SPOILERS: The article below contains spoilers from the season 10 finale of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and reveals last night’s winner.
If you haven’t watched yet DO NOT continue pass the jump.
After one of the most legendary seasons of “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” 22-year-old Aquaria from New York City was declared the winner on last night’s season finale.
With her win, Aquaria recieves a year-long supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics and $100,000. She also continues a run of three straight years with a New York City winner as Bob the Drag Queen won in 2016 and Sasha Velour took it home in 2017.
Entering last night, four queens were still in the running towards becoming America’s Next Drag Superstar, and the finale repeated last year’s controversial but popular finish: a lip-sync tournament smackdown for the crown.
After nearly an hour of fluff and interviews with the four finalists, the Gay Super Bowl was ready to begin.
Nashville queen and lipsync assassin Kameron Michaels won the random spin of the wheel to get to choose her lipsync opponent for the semifinal, and she chose Dallas-based Asia O’Hara, leaving Aquaria to battle “Elephant Queen” Eureka.
With last year’s final four lipsyncs dominated by earth-shattering reveals, the Final Four looked to do their best to try and top last year’s stunts. But, the tea is that nobody will ever have a more jaw-dropping reveal than Sasha Velour’s roses in the wig. I’m sorry. It will never be topped. It is the power top.
Asia O’Hara attempted to best Velour’s reveal by incorporating butterflies in her lipsync. However, when it came time for the butterflies to fly, they fell flat and it overshadowed Asia’s lipsync.
Kameron is known for not being too flashy in her lipsyncs, but she is consistently solid with her moves and her words. Last night she delivered a strong, but not over the top, performance of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.”
In the end, less was more as Kameron advanced to the final lipsync and Asia sashayed away. I can appreciate Asia’s efforts to try to stand out, but this was a big risk that did not pay off. Even if the butterflies had done what they were supposed to, I feel like it overshadowed her performance and her dancing. Had it worked, maybe there would have been a different result, but I guess Asia’s butterface was much better than her butterfly.
The second lipsync was a lot closer between Eureka and Aquaria as the two lipsynced to “If” by Janet Jackson. Eureka looked to try and win the lipsync with powerful reveals, and she had three successful ones that she strategically placed throughout the song: her wig went from red to blonde, her top turned inside out from purple to red, and then she took her top off to reveal a stunning bodysuit underneath.
Aquaria dropped her silver cover-up right at the beginning of her song to reveal a pink bodysuit decorated with cones that channeled Vivacious’s Season 6 look, but what won Aquaria the lipsync was her rendition of the original “If” choreography.
Overall, Aquaria’s first lipsync of the season was very entertaining to watch and there was little, if anything, to fault. Eureka also came through with another strong performance as she really did not do anything to deserve to be eliminated.
In the end, RuPaul surprised everyone with a double “shante you stay” and Eureka and Aquaria both advanced to the final lipsync with Kameron Michaels. I didn’t find much wrong in sending them both to the final lipsync as it added drama and uncertainty, but lipsync battles are meant for two, mano a mano. I understand that neither Eureka or Aquaria did anything to warrant an elimination during the lipsync, but this is the finale, someone’s gotta win and someone’s gotta go.
If I had to choose one queen to advance from the lipsync, it would probably have been Aquaria because she brought a more balanced lipsync with more dance and less reveals versus Eureka, who danced beautifully, but brought a lot of the same dance moves we had seen from her all season and focused on her reveals, even if they were fantastic.
As the Final 3 prepared to lipsync for the crown, the 11 eliminated queens came up on stage for the coronation of Miss Congeniality. The title of Miss Congeniality is important as it is a platform that a queen can use to promote a positive message and be a role model to the queer youth of the world. However, for the first time ever, the poll for Miss Congeniality was hacked, so the award was decided amongst the queens themselves. I like the idea of the queens voting together on Miss Congeniality, because as we saw last year, the winner of Miss Congeniality is not necessarily the most congenial. Valentina is a fan favorite girl, not Miss Congeniality. She is one shady queen. I think this should be something they continue in future seasons and if they want to have a fan favorite vote on VH1, then that’s fine too. There can be two separate categories.
Had the public voted for Miss Congeniality, Vanjie is probably your winner. And Vanjie was on for literally one episode. That does not mean she isn’t the most congenial, but there are certainly better options. In the end, Monet X Change was given the crown as Miss Congeniality, which is something I can get behind too. Personally, I would have voted for Asia O’Hara, the queen who stood up for The Vixen in the Reunion and was never truly shady at any one point during the season. But Monet is definitely a worthy title holder of Miss Congeniality.
After Miss C was crowned, the moment the viewers came for finally arrived. They could not have stretched this moment out any further. I was watching the show prerecorded, but I could not imagine having watched it live. The commercials would have put me to sleep before the final lipsync took place.
In the first three-way lipsync in the show’s history, Aquaria, Eureka and Kameron lipsynced to “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande. With three people on stage though, it was hard to keep up with all of them. The camera panned in so many different directions that it was hard to pay attention to all of them. The lipsync featured a lot of dancing and cartwheels as all three queens used up the entire stage, but a few stunts were pulled during the final moment of the season.
Kameron again kept things rather mild and relied on her performance as opposed to stunts. It got her past four lipsyncs, but it could not get her past a fifth. This was probably her weakest lipsync of the season as it looked like she fumbled on some of the lyrics.
Eureka garnered a lot of cheers during her small reveal. Her corset featured the words “The Big Girl” and halfway through the song, she tore off the words to reveal the word “Wins” underneath. It was small and clever, but it didn’t wow me.
Aquaria stepped it up from her semifinal lipsync in terms of stunts. She began the song by throwing a spark into the air, which fit the theme of her black and gold look. She also shot confetti into the air with her confetti gun twice, once during the middle of the song and once at the end.
Aquaria started the season coming off as an entitled queen who got everything she wanted and looked like she was handed everything to her instead of earning it. However, she earned the respect of the fans and turned a lot of opinions throughout the season. She came to the runway every time impressing with fashion-forward looks and cemented a place as one of ‘Drag Race’s’ greatest fashion queens and even showed some versatility with a win as Melania Trump in “Snatch Game” and a strong performance as Dyslexa in the “Breastworld” challenge.
She also ended with two strong finale lipsyncs and had the best statistics of the season as she never landed in the bottom two. She did not do anything to deserve an elimination, and her character arc throughout the season was one of the most compelling to watch.
She’s not my favorite, but I’m satisfied with an Aquaria win. It is very much deserved and most fans are pleased with the result. Going into the night, I was rooting for Kameron as I was hoping she could complete the underdog story arc with a win, but it was not meant to be. Aquaria is the undisputed, heavyweight drag queen champion of the world and now she has a year to represent the LGBTQ community as our queen.
All images from RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter and Facebook