Dallas' Asia O'Hara was second up and first out Thursday night on RuPaul's Drag Race.
The format of the "Grand Finale" was deceptively simple. Head drag queen in charge RuPaul sat down to chat with each of the remaining four contestants, before engaging them in combat, er, lip syncing.
Aquaria was up first. RuPaul asked who would be the toughest queen to take down. Aquaria pointed to Asia O'Hara since she's been "doing drag for 46 years (pause) or something like that." Shade. But respect.
Asia O'Hara was up next, adorned in headgear reminiscent of vampire queen Akasha's in the movie adaptation of the Anne Rice novel Queen of the Damned. In the audience were her drag daughter and her boyfriend, Brett. Asia: "We're going to get married," something Brett just found out about at that moment.
Similar to other pageants, she took a question. Olympian Gus Kenworthy did the honors, reading a question from a fan that asked whether Asia had ever been catfished. "People love to catfish drag queens," answered Asia, adding that it's almost as if it's a sport. Sigh.
Asia became emotional when RuPaul asked if she had anything to say to her deceased parents. She did, thanking her mother and father for teaching her, ending with the fact that "it was through dressing up like a woman that I learned to be a man."
Mama Ru also said that after consulting with her lawyers, she felt she owed Asia an apology for slapping her in a previous episode. She offered the chance for retribution, giving Asia the opportunity to slap her back right then and there. Asia demurred, but accepted the apology.
Eureka and Kameron Michaels were third and fourth, following the same format. Dance breaks, featuring men in barely-there outfits with all-the-way there moves, framed each segment.
"Superfan" Sally Jessy Raphael narrated a piece that took a look back at the last 10 years, including political reveries, ending on RuPaul's Drag Con 2018 with a promise "to take over the ... world, one death drop at a time."
Other notable appearances included a video message from Dame Judi Dench (RuPaul said the only queen Dench had not played was her); queens from the first to the 10th seasons; last season's winner Sasha Velour (who looked as if she were an alien who dropped down to Middle Earth and decided to assimilate with the elegant Elves) and last season's Miss Congeniality, Valentina (exuberant, from Berlin); Season 1 winner Nina Flowers; and judges Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews.
Long story, short. RuPaul turned a wheel with each queen's face on it, landing on Kameron Michaels. Kameron got to choose who she would compete against: Asia O'Hara. Then they got to choose from boxes holding Ru's "favorite Janet Jackson lip-syncing songs." Asia chose; they had to perform "Nasty." Yeah.
Kameron stalked the stage, using flips, drops and the kitchen sink to seal the deal. Asia took a more understated, artsy approach that was not without some drama; she released butterflies from the exaggerated bosom of her flowery costume. It seemed a strange choice for a finale at which you're expected to leave it all on the stage.
Ru agreed, choosing Kameron Michaels to move on to the finals. "I'm sorry, my dear, but this is not your time," she told Asia. "Now, sashay away."
That left Aquaria and Eureka to battle to "If." Both had surprises underneath their outer costumes, though Eureka had more layers. The eye didn't know what to look at, there was so much going on. This was a battle for the gods. The dueling duo hugged after.
And, surprise, Ru kept them both: "Congratulations, you both made it to the finals."
The announcer said that it was the "first time in drag race herstory" that it would be three to compete for the crown.
But before that, the fabulous Monet X Change (glorious, too) won Miss Congeniality for Season 10.
And then there was the finale: The three remaining contestants killed the stage while lip-syncing to "Bang, Bang" by Jessie J. Lip-syncing is a strong word; I'm not sure they knew the words. But nevertheless, they persisted and got a standing ovation from the audience at the United Artists Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
I don't know how RuPaul got a winner from last night's performance; she must have taken into consideration the entire run. Aquaria was named the winner of the crown and scepter; a year's supply of makeup from Anastacia; and a $100,000 cash prize.
The dancing didn't stop. And neither did the queens; they were presenters at the Trailblazer Honors that were next up on VH1.
More proof that the denizens of RuPaul's Drag Race never die, they just sashay away.