The world’s longest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in the show’s 13-year herstory has come to an end – and the world was sufficiently gagged.
After 16 cut-throat episodes packed with killer runway looks and a lot of scathing shade, RuPaul crowned Willow Pill the season 14 winner.
This makes Willow, beloved by fans for dropping jaws with their oddball approach to drag as well as her candidness in opening up about living with the kidney disease cystinosis, the first openly trans queen to win a non-All Stars edition of the American series.
“I just really want to thank my family and my friends, and most of all I need to thank Kornbread’s ankle,” Willow said as she accepted the sceptre from Mama Ru and season 13 winner Symone.
Angeria Paris VanMichaels, Bosco, Daya Betty, Lady Camden and Willow all vied for the crown, title and a handsome $150,000 cash prize. Camden and Willow ended up in the top two, sparring in a gloriously camp lip-sync to Cher’s cover of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”
Willow was crowned in front of something that Drag Race hasn’t seen in the last two years – a live studio audience. Season 12’s Jaida Essence Hall won from her living room, while Symone was crowned in an empty auditorium the following season.
Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, meanwhile, was crowned this season’s Miss Congeniality, picking up $10,000.
Willow faced against not the usual four queens but five for the finale, shaking up the usual format by seeing the contenders be judged for their entrance look, a Las Vegas video packaged, a musical performance, performance look and a final interview with Ru herself.
For Willow Pill, three heads are better than one. (World of Wonder)
And capturing her introductory tagline of weird being wonderful, Willow gave the world a video-game spin on the Vegas tiller girl, an espionage film and an oversized pinstripe suit jacket with a tight bodysuit underneath.
As the show came to a close, the 27-year-old Willow served some of the best lip-sync performances ever seen.
They delivered a totally original number, “I Hate People”, which saw them shimmy to a 1990s beat with three moulds of her own face – complete with a fourth head under her skirt because where else?
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Fans knew from the start that Willow, from Denver, Colorado, was going to deliver. She’s season 11 winner Yvie Oddly‘s sister after all.
And finally being on Drag Race – with series 14 having five trans contestants, the most in the programme’s history – gave them a sense of “euphoria” after the corrosive COVID-19 pandemic, they said in March.
So for fans, watching Willow blossom as a performer and redefine the art form only to secure the crown brought tears to their eyes.
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