Drag Race Season 13, The Finale: The Wicker Elephant is Stealing Focus

I just love how much this looks like a weird funeral photoshoot that America’s Next Top Model would have done.

After nearly five (5) months we’ve finally reached the finale. God I hope they play Season 14 like a speed run.

You know what? It was incredibly brave that after a week of discourse about how RuPaul couldn’t even win her own show that Ru herself came out and danced with all the energy and charisma of Kandy Muse forgetting the choreography during the Condragulations routine

Go girl, give us nothing!

The Finale is a weird state of being between the Zoom Call Finale of Season 12 and the ordinary, big theatrical productions of seasons 7 through 11 – I can’t believe that the last big coronation we had was Yvie Oddly messing up her closing statement by yelling “FLY YOUR FREAK FRAG!”. Due to Covid we aren’t opening with the usual eliminated queens doing a runway walk for us, they’re in fact here by pre-recorded segments in mostly their living rooms but occasionally a lovely rooftop terrace.

I am a little disappointed that after a whole season of absolutely killing it on Instagram that Kahmora returned with, not a bad look, but something relatively tame

You have got to love a headwrap moment and the curl is adorable. I just don’t think I’ll ever be a big fan of this particular silhouette and very severe cut out. But she did absolutely have the most impressive location and it was quite a stark cut in difference to Joey Jay camping it up in a butterfly house

Honestly, put a drag queen in every butterfly house in the land and see how long their make up stays on. I like the idea of this very graphic, almost graffiti tag dress (why there’s a cascade of black tulle, I don’t know) but the styling is BANANAS and Joey Jay once again wearing the wig she promised she would never wear. What is your brand?

Next was Tamisha Iman and Tamisha Iman’s Breast Plate

It’s exactly the sort of high glamour, vintage drag aesthetic that you would expect from Tamisha and it’s an absolute knock out, it was however a missed opportunity to promote the Tamisha Iman Signature High Tops – if she had just lifted the hem to reveal she was wearing them I’d have died and declared her the winner.

LaLa Ri was next and I lowkey think this was my favourite look of the entire night, it’s big, it’s bold and it’s definitely LaLa Ri

The wicker elephant is stealing focus though.

Elliott showed up in absolutely her best look and looking like an amalgam of about 20 different Real Housewives

I just want to know where she took these photos, it looks amazing – as does she, it’s impossible not to look like the most glamorous woman in Vegas when you’re wearing sequined animal print and about 20 chinchillas as a stole. If you haven’t seen the YouTube video of the top 4 reacting to the returning queens’ looks – I thoroughly suggest it just for Elliott’s look being met with absolute crickets and Kandy offering up a laboured “Rich…mama…Desert…” to fill the void.

Denali showed up in her usual humanised version of every day objects and this time settled on the prickly pear cactus

I really love the hair and the leotard – I’m just kind of over the whole suspender/chaps at this point, I would like them to retired for at least 1 season, but there’s some phenomenal work and I did feel a little bad for Heidi when she showed up for the Miss Congeniality Award dressed as a slightly lesser cactus

Season 13: The Season of Repeats!

With Denali rocking her signature, it was only right that Tina Burner showed up in maybe her best red outfit – not that the bar was particular high or that this is particularly good

I think what makes it her best outfit is that it isn’t crapped up with some sort of unnecessary reveal or gimmick, although the reveal could have been that her makeup was a nightmare

I admire any queen willing to go out in harsh, direct sunlight but I don’t think even the best ring light in the business could save this mug. Or that wig.

Utica’s look was interesting and I don’t think the VT really did it justice

Can you imagine her just gliding down the runway wearing it? It would have been incredible.

Lastly we have Olivia Lux going for… Themyscira Warrior Goddess…?

Whatever it is, I really like it! And the mug, my God the mug

I’ve seen a lot of people saying they hate the way she does her liner but I love it, I think it adds a real cool almost vulpine look to her face and what can I say I am both a Vulpix stan and an Olivia Lux stan so… sue me.

An Unofficial Returning Looks Runway Ranking

  1. LaLa Ri’s Royal Africana
  2. Olivia Lux, The Most Petite Amazonian Queen
  3. Tamisha Iman sans High Tops
  4. Utica’s All Black
  5. Denali’s Prickly Perfection
  6. Kahmora Hall’s Throwback Glamour
  7. Elliott’s Somewhat Expected Vegas Housewife
  8. Tina Burner Cleared The low Bar
  9. Joey Jay’s General Confusion

The Queens were obviously all back to find out who wins Miss Congeniality and more importantly, that $10,000 check. After a whole series of basically campaigning for it I thought Olivia had this in the bag, I thought her stiffest competition was Utica up until she mercilessly offended nearly an entire country but despite only being around for 5 episodes, LaLa Ri clearly made quite the impact and was declared The Nicest Queen

I’m really happy for her, I think she was severely underrated and she gave us some incredible moments such as The (Probably Only 3rd) Ugliest Dress, the lipsyncs and of course her running around The Werk Room like she was on The Maury Show

Long may she reign!
As a bonus for being on a season during the height of the inability to tour and do shows, each of the queens is also awarded $2,000 which might at least cover the rhinestone costs of being on the show.

We’re Having a Ball, AGAIN!

Largely due to the fact the other queens weren’t coming to the show and couldn’t have a full on runway they made the Final Four put on a three look ball for us and I can’t imagine the strain that put them under and I hope VH1 or World of Wonder at least helped fund these final looks because they looked PRICEY.

The first category was Black and White, a category designed entirely for Gottmik to look as good as she possibly could

They could have warned her and let her keep the Dalmatian look for this but I do like the Hellraiser glamour, it’s an unexpected choice and it’s a new side of Gottmik’s aesthetic.

Kandy Muse went for a more glamorous take and the Black Lives Matter initials beautifully designed into her gown

as much as I love her dress, the wig really steals the show for me, that front detail is really intricate and her makeup skills are severely underrated in my opinion

She always looks like a doll.

Rosé’s gown was a latex interpretation of Eliza Doolittle’s iconic black and white dress with the massive fuck off hat to end all massive fuck off hats, except Rosé had decided to add all of the volume to her shins and shoulders

I want this to work, I really love the idea but something about the proportions is a little off and it honestly might all be down to the teeny tiny umbrella or the bulkiness of the sleeves.

Last up was Symone and she basically chewed everyone up

It’s just everything, it’s modern, it’s classical, it’s beautiful: it’s Black Culture. The layer of the bandanas and lace (Bandanas and Lace is a great band name btw) is perfect – it’s a wonderful reclaiming of an aesthetic that we don’t get to see many Black people wear.

The next “category” was recycling the All Stars 3 theme of Red For Filth, which Gottmik decided to honour with a Keith Haring inspired take on Bowie’s famous Yamamoto jumpsuit

My initial reaction was that it looked more like Janelle Monae’s vaginal pants but either way it’s a lovely look and with Keith Haring’s famed Aids Awareness illustrations bedecking the pantaloons it tied in nicely to the HIV spot that they did later in the episode.

Kandy Muse threw it back to her entrance look with a red PVC outfit and matching boom box and headphones

Beats by Kandy Muse when?
It’s a perfectly good club look and very Kandy Muse, I can’t help but be reminded of the red look that George Michael wore in the music video for FREEEK! in 2002

That music video has lived rent free in my head for almost 20 years. now I feel outrageously old.

I had thought that Rosé would use the red theme to once again go Full Scottish but instead we got a re-treading of that time Scarlett Envy dressed as a tumorous rose

I just don’t like it but I did like that she revived the Olivia Lux As Denali Glide for the runway walk

Just the thought that Olivia was aiming for the elegance of a figure skater and landed closer to a demonic Scottish tree really tickles me.

Symone’s red look was really fun and silly, the hair is obviously the focal point

I just love how she oscillates perfectly between a high fashion, couture gown of her Black and White look and then comes out in a skimpy little number bedecked in acrylic nails and a set of toenails that are scraping the ground.

Now we’re into the big numbers where the category is basically Wear The best Gown you have left and Gottmik certainly did with her Evil Queen inspired look

Gottmik didn’t actually once mention the Evil Queen but between the heart and the colour palette I can only assume VH1 was terrified of Disney catching wind of it.

Kandy went with a peacock theme and I don’t think it was entirely successful, the headdress just looks a little sparse and kind of like the motheaten taxidermized peacock at a small local museum

As for the gown, I like most of it except for the blue ruffle on the top, it kind of just squashes Kandy a little too much, I think it would have looked a lot more flattering without it.

Rosé couldn’t help herself and finally did once again go Full Scottish with her mint green and silver outfit

It looks a lot like a draggier version of the costumes that the various wives of Henry VIII wear in the musical Six. It’s a really beautifully made costume and it’s the straight up prettiest Rosé has ever looked

Symone came out looking like every Greek Goddess and side character that there ever was

the gilded armour is so perfectly made, often it can look a little flimsy and very much like your mum made it when you were cast as Sir Lancelot in the school’s ill-advised production of The Quest for the Holy Grail. WHY DID WE DO THAT? Harder still is pulling off a perfect half-and-half look without it looking disparate and jarring but she managed it, and I could talk about the Medusa-esque hair all day. It’s like the Versace medallion is going to war

She truly swept the floor in every single category.

An Unofficial Finalist Ball Ranking

  1. Symone’s Bandana Courtier
  2. Symone’s Battle Ready Medusa
  3. Gottmik’s Non-Copy Right Infringing Evil Queen
  4. Kandy’s BLM Gown
  5. Rosé’s Audition for SIX
  6. Symone Nailed It!
  7. Gottmik’s Haring Pantaloons
  8. Gottmik the Hell Raiser
  9. Kandy’s Accidental George Michael Tribute
  10. Rosé as Lumpy Doolittle
  11. Kandy’s Motheaten Peacock
  12. Rosé’s Cursed Tree

Lipsync Palooza

I had truly thought after everyone raved about how refreshing the format of the Season 12 finale was when the 3 finalists each got to prepare their own, unique routines that they would bring that into this finale and yet no, we’re back to the Wheel of Misfortune, but at least this time they’re going to spin it more than once to truly get their money’s worth out of it. And yes, as is tradition all four of them have shown up looking like they’ve gone all out in smuggling snacks into the cinema

Given the overt lumpiness of Rosé’s glitzy business Baby Spice outfit I had thought she would have enough reveals under there to rival Eureka’s 101 – everyone blames Sasha for breaking the finale lipsyncs because of her rose petals but I think Eureka has more to answer for.

The wheel is spun and it is decided that Kandy shall lipsync against Rosé, the latter of whom is apparently trying to contend with a sprained ankle which doesn’t really excuse the fact she doesn’t know the words to a 7 word chorus that is repeated ad infinitum.

Work Harder

Kandy and Rosé end up having to face off against on another to Work Bitch and we might as well get the reveals out of the way first, Rose took off her bad outfit to reveal another bad outfit

You know when cats get shaved for surgery? That’s what it looks like – it’s just a fleshy, velvety textured catsuit. I suppose we should mostly be glad it wasn’t a mass of undefinable ruffles.
Kandy’s reveal on the other hand I thought was more successful in that I didn’t really care for the first look and then she peeled herself like a boiled egg to reveal a much more fun outfit

This Gif is my proudest achievement.
She truly ate up this routine as much as anyone in an empty theatre performing to an unemotional Britney Spears song could possibly eat up a routine. I do think Britney was a bad choice for THIS particular finale – none of these queens are dancers, Rosé will tell you otherwise; doing the Skydancer Spin is impressive but not a dancer does it make

They really should have gone with more emotional, balladeering songs, all the best lipsyncs this season have been in that category (except for LaLa Ri who is a force all in her own).

Kandy is correctly declared the winner and Rosé must sashay away and prepare for All Stars 7 which will probably be out this Christmas

Gimme Slightly More Guys

I did like the drama of having the two favourites to win facing off against each other, it did then go on to make the final lipsync a little anticlimactic but you can’t have it all.
Gottmik and Symone have to lipsync to Gimme More which was maybe the worst choice they could have made, it’s a very flat song, it has no real crescendo or story to it and it is a well established fact that neither Symone or Gottmik are particularly good dancers so this was a little crunchy all round. Gottmik felt the most out of her depth, which means RuPaul has now watched 2 people drown

We all remember Gottmik going up against Utica in the first episode, well you might not because it was NEARLY FIVE FUCKING MONTHS AGO – but her slow crouching down into a kneeling position while facing away from the judges has lived in my head rent free ever since

and she really thought it best to revive it for the finale

Oh, did you know that her massive, form hiding cape was also A SKIRT? I for one was bamboozled… I don’t blame the queens for having really obvious reveals, you kind of have to when you’re playing to an audience that can be up to 400 metres away and more – the reason Roxxxy Andrews’s wig-on-wig reveal worked so well was because the intimacy of the location, it was a studio where the judges were maybe 10 feet away, I fully don’t believe that her reveal would work on a stage like this finale, so what we’re left with is stuff like Gottmik dramatically throwing down a cape like it’s a massive GOTCHA! moment that she looks slightly like she’s on the broadway production of The Greatest Showman

I really like Gottmik, I think she has charisma out the wazzoo but doing a sexy lipsync is not her thing. Even Symone, who has a natural captivating sensuality to her, struggled a little, mostly in the taking off of her Gerald from Hey Arnold costume

This was the most successful reveal of the night because I liked both outfits, it was cool before and the second outfit was that special brand of early 2000s Tomb Raider swimsuit

That colour will always just make everything look like it’d be worn by an archaeologist.

It was a very deserved win for Symone and I am incredibly sad that Gottmik didn’t get to go out to thunderous applause from the audience just because it would have been really nice to see that support for a transman. And so we’re done to the top 2

This is The End…

For their final lipsync they’re taking on Till The World Ends, which is fitting for the current feel of the world I suppose. Both of them have come dressed for the inevitable cyber-apocalypse, Symone in a Matrix-esque dystopia and Kandy looking every bit the Katsuhiro Otomo villainess

they’re both great performance looks, I was surprised that Kandy’s didn’t have more of a reveal to it but I can also respect the simplicity of waving the Dominican flag

She is after all, The Dominican Doll.
I really liked Kandy’s lipsync, it was joyful and fun, I think she knew that as she had 4 bottom appearances that she wasn’t going to be crowned so it was nice to see her just have fun with it and she really reminded me of Buttercup from the Powerpuff Girls when she took the statement shades off

It was just my immediate thought and also I have been keeping track of every bit of gossip about the upcoming, very much doomed and cursed, live-action Powerpuff Girls movie which is weighing heavily on my mind.

Symone pretty much won the moment she opened up her coat to reveal her yellow fringe outfit – it had all the impact she needed and more

but that wasn’t it from Symone, oh no, because I think she may have had one of the best reveals in Drag Race Herstory when she yanked one of her braids to reveal that her wig was a jack-in-the-box and out sprung what can only be described as a maypole crown

because as we know, Your Hair Is Your Crown.
Outside of her reveals she slayed it too and I can watch her pointing at a lone RuPaul for hours

see also, Kandy trying to hype up an invisible audience

It must have been really weird and unsettling to be in an empty, cavernous theatre and this was very much the only lipsync that had the feel of there being an audience.

For the coronation, Jaida Essence Hall is back in all her majestic glory

I am still mad that we couldn’t give her a full on staged coronation and I demand we address this as soon as we safely can.

And now it’s time to crown our winner and really it could only be…

A sheer, unstoppable force of charism, charm and likability – Symone truly has it all and might be my favourite winner of all time, it’s thoroughly deserved, she has more than made her mark on the cultural zeitgeist, long may Queen Symone reign.
And Kandy is a very deserving runner up, she’s made great television, is a fantastic performer and deserves far more than the fandom is giving her.

It’s been hell of a season, it felt like it may never but it feels very nice to get to the end of it and have such a special, important winner in Symone.

And so, we’ve crowned our winner

TOP: Denali, Elliott, Gottmik, Joey Jay.
SECOND: Kahmora, Kandy, LaLa Ri, Olivia.
THIRD: Rosé, SYMONE, Tamisha, Tina.
BOTTOM: Utica.

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