RuPaul's Drag Race: Grand Finale
June 23, 2017 6:03 PM - Season 9, Episode 14 - Subscribe

The top four queens compete in a lip-sync bracket for the crown.
posted by Zephyrial (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Posting this right away because LET'S TALK ABOUT IT.

I'm unsure of the new finale format. While it was exciting and the stakes were real, it unfairly privileged Peppermint (who was middling throughout the competition but had good lip syncs) and hurt Shea (who, given her incredibly strong showing over the season and challenges, deserves a top two placement).

It was disappointing to see Trinity bounced off stage so early. I jumped and cheered for Sasha's win, though. Honestly as soon as she walked out in the white spikey gown and mask, I was like "that is a QUEEN."
posted by Zephyrial at 6:05 PM on June 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

And congrats to RuPaul, who it has been announced will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, along with (but not necessarily in the same neighborhood with) Simon Cowell, Lynda Carter, Shonda Rhimes, and posthumously Steve Irwin. Is there any doubt that the ceremony will be a highlight of next season?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:18 PM on June 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm also not sure about this format. It was certainly exciting... I think maybe I was more into it than other season finales, which have seemed to drag (heh) with all the reunioning.

When the song was announced for Sasha vs. Shea I thought that Shea would FOR SURE take it; it didn't really seem like Sasha's kind of song. But once she started with the rose petals, I said "uh oh, Shea..." Those rose petals were awesome and made me wonder what she would have done with them if she had got another song. I felt like Shea could have pulled off a much better lip sync performance than she did.

Similarly Peppermint vs Trinity - until Peppermint's way-better-than-Trinity's reveal, I thought for sure she was being vastly out-performed. Her reveal was a bit fumbly (it was clear she was reaching for her skirt for a good few seconds before she pulled the release), but it worked out great because it pumped up her performance.

I'm pleased with a Sasha win (though as I've commented before, I would have been happy with any of them winning), but I think my favourite of the season is still Peppermint.
posted by urbanlenny at 6:54 PM on June 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, it seems Sasha had another plan handy if she had got Stronger instead.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:36 AM on June 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I am so happy for Sasha's win. Her lip syncs were performances in the best possible way -- there is such a weird, intelligent arty glamour to what she does. That last look was incredible and once she got the scepter after her win, it was like "yes, this is all perfect."
posted by darksong at 9:53 AM on June 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

We had the winner spoiled via a Facebook post, so we came in a bit down, but Sasha did not disappoint!

And Mother Ru was glorious in her intro.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and it was the surprise of the night to see Wintergreen again. That was adorable.
posted by darksong at 11:38 AM on June 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

Yes, Wintergreen!

I enjoyed the finale but I wouldn't want to see a lip sync death battle every season- imagine season 6, would Bianca have won? It seems weird to me that the finale was so detached from the rest of the season- Shea won 4 challenges and wasn't even too 2? That ain't right.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:43 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I loved the new format - the last few finales have had those clunky bespoke song and dance numbers, and a LSFYC is much better - but the production values were terrible. Visibly empty seats? Cheapass looking set? Sound quality dire?

And yet... those four queens brought it. So much so, this is by far my fave finale episode. I thought Pep was low-energy in her Stronger, pre-reveal, and thought Trinity would take it - but the assassin pulled through. And when So Emotional was announced, I did think: this is very Shea. But I've seen Sasha live, and she is extraordinary. The Second Whitney - with the mask, goddamn - was exceptional, and I am so happy with her win!
posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

(Sasha's smile-but-WTF to the Katy Perry vid killed me. Bet she was hoping for Judith Butler; I know I was.)
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:39 PM on June 24, 2017 [10 favorites]

Sasha spends as much time watching Annie Lennox videos as I do. 🥀
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:12 PM on June 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

My hunch based on the reunion show was that Shea and Trinity weren't going to win. They were their most shady during it. And it was filmed the day after the finale.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 9:49 PM on June 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

The last few years, didn't they film each queen "winning", so that they could avoid leaks and reveal the true winner on the night the finale aired? I distinctly remember watching a clip last year of Bob, Kimchi, and Naomi all sitting together watching the final reveal as to which one of them won.

Did they not do that this year?
posted by DiscourseMarker at 6:25 AM on June 25, 2017

Never mind, I answered my own question. Yes, they still do that, but duh bc of the way the finale was done, Shea and Trinity already knew they were not in the top 2.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 6:30 AM on June 25, 2017

Winner reveal with Sasha and Peppermint. It's very sweet.
posted by donnagirl at 9:47 AM on June 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Here's a well-written account of the finale taping two weeks ago. Click on the spoiler tag to read the write-up. There are some great details that didn't make the final cut in there.

*throws rose petals aggressively*

posted by roger ackroyd at 9:48 AM on June 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Bet she was hoping for Judith Butler

OMG that would have made my life. I might still be screaming.
posted by grapesaresour at 2:59 PM on June 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I mentioned early on in the Fanfare for this season I put together an award show where Sasha was the host; here is an account of that, although there's not too much talk about Sasha. (There are a few more photos of this out there, though.)

(I think that's the top of my head in the lower left corner of the photo.)

Basically, we kept Sasha taking over as host of the Ignatz Awards as a secret (I knew and a few others knew, but we did not announce it beforehand) and it was 100% delightful and amazing. My memory of it is that it went down very well and people loved it. I was sent the script beforehand and while I read through it, I was mostly just "This is awesome; just do what you do." I trusted Sasha completely.

Regardless of Sasha winning Drag Race, this is one of the things I'll forever be the most proud of. I regret I didn't keep the printout of her script, though. (Not that I would sell it or anything.)
posted by darksong at 6:43 PM on June 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have mixed feelings about the finale. Based on the numbers, previously this should have been Shea's crown, but Sasha clearly won the crown in this format.

Honestly of the four of them, Sasha was / is my favorite though I enjoyed all four of them. So, I'm happy for Sasha, but feel bad for Shea and Trinity who were #1 and #2 going into the finale.

This was by far, the best finale in a long time. There was real tension about who was going to take the crown, all the queens did an excellent job in their lipsyncs and the reveals were fantastic. I have to say the finale, reunion and makeover episodes were my top three of the season and that is almost never the case for RPDR.

Sasha's mask is still giving me the good kind of shivers.

I looked up the actual crowning that took place on Friday with Bob, Bianca and Shangela - they misspelled Sasha's name on the giant check. They missed the "U" in Velour.
posted by Julnyes at 8:16 AM on June 26, 2017

So I fully understand those who find it weird that Shea ended up where she did even though she won the most challenges (and Sasha won none as a solo), and she's a Chicago girl so I'm inclined to want her to win anyway even though Sasha ended my season favorite. What assuages that weirdness for me is that why Shea and Trinity both had the best stats, I think many times they won but not by much. It wasn't like, for example, S8 where Bob was just consistently the best. People say Shea "dominated" all season but I don't think that's necessarily true.

I guess I'd feel differently if I didn't think the lip syncs had fairly clear (by my opinion) winners and losers. I thought that Sasha outperformed Shea even separately of rose greatness, and though Trinity started out seeming stronger, it became obvious that Peppermint was just building to the end (not just the amazing reveal).
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:38 PM on June 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


"Oops, we're overbooked."
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:13 PM on June 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I forgot to say that the other thing I found weird about this finale is that normally they show all kinds of drag queens in the audience, particularly alums of past seasons but this year they didn't really seem to do that - it was more about showing famous-ish people like Grace Helbig in the audience. There were a few people in drag, but it didn't feel like it was as many as in previous seasons (though I might just be mis-remembering).

I forgot how funny I found Sasha's reaction to Katy Perry. It was basically like "yeah, um thanks. So anyway..." Heh.
posted by urbanlenny at 5:02 PM on June 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Was finally able to watch the episode, having been spoiled for the results (by my own request) almost immediately after it aired. Without having seen it, I was surprised by the news that Sasha had bested Shea in the first lip sync. Having now seen it, though, I agree that Shea was conclusively outplayed. She delivered a good lip sync, but didn't even break out her strongest dance skills, while Sasha completely reinterpreted and transformed the song, along with that insane final reveal. Then Sasha stood up solidly against Peppermint in a result that seemed pretty uncontroversial, at least given the format. I would have loved to see Shea win, from a hometown pride standpoint, but I wasn't unhappy with the result.
posted by merriment at 6:12 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes. The finale is filmed far in advance of the actual airing. Since it would be impossible to keep the result secret given the full house, they announce and film each queen as the winner. The winner finds out when it airs, just like everyone else. Ru may very well decide that night, or even before that night, but this maintains the secret. There are good videos of the final queens from the past few seasons watching the episode air.
posted by donnagirl at 6:33 AM on June 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Vanity Fair (!) has an interview with Sasha, and she spills what her Britney reveal would have been:

What would your Britney Spears number have been?

I had scissors strapped to my thighs when I stepped out onto the stage and I was going to cut the wig until I was bald. [Laughs]

And the VF Hollywood Daily newsletter spills some ratings tea: "859,000 drag acolytes (dracolytes) tuning in for the lip-sync showdown. Viewership was up 218 percent with the 18-49 crowd, and the show was the top-trending series across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on Friday."

[I am pretty sure a dracolyte is a Harry Potter fandom thing, but I'll forgive it]
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:39 PM on June 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Vanity Fair (!) has an interview with Sasha, and she spills what her Britney reveal would have been:

What would your Britney Spears number have been?

I had scissors strapped to my thighs when I stepped out onto the stage and I was going to cut the wig until I was bald. [Laughs]

Now I am sad we didn't get to see that! That would have been amazing. (Though poor Britney will never live that down.)
posted by urbanlenny at 9:11 AM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just had a good time re-watching the reunion for Trinity and Shea's "we know we didn't win so we can let it all out" attitude. Then watch the YouTube version of "reunion of just Aja's reactions." 😂
posted by Zephyrial at 12:55 PM on June 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

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