Friday night on VH1 the grand finale of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 9 delivered more eleganza than ever before when the final four queens, Peppermint, Sasha Velour, Shea Coulee and Trinity Taylor, took the stage in the first ever lip synch smackdown for the crown. The new lip synch format was the focus of the finale with host and Emmy winner RuPaul Charles serving as judge and jury over the competition. So which queen survived the gauntlet and took home the crown? Read our recap below to find out and then let us know in the comments if you think the right queen won!
To kick off the festivities, series judge Michelle Visage served as caller for the season’s final catwalk, an introduction of the 14 queens that competed for the crown. Of the group, memorable looks were served by Eureka who arrived with a massive elephant head atop her own and Miss Congeniality winner Valentina in a slim-fitting baby blue gown and a short blonde Marilyn wig. Of the final four, Peppermint and Trinity’s runway looks were the best–Pep turned up the volume of candy look from the club kid challenge and donned a winter green striped gown while Trinity returned to her Florida pageant roots by wearing a neon dress that showed off her curves and stunning makeup skills.
Before setting the finale off with the lip synch smackdown, Ru took a moment to speak with each of the finalists about their time on the show and to ask them what winning would mean to their personal lives. Each queen also introduced their family members in attendance for the night and Ru surprised them all with a good luck video from a celebrity rooting for them from home–Laverne Cox for Peppermint, Katy Perry for Sasha, Blac Chyna for Shea and Bobby Moynihan for Trinity.
When it came time for the smackdown to begin, Ru unveiled a spinning wheel to decide which queen would perform first and against who. The wheel landed on Trinity who, not backing down from the competition, chose to battle the season’s “lip synch assassin” Peppermint, leaving Sasha and Shea to face off in the second lip synch. In the first round, Pep and Trinity performed to “Stronger” by Britney Spears. Though Trinity went hard from the very beginning and refused to let up, Peppermint’s slick reveal trick–she tore away her boxy cheerleader skirt to reveal a longer gown and ripped off her wig to sport a white pixie cut–set the live audience off and made her the undeniable winner.
Sasha pulled out similar tricks in the second lip synch to Whitney Houston‘s “So Emotional” against Shea. While Shea rested on slick choreography, choosing to simply strut back and forth across the stage for her performance, Sasha slowly tore away her costume–her gloves disintegrated into rose petals and when she removed her wig at the end more petals fell off her head and covered the stage. As with Peppermint, the crowd went wild for Sasha’s antics and secured her the win.
That set the stage for a Peppermint vs. Sasha Velour final lip synch to Whitney’s “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.” For the last show, Peppermint wore a bubblegum pink gem-and-feathered dress and Sasha had a more artsy, all white skeleton-like look. As a nod to Valentina’s maskgate elimination, Sasha covered her face with a mask for the first chorus of the song, only to rip it off to reveal full face. With less tricks than their first performances, both girls went really hard and let their passion and energy take center stage. In the end and for her final decision of the season, Ru announced Sasha Velour as the winner, crowning her America’s next drag superstar.
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