“Drag Race” Season 16 “Grand Finale” Recap: Winner, baby

Illustration: Eagle; Photos: MTV

In my conversations with drag race Observers Over the past few weeks, I have found myself playing a changing role. Depending on whether the person I'm talking to is a die-hard Sapphira or Nymphia fan (no one seemed to think Plane was shot, and we were all right), I found myself taking the other side. They thought Saphira should win? I felt compelled to point out that while Sapphira can do almost anything competently, Nymphia's fashion ability is perhaps the best of all, and it represented a whole new perspective on the show. She's the most innovative queen of the season, I think, and That Washington mail Introductory account It showed why it was made specifically for this this Moment. However, if the person I spoke to supported Nymphia, I would feel the need to make an argument in Sapphira's defense. She is the most polished queen of the bunch, is my argument, and by far the most equipped for the kind of wide-ranging journalistic opportunities that drag race The winner is expected to do so, especially in an election year. It's no mistake that she was He was honored by the Philadelphia City Council – Sapphira is a world-class drag queen and knows how to play to a wide range of different audiences.

What I'm trying to say here is that going into this episode, both Nymphia and Sapphira deserved to win. I set my predictions at a 70 percent chance of Sapphira winning and a 30 percent chance of Nymphia winning. So they finally made the surprise choice? No complaints here. It was a race to the finish line, and Nymphea barely managed to beat Saphira in the end. I see how it turned out and I'm happy for her (and her legion of fans).

And it had a pretty killer finale too. For the first 90 percent of the episode, it seemed like Sapphira came in with a winning hand and was playing all her cards absolutely right. She felt like the star the whole time. Her song was the best ever, a sexy, funky song about self-empowerment that had me jumping out of my chair. It was seriously next level, and she dominated every centimeter of the stage. I was in complete awe. Her outfits (which I didn't necessarily like on a taste level) were the biggest and boldest, and then, during the RuPaul interview segment, she struck just the right balance between poise and emotion. Sapphira made it to the final stage, did exactly what she had to do, and almost came out the winner. She's one of the all-time greats, not only in drag, but in action drag race.

However, Nymphea is our winner. I see how it happened. For starters, she won the final lip sync. Safira is great, don't get me wrong! But she's also had to lip-sync three times this season already — yes, two of which were to do so Good, but she didn't have the surprise factor on her side. Nymphia came prepared with stunts, along with another surprise in her acrobatic lip-sync style. Sapphira does a good but not great job. She seems to be slightly hindered by the weight of her costume at first, and later by her fake breasts. Nymphia is a lively little trickster, running across the stage engaging everyone (including, significantly, the other queens). She totally wins.

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While Sapphira's episode is more polished, Nymphia also has a great, albeit very different, finale. Her number isn't as convincingly written as Sapphira's (I'm still unclear what level of guilt the queens bear in creating these numbers), but she did it well. “Queen of Wind” isn't my type of song – it's a bit too Ava Max-y, which I'd say is a bit “less personal” for me – but it dances hard and sounds amazing. Unsurprisingly, her look is her best ever at night. Banana's final look was stunning, and her outfit before her reveal was amazing, probably my favorite of the night. While Sapphira's corresponding section is defined by poise, Nymphia's section is defined by true weakness. While Sapphira has been very outgoing throughout the season, there has never been a moment where she seemed out of control of her emotions. In the past two episodes, it's become clear that Nymphia's weakness is one of her great strengths in the competition. She's able to be so real, tug at your heartstrings, and make you care about her as a person.

I suppose I should talk about the plane episode too. I will say this: she is extremely talented, was the main character of this season, and did an amazing job doing her number. “Bodysuit” is funny, silly, and entertaining all the way through. Her facial expressions in this number, along with how well she hides the reveal, show that she is a world-class queen. However, no part of me was surprised when she was circumcised. In the performance, she had a strand of hair falling in her face which was a constant problem (this kind of detail is important after all), but what was even more serious was her inability to take the interview part seriously. She never let her guard down and got serious. Is this a requirement for a good drag queen? Probably not, but this is a condition on drag race. Given her interview last week, it's no surprise that she wasn't drag raceAmerica's Next Drag Superstar version.

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As an episode, this was a strong finale. Finals are on drag race They tend towards boredom – the giant stage makes them feel epic, but it's always overstuffed. This week is not so much an exception as it is a simplification. There are no interviews with the eliminated girls, but given the lip sync that took place last week, it seems clear that they all got their due. I ended up appreciating the slightly smaller stage, because the final lip sync was the most exciting we've seen in ages, and that was in large part due to the space itself. It's not often that two queens can fill that size of a stage, and the final moments of the season end up feeling paltry in comparison. This week, the show kept moving and I appreciated that. For once, the end looked tight.

And it all led up to the moment when the worthy queen won. Did you eat the whole season? No, but they are, by my measure, the hottest queens out of the top three. She's an absolute star, and will carry the show well by bringing what she already knows (gorgeous costumes, killer lip-sync segments) along with what she's learned (how to connect with audiences while speaking). I can't wait to see what you do with the platform. All hail Queen Nymphea!

• We do not summarize drag race reunion, so I wasn't able to express any opinions about last week's wonderful, wonderful episode. They are like this: Slay. Great work all around. Morphine vs. Megami was a lip sync for the ages, and Morphine won deservedly. Megami completely turned everyone's opinion of her around and raised her reservation fees sky-high. Very happy for her.

• Sasha Colby shows up, probably in a state of excitement, looking very hot, unzips her uniform a few times, talks about meeting the cum, and then leaves. I love Sasha Colby.

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• Xunami and Sapphira's tie for Miss Congeniality, to which I say: good for them.

• Homosexual thoughts: I had to (gently) bully him into doing it, but David Haskell, my boss and magazine editor New York The magazine agreed to be our final gay take on the season. Unsurprisingly, it was insightful: “In her interview with Matt Rogers, The plane reads its fellow queens For: “For Q, this would be her makeup, for Nymphia it would be her charisma, and for Sapphira it would be her taste.” The plane is exactly there – immediate, efficient, brutal and precise response. Is he also vile? Isn't it obvious that she respects the three of them? I don't really understand why everyone seemed to judge her encounter a failure, or really, all season long, how evil she really was? You could say that Plane was very offended by Amanda Tori Meating's lack of talent at some elements of drag performance, but I also think it's clear how much Plane likes Sapphira when they do that easy-talk thing. Her criticisms were harsh but I can't remember a single criticism that was out of the norm, or even petty! In a weird way, I put her alongside Saphira as the two most serious and committed queens of the season.

• In retrospect, I'd give Season 16 four stars, which is what most episodes got anyway. Really solid. Should be a model for drag race Seasons go ahead. Cutting off Q and then Plane instead of just leaving the ending between four people is the kind of stake building that the show needs to improve. (I shudder to think that Season 14 has a climax five.) It's the best form they've had in ages, and the queens were great characters. I think there is more personal drama (especially in… Unfolded(Dear God he was that boring this season) would have pushed him over the top for me. But still, best season since… 12? For context, I really like 12. Good stuff! Glad to see the old girl still has some juice in her.

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