miss Nina, who served us Hollywood glam with a touch of camp. A paper doll dress! Brilliant!
Erica: Oh, that’s what those white tabs were. That went over my head, which is strange because I lived for paper dolls when I was little. That’s the best most of the queens looked all season. Ru opted for a simpler neon green dress. I can’t get enough of her hilarious personality. But I think she bit Nina a little bit when she called the season “eleven-gendary.”
Brittany: After the runway, the top four queens was reintroduced through pseudo-serious video interviews/montages. It was a chance for the queens to ham it up one last time for the camera, walk out in some sickening looks and wave to their families in the audience. Not terribly memorable, but cute and silly. What did you think?
Erica: I thought it was fine. The goofy skits from each queen didn’t bother me. A’Keria returned to her twerking character, and talked about being a phoenix we might not see coming. I started to believe she might be a dark horse that could surprise us. She also mentioned she was proud to represent black queers who felt like they were never enough. I was happy to hear that because I know there is some racism within the LGBTQ community that is often swept under the rug. And it was fitting that, following A’Keria’s segment, Ru reminded us that it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots—led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two activists of color who aregetting their own monument in New York.
Brittany: It was a timely and lovely tribute, but am I a terrible person for thinking it wasmaybea little bit motivated by the fire Ru came under last year regardingcomments she made about trans women? (What can I say? I’m a cynical writer. #shocker) But even my cold heart was melted during Silky’s video. Neither of us are Big Silk fans, but when she talked about growing up “big, black and gay” in the deep South, it put her personality in perspective. Being larger-than-life self was her armor, repelling any mean or negative comments. She also acknowledged her tendency to be a little sloppy, which led to a cute skit with Ts Madison (who Silky impersonated in the “Snatch Game” episode) on the finer details of table settings.
Erica: I was thinking, “Wow, Silky, I’m … inspired.” But not so inspired I wanted her to win. I was still pulling for Brooke Lynn Hytes, who showed us she wasn’t just a “cold-hearted bitch” through clips of her twerking and riding a scooter on the street. I think I was most entertained by Yvie Oddly’s adventures holding a “Free Hugs” sign on the street in a rather prickly getup. There was also a surprise appearance by none other than Miss Vanjie! She should definitely have her own show.
Brittany: You know I will always take more Vanjie. I’m so glad they gave her something to do. Clearly, Mama Ru caught on to how many people love Vanjie. As far as Yvie, I loved her first look of the night. It was one of my favorite looks this season. I also thought it was sweet that her parents put aside their differences (she said they haven’t talked in five years) to sit next to each other and support Yvie at the finale. How could you not melt when Papa Oddly talked about making his biker club watch Yvie and Brooke Lynn’s lip sync?
Erica: That was a definite highlight. I’m sure that biker club watched tonight’s episode. Lucky for Yvie, she wasn’t selected to go first on the lip sync wheel. That person was Silky, who looked incredibly nervous. She was tasked with picking a competitor, and I thought, strategically, she should choose A’Keria. However, she surprised me by picking Brooke Lynn. Was she being kind by not choosing to go against her bestie? Was she taking a go-for-broke, I-want-to-beat-the-best approach? Whatever the reason, she just couldn’t match Brooke Lynn’s performance of Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” (complete with ropes that she used to reveal her trusted pointe shoes!). While Silky was much better than she had been, she was still a bit...all over the place in my opinion.
Brittany: I agree; I thought she should have picked A’Keria too. Not to say A’Keria isn’t good, but I wouldn’t want to go against Yvie or Brooke Lynn after seeing them lip sync in episode eight. I did love Silky’s multiple outfit changes. She had on three wigs! But I think the costume changes were a way to distract from her performance rather than add to it. Brooke Lynn did great, and ultimately won, but I expected more. I know, that’s crazy to say when the girl walked on pointe shoes and did a handstand. But her performances have been so great and mind-blowing I was ready for her to swallow swords this time around.
Erica: We are on the same page. And during the next round—the song was Rihanna’s “SOS”—I expected more from both A’Keria and Yvie Oddly. But I think we just got a bunch of chaos. A’Keria did a wig reveal of her own, but I was not impressed. However, she was more composed than Yvie, but it makes sense that Yvie advanced. I don’t think Mama Ru was going to send one of the lip sync assassins home after one lackluster performance.
Brittany: Something tells me Ru knew who the final two would be a long time ago. I thought A’Keria looked good though. She was cohesive and definitely the most improved lip syncer. (My 3-year-old niece agreed, dubbing the girl in the “blue dress” the best.) But before we got to the final battle, we had to crown this season’s Miss Congeniality. Last season’s Miss C, Monét X Change, had the honor of crowning … drum roll please … NINA F*$@ING WEST. (Like anyone else stood a chance.) When Ru asked Nina if there was anything she’d like to say, without missing a beat Nina looked at her trophy and said, “Meh.” God I love her.
Erica: Columbus is so proud of her. After her little joke, she said, “Kindness is king and love leads the way.” Such a class act and what a great way to complete the dream she fought so hard for all these years. After accomplishing so much in her career already, I have a feeling her star is going to continue to rise. We’ll have to catch her in the city when we can! So what did you think of the rematch between Brooke Lynn and Yvie to the tune of Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” in the final round?
Brittany: I loved Brooke Lynn’s metallic jumpsuit. It was the perfect outfit to show off her dance moves and long limbs. Yvie’s ball gown was an odd (#sorrynotsorry) choice. It didn’t seem like the best outfit for a balls-to-the-wall last-chance lip sync. I kept expecting her to take it off. But then again, Yvie’s performance was more art house than club. The thing is—and I know I’ve kind of said this—it would be difficult for anything to top Yvie and Brooke Lynn’s previous lip sync. They both did a good job tonight, but the wow factor will always belong with their first battle.
Erica: Brooke Lynn had fun with her performance by wearing that robe with “Here Comes the Reveal” written on it before showing off the jumpsuit. But after that, she did the same moves we saw earlier in the season. I was expecting so much more from her. Now don’t get me wrong, she’s always on point(e)—”literally,” #sorrynotsorry—but she started to look like a one-trick ballerina. And I thought Yvie’s outfit was regal, while staying true to her edginess. When she turned her head to reveal her second mask, I instantly knew she should take the crown. And she did! And I’m not mad at all!
Brittany: Me either. Although I was #TeamBrookeLynn I really grew to appreciate Yvie’s drag and her backstory. She was a fierce competitor and stayed true to her name. I know the internet will say there have been better seasons. Not having seen all of them, I can’t agree or disagree. But it was a fun ride, made better with the addition of Nina.
Erica: Absolutely. I can’t think of a better way to have spent 14(!) weeks. It was a commitment, but, “we do it for love.” Now let the music play!