RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16 Review: Grand Finale

ByDonald L. Leech

Apr 23, 2022

We have found our new winner! America’s Next Drag Superstar was crowned in a grand ceremony on Episode 16 of Season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

A fabulous night of Las Vegas shenanigans and showgirl looks closed the book on a rollercoaster season.

Did the finale end on a good note? Did the Final Five come to kill? (I have one wlittle feeling that it did not disappoint.)

Before we get into lip-syncing, we need to discuss the final looks. The queens go all out for “Grand Finale”, so these sets end in style!

Alyssa Hunter, Kornbread, Kerri Colby, Angeria Paris VanMichaels and Lady Camden had their Top 5 favorite looks of the night.

Alyssa and Angeria shone in their breathtakingly opulent dresses. Alyssa has always brought style to the runway, but her wealthy madam look and fan of money redeemed all the issues from her lip-synch mishap.

And Angeria’s gigantic blue feathers stole the show. You couldn’t look away from them!

Kerri Colby Finale Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16

Lady Camden’s horse and carriage look captured a fun mix of camp and style. The carriage design looked heavy in front of her dress, but the way she played the horse accents tied the whole runway together.

On the other hand, Kornbread and Kerri had cheeky, geeky looks that warmed my heart. Kornbread’s Beauty and the Beast set blended both sides of the iconic story. Her prosthetic Beast makeup looked flawless against Belle’s yellow dress.

Marvel’s Kerri’s Thanos ensemble looked both sexy and chic. It’s the type of elevated look that Kerri could pull off easily on the Grand Finals stage and performing at a club.

We love a queen embracing her memes online.

Maddy Morphosis Final Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16

“Grand Finale” combined some elements from past seasons with a newly renamed format to fit the Top 5. “Showgirl Showdown” looked new, but we’ve seen this style in the past.

The Season 8 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race had done something similar where Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi, and Naomi Smalls each synced to an original song provided by the show. There were dancers, choreography and lip-synching to determine who would win.

What I loved about the Showgirl Showdown was that each queen had time to showcase her style on stage. It was their time to choreograph and perform a routine that matched what they could bring to the final.

And that a Lip-Sync For The Crown battle was always included at the end. Winning the crown should always come with a one-on-one lip-sync battle; the stakes must be raised to snatch the biggest drag prize.

Kornbread Finale Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16

The Showgirl Showdown should only be limited to this year’s Top 5 Finalists from Season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Nothing will ever beat Lip-Sync For The Crown.

The problem with the Showgirl Showdown is that it is a subjective performance that is not in the hands of the queens.

Did the Queens write, design and select each beat for their original track? Was that all they picked for the performance, or was that their outside input?

Racers, start your engines and may the best drag queen win!

RuPaul

Like the songs by Lady Camden and Willow Pill, the high-energy tracks naturally perform better than the mid-tempo or slower songs of the other three finalists. If someone else is making the trail, the odds are already stacked against them if they can’t change it.

At least with the Lip-Sync For The Crown, it’s a random popular song. Queens are on par for lip-syncing; the Showgirl Showdown didn’t feel as balanced as it should have.

Based on the Top 5 Lip Syncs, I agreed that Lady Camden and Willow Pill had the best numbers.

Lady Camden had a very energetic track that made you get up and dance. Her impeccable ballet moves made her stand out from her competitors, and the revealing wig and outfit easily won over the crowd.

RuPaul: Wait, Michelle, you’re not going to slap me, are you?
Michelle Face: No!
RuPaul: Okay, it’s not that kind of show.
Michelle Visage: No, Ru, it’s not that kind of show!
RuPaul: No, no, no.

Surprisingly, most of the Top 5s didn’t include tricks, which was a huge miss for a final. Now is the time to throw them down to impress RuPaul!

For example, Willow Pill’s campy and hilarious performance. His cheeky, self-deprecating song, “I Hate People,” was catchy and the perfect track you’d want to perform on a Drag Race stage (both for its jokes and the gags you could pull off).

The multi-headed reveal on her shoulder and crotch was a great tip to end on a high note. We have to give Willow a lot of credit here; she delivered the revelations at the right time to make the biggest surprise.

Bosco Finale Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16

On the other hand, Angeria, Bosco, and Daya Betty had decent numbers that showed off their drag personalities. However, it’s go big or go home on the big final stage.

The queens could have pushed each other more to land the best ending.

Bosco and Daya’s mid-tempo songs hurt their chances. How could they dance or have great moments when they’re stuck at a slower pace? Their numbers didn’t impress as much as they should for this big, important moment.

I’m kinda tripped right now, because the last time someone gave me a key, there was white powder on the end. But that was a long time ago, and it’s so much better than all that.

RuPaul

Angeria had a good number with energy and dance. Something seemed to be missing at the end; he felt “sure” about the talent and genius that Angeria could have brought.

We just needed more of the three eliminated queens.

Daya Betty Final Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16

Lady Camden and Willow Pill performed a loud, clean number for the final lip-sync to “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”. It was a close race for much of the number going into the second half of the song.

Both queens revealed the prior outfit, energetic dance moves, and precise lip-syncing to the lyrics. All the standard beats they need to hit if they want to wow the crowd and impress RuPaul.

RuPaul: I have one thing to say…
[RuPaul does a sexy turn]
RuPaul: It’s chocolate.

Where I believe Willow edged out Lady Camden was how much she felt about the song and how sharp her revelations were compared to Camden.

If she hadn’t tried her Freddie Mercury reveal again, Lady Camden would have been tighter against Willow. Even with the quick edit, you could tell the reveal was a bit sloppy, while Willow’s few reveals were smooth and flowed through easily. Sometimes lightning doesn’t strike twice for a gag or a gimmick.

Additionally, the lip-sync edit was heavily favored in Willow’s direction. Drag Race is not subtle; halfway through the number, the winner was pretty obvious. Drag Race needs to improve on this style in the future as it becomes easier to spot.

Lady Camden Finale Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16

Willow Pill’s win was a nice result.

Her win wasn’t the biggest surprise, especially since RuPaul was absolutely in love with her as a contestant. She is a huge fan favorite and her arc was one of the most touching stories in the competition.

However, it came as a surprise that her lip-syncing skills knocked down tough competitors, like Lady Camden, Angeria, Bosco, and Daya Betty. We had only seen Willow’s lip-synch once during episode 11 of season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But, she was a constant and strong presence throughout the show.

Additionally, Willow will get two honors with her victory: she is the first $150,000 queen and the first transgender queen to win a mainline season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s been a great end to the season with lots of ups and downs.

Willow Pill Finale Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16


Final Thoughts from the Werk Room:

  • Kornbread winner Miss Congeniality was a great choice. Like RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 Episode 15, she’s direct, honest, and shows every queen the same level of direct sincerity.
  • Drag Race Live received many free promotions this round. Kris Jenner and RuPaul are to teach a lesson in the art of branding.
  • Whoever directed and scripted the queens’ Las Vegas segments deserves a raise. These videos were hilarious!
  • Congratulations RuPaul! Obtaining the city key is a huge honor.
Angeria Paris VanMichaels Finale Look - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 16

Now over to you, Drag Race fans!

What did you think of “Grand Finale”?

Did your favorite queen win the pageant? What final look blew you away? Are you happy that Kornbread won Miss Congeniality?

Share your opinion in the comments below.

justin carreiro is an editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.