Virtual lip-sync finale leads to a jaw-dropping winner.

By Joey Nolfi
May 29, 2020 at 09:35 PM EDT
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RuPaul's Drag Race

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  • TV Show
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  • VH1
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Chile, we have a new crowned queen.

She might not know who Rose Nylund is, but RuPaul's Drag Race champion Jaida Essence Hall — who's showcased pure excellence across her near-flawless bid for the title — now knows what it feels like to have $100,000 in the bank.

Following three challenge victories and some of the most beautiful runway displays of the season, the Milwaukee-based multihyphenate beauty won Drag Race's 12th regular season Friday night, beating out popular runners-up Crystal Methyd and Gigi Goode.

Hall won the competition after a remarkable episode (filmed entirely from remote locations amid ongoing coronavirus quarantine measures) that included three lip-sync challenges: a neck-up-only performance to RuPaul's "Bring Back My Girls," a personalized lip-sync number set to a song of her choice (she selected Ciara's "Get Up"), and a final battle against Goode and Methyd soundtracked by Destiny's Child's "Survivor."

Hall's victory caps a monumental conclusion for the Emmy-winning reality competition series, as both the traditional reunion and finale episodes were filmed from the contestants' homes as virtual chat sessions amid nationwide venue closures and social distancing measures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The limitations resulted in some jaw-dropping moments, however, including Methyd lip-syncing to Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like a Bird" while dressed as, well, a bird, and Goode taking us through a hand-drawn black-and-white fantasy inspired by A-ha's "Take On Me." In the end, though, it was Hall's showgirl spirit that triumphed.

“If you feel like today you want to be the Grinch, then, baby, be the Grinch. Drag is all about expression. Whatever I’m feeling, I just let it out in drag," Hall previously told EW of her approach to the craft. “Clearly, I’m very much trade. I do live for the transformation. There’s something so sickening about the art. Drag is the embodiment of being who you want to be. People would never expect me to be like this glamorous doll that loves beautiful things in a rich fantasy. I think I’m the one percent, even though I have no money to pay my rent at the end of this month. It’s not just [a physical] transformation of myself to Jaida, but an emotional shift when I get in drag. I stand up a little bit better, I feel more sexy. I move more snaky and slithery and slinky!”

Other highlights from the unorthodox finale included Dolly Parton dropping in for a surprise hand in helping Nina West crown Heidi N Closet as her Miss Congeniality successor, a hilarious skit featuring season 11 winner Yvie Oddly making a dress out of sweatpants, and a moving tribute to Drag Race's late producer, Jacqueline Wilson, who died in September 2019.

Since its February debut, RuPaul's Drag Race season 12 introduced a score of now-beloved queens to the franchise family, including Dahlia Sin, Rock M. Sakura, Nicky Doll, Aiden Zhane, Brita, JanWidow Von'Du, Jackie Cox, and Heidi N Closet, all of whom made appearances during the final episode.

Though another drag queen, Sherry Pie, initially made season 12's top four upon the conclusion of filming in 2019, disturbing allegations surfaced against the New York City queen just before her debut episode earlier this year, and she was ultimately disqualified from the contest.

RuPaul's Drag Race continues with its fifth All-Stars edition Friday at 8 p.m. ET on VH1.

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RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.

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seasons
  • 11
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  • VH1
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