Finally the finale! It was like Christmas morning today (in July), waking up early to watch the stream with my mug of coffee in hand. I’ve predicted, prognosticated, praised and published all season long. Now it’s payoff time. 

Shea Couleé is proud of her clutch win last week that catapulted her to the finale. Jaida wipes away dry tears over Monét X Change’s selection of Trinity the Tuck last week for the final four. Monét and Trinity’s unholy alliance paid off! Jinkx Monsoon quietly proclaims, “I want it the most. I’m gonna win this.” And with that, she assures us that this will be the best hour of TV we’ll get all year. 

It’s the last day walking into the pink werkroom. To get the party started, Ru tells the queens to get into 15 minute quick drag for one last ride on the soul train. Yes, it’s still running!  They boogie-oogie with the Pit Crew and show off their slick moves. Trinity is wearing a beehive wig with curlers. She opens a latch, reaches in and pulls out a can of hairspray. Aqua Net she better do!

We’re immediately transported to the main stage for the final runway, “Grand Finale Eleganza.”  Jaida is shimmering and sparkling in a gorge beaded dress; Raja is serving insect realness in her aquatic, space-like look; Viv plucked a pride of black ostriches to get that many feathers; Yvie serves a three-tiered wedding cake; Jinkx is a “magnificent sorceress and a witch warrior, bedecked in jeweled armor”; Monét goes for neo-African futurism with a look “you’d wear in Wakanda to go to the Oscars”; Shea is reminiscing about her first runway in front of Naomi Campbell in a yellow, orange, gold and black striped tiered gown; and Trinity has “stoned her puss” in a beaded body suit with a pink cape. 

The judges praise the queens and dub each with a moniker (eg Empress of Excellence). Lots of tears, emotions and gratitude ensues. This is appropriately followed by a song and dance number with Ru and dancing killer clowns. Because Ru. 

Photo by Tom Butler

And now it’s time for the Lip Sync LaLaPaRuZa Smackdown! First up is the undercard: four queens not in the top four competing for the consolation Queen of She Done Already Done Had Herses crown and $50k. Pit Crew hunk Calix spins the Wheel of Faces to determine who goes against each other. Crewmates Bruno and Bryce (we’re a throuple) hold platinum and silver boxes that contain the song choices.

In the first lip sync, Yvie and Viv perform “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa. Yvie stands on her head and does splits while Viv performs her signature bad somersaults. Yvie wins. Next, Jaida faces off against Raja to “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” by Deniece Williams. Raja is having a fun, joyous time while Jaida is turnting it out with high kicks and bends. Raja wins and will compete against Yvie. 

In the main event, first up to lip sync is Jinkx vs Shea to “Judas” by Lady Gaga. Both are swirling their capes like windmills and giving it their all. They’re both great, but Jinkx nails the win. Next is the predestined matchup between Monét and Trinity to “So What” by Pink. There’s a bit of camera avoidance when Trinity drops to the floor, ass in the air, and is “topped” by Monét, but we get the thrust of it.  Both are fierce but it’s Monét for the win. 

Now to the final round. Raja and Yvie face off to “Sisters are Doing It for Themselves” by the Eurythmics + Aretha Franklin. Yvie has some tricks up her sleeves, including a surprise wig reveal and a death drop. I thought she had it, but the always fabulous Raja is crowned Queen of She Done Already Done Had Herses. Yvie notes that she’s already done had mineses!  She’s a star. 

And the moment we’ve waited for all season. It’s Monét vs Jinkx lip syncing to “Swish Swish” by Katy Perry + Nicki Minaj. I’ll editorialize here. I think Monét won the lip sync. But when Ru says he will pick the winner based on the lip sync AND performance all season long, that means one thing: Jinkx Monsoon is the Queen of all Queens. She slayed the competition consistently and fully earned her title. Congrats, Your Royal Highness Queen Jinkx. I bow to thee!

At the beginning of the season, I thought that Raja and Jinkx had no chance. They were from the earliest seasons and couldn’t compete with the newer queens. I was happily wrong! Jinkx represents the best traditions of drag.  She will go down in herstory for her Snatch Game impression of Judy Garland. I’ll never stop laughing. “Is that my camera?” 

Thanks as always to Brad and Jonathan at Gay Desert Guide for publishing my column and making it look good; and to Charles, Terry and Tom for being my best Judy’s. Now it’s time to sashay away! Stay fabulous.

Photo credits: Paramount+