‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ 13 ‘Grand Finale’ recap: Is Gottmik, Kandy Muse, Rosé or Symone America’s next drag superstar?

Last week on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” host RuPaul Charles guided the queens of season 13 through the show’s second virtual reunion and first to feature self-produced music videos from each of the eliminated queens. Ru also took some time to set up tonight’s finale at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles with the four finalists Gottmik, Kandy Muse, Rosé and Symone humoring us with their own Vogue-inspired “69 Questions with…” segment. Tonight the four remaining queens will battle it out in a Lip Sync for the Crown showdown to Britney Spears songs. Who will emerge victorious after two performances? The answer is: America’s next drag superstar.

Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of episode 15 to find out who won the lip syncs for the crown in “Grand Finale.” After following along with our live updating blog,  be sure to sound off in the comments section with your reactions to VH1’s reality TV show and then discuss whether the right queen joined the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners list.

8:01 p.m. – Opening the night was Ru in gold tulle performing her new song “New Friends Silver, Old Friends Gold.” Afterward, the final four were introduced in their best black & white looks: Gottmik was in all white makeup with a black gown, Kandy went in a white bodysuit with a train and an Elvira-esque wig, Rosé went in a trippy Alice in the Wonderland take on the classic Audrey Hepburn look, and Symone arrived in an enormous afro wig and an oversized bandana gown. They walked a second time in all red: Gottmik went with a red Keith Harrington look, Kandy came out in a red leather mini dress with gold chains, Rosé went gothic with a red branch wig, and Symone finished in a flirty red fringe dress made of nails. And in the third and final walk, they wore their premiere grand finale look: Gottmik had an elaborate navy gown, Kandy came out in a gown as well with a huge peacock feather, Rosé went classic with a baby green and white Victorian look, and Symone closed in white and gold.

8:08 p.m. – After the catwalks, Ru came to the stage of the Ace Hotel to introduce the evening to the outdoor audience with the reigning queen Jaida Essence Hall as correspondent from the Drag Race Drive-In. Ru sat down with each of the finalists to check in on their journey through the season. First up was Gottmik, who won Snatch Game impersonating Paris Hilton. As a treat, Paris sent a good luck video message to Gottmik congratulating her and wishing her luck for the win. Gottmik explained that Paris was actually one of the first celebrity clients she had as a makeup artist. Her parents also sent a good luck message, to which Gottmik explained that they’ve always been supportive of her journey.

8:21 p.m. – Next, Kandy came to the stage to explain to Ru that even she sometimes can’t understand what she’s saying. The main point of Kandy’s story is her childhood in the Bronx and having to fight for so much in her life and how that explains her drag persona. That being said, Kandy reiterated a point that Gottmik made which is that this final four are very close with each other and that she met lifelong friends from the show. Kandy’s mom sent a video message of encouragement as her number one fan which made a typically tough Kandy emotional.

8:26 p.m. – In Rosé’s conversation with Ru we learned that she sprained her ankle, but is still prepared to participate in the night’s lip sync smackdown. For Rosé’s message from home, her whole McCorkell clan got together to wish her luck with a toast of glasses of rosé. Ru reminded Rosé that she’s the only one in the top four that lost the premiere episode lip sync to become a Pork Chopped queen. Rosé said that it’s mostly an advantage because it allowed her to work harder and be a little bit underestimated by the others.

8:34 p.m. – Finally, Ru sat down with Symone to discuss her personal icons: Rihanna, Lil Kim and Whitney Houston. Rihanna actually sent her a message on Instagram telling her to “keep your foot on the gas” and applaud everything she’s done on the show. Symone also spoke to her desire to speak up for the Black community by incorporating that into her drag. Symone’s advice to young queer kids is to “hold on to your dream” and do what you have to do to achieve your dreams. Despite not being back to Arkansas since she left, Symone’s mom and grandma sent a video message encouraging her journey on the show and supporting her in the finale.

8:44 p.m. – As a tribute to the pandemic, the finalists recorded a short video to Bette Midler‘s HIV/AIDS pandemic tribute song “Friends.” In the video the girls appears on stage in drag as well as in the audience out of drag and watching themselves. Ru dedicated the performance and song to Chi Chi DeVayne from season 8 and All Stars 3 who passed away this year to health complications.The tribute depicted many, many video confessionals from Chi Chi’s drag costars sharing their memories of her friendship.

8:53 p.m. – For this season’s lip sync smackdown, Ru announced that all three of the performances would be dedicated to the songs of Britney Spears. First, U.S. Senator and cousin to Ru Cory Booker sent through a video message espousing the tenets of drag queen culture: to always remain yourself. To determine the matches in the smackdown, Ru spun the wheel. In the first spin it landed on Kandy and the second spin hit Rosé, for a showdown of the two New York queens and leaving the two Los Angeles queens Gottmik and Symone to go against each other. As the first queen chosen by the wheel, Kandy got to choose a box, revealing their song “Work Bitch.”

8:57 p.m. – For the performance, Kandy was in a white bodysuit while Rosé was in a baby pink suit with thigh boots and pigtails. Underneath both of their initial looks, Rosé and Kandy revealed new looks as part of their performance. Kandy gave the more energetic performance with aggressive dance moves while Rosé seemed stilted by a song that required more hard hitting choreo than she was prepared for. Ultimately neither queen brought anything spectacular to the table, but when a decision has to be made trust that Ru will make one. This time, Kandy won another lip sync, defeating Rosé and sending herself to the next round to lip sync for the crown.

9:05 p.m. – In the second round, Gottmik and Symone performed to “Gimme More.” Gottmik arrived I a red poof dress and Symone entered in a white track suit. As expected, both queens leaned into their brand identity: Gottmik kept it rock- and fashion-inspired while Symone brought edge with multiple costume evolutions. They both remained fully committed in their performances, showing that either would have defeated Rosé or Kandy if paired against them. But again a decision had to be made and this time Ru chose Symone as the round 2 winner.

9:15 p.m. – Before the final smackdown, we were treated to a virtual presentation of the eliminated queens ahead of the announcement of which was voted as this season’s Miss Congeniality. To announce the winner, reigning Miss C Heidi N Closet, who didn’t get a finale stage on her own season, came to the stage in a quirky red velvet gown with a random yellow train. Based on the votes of the queens themselves, Heidi announced the new Miss Congeniality to be LaLa Ri. And as the reigning champion, Jaida came in from the streets to advise whoever wins this season to stick by their own POV and blow off anyone that doesn’t agree with them.

9:24 p.m. – For the final lip sync to determine the winner, Kandy, in a sequined white jumpsuit and black sunglasses, and Symone, in a black and silver gown with a braided wig, went head to head to “Til the World Ends.” Symone opened her jacket to reveal a golden fringe dress while Kandy’s big reveal was removing her sunglasses. Luckily both queens met the energy of the song, waiting until the big moment in the song for their own big moment. Kandy pulled out a flag from the Dominican Republic to rep her heritage and Symone’s wig exploded with a couple streamers. In the end, Ru declared the one and only Symone as America’s next drag superstar!

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