The 14th and final episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 11 aired Thursday on VH1. The four queens still in the hunt — A’Keria C. Davenport, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Silky Nutmeg Ganache and Yvie Oddly — fought it out for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” and the $100,000 grand prize. Which contestant came out on top to be declared the winner by RuPaul Charles in this edition of the Emmy-winning competition series?
Each of these final four won the main challenge at least once this season. Of them, Brooke Lynn has bragging rights to the best track record with three wins. A’Keria and Silky each prevailed twice each while Yvie was tops once. However remember Brooke Lynn barely made it into the top four after having to do lip sync battle with Vanessa Vanjie Mateo at the end of episode 12.
Below, check out our minute-by-minute live blog recap of the season 11 finale to find out who won on May 30. After watching episode 14, which is titled “Grand Finale,” be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite queens and who you wanted to join the list of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners.
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9:01 p.m. – To kick off the finale, the season 11 queens strutted down the runway one last time in their best finale drag. Each queen donned a fabulous gown, most of which spoke to the personality that they displayed over the course of the season. Honey Davenport, Ra’Jah O’Hara and Plastique Tiara were among my favorite looks, but Nina West definitely got the biggest applause from the audience. Which looks did you like?
9:05 p.m. – In her opening, Ru made sure to remind everyone that this show “starring queer people and made by queer people” is a winner of NINE Emmys! That is an accomplishment and all due to the audience and the talent of the show, as Ru said.
9:06 p.m. – After the presentation of the eliminated queens, Ru began introducing the four finalists one by one, starting with A’Keria. In her package, A’Keria spoke about her career as a pageant queen and how she was one of the sleepers of the season, quiet but deadly. For her finale look, A’Keria donned huge black wings that extended into the bottom half of her dress that was otherwise an elegant green that mimicked the scales of a snake. Honestly, she looked like Maleficent!
9:16 p.m. – Following the first commercial break, there was a great piece featuring footage of the real world with a voiceover by Ru about the history of queers and politics, acknowledging that this is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn in New York City and the queer people who started the riots and modern political movement there.
9:18 p.m. – The next finalist introduced was Brooke Lynn. Her package spoke to her past as a ballet dancer and how that inspired her to join pageants as a drag queen. She also acknowledged that she struggles with showing vulnerability and for not meeting her high expectations, but that the show helped her cross that border in a lot of ways. Her finale look was all white, similar to the swan princess look she wore on the previous episode (which oddly enough the judges read her for as not her “best” drag look). Ballsy to go for it again on the finale!
9:27 p.m. – We also got to see an “In Mammorium” to celebrate Michelle’s implants which she removed this year due to Hashimoto’s Disease, a breast implant illness. As is true of the show, drag culture in general and also Michelle, it was on point to make light of a serious issue and so everyone was all laughs recalling the many jokes served Michelle’s way over the years.
9:30 p.m. – Then we heard from the third finalist, Silky. Her journey focused on the abrasiveness of her personality and the highs and lows of her performances, including the very low point of her lip sync against Nina. In her finale look, Silky entered in a pink dress with cockroaches on it, but revealed underneath a black and silver 1920s inspired look that showed off her body more than usual for her.
9:34 p.m. – After Silky’s presentation Christine and the Queens came on stage to sing Ru’s song “Sissy That Walk” while queens from other seasons came out on the stage for a runway walk in their own looks. I wonder how many of these girls will be on the next season of All Stars? Speaking of… when is that coming and who do you want to see on it?!
9:41 p.m. – Vanjie got her own spotlight shown on her in a segment where she walked around Hollywood asking people off the street how upset they were when she was eliminated and to “vote” for her to be in the finale. It was actually pretty cute and showed exactly how Vanjie could extend her infectious personality into a career on, I don’t know maybe a late night show guest host?!
9:43 p.m. – The last finalist we saw a package for was Yvie, who doubled down on her “normal is boring” outlook on life and drag. Yvie is proudly opinionated and thinks that pushing boundaries helps push the culture forward. For her finale look she came out in what can only be described as a take on Lady Gaga’s meat dress (right?), with flesh, bones and muscle tissue inscribed on her garment.
9:55 p.m. – Finally we got to the ultimate lip sync for the crown tournament. You know the drill: Ru spins the wheel and lands on the face of one of the four finalists who must choose one of their competitors. Then those two lip sync to a song and one is eliminated. Then the other two lip sync and another is eliminated. Then the two winners lip sync again for the crown. When Ru spun the wheel it landed on Silky who after some thought chose Brooke, leaving A’Keria and Yvie to battle in the second round.
9:58 p.m. – When presented with two boxes to choose from, Brooke chose *whisper voice* box 96 which gave them the Destiny’s Child song “Bootylicious” to lip sync to. In the performance, Silky started with a quick reveal, stripping away her big brunette afro to reveal an also big blonde wig. Later, Brooke had her own reveal–removing the heels of her shoes to perform the rest of the song on point. While Brooke transitioned into her signature dance moves and acrobatics, Silky did another wig reveal, splits and a death drop. In the end, Ru called it a “close” race, but declared Brooke the winner of round 1!
10:06 p.m. – In the lip sync to Rihanna‘s “SOS” between Yvie and A’Keria it was immediately apparent that Yvie had a better handle over the lyrics (specifically the ad libs) and was more prepared for the performance in her outfit. Neither girl had much of a gag factor in their performance, but Yvie was more energetic and interesting with a few flips here and there and then ending in a full back bend. To be honest it was a pretty underwhelming battle, but it was a clear win for Yvie!
10:15 p.m. – Monet X Change came to the stage to present this year’s Miss Congeniality award, since she won it for season 10. The obvious (and only) choice to be made was Nina West! Next, season 10 winner Aquaria arrived in a fantastic dark phoenix-like jumpsuit and mohawk to prepare to crown her successor.
10:25 p.m. – For the final performance, Brooke came out in a big smock that read “Reveal” all over while Yvie wore a mirrored dress and head piece that reflected her head perfectly to make it look like she had three heads. They performed to Lady Gaga‘s “Edge of Glory.” When the big chorus of the song hit Brooke did her reveal which was a mirrored catsuit that allowed her to move more freely across the stage and do her splits and acrobatics again. Instead of a reveal, Yvie used her costume perfectly, finally turning around to show off a scary-ish face on the back side and then slowly back bending again and once again ending in a back bend. In all, it was a strong final lip sync, but because her artistic vision really came through and she gave a more controlled performance it had to be… Yvie Oddly!
10:30 p.m. – Were you surprised by the finale? Did the right queen win? Sound off in the comments.. and see you next season!