RuPaul’s Drag Race – ‘Grand Finale’

Can you believe it’s the end of another season of Drag Race? It seems that just yesterday we met the 12 fabulous queens competing to be America’s Next Drag Superstar and now we’re down to the final three – Alexis Mateo, Raja and Manila Luzon. Yara Sofia left a lengthy farewell and a Puerto Rican flag to show his support for his fellow Puerto Rican queen, Alexis. Raja admits that over the course of the competition he’s gained respect for Alexis and may have been a bit hasty with the “booger” tag. Alexis confessed he thought Raja looked like something from The Muppet Show and Manila was plain “annoying” when they all first met. Manila cracks an old joke at Raja, to which he replies “The library is CLOSED!” Enough small talk, we’ve got a queen to crown! Oooh gurl, you’ve got She Mail!

After Ru’s vague tease, Michelle Visage comes into the work room to deliver the challenge. The queens are being turned into Greek goddesses, delivering some Xanadu realness as they co-star in the video for Ru’s new single “Champion”. Ru’s (phenomenal) stylist, Mathu Andersen is directing and famed choreographer Ryan Heffington will teach the queens some fancy footwork. Each of the queens also gets to enjoy the traditional, one-on-one Tic Tac lunch with RuPaul. I would love to have Tic Tacs with Ru! I’m jealous!

There’s lots more Drag Race finale realness – and videos – after the jump!

The ladyboys enter the studio and meet with Ryan. There’s no other way to put it, Ryan’s odd. He looks like Frank Zappa and is wearing some godawful red jumpsuit that he could very well have purchased at MC Hammer’s garage sale. (Maybe it is Zappa – I wouldn’t put it past him. He faked his death and is now back as a fey choreographer!) So, anywhoo…Raja is a bit concerned about the choreography because he’s a runway queen, not a dancing one. Actually, Alexis is the only one who’s pulling off the statuesque character Ryan’s looking for. Alexis meets with Ru for lunch, and they have a heartfelt chat. Here’s a clip:

Meanwhile, Raja gets to use one of the Pit Crew boys for a prop in a segment of the video and Ryan’s on hand to help him out:

I don’t care who you are, that’s hawt! Raja is having a hard time focusing and is deathly afraid of “f**king it up”. Ryan thinks Raja needs to let his guard down to make it work. Meanwhile, Manila lunches with Ru and talks about his family. He says that since he was a little boy, his father hasn’t been able to truly come around, accept who he is and be proud of him. Ru tells him it should be all about him – he should be proud of himself. (And he should be!) Alexis gets his chance to work with my beloved Jason of the Pit Crew, and he’s really excited to be doing so. Maybe too excited…he’s backing that ass up and grabbing Jason’s nipples during the “improv” part of the dance! Raja meets Ru for “lunch” and when he sees the Tic Tac on the plate cracks, “What is this, Thanksgiving?” He admits he’s an introvert on stage but can work it on the runway because he’s aGemini and has a side of him that loves to perform in front of people. He’s also hoping for his family to support and be proud of him. And, now Manila gets to be Jason’s private dancer:

The queens get into costume, makeup and wigs (Manila’s blond again – not my favorite look on him) and get ready to sparkle like the stars they are. The queens enter the studio (which looks more like a cheap porn studio that something worthy of a RuPaul video) and see a radiant Ru in a gorgeous white gown. Mathu directs the video, but all the queens hear is Ryan barking out the choreography. It’s looking like kind of a hot mess (and the lighting on the queens is really awful.) Raja, no surprise, is having the most trouble. Take two doesn’t look much better, as you can see in this clip:

After working with Ru, the queens change into black garb to portray Olympic athletes. Manila and Raja have (thankfully) lost the blond hair and Alexis is sporting a huge wig, which Manila doesn’t think is a great idea. Manila’s having trouble hitting his mark and he blames Alexis’ enormous wig for obstructing his view. Mathu is throwing a lot of passive aggressiveness and attitude at Alexis and his hair. That’s not kind, Mathu. Alexis handles the comments in style, stating “The higher the hair, the closer to God!” Amen, sister! The Pit Crew enter for their sexy dance segment. Manila and Jason do a steamy pas de deux, Raja gets to “touch naked man body” and finally manages to get past his fear of intimacy issues from rehearsal. His performance left Mathu “tingling”. Alexis’ hair is once again proving to be a problem, especially because this segment is shot in silhouette. He gets into the groove rather quickly, again, maybe too much. Watching Alexis and Jason, Raja comments that it looks like he’s watching a “live sex show”. Bam! The queens do some more posing, this time with sporting equipment, do a little more lip syncing and it’s a wrap!

The queens get back to the work room, open the squeaky door for the last time and share a group hug before getting ready for the runway. Ru again knocks it out of the park in a stunning yellow gown. And, for the last time, we say hi to Santino and Michelle at the judges’ table. The runway looks for tonight are really spectacular. Raja is delivering Chicago/Cabaret realness and, as always, works the runway like the pro he is. Manila is wearing a gorgeous chartreuse and purple gown and a crown (spoiler?) As always, Manila can put a perfect head-to-toe look together. Alexis goes full showgirl in a delicious pink confection. As far as I’m concerned at this moment, I’d be fine with a three-way tie! Alas, there can only be one winner, so it’s time for the judges’ final critiques. Raja got kudos from Santino for his Victor/Victoria look, as did Michelle, although she thought he should have worn a bit more makeup. Manila also got compliments from the judges – the only criticism came from (surprise!) Santino, who thought his earrings were too big. There’s not an earring big enough for a drag queen! Santino thought Alexis really brought the athletic/Olympic quality to his performance in the video and Michelle gave him serious props and admired him for staying true to who he is throughout the competition.

Ru wanted to speak with each of the queens one at a time. Alexis was first, and was asked to give a pro and con for each of his competitors. Alexis said Raja’s pro was his runway walk and his con was the fact that he was so hard to read. He then admitted that Manila was the only queen he wanted to “punch in the face.” When asked to reveal his own pros and cons, Alexis said he was his own worst enemy but says he’s a fighter and feels he’s also his own hero. Manila says Alexis was one of the first queens that stood out to him but his style of drag didn’t excite him. He said he loved Raja’s fashion, but sometimes he was too “editorial”. As for himself, he says he’s unpredictable and stubborn but has proven he can do anything. Raja also thinks Alexis is talented but doesn’t “thnk outside of the box.” He (obviously) loves Manila, but feels he’s still got a lot of growing as a performer ahead of him. Raja gets teary and admits that for the first time, he can see himself as a beautiful person and is proud of what he’s accomplished.

As the queens enjoy their last round of Absolut cocktails in the Interior Illusions Lounge, the judges seal their fates. Manila is “amazing” and a knockout with a great personality and stage presence. Ru feels he always seems to hold back his emotions a bit. Michelle is still amazed that she’s counted Alexis out so many times, just to have him come back stronger each time. Ru thinks Alexis’ “Florida style of drag” could be considered “too regional” for him to be “America’s Next Drag Superstar”. Umm…I’m from Florida, and I’ve seen drag in California – I’m not sure what this “Florida style of drag” is…anyone? Santino thinks he’s “authentic”. Michelle thinks Raja is more concerned about the runway than anything else. Santino just thinks “the bitch is bad!” Ru likes that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Santino loves his fresh, new take on drag. It’s going to be a tough decision.

Ru brings the queens back on stage. Two queens will be lip syncing for their lives. Sadly, Alexis Mateo is not one of them. Despite his smile and spirit, he is forced to sashay away. It’s the battle of the Heathers, as Manila and Raja must face off and lip sync to Ru’s song “Champion”. I don’t know how Ru can pick a winner, because they’re both killing it, but he does…and, your next Drag Superstar is…Raja! Condragulations to you – and to all the queens this season – you’re all “Champions” to me! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for season 4!  (And a special thanks to my friend and Ru-cap  partner Nicolette for everything! If you’re ever in Ft. Lauderdale, make sure to catch her at Lips!)

Relive your favorite Drag Race moments at, don’t miss the reunion next week at 9pm EST on LogoTV and check out my interview with America’s Next Drag Superstar, Raja, coming soon to Socialite Life!