Hey kids. It’s been a *while* since my last write-up… But really, we only skipped one “true” episode, where Yara Sofia was sent home. And we all saw that coming, didn’t we? Now before I get started, fair warning—due to technical difficulties, we are lacking pics tonight, particularly those of Alexis. Sorry y’all!
Alright, let’s get down to it: the grand finale of Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race! This season had its highs and lows, but we ended up with a pretty decent set of gals in the top three: Raja, Manila, and Alexis. We all know my feelings by now—I am obsessed with Alexis, I hate Manila, and Raja is pretty and smart but I don’t really think she’s a true drag queen.
Aww, I’m going to miss the opening music… RuPaul’s laugh… That robotic singing voice… why does it have to end?!
The episode starts off with a video review of Raja, Manila and Alexis’s greatest hits. While lounging in the workroom, Raja announces that she has newfound respect for Alexis. It’s about damned time! Alexis reflects back on Raja’s weird-ass Cyclops hat in the season premiere. Raja says she didn’t realize how annoying Manila was until midway through the season… Wow, Raja must have been under a mental rock half the time.
Michelle Visage enters the workroom, much to the girls’ surprise. Michelle lets the girls know that for their final challenge, they will become Greek goddesses and costar in Ru’s video for the song “Champion.” Aussie Matthew Anderson will direct, and the weirdo Ryan Heffington (Alexis: “he looks like the genie from the lamp”) will choreograph. Each girl will also have a one-on-one tic-tac luncheon with Ru.
Alright, for the last time, let’s go girl by girl:
We’ll start with my favorite lady, Alexis. During her lunch with Ru and her final rating of herself, she says she feels blessed to know that her family is rooting for her. She judges herself too hard, but she is a fighter and doesn’t regret anything because it has made her stronger. YOU GO GIRL!!! Alexis giggles and flirts while she’s rehearsing her dance scene with Jason, one of the pit crew guys. (I know, right? I didn’t realize the pit crew guys had names, either.) During the “athlete” scene, Alexis wears huge hair and declares “the bigger the hair, the closer to God!” The director, choreographer and judges all think Alexis’s poses in the video are amazing, athletic and Olympian. Her runway outfit is pink, fluffy, sparkly and ADORABLE. The judges agree that Alexis always stays true to herself; she never lets down her sweetness, vulnerability and honesty. But, the judges note that Alexis’s “Florida style of drag” has been considered by many to be too regional. Ru’s final judgment: “Alexis, your smile and spirit remind us all of the joy that drag brings to the world. It breaks my heart to say this, but you are not America’s next drag superstar.” NOOOOOOO!!! She isn’t even asked to lipsync for her life!!! Ugh, I don’t even care about the rest of the episode. Fucking shit.
Well, now that I’m already in a bad mood, let’s review Manila. During her rehearsal with Jason the Pit Crew Guy, Manila says “watch yourself, I’m a married woman. What’s my boyfriend going to think?” Who the hell cares, I hate you Manila. She puts on a blonde wig for the video and says “blonde Asian, y’all! Get used to it!” No, no I will not. Manila keeps fucking up the discus throw during the “athlete” portion of the video, and does an awkward leg-lift in the pit crew scene. On the runway, Manila wears an obnoxious plastic crown. This is why I hate her: ugly colors, overly done eyebrows, too much gaudy jewelry, Cruella Deville highlights. Her final runway look is all-around annoying. But, the judges tell her she’s a pretty pretty princess (sigh). Michelle Visage in particular is a fan: “Manila can do everything, she’s a knockout, her personality is fantastic, she has a wonderful stage presence and can actually speak.” Ugh, of course Michelle Visage likes her. The other judges think that Manila stops herself on an emotional level. Ru tells Manila to lipsync for her life.
With a sigh of relief, we’re moving onto Raja. During her tic-tac feast, Raja admits she’s an introvert who owns the runway. She says her duality comes from being a Gemini… Actually, that does make some sense. Raja hopes her parents will watch the show and pay attention. “I am a beautiful person, and it’s taken a long time and a treacherous journey, but I’m in this moment and it feels great. I’m proud of it.” Well said, Raja. During her video rehearsal, Raja is called out for screwing up the moves. But she turns up the heat in her scene with the pit crew dude. Director: “did that kind of look like a head job?” Is that what they call it in Australia? The director makes a few more choice comments during Raja’s javelin throw: “do it hard and fast, keep the tip up.” Raja then licks her fencing sword, just for good measure. On the runway, Raja is serving Chicago, All That Jazz, Cabaret. In Manila’s critique of Raja, she says Raja is very high fashion, but sometimes too editorial. I would agree. Michelle Visage: “Does she do anything besides high fashion?” But, Ru correctly notes that Raja takes genderfuck and heightens it; makes it intellectual. Santino agrees; he enjoys Raja’s Victor/Victoria take on drag—it’s different, fresh and new. The judges concur that Raja knows how to work her androgyny for the camera. Raja is invited to lipsync for her life with Manila.
During the lipsync, all eyes are on Raja and she knows it. She’s giving high-fashion model poses and dancing; Manila is giving a stale version of Cher. Unsurprisingly, Ru announces that America’s next drag superstar is Raja. Raja bursts into tears. Wow, it’s refreshing to see some raw emotion coming from Raja. Ru presents Raja with her crown, and Raja does a runway performance to “Superstar.” Meanwhile, Manila cries mascara-black tears backstage. Bye bye, Manila… And congratulations, Raja.
Well, that’s it folks. I think Raja’s experience in the modeling world, combined with her thin frame and striking beauty, took her all the way to the top. I definitely agree that Raja is heightening genderfuck… I’m just not sure I would call it “drag.” I would almost say it’s like genderplay modeling, or something to that effect. What do you all think? Do you agree with Raja winning? Who do you think should have won? Leave comments!
On a side/end note, a big thanks to the BY Gays for inviting me to write RPDR recaps this season. It’s been fun! XO!
And until next season, don’t be jealous of my boogie.