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


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

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

Did the finale end on a high note? Did the Final five come to slay? (I’ve got a wittle feeling that it didn’t disappoint.)

Before we get into the lip-syncing, we need to chat about the finale looks. The queens go all out for “Grand Finale,” so these ensembles end on a bang!

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

Alyssa and Angeria shined in their breathtaking opulent gowns. Alyssa always brought style to the runway, but her rich madam look and money fan redeemed any issues over her lip-sync mishap.

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

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

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

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

We love a queen who embraces their online memes.

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

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

What I liked about the Showgirl Showdown was that each queen got their time to spotlight their style on stage. It was their moment to choreograph and perform a routine that lined up with what they could bring to the finale.

And that a Lip-Sync For The Crown battle was still included at the end. Winning the crown should always come with a head-to-head lip-sync battle; the stakes need to be raised for snatching the biggest drag prize.

The Showgirl Showdown should only be kept to this Top 5 finalists year on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14. Nothing will ever beat the Lip-Sync For The Crown.

The problem with the Showgirl Showdown is that it’s a subjective performance that is out of the queens’ hands.

Did the queens write, design, and select every beat for their original track? Was everything their choosing for the performance, or was their outside input?

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


Like Lady Camden’s and Willow Pill’s songs, high-energy tunes naturally perform better than the mid-tempo or slower songs from the other three finalists. If someone else is making the track, 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 popular song chosen at random. The queens are on an even playing field for the lip-sync; the Showgirl Showdown didn’t feel as balanced as it should’ve been.

Based on the Top 5 lip-syncs, I agreed that Lady Camden and Willow Pill had the best numbers.

Lady Camden had a high-energy track that pushed you to get off your feet and join in the dancing. Her flawless ballet moves made her stand out against her competitors, and the wig and outfit reveal easily won over the crowd.

RuPaul: Wait, Michelle, you not gonna slap me, are you?
Michelle Visage: No!
RuPaul: Okay, it’s not that kinda show.
Michelle Visage: No, Ru, it’s not that kind of a show!
RuPaul: No, no, no.

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

For example, Willow Pill’s campy and hilarious performance. Her cheeky and 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).

The multi-head reveal on her shoulder and crotch was a great trick to end on a high note. We gotta give Willow lots of credit here; she delivered the reveals at the right time to make the biggest surprise.

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 grand finale stage.

The queens could’ve pushed themselves more to land the best end.

Bosco’s and Daya’s mid-tempo songs hurt their chances. How could they dance or get the big moments when they’re stuck at a slower pace? Their numbers didn’t wow as much as they should for this big of an important time.

I’m kinda triggered right now, because the last time someone handed me a key, it had white powder on the end of it. But that was a looong time ago, and this is so much better than all that.


Angeria had a good number with the energy and dancing. Something seemed to be missing by the end; it felt “safe” compared to the sheer talent and awesomeness that Angeria could’ve brought.

We just needed more from the three eliminated queens.

Lady Camden and Willow Pill performed a strong and clean number for the final lip-sync of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”. It was a tight race for much of the number before the song’s latter half.

Both queens did the prerequisite outfit reveal, the energetic dance moves, and precise lip-syncing to the lyrics. All standard beats they have to hit if they want to wow the crowd and impress RuPaul.

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

Where I believe Willow edged Lady Camden out was how strongly she was feeling the song and how clean her reveals were compared to Camden.

If she hadn’t tried her Freddie Mercury-style reveal again, Lady Camden would’ve been tighter against Willow. Even with the quick editing, you could tell that the reveal was a bit sloppy, whereas Willow’s few reveals were smooth and transitioned easily. Sometimes lightning doesn’t strike twice for a gag or gimmick.

Plus, the lip-sync edit was heavily favored in Willow’s direction. Drag Race isn’t subtle; halfway through the number, the winner was pretty obvious. Drag Race needs to improve on this style for the future because it’s getting easier to spot.

Willow Pill’s win was a pleasant outcome.

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

However, it was a surprise her lip-sync skills toppled tough competitors, like Lady Camden, Angeria, Bosco, and Daya Betty. We’d only seen Willow lip-sync once during RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 Episode 11, so it was anyone’s guess how she’d stack up. But, she was a consistent and strong presence throughout the show.

Plus, Willow will get two honors with her win: she’s the first queen to $150,000, and she’s the first transgender queen to win a mainline RuPaul’s Drag Race season. It’s a nice end to a season with many ups and downs.

Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:

  • Kornbread winning Miss Congeniality was a great choice. Like RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14 Episode 15, she is direct, honest, and shows every queen the same level of forthright sincerity.
  • Drag Race Live got a lot of free promos this round. Both Kris Jenner and RuPaul need to teach a class on the art of branding.
  • Whoever directed and scripted the queens’ Las Vegas segments deserves a raise. Those videos were hilarious!
  • Congrats to RuPaul! Getting the key to the city is a huge honor.

Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!

What did you think of “Grand Finale”?

Did your favorite queen win the competition? Which finale look blew you away? Are you happy Kornbread won Miss Congeniality?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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