RuPaul’s Drag Race – Season 12, The Grand Finale. Ready for a re-cap?
Are you up to speed with The Grand Finale of Season 12? Let’s get into it.
You’d have to say that the production team have done a pretty good job in adapting the format of the Grand Finale to a world defined by lock-down and social distancing. We’re used to the Grand Finale being a red-carpet, big occasion event, but this season’s climax had a similar energy to the Zoom call of last week’s Reunion episode.
RuPaul is sticking with his face-kini for these broadcasts. It’s a choice.
The entire cast had a role to play in this show, but naturally the focus was on our Top 3 – Crystal, Gigi, and Jaida.
Essentially, this was a three-part show-down.
Stage 1 – a close-up lip-sync to a new RuPaul track.
Stage 2 – a self-directed lip-sync production.
Stage 3 – a lip-sync for your life between all three queens.
This was solid from everyone. The screen was split into three, and just the face of the queen was in frame.
- Gigi seemed to have a bit of an advantage being the centre panel, and she’s got an expressive face that consistently drew your attention.
- Crystal’s make-up was so striking, that it drew you in – trying to figure out what was going on and how she’d done it.
- Jaida gives good face, and she was able to pull focus by moving right up to the camera.
This was probably the biggest test – each queen got to effectively create their own music video. I’m assuming that they got to choose which track they wanted to lip-sync to, but this wasn’t really spelt out.
- Crystal was up first, and she performed to I’m Like A Bird by Nelly Furtado. This was genius. She was an actual bird and also a baby bird. There was a regurgitation feeding in the performance. Mind-blowingly bizarre and great.
- Gigi was second and she performed to Take On Me by a-ha. This was clever and really thought out. Drawing direct inspiration from the original music video, this was a fully realised concept perfectly delivered.
- Jaida finished it off with her performance of Get Up by Ciara. Jaida gave us realness. You can imagine that if Ciara was in lock-down and had to record herself performing this track, then it would probably look something like this.
The final challenge was a three-way lip-sync to Survivor by Destiny’s Child. Each of the queens were given the same set to construct at home, so they were all working with the same backdrop and lighting.
This track probably best suited Jaida’s look and performance style, but all three delivered a solid lip-sync. There was a lot of detail to enjoy in Gigi’s reveals, but the performance didn’t necessarily connect with the track.
At the end of the day it was Jaida that was crowned the winner, and no one is going to be upset about that. This was a strong cast, a strong top-3, and Jaida exemplifies drag excellence in every department.
Predictably, Heidi was voted Miss Congeniality.
The Sherry Pie saga
Right from the get-go, Season 12 has given us an unexpected twist. Before we’d even met Sherry Pie (she made her entrance in Episode 2) she was feeling the social media heat of being a public figure.
Sherry Pie is the drag persona of Joey Gugliemelli. Before Episode 2 went to air, five men came forward to tell their stories about being catfished by Gugliemelli.
The men allege that Gugliemelli posed as a casting agent and asked them do film themselves performing sex acts as part of a casting process.
There was no denial from Gugliemelli. On the contrary, on his official Sherry Pie Facebook page, he posted a long apology that seemed to pretty much accept and confirm the allegations made.
“I want to start by saying how sorry I am that I caused such trauma and pain…” wrote Gugliemelli. “I know that the pain and hurt that I have caused will never go away and I know that what I did was wrong and truly cruel. I also want to say how sorry I am to my sisters of season 12 and honestly the whole network and production company.”
As the show went to air, the producers of Drag Race confirmed that Sherry Pie had been disqualified and wouldn’t be appearing in the final episode. We now know that she made it to the Top 4.
We first met Aiden in Episode 2. Aiden always felt a bit inexperienced to really go the distance in this competition. She left us in Episode 6, Snatch Game was her downfall. She will be remembered for her commitment to making a wig earn its keep.
A seasoned New York queen, Brita was first into the work-room in Episode 1 and made a strong start. However, from thereon in it was hard-going for Brita. She got the villain-of-the-season edit, which suggests that she was a bit of a headache for the production crew. Episode 7 saw her lip-syncing for her third (and last) time.
Super-likeable Crystal hit the ground running from Episode 1. But then things got a bit rocky. There’s so much to love about Crystal, but it’s taken her a while to find her feet in this competition. But she’s made it all the way to Top 3.
We first met Dahlia in Episode 2. She looks great, and she’s got plenty of sass. The improv challenge proved to be her downfall and she was the first to leave the show, saying goodbye in Episode 3. However, she’s going to be forever haunted by that sexy broccoli costume – the cameos have been totally overdone. Who finds this funny? No one. Hopefully she can turn it into a merch opportunity.
Her mother makes her outfits and she’s big on Instagram. Finishing in the top-two of Episode 1 demonstrated that Gigi is more than just a look-queen, she’s got some personality. What we didn’t expect is that Gigi is an all-round talent. Beyond the looks – which are flawless – she’s funny, she’s got personality, and she can do back-flips. She made it to the Top 3.
Everyone agrees it’s a terrible name, but Heidi can dance and her personality really shines. She’s also allergic to kale. Despite my predictions that she’d probably reached the end of the road several episodes ago, Heidi made it all the way to Episode 11. We’re going to be seeing a lot more from Heidi – winner of Season 12’s Miss Congeniality.
She’s a New York City girl and Jackie Cox is pure entertainment. She made it all the way to Episode 12, before losing a lip-sync against Crystal. Jackie has won a lot of fans from her time on Drag Race.
We first met Jaida in Episode 2. She’s beautiful, she’s funny, and she also makes all of her own clothes. Jaida is the kind of all-rounder who always looked like she was going to make it to the finish line in this show. She didn’t just make Top 3, she snatched the trophy and wears the crown.
We first met Jan in Episode 2. She came into this competition with a big New York reputation, and she totally backed it up with a strong showing straight out the gate. Jan was eliminated in Episode 8. I don’t understand why. I’m still angry about it. She deserved better than this. Not happy, Jan.
Originally from France and now based in NYC, Nicky is beautiful and serves looks. We also love how she rolls her eyes in the confessionals when the producers don’t understand her accent or get her references. She survived the lip-sync in Episode 3, finished Top 3 in Episode 4, but was back in the Bottom 2 for Episode 5 and was knocked out by Heidi.
We first met Rock in Episode 2. With her really strong anime aesthetic, it was a bit hard to know what to expect from Rock, but she’s got loads of personality and looks really comfortable on stage. She got a raw deal in Episode 4 and was eliminated when she lost the lip-sync to Brita.
A theatre queen, Sherry Pie has landed in some hot water before even hitting our screens. We first met Sherry in Episode 2 where she made it into the Top 2 and she’s continued to perform strongly since then. Sherry made it to the Top 4 but wasn’t included in the filming of the Grand Finale. Cancelled before the show even gets going – a new record!
The winner of Episode 1, Widow is a performer with personality for days. She’s started strong and was fairly solid throughout the competition. However, Episode 9 was the end of the road when she lost a lip-sync to Jackie.
There’s been some serious fire-power on the judging panel this season.
- Episode 1 was Nicki Minaj.
- Episode 2 was Thandie Newton and Robyn.
- Episode 3 was Olivia Munn.
- Episode 4 was Leslie Jones.
- Episode 5 was Normani.
- Episode 6 was Daniel Franzese and Jonathan Bennett.
- Episode 7 was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Winnie Harlow.
- Episode 8 was Chaka Khan.
- Episode 9 was Jeff Goldblum and Rachel Bloom.
- Episode 10 was Daisy Ridley.
- Episode 11 was Whoopi Goldberg.
- Episode 12 was Jamal Sims.
The recurring judges of the reality drag competition remain Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Ross Mathews.
The Pit Crew
We’ve hardly seen the Pit Crew at all this season – they seem to have been a bit of a wasted resource.
What happens next?
It’s a bit hard to believe, but there’s no rest from Drag Race – next week, we’re straight into All Stars 5.
Buckle up kids, there’s a lot more Drag Race to come.