Previously on Drag Race France the top four were given one final hurdle before battling for the crown and oh boy, was it a doozy – making over their besties! And while there are normally more than a few questionable choices, the quartet all served it as they stayed true to themselves while looking out for their friends. While that doesn’t help a competition format reality show, Nicky solved the little deadlock with a classic lip sync lalaparuza. As such, Soa defeated Lolita and booked the first spot in the top three. She was followed by Paloma before La Grande Dame narrowly completed the top three as Lolita Banana was tragically felled.
Backstage the top three were well and truly gagged to have made it to the end, before toasting to Lolita’s epic run to the top four. Though they didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, given they had a big week ahead if they wanted to snatch the crown. The next day the top three returned excited and ready to claim their crown. But after Nicky arrived to announce their final Maxi Challenge, they were a little less excited and erring more on the side of nervous. First up they would have to learn the lyrics to RuPaul’s Catwalk, in ENGLISH, then learn extensive choreography and perform it live on the mainstage. Then stomp the runway in front of fashion icon Olivier Rousteing.
Oh and obvs they will be having a little madeleine lunch with Nicky, as the French are wont to do.
After Nicky disappeared, they split up to speculate how painful their choreography would be, with everyone hoping for some camp disco moves. While La Grande Dame was only confident in her old white man moves. Thankfully they didn’t have to wait long to find out as they quickly joined Nicolas Huchard on the mainstage to rehearse. And let’s just say, the performance is going to be very, very detailed and very, very intense. While Soa was in her element, Paloma was feeling super anxious and struggled to get it down and bring enough attitude. While Grande Dame was mildly confident, given she wasn’t the weakest. Well, unless this is a fakeout edit and Paloma is going to absolutely demolish the final performance.
Soa was first to kiki with Nicky, already feeling like a winner to have made it to the end. But hopeful to keep that fire and take the crown in honour of her dear friend Mrs Rose. La Grande Dame was next to drop by, simultaneously shocked to be there and proud of all that she has achieved. She revealed that she came to the competition because she had a difficult time growing up and wanting to show her mother another side of herself after difficult years apart, due to her queerness. Paloma meanwhile spoke about how the competition has made her feel like less of an imposter and that she has a place in the world. And ugh, I honestly love them all.
Nicky, Daphné and Kiddy were joined by Nicolas and Olivier on the judging panel as the top three took the stage for their performance of Catwalk and while Paloma looked tentative in rehearsal, she hit the stage with a fire and was so damn charming. La Grande Dame served non-stop moody glamour; ethereal and damn fierce. Soa meanwhile had all the energy, hitting every move and giving us sex from start to finish.
The Dragnifique runway was opened by our eliminated queens where La Kahena was a pretty princess in nude before stripping near nude and showing bum. So swoon. Lova gave showgirl glamour, La Briochée was a patchworked voodoo-Dorothy delight, Kam was peach-puff perfection while Elips was so gorgeous in a black, shimmering jumpsuit. Big Bertha went from red vamp, to revealing a bodysuit carving up her meat while Lolita was gorgeous in a gaudy quinceanera kinda way. When it came to the top three, Paloma was perfect in a moody red gown, complete with Bette Midler Hocus Pocus wig. Soa was sexy in a bead and leather outfit, giving structure and skin in equal measure while La Grande Dame was camp as hell in a shimmering lilac gown of frills and ruching.
Paloma received universal praise for all that she sold on the runway and for the diversity of her performances throughout the season. And for having so much fun. Paloma opened up to the judges, explaining how she wants her potential victory to inspire people to follow their dreams. Soa was praised for looking stunning on the runway, and for kicking off the season in such a strong fashion with her talent show performance. Oh and never mind her killer track record and dominating each lip sync she appeared in. She thanked the judges for their kindness and for embracing her. La Grande Dame meanwhile received praise for giving constantly evolving glamour on the runway and mixing it with such fun humour. And frankly, a whole lot of stupidity.
Nicky then wheeled out the baby pictures, with Paloma encouraging her younger self to stand firm and love herself and trust that everything will work out, despite the trauma and upheaval that is sometimes thrown her way. Soa told her baby self to use the pain that comes her way as fire to make something of herself and to fight. And again, I love her so much. La Grande Dame meanwhile told her even younger self that while life may be strange and confusing at times, to always keep hope and focus on her happiness.
Before they ventured to untuck, Nicky then announced that the queens had privately voted prior to the show with Elips crowned the first Miss Sympathie. Backstage the finalists reunited with their eliminated sisters, toasting to a killer season before Grande Dame shared that watching her sisters leave in tears was the hardest part of the entire competition for her.
The girls returned to the mainstage to lip sync for the crown to Dalida’s Mourir sur scène. And given the dolls are icons, none of them really tried to steal the spotlight from anyone else, calm and confident in their skills as they all turned a killer show. Soa was obviously moody and fierce, Paloma served all the emotion while Grande Dame was stunning and on every lyric. Complete with glitter. Sadly, while everyone nailed the performance (and the season more broadly), Nicky had to pick a winner. And tragically, that was not La Grande Dame who finished as one of the two runner-ups. This is going to become quite repetitive, but the top three were so damn strong that any of them could have taken out the crown and while I’m thrilled for the winner, both La Grande Dame and the as yet unmentioned here other runner-up were worthy.
As soon as La Grande Dame stepped offstage for the crowning, I pulled her in for a massive hug and marvelled how someone so young could do what she did. I then went on a rant about my own fading youth and asked her to give me hers, before I snapped out of it and congratulated her on a job well done with a glorious La Grande Damarretto Cake.
The only thing elegant or decadent enough for La Grande Dame’s aesthetic is this barely-tweaked Nigella number. Rich, dense and velvety smooth, it is essentially the perfect cake. And I’d be willing to fight anyone that disagrees.
La Grande Damarretto Cake
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs, at room temperature
125g raw caster sugar
100g almond meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dustin’
¼ cup amaretto liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler until smooth and glossy, before removing from the heat to cool.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, glossy and doubled in volume. Combine the almond meal and cocoa, before folding through the sweetened eggs.
Mix the amaretto and vanilla with the melted chocolate, then fold through the batter until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until it is coming away from the edges and is cracked on the top. It should be dense and moist, but only just cooked through with a few crumbs left on an inserted skewer.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, before unclamping the tin and gently transferring the cake to a plate. Sprinkle with a little extra cocoa before devouring, triumphantly. Despite not winning.
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