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RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 Episode 16 RECAP: Grand Finale

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 16 Episode 16 RECAP: Grand Finale

The final three lip sync for their lives one last time and a new queen ascends to the throne…

Well, we’ve finally made it to the end. This season has been one of the most exciting seasons to watch, and we met so many new queens that will be dazzling stages and our phone screens for years. Our top three have made it through sewing challenges, acting challenges, Snatch Game, the makeover challenge, and crash courses in marketing to make it here. At the end of this week’s episode Plane Jane, Nymhpia Wind, or Sapphira Cristal will be named America’s Next Drag Superstar. We’ll also get to see all of the queens this season in their most sickening eleganza, so let’s get right into it.

The finale kicks off with a fun music video moment of Ru’s song Pink Limousine. She starts in you guessed it, a pink limousine and moves to the stage with backup dancers. It looks like it’s the same stage from last week’s lip sync smackdown complete with a small studio audience. Ru welcomes everybody to the grand finale and thanks this season’s queens for bringing so much life and light to our lives over the past four months. She introduces the judges Michelle, Carson, Ts, and Ross, since it’s just family for the finale. Tonight each finalist will perform an original performance to showcase their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent one last time. Two of them will move on to this season’s final lip sync where one will win $200,000 and the crown.

All of the eliminated queens make their way to the stage and show off their finale eleganza lewks. Finally the three finalists make their way out and they’re all looking stunning, as expected. Nymphia Wind is up first and a highlight reel of her throughout the season plays reminding all of us of her iconic runways, funniest moments, and lowest lows. Her performance starts with a traditional Taiwanese costume which reveals into a stunning nude illusion bodysuit and choreography to match it.

Ross and Carson stand for her mid performance and she gets a standing ovation from the audience. Michelle tells her she’s been incredible all season but she was on another level tonight. Carson tells her she was always improving throughout the competition which was amazing to watch. Nymphia tells Ru fashion has always liked pretty things and appreciating fashion was what led her to drag. She gives some solid advice to her four year-old self without getting too emotional and thanks her mom and best friend for coming all the way from Taiwan for the finale. Her mom’s support brings her to tears. She finishes by telling Ru if she won she’d be the first east asian queen to do so and it would mean the world.

Next to perform is Plane Jane and her sizzle reel is full of her most iconic moments and reads from the season. Plane’s performance is a full pop fantasy with a little bit of her signature comedy complete with a double bodysuit reveal. The choreography isn’t as strong as Nymphia’s but the face is clocked IN. She also receives a standing ovation and critiques start with Michelle. She loved how funny the concept of the song and performance is and Ross tells her she’s extraordinary. Ru asks Plane to pitch her a campaign for the crown and the camera pans to Amanda who does not look happy.

She gives some upbeat and positive advice to her four year-old self and encourages him to keep being himself. Lazi Susan gives her a special shout out to Plane and wishes her luck during the finale. Plane’s mom and best friend are there to support her and her mom gives a touching speech urging other parents to let their kids be free to be themselves and support them through it. Plane tells Ru that being crowned means the most beautiful and correct queen would win. Just kidding. She tells her if you have the drive and passion to serve puss and be gorgeous, it can be all yours. She teaches Ru how to say “good luck and don’t fuck it up” in Russian and exists stage left.

Finally, Sapphira’s package plays and reminds the audience of what a legendary season she’s had, slue foot and all. In her appearance Sapphira is serving full opera/disco goddess and all of the judges are eating it up. Ts admires her high-energy performance and Michelle renames her “Slupphira”, which cracks Ru up. All of the judges are excited for Sapphira’s journey. Sapphira tells the audience that drag queens are only here to spread joy and love and that if you’re afraid of drag, you’re afraid of freedom. She gives heartfelt advice to her four year-old self and introduces her mom and best friend to Ru who are sitting in the audience. She tells Ru that being crowned the next drag superstar would mean she could share love with everyone and make changes in the world with this platform.

Tonight Ru and all of the queens are honouring Cassandra Peterson AKA the wickedly iconic Elvira. Ru narrates a package about Cassandra Peterson leading up to present her with the new “Cassandra Peterson Giving Us Lifetime Award” which Cassandra accepts on the stage herself and gives the queens some sage advice about owning who they are and sharing it with the world while also showing a little skin. The top three queens make their way back to the mainstage. Ru reveals that the top two queens moving on to the final lip sync are Sapphira Cristal and Nymphia Wind! This means it’s unfortunately the end of the competition but certainly not the last we’ll see of Plane Jane. For serving drag excellence all season long Ru gives her a $25,000 tip. Tonight Ru wants to focus on parental figures who lead with love and love unconditionally and all of the season 16 queens have a little something to say about their parents and drag mothers.

America’s reigning drag superstar Sasha Colby is back and better than ever to give us an update on her epic year as queen and pass on her crown. Sasha gives an incredible lip sync performance to Her by Megan Thee Stallion. Sasha reappears after her lip sync in a jaw-dropping gown that has the entire audience gagged. She tells Ru all about meeting Vice President Kamala Harris and how important it was to be in that space while urging others to vote. She tells everyone she has lots of fun things coming up including some music and a ponytail extension line. Work!

Back for one more strut, all the eliminated queens strut across the stage in red, white, and blue for a patriotic performance. The reigning miss congeniality Malaysia Babydoll Foxx makes her way onto the stage to announce this years winner, and for the first time in Drag Race herstory it’s a tie. Xunami Muse and Sapphira Cristal! Both of the queens have won $10,000 for their kindness and the other queens get a $2000 tip for slaying, too.

It’s finally time for the last lip sync. Nymphia and Sapphira come back to the stage. The whole season comes down to this. The top two lip sync to “Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue and both queens are giving everything they have to this last lip sync. There are stunning outfit reveals complete with balloons and fangs. Both Nymphia and Sapphira  give acrobatics and floorwork. This is Nymphia’s first lip sync all season and she’s not leaving any part of that stage untouched. Sapphira is also doing some high kicks and splits throughout her whole performance which has the judges stunned. Sasha comes back out to present the crown and scepter to America’s Next Drag Superstar. And the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 is… Nymphia Wind! ConDRAGulations Nymphia! This is a historic win and we can’t wait to see what Nymphia does with her reign.

Need a little bit more RuPaul’s Drag Race? Re-live season 16, arguably one of the best seasons in years, by going back and re-reading our weekly episode recaps right here. Enjoy!

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