Some truly powerful charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent were on display on Friday night as the top four queens competed in the RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9 finale. However, despite all contestants bringing their A-game during a ferocious lip-sync battle, there could only be one winner. And by the end of the show, which took place in front of a raucous audience at Los Angeles' Alex Theater, it was clear that the queen who won Season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race was worthy of her crown.
Trinity Taylor, Shea Couleé, and Peppermint were all asked to sashay away following their performances, where they competed over lip-sync classics, including "Stronger" by Britney Spears and "So Emotional" by Whitney Houston. It was avant-garde drag goddess Sasha Velour who was crowned America's Next Drag Superstar, proving that mainstream drag may be entering a new phase of bold, intellectual, and experimental performance.
In a press release, RuPaul explained, "The world needs drag now more than ever," before sharing her enthusiasm for Sasha's talents. Ru said,
"Sasha Velour represents the future of drag. Her charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent arouse and inspire a generation of young people to live boldly, act up and paint with all the colors of the rainbow."
Greeting the audience as the winner of Season 9, Sasha made an emotional and inspiring statement embodying the powerful and historical ethos of LGBTQ+ pride, as she said, "Let's change sh*t up. Let's get inspired by all this beauty ... Let's change the motherf*cking world."
In addition to being the only queen this season to have not found herself in the bottom two, Sasha has also been a truly original contestant. While her aesthetic has taken bold, sophisticated cues from runway couture, Sasha's personality blended performance art, horror tropes, punk rock, and even satire to create a drag act that felt fresh, new, and absolutely vital within the current political climate.
In a statement released following her win, Sasha discussed what she believes to be the true power of drag, on both a personal level and for the broader LGBTQ+ community. She explained,
"Now more than ever, drag stands as a beacon of joy and strength for queer people. It always reminds me to dream big and dress up by my own rules, to be serious and ridiculous and childish and brilliant! Take my advice: if you want to be queen, just make your own crown!"
Clearly, Sasha isn't just America's Newest Drag Superstar, but she may also be the future of mainstream drag as we know it.