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I have to admit that I am not usually a big fan of the reunion episodes of Ru Paul’s Drag Race as sometimes they feel as if they are just a filler episode to meet the required episode count. The fact that a whole hour episode was dedicated to looking at things that the audience had already watched felt like a waste of time and was simply a way to add an extra commissioned episode to the season! This initial idea was only intensified by the fact that many people have viewed this season as the never-ending show with numerous episodes where no one was eliminated or queens have returned, I was already anticipating another meaningless episode where nothing changes in the overall competition. However, last week’s episode that saw all the queens of season fourteen return was one of my favourite episodes! We had the classic revisiting of iconic moments/looks from the season that happened every reunion episode but also learnt about a secret relationship between Orion and Jorgeous that was not shown on the programme, we had the rather intense and fiery climax of the season-long drama between Jasmin Kennedy and Daya Betty which was very confrontational and we also learnt more about the people behind the drag personas we have come to know and love! Every queen from the season was given an opportunity to walk the runway and showcase how much they have developed since the season aired; which is always a fantastic opportunity, especially for those who were eliminated early in the show. This episode also served as the perfect transition from the intense reality TV competition and the werk room to the finale in front of a live audience!

In the final episode of this season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the eliminated queens were given another opportunity to walk the runway but this time in front of a live audience. I thought that June Jambalaya looked absolutely beautiful in her white and nude outfit that was complete with shining details all across it. I think that the episodes June was a part of didn’t show her best side as regards to looks and in these past two appearances, she had looked incredible! My favourite look would have to be Kornbread ‘the snack’ Jete who decided to deliver a homage to the iconic Disney movie Beauty and the Beast where she decided to go as both the beauty and the beast. The bottom part of her look was comprised of a classic yellow dress that was somewhat similar to the one worn by Belle in the movie but her face was very monstrous and beast-like. She also wore a wonderful wig that was shaped into horns which worked very well with the creature inspired make-up she wore. Tying these two elements together, she brought with her a wonderfully over the top rose which is yet another key element from the Disney film. Keri Colbi also decided to wear a movie inspired look where she did a sexy version of Thanos from the Avenger series in a gold revealing outfit complete with an Infinity Gauntlet. For the first time in Drag Race herstory, we have a top-five going into the finale who also had an opportunity to showcase a show-stopping look. Angeria Paris VanMichaels is the consummate showgirl and her runway look this week really played up to that! She wore a wonderfully over-the-top sparkly blue outfit competing with the most incredible wings I have ever seen! Lady Camden on the other hand decided to a horse and carriage inspired look where she wore a pink outfit with gold accents throughout interweaved with a deconstructed cart and topped off with a horse face mask.

The actual event was hosted in Flamingos which, as discussed in last week’s review, is the home of Ru Paul’s Drag Race live in Las Vegas. It opened with Ru Paul being lowered onto the stage on a fan of Ru Paul chocolate bars which was so wonderfully camp! However, before long they were interrupted by Michelle Visage (who was twerking to “I’m that bitch” to announce that the state of Las Vegas has declared April 22nd is officially Ru Paul day and also give Ru her key to the city! While I understand that these awards were given for Ru’s continuation to TV and drag (through the invention of Drag Race) I do think that this celebration of ‘the queen of drag’ took away the focus of the competing queens, which is why people tune in to the show every week. Thankfully as this was done each of the top five queens were given a video package and then an opportunity to perform an original song that was written specifically for them. First up was Angeria Paris Van Michaels who continued her run of being an example of pure pageant drag while she walked through a local mall in a wonderfully sparkly red outfit. For her performance itself, however, she wore a wonderfully black outfit that had the most gorgeous dripping pink splatters on it and a massive pink boa. The song itself was titled “Check My Track Record” which was very high-energy but also annoyingly repetitive. I would have to say while this number was fun, I thought the song she had written herself for the talent show at the beginning of the season was much more exciting and fresh! Up next we watch a rather unique video package from Bosco followed by her song simply titled “Devil.” This number contained the best start as it began with wonderfully eerie video graphics with the camera panning to show Bosco in a gorgeous white and gold outfit which she then tore off to reveal a much more sinister outfit. She wore thigh-high boots that were designed to look like a monster had begun chomping on her legs and a spooky corset to match. This was completed with a burlesque-inspired headpiece that fitted the brand of the “demon girl” and burlesque” performer” that Bosco had been demonstrating so far this season.

It is well documented that at the beginning of the season I really didn’t like Daya Betty due to her rather negative attitude. While she is not my favourite queen this season, I cannot deny that she has really stepped up during the season and has showcased many incredible looks on the runway. Daya’s unique song began with her perched in the middle of a spider web, which made sense with the spider inspired look she decided to wear. This outfit then revealed into a fabulous blue bodysuit that kept the spider’s head but also added the gigantic antennas that added even more drama to the look. As the default villain of the season, this twisted spider look made sense with her story arc, that was also played on within the number itself which I thought was very clever! The next queen to perform their original song was Lady Camden, whose whole performance was about that moment on the runway where she fell only to reveal it was part of her act. The song titled “I Fell Down (I Got Up” was clearly a homage to Queen, as it contained the rock-inspired motifs we have come to love from this band, which was clever as this iconic moment saw Camden transform into a version of Freddie Mercury. For an added layer of significance, Camden also discussed how Queen songs (especially “I Want to Break Free”) has a special meaning for her and encourage her to chase her dreams. Finally, we saw a performance from the eccentric Willow Pill with her song “I Hate People.” This track began with a random list of things she loves like toasters (which was a clear reference to her unique talent show act at the beginning of the season), the sky, tea etc only to end up with the fact that what she hates most is people. She began the number with a very pretty floral outfit with a massive headpiece that was torn out to reveal two other heads in her outfit and a further one on her crotch. This strange and almost unsettling inclusion of three other realistic faces was unique but also hilarious which is what we have come to expect from this crazy queen!

After all the five queens had performed their original songs, we were treated to a group performance from the queens of Drag Race Live (Jaida Essence Hall, Derrick Berry, Trinity K Bonet, Kameron Michaels, Kahanna Montrese and Naomi Smalls) which was fun but it was exactly the same number that the queens of season twelve performed before they were shifted to an online format! From the top five performances earlier in the night two queens (Lady Camden and Willow Pill) were selected to be the top two who had to perform against one another to see who would be declared the overall winner of the season. To lip-sync to the classic “Gimme Gimme Gimme” covered by Cher, Willow decided to wear an oversized pink and black suit jacket with huge arms. This was then torn off to reveal a pair of oversized matching trousers that I have to admit did make me chuckle quite a lot but that was the end of Willows’s tricks! This outfit then revealed again which I totally did not expect! Lady Camden decided to yet again pay homage to her trip moment from earlier in the season where she again fell to show a whole new outfit and wig. While I thought the theatrics of a fall was exciting we had seen the moment referenced three other times in this episode, which I thought was a bit too much. It was announced that Willow Pill is the overall this season and I have to admit that I think this was the best choice as she did deliver unexpected looks throughout the season and also had an emotional backstory that the audience can relate to!

Overall this was an exciting way to end this season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and I am glad that the queens are able to perform in front of a live audience again! I thought that the original verse, while perfectly catered to each queen, were incredible short but also I think that in comparison to the iconic-ness of other season finales this one did fall a bit short!

***½  3.5/5


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