RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 Finale Recap

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 Finale Recap

The four-way face-off quickly took a dramatic turn.

The four-way face-off quickly took a dramatic turn.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

At last, a new queen has been crowned. Aquaria, the 22-year-old wunderkind known for her gag-worthy looks and powerful social media brand, snagged the Season 10 crown on a twist-and-turn-filled finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race last night, beating out Kameron Michaels and Eureka O’Hara in a ballistic threeway lip-sync battle.

The top three showdown came as a surprise given the finale’s format, which began as a fairly predictable four-way bracket between Aquaria, Michaels, O’Hara and fan favorite Asia O’Hara. But after Kameron Michaels sent Asia O’Hara home in a stunning first round (more on that later), it was anyone’s game; Michaels, who clawed her way out of the bottom four times, may have been the unlikely lip sync assassin of the season, but few expected the laconic looks queen to make it to top two. But with the second round came yet another paradigm shift; with  O’Hara’s triple-reveal and Aquaria’s torrid dance breaks, the two queens seemed neck-and-neck by the end their rendition of Janet Jackson’s “If.” But rather than break the tie, Ru greenlit them both—setting up a precedent-breaking melee as the final round.

But by far the most puzzling twist came when Asia O’Hara, dressed in a butterfly-inspired gown, attempted her reveal while facing off against Michaels to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.” Close to the beginning of the number, O’Hara expectantly opened a device on her wrist to reveal, well, nothing. She then detached her two protruding chest cones, but again, crickets—or, rather, butterflies. Dead ones! As audience members looked on open-mouthed, the camera cut to a close-up of several insects crawling across the stage, clinging to dear life. While the exact number of insects harmed in the making of the program has yet to be determined, O’Hara has since apologized for the mishap on Instagram, explaining that her original, apparently well-rehearsed idea to set free a cloud of butterflies “did not go as planned.”

Despite the few minor casualties, the finale was a life-affirming event overall. The program marked a decade since the boundary-pushing reality show’s first season premiered on Logo in 2009. With well-wishes from with A-listers like Oprah Winfrey, and a best-of reel featuring an illustrious line of guest stars like Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera, the reunion served as a reminder of just how far the show has come since that first season, which is often razzed for its shoddy production value and comically gauzy camerawork. Several queens from that vaseline-coated era returned to the stage to face off against Season 10 cast-offs in a series of mini lip-sync battles, including Ongina and Miss Congeniality Nina Flowers.

A new Miss Congeniality was also crowned: in one of the night’s most heartwarming interlude, Monét X. Change took home the honorific, expressing genuine surprise when her name was called. Congeniality seemed to be a theme of the night: despite an early conflict between Aquaria and The Vixen that seemed to be a microcosm of the current political climate, the Vixen could be seen cheering on Aquaria from the audience. And with the hellfire and brimstone currently blazing in the real-life political landscape, Aquaria’s well-deserved win is a well-timed reminder of those essential eight words: don’t be a drag, just be a queen.

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