Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race a new cast of queens arrived in the Werk Room and TBH, they kept us fed. Well at the very least Luxx and Mistress did, bringing sass and shade each week, making everyone put the fight in fighting spirit. But aside from that the dolls absolutely slayed, with Anetra walking the fucking duck, Sasha cracking her neck to victory, Loosey giving us a perfect Joan Rivers while Spice gave us that Miley and Anetra and Marcia Cubed delivered the lip sync of the season. One by one they were sent home until it was just Anetra, Luxx, Mistress and Sasha remaining, after a late breaking double shantay from Mama Ru.
Oh and then the world’s longest reunion happened.
We returned to the Ace Hotel Theatre as the queens were wheeled back out in the order they were eliminated. As a reminder that order was – yep, it is happening – Irene DuBois, Princess Poppy, Sugar, Amethyst, Robin Fierce, Aura Mayari, Jax, Spice, Malaysia Babydoll Foxx, Marcia Marcia Marcia, Salina EsTitties and Loosey LaDuca. The top four then stole the show as Anetra, Luxx Noir London, Mistress Isabelle Brooks and mother Sasha Colby were brought out, proving why they are still in the running. We then got a five Ru performance of her song, which happened, but I’ll take the shirtless back-up dancers any day. And by take, they can walk my fucking duck any day. After introducing Michelle, Carson, Ross and the TS Madison, Mama Ru explained how the evening would proceed with the dolls all doing a solo performance before the top two would lip sync for the crown.
First cab off the rank was the iconic Anetra who is still such a sweet angel, grateful for her father for providing the love and support that allowed her to become the person she is. Her solo number, Lotus, was inspired by the flower blossoming only after going through all the muck. Which is apt for what she has experienced in her life, and well, now she is walking the duck and karate chopping like a boss. Obviously she destroyed the performance with the judges loving all that she served. In a kiki with Ru, she charmed her way through explaining her superpower was jumping over queens with BFAs while her kryptonite was men over 6 feet. And between her relatability and how sweet her dad and stepmom are, I need a double crown ASAP.
Luxx meanwhile was fired up to take the crown, willing to commit crime, but only one that would get her arrested, but not thrown in jail. Her finale performance, It’s Giving Fashion, was a high-energy bop which she slayed from start to finish. Complete with a little bit of an Anetra signature, walking the duck. The judges rightly heaped her with praise before she told Ru she can not wait to see how this turns out. She admitted to Ru that she was completely vibing and living her best life, before her mother spoke about her getting her legendary performing skills from her grandmother, father and of course, herself, her mother. Her boyfriend meanwhile sobbed about how much she loves them, while Luxx put everything she is today down to drag. So now I need a triple crown (the first going to Sasha, obvi).
We then had a little interlude dedicated to the iconic Bob Mackie, as Ru gifted him the Giving us Life-time Achievement Award. Which is important, despite not adding to the plot.
When they pivoted from the sweet, petite old man to the killer, larger than life Mistress Isabelle Brooks and hell, make it a quadruple crowning, because she literally carried the season on her back. She served sass, emotion and most importantly, eras. When it came to her original song Delusion – in honour of being patient zero – she was fire. It was hyper colour, hypnotic – literally – and straight up perfection from start to finish, fun and fierce, complete with a signature giggle. With the judges agreeing it was stunning, as always. While chatting to Ruple Charles, Mistress admitted she actually watched her mouth and held back over the course of the season. And reminded everyone they can be who they want, big or small. Her mother Chavelle Brooks then told her how proud of her she is, while I ship her and her bestie.
Rounding out the solos, Sasha was proud of her journey and how much she has evolved throughout the season. And how grateful she was for all her chosen family and those bio family members she is still in contact with. Her performance of Goddess was instantly iconic as she came out as a serpent, complete with snake braids and back-up in buttflaps. It was a bop and it was a performance. No doubt guaranteeing mama her spot in the final lip sync, which I’d argue the judges straight up agreed with. She was most grateful to the experience for allowing her to meet the fans and their supportive families. Her besties’ partner broke down about how proud he was of everything she has achieved thus far. With Sasha sure that thanks to Ru, she will be achieving her dreams and taking over the world in no time.
The top four all took their places on the stage as Ru announced which queens would progress to lip sync for the crown, with Anetra and Sasha obviously chosen. Because duh, despite how iconic Luxx and Mistress are.
As the top two disappeared backstage to prepare, Ru rucapped Wigloose, heartbroken that it proved to be prophetic before a group of queercons and Kevin Bacon – since Wild Things is super queer – did a touching version of the Imagine video (well, not out of touch). Leland and Orville Peck then performed a song with the queens and while it was a vibe, it was too sweet to read. Willow Pill then made her triumphant return to the stage to flip everyone off before Kornbread arrived serving BEAST. Before she rapped about the Season 15 dolls ahead of crowning Malaysia Babydoll Foxx the newest Miss Congeniality.
Most importantly, we then had an epic segment dedicated to Jinkx Monsoon before she took the stage to perform her number from Chicago. And oh my God, she is perfect and I am so gutted I didn’t get to see her in the show. As she and Ru kikied, we were reminded that Jinkx dreamed of performing in drag on Broadway, meaning winning Drag Race is the key to achieving your dreams.
After wheeling the Queen of all Queens off stage, the top two arrived to lip sync for the crown to Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart and ugh, I love the song and know they are both going to kill it. As soon as it started, both of the dolls hit every lyric and beat. Sasha served a reveal from an epic coat, before pulling a bone from the corset of her gown to reveal a sexy number as she served all the hairography. Anetra gave a bleeding heart, Sasha used her coat as a couch and well, it was good. Which TBH, is exactly what we were expecting from the duo. And despite it being the strongest final two in YEARS, Ru opted out of a double crowning and instead gave mother Sasha her flowers, leaving Anetra to secure her win in All Stars 9.
Mark my words.
As Sasha was getting her crown, I theatrically yoinked Anetra offstage with a crook and pulled her in for a massive hug, reminding her that she is now in the company of Alaska and Shea, as iconic losing finalists that are easily going to power through to the Hall of Fame. While she didn’t snatch the crown, there is no denying that Anetra’s run was nothing short of legendary and as such, she is definitely going to have the biggest career glow-up post season. Since she is rightly beloved. Sadly though, Ru couldn’t even spring for a runner-up prize – guess Camden was just paid restitution for her UK sisters not getting a prize – meaning she had to settle for just my Anetrata.
And by mine, I mean SJP’s character’s family recipe in The Family Stone. Strata is one of those dishes that are so easy – who doesn’t love something you prepare the day ahead – yet jam packed with flavour, and this one a hit. Rich, earthy, sweet and creamy, it melts in your mouth while warms your heart. Kinda like Anetra herself.
6 Italian sausages, removed from casings, cooked into small pieces and cooled
1 baguette, sliced
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
4 tomatoes, sliced
400g mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cups milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp black pepper
1 pinch garlic salt
½ – 1 cup parmesan cheese, for sprinklin’
Butter or line a large baking dish and arrange half the bread into the base of the dish, trying to leave as small gaps as possible. Sprinkle over half the sausage, mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms and onions. Top with the rest of the bread, followed by the rest of the sausage, mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms and onions.
Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, oregano, pepper and garlic salt in a large bowl until well combined. Slowly pour over the strata, making sure the liquid gets into every nook and cranny. Sprinkle parmesan over the top, cover and transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.
The next morning, take the strata out of the fridge to come to temperature as you preheat the oven to 160C. Transfer to the oven and back for an hour or so, or until the top is golden and puffed and it is cooked through. Insert a knife and if it comes out clean it is ready, otherwise return to cook for a little longer.
Once done, leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Plotting how to top a killer run on your second go.
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