'Drag Race' Winner Crowned at XL
By Evan Lambert
"This is not just my crown. This is the crown for anyone who ever got picked on when they were kids. This is 2012...The year of the fucking freak, ladies and gentlemen."
This was Sharon Needles' real reaction last night to winning the title of America's Next Drag Superstar. Sure, she looked pretty happy on the reunion special—but that was all fake. Ru wanted to keep the identity of this season's winner under wraps, so she asked Chad Michaels and Phi Phi O'Hara to film similar reactions at the reunion taping last week. Then, once Ru decided on a winner, the show's producers tacked on the winner's pre-taped segment to the end of the reunion special—which meant that none of the queens actually knew who won until the last few minutes of the episode, just like the rest of us.
This made Sharon's coronation and heartfelt speech at XL last night—following a live screening of the reunion special—all the more poignant.
Later on, Sharon's performance of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" basically solidified her status as Next Drag Superstar. Appropriately gothic, the performance—which co-starred Amanda Lepore and Season Three winner Raja—included Sharon being carried onto the stage in a coffin and subsequently crawling out of it zombie-style.
Of course, Sharon wasn't the only queen who won us over last night: Chad Michaels' Hunger Games-themed performance was pretty cool, too. Dressed like Katniss, Michaels lip-synched to Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" and the Eminem/Rihanna collab "Love the Way You Lie." She even ended her performance with the franchise's famous three-finger District 12 salute.
Phi Phi's Nicki Minaj tribute was pretty blah, but Milan (surprisingly) received a lot of praise for her energetic lip-synch to Donna Summer's "Last Dance." Even Willam made a splash with her rendition of Wilson Phillips' "Hold On," complete with backup singers (In a winky nod to her Chick-Fil-A music video, she pulled a Chick-Fil-A waffle fry bag out of her snatch halfway through the performance.)
Other highlights included PhiPhi getting booed by pretty much everyone, and Sharon convincing the entire nightclub to scream "HAIL, SATAN!" (Easily the trippiest part of the night.)
We also got a chance to chat with the queens a bit, and we picked out what we think are the best quotes. If you watched the reunion special, then you already found out what Willam did — but hopefully these answer some of your other questions. (P.S. In case you missed it, Willam got kicked off because she was hooking up with her husband while filming the show! Lame!)
Latrice Royale on why she went to jail: "All I'll say is: You don't wanna have prescription pills on you if you don't have a prescription. It was a mistake, and I learned from it, and I won't do it again."
Chad Michaels on how she met her boyfriend, Adam McGee: "I rescued him from a very mean and horrible drag queen at a club in San Diego...She was kind of dragging him around with her, and it was just ugly...She had a big gigantic mouth on her, and she was a very degrading individual, so I had to take care of business."
Michaels on why she's such a perfectionist: "I was a latchkey kid. Both my parents worked when I was little, so I had a lot of responsiblities: Mow the lawn, clean the house, do the dishes, even make dinner. So I had a regimen started at a very early age, and that's sort of carried over into my life and into my career."
Phi-Phi O'Hara on why she hates Willam: "I don't like people who talk down to people, or people who think they're better just because they were an extra on some TV show. We all come from different [economic] backgrounds, and right off the bat she was calling us "bar queens," and telling us that she didn't have to dance on top of a bar to get a dollar."
O'Hara on Sharon: "Sharon and I were actually cool on set and stuff. [The editors] only show us arguing."
O'Hara on her dad's family: "My dad still doesn't talk to me. And then my grandparents — his family — quit talking to me because of the show. Then, at one of my shows, my dad's brother came to see me and surprised me. He and his family have never seen me in drag — I haven't seen them since I was 14 — but they apologized, and they said they don't even talk to [my dad] now. They just don't like the person that he is anymore."
Sharon Needles on how she'll celebrate her win: "[I'll] probably take a vacation for maybe one or two days...My dream vacation is in my house with my cat [and my boyfriend Alaska], watching B-horror movies and getting drunk."
Needles on the "racist" rumors: "[Alaska and I] are transgressional artists...I use a lot of shock imagery. I've used swastikas, I've used Mickey Mouse in odd ways, [but] it's always for a message. It's always obviously ridiculous."