RuPaul's Drag Race crowns season 11 winner: America's Next Drag Superstar is...
Warning: This post contains major spoilers about the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 finale. Read ahead at your own risk!
Season 11’s fan-favorite outcast oddball is now sashaying into the world as America’s Next Drag Superstar.
Emmy-winning reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race crowned its 11th main series champion (not including All-Stars) Thursday night, with Yvie rising above to claim the title.
Earlier in the evening, Brooke and Yvie eliminated fellow finalists Silky Nutmeg Ganache and A’Keria Chanel Davenport, respectively, during an epic lip-sync sudden death match. Silky — chosen by the infamous Drag Race finale wheel as the first queen to lip-sync — surprisingly chose Brooke as her lip-sync partner, and the pair duked it out to the Destiny’s Child hit “Bootylicious” (complete with multiple wig reveals, handstands, and a ballet shoe reveal — a Drag Race first!) while Yvie (who revealed the words “Free Britney!” written on her underwear) and A’Keria grooved to Rihanna’s “SOS.”
The final lip-sync for the crown saw Yvie and Brooke battling to Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” with Yvie pulling off one of the best final lip-syncs in Drag Race her-story (sans reveal!).
In the run-up to the finale, season 11 registered notable highs and lows throughout its 14-episode run, including the rise of deliciously shady villain Ra’Jah O’Hara, the blossoming of “Branjie,” the on-again, off-again romance between Vanjie and Brooke, the infamous case of Ariel Versace’s missing wigs (which remains unsolved to this day), and several unexpected eliminations that sent beloved contenders like Scarlet Envy, Nina West, and Shuga Cain packing before their prime.
In the end, Brooke and Yvie represented two opposite ends of the drag spectrum: One a polished, poised queen (and classically trained dancer) who excelled at glamour and glitz, while the other applied gritty, natural talent to her deliciously whacky runway looks that pushed the Drag Race envelope.
“I want to be that one piece you see is missing, that one representation for the ‘other.’ There needs to be representation for that countercultural viewpoint. [We’re] there to stir the pot, whether visually or with [our] words!” Yvie told EW of her approach to the craft. “People expect a finished product and expect you to look like you spent thousands of dollars or dripping in diamonds. My drag has shaken a lot of the viewers up: It’s not polished and it won’t ever be polished, but that doesn’t mean it’s not finished or it’s not good!”
Earlier, Brooke told EW she was thankful that season 11 could broaden representation for queer people on a mainstream TV network.
“I can’t imagine myself growing up and seeing a drag queen on TV that I could look at, or seeing a gay person on TV at all,” she said. “And now we’re getting all these little kids who are watching us and becoming fans, looking at us and seeing that it’s ok to be yourself, it’s ok to be different, and it’s ok to wear makeup if you’re a boy! We’re really changing the next generation!”
Other highlights from the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 finale include:
- Plastique Tiara, Shuga, and Nina getting the standing ovations they deserved
- Shuga’s triple reveal on the first runway
- Nina’s butt:
- A’Keria’s mother and granny, two general icons:
- Whatever Brooke is doing here:
- Mercedes Iman Diamond and Kahanna Montrese returning for another “Oppalens” performance:
- Christine and the Queens’ wonderful remix of “Sissy that Walk,” sung while past contestants sashayed down the runway:
- Yvie’s dad, also known as “Daddy Oddly”:
- Vanjie interviewing people on the street while her face remained on a popsicle stick:
- Former guest judge (and hunky L.A.D.P. officer, at least for the Cops-themed acting challenge) Cheyenne Jackson returning to explain the lip-sync smackdown rules (sans pants)
- RuPaul whispering “Club 96” when Brooke selects Box 96 for her lip-sync against Silky
- Silky’s wig-after-wig-after-wig reveal (cute)
- Brooke’s ballet slipper reveal (and, generally, everything Brooke did during the lip-sync)
- Plastique’s anxiety:
- Yvie lifting up her dress to reveal the words “Free Britney” stitched underneath
- Nina winning Miss Congeniality
- Aquaria’s finale look:
- Yvie’s to-die-for final lip-sync
- Watch a pantsless Cheyenne Jackson explain RuPaul’s Drag Race finale rules
- Why RuPaul’s Drag Race icon Miss Vanjie is more than ‘just a little meme’
- See the sickening looks from the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 finale
- Every RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 runway look so far, ranked
- See RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 looks that didn’t make the runway