‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ 12 episode 12 recap: Which four queens advanced to the first ever virtual Grand Finale?

As the 12th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” draws to a close, the final five reflected on their “report cards” as they eyed their own chances of advancing to the final. Although she was in the bottom two last week, Jaida Essence Hall has the best recent scores with two of her three wins coming just two weeks before. She’s tied with Gigi Goode, also with three total wins from the middle of the season, and followed by Sherry Pie who hit a plateau of safety after two wins in the beginning of the season. Last week Crystal Methyd earned her first win, leaving Jackie Cox at the back of the pack with five top scores but no overall wins.

So which four queens made the grand finale and, despite being disqualified since the beginning of the season airing, was Sherry Pie one of them? Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of Season 12, Episode 12 to find out what happened in “Viva Drag Vegas.” After reading our thoughts on the episode, be sure to sound off in the comments section about the May 1st episode and who you think will ultimately join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners list.

8:00 p.m. – Shortly after it being declared lights out for Heidi N Closet, the lights literally went out in the work room, leading to the queens having to evacuate to the Untucked lounge to collect themselves. Jaida was most upset about the loss of her closest friend in the competition, but everyone agreed that she was a hard worker and easily one of the most lovable personalities. Jackie was worried that the rest of the girls had a challenge win and she remained as the only one without that. On the flip side, with a win under her belt Crystal’s confidence was on a steady incline.

8:06 p.m. – The next morning, all the lights were back up in the work room for RuPaul Charles to introduce “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live,” the “all singing, all dancing, all lip synching” show premiering in Las Vegas. To celebrate that, Ru asked them to design a one of a kind headdress that “screams Las Vegas” and get into quick showgirl drag for the mini challenge. Gigi put together Ru’s favorite ensemble, a teal blue headdress and representing a broken-bodied older showgirl.

8:09 p.m. – Then Ru presented this week’s maxi challenge, the final of the season: a medley performance of original songs from “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live.” In the medley they’d have to perform in an opener, a first act and then a disco finale. In the first act they’d each compose their own rap verse and for all acts work with choreographer and this week’s guest judge, Jamal Sims.

8:18 p.m. – Their first task in the challenge was to record their vocals and raps with Leland and Freddy Scott, composers of the original music in the show. For Gigi, these verses were a chance for her to show off Gigi as Gigi, opposed to the past challenges where she excelled at being Gigi being other personalities like a robot and Madonna. Crystal and Jaida were very nervous to be recording their parts and struggled to translate their confidence and personality into it. Jackie’s hurdle was letting go of the perfectionist in her and having more fun.

8:27 p.m. – Next they returned to the stage to learn the dance moves with Jamal. He made it clear that the goal was to present the showgirl vibe, noting that the stakes are high for all of them. Of all the girls, Jaida was the most prepared for the dance challenge, but Gigi, Crystal and Jackie all had trouble keeping up with the pace. Jackie’s nerd side always comes out most in dance challenges, failing to inject the kind of rhythm and sexy that Jamal was expecting. The other girls all fared better and showed promise at executing at a top level.

8:38 p.m. – The next day, reflecting on the entire competition led the queens to evaluate their first impressions of each other as well as their report cards for the season. According to everyone, Crystal is the most improved due in large part to her growth in confidence. Jackie admitted that it became immediately clear that Gigi would be a strong contender as a fashion queen and Gigi said she instantly new that Jaida would be stiff and comparable competition for her. Should “report cards” come into play, Jackie felt most vulnerable without a challenge win of her own. It was clear that Jackie felt defeated already, but Crystal refused to acknowledge that she could be also because she’s been growing through the competition.

8:49 p.m. – On the main stage, Ru was joined by Jamal, Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews and Carson Kressley to evaluate the performances in the show. The opening number was a chance for the queens to put on their season entrance looks again (remember Gigi as a pirate and Crystal as a clown?). Next they went into a heartfelt first act with Sherry standing out with her intimate portrayal of one of the new arrival girls looking in the mirror. In the “I’m Still That Bitch” and “Losing Is the New Winning” numbers, the pace picked up and the girls had to show off their disco dancing as well as their raps. Crystal’s silly voice influxes were a hit in her rap, but Gigi’s perfect execution of her brand was another standout. Jaida brought a ton of personality, especially in the “still that bitch” lines that matched her attitude. Jackie and Sherry were their quirky selves, mixing humor and comedic elements in every moment.

9:01 p.m. – On the “Eleganza Extravaganza” runway, Crystal arrived in a big blue velvet outfit and painted completely blue to look like a glamour genie. Gigi followed in a gender-bending dweeby prom outfit including a glittered out mouth brace that matched her bowtie. Jackie came out in an oversized gift wrapping 50s sweet dress and blue hair. Sherry went full Mae West in a bright blue feathered ensemble, umbrella and hat while Jaida looked expectedly pageant in a glitzy and body-snatching goddess dress.

9:08 p.m. – In their critiques, the judges thought Crystal was a blast and Jamal was so impressed that she didn’t have any fear in her performance. Carson pointed out that not many queens can pull off what she does on the runway and that scores huge points for her. Once again Gigi was applauded for her perfection, always hitting her marks and presenting herself flawlessly on the runway. Ross liked the delicate look of Jackie while Michele called it “a lot” (in a bad way). She also took knocks from Jamal for visibly holding back in the disco number. It became clear that both Jaida and Sherry were favorites of the judges, calling their looks perfection and for them both knowing themselves so well that they are simply “good at what they do.”

9:22 p.m. – When it came to decision time, Ru declared Gigi the final challenge winner! That gave her a fourth overall, making her the frontrunner of the season heading in to the finale. Gigi was instantly joined by the other season-long leaders, Sherry and Jaida, making a top three. That left Crystal and Jackie in the bottom and preparing for the final LSFYL to become the fourth finalist. In their performance to “On the Floor” by Jennifer Lopez, Jackie resorted to her well-known comedic interpretation of music but she was well-prepared, knowing every single lyric. Crystal’s best moment was throwing it back with some moves from her challenge winning exotic dancer character and showed the she can have fun and show her personality in a lip sync. While both showed out, Ru’s ultimate decision was to keep Crystal around for the finale, eliminating Jackie in the process.

NEXT UP: The girls reconvene for the reunion show next week before the Grand Finale airs two weeks from now, on May 29th. The show confirmed that both will be virtual presentations, with the finalists performing their final lip syncs for the crown while practicing social distancing from their own spaces.

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