“Today, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a worldwide phenomenon, and we owe it all to the brave souls who took one giant step for drag-kind when they entered the You Betta Werk Room for the first time,” Mama Ru said at the top of the show. “And now we get to thank these drag pioneers. Ladies and gentleman, here they are: season 1 queens with season 10 lighting.” Porkchop, Ongina, Bebe Zahara Benet and the rest of their season 1 sisters (with the exception of Tammie Brown) took the stage in gorgeous golden gowns. Later in the telecast, they lip synced alongside their season 10 counterparts for a “lip sync eleganza extravaganza” RuPaul megamix.
Oprah Gives Ru a Message
The evening was full of celebrity cameos, with Olympian Gus Kenworthy, Dame Judi Dench (with daughter Finty Williams) and talk show icon Sally Jesse Raphael (via voiceover) all making appearances. The biggest gag? Oprah delivered a video message addressed to RuPaul: “[Drag Race has] played such a role in fostering a global message of inclusion and accepting individuals for just being their authentic selves. You and your show have made that happen in a way bigger than anyone could have imagine,” said the media mogul. “Thanks for letting us all to see that we’re all just humans in drag.”
Asia O’Hara’s Butterfly Reveal Flops
The most heartbreaking moment of the finale was during Asia O’Hara and Kameron Michaels’ lip sync to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.” The Texas queen came prepared to do a butterfly release -- something she tells Billboard she had spent months “researching, planning and rehearsing” -- but the insects had a mind of their own. Rather than fluttering away in a display of beauty, the butterflies crawled around the stage aimlessly. O’Hara was eliminated, with Michaels advancing to the finals. Then, both Aquaria and Eureka also advanced after a double-save for their high-energy performance of Jackson’s “If.”
Monét X Change Claims the Miss Congeniality Title
“The online election to determine this year’s Miss Congeniality was made null and void due to outside interference,” RuPaul announced. “But unlike those other shady elections, we’re doing something about it.” The host explained that each of the season 10 queens voted on which of their sisters deserved the title. Last year’s Miss Congeniality, Valentina, joined the telecast from the Werk the World tour stop in Berlin to announce that NYC queen Monét X Change would be her season 10 successor. After receiving the trophy from the series’ original Miss Congeniality Nina Flowers, the queen delivered her now-signature line: “soak it up, bitches.”
Aquaria Is Crowned Season 10 Winner
Ahead of the season’s final lip sync showdown, Season 9 champion Sasha Velour strutted onstage with a glittery snake and a bedazzled apple, sporting an opulent homage to the Garden of Eden. “I’ve been able to travel and meet queer people all around the world inspired by the show,” Velour explained when Ru asked about her past year. Then, the three remaining queens, Aquaria, Eureka and Kameron Michaels, duked it out in a battle royale for the crown. Tasked with a three-way lip sync to Ariana Grande, Jesse J and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang,” the trio splits-ed, twirled and whipped their hair. In the end, RuPaul declared Instagram star Aquaria, who came to the lip sync prepared with confetti cannons, the winner of season 10.