Nightlife » Special Events

Drag Race Crowns Season 5’s Winner

by JC Alvarez
Thursday May 9, 2013

Fans around the country were glued to their television sets for the final episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race" this week. At the rapidly becoming infamous XL Nightclub in the heart of New York City's Theater District, the entire cast of Season 5 gathered for the crowning of the new queen. In the last fifteen minutes, and at least to the room full of rabid fandom, it was clear that there was a storm approaching. When Jinkx Monsoon was officially crowned the winner, it was soon declared "Monsoon Season."

In one of the most heated competitions of the show's run, the final three, Alaska, Roxxxy Andrews and the aforementioned Jinkx Monsoon, battled it out for what has become the most coveted honor in the drag kingdom. The winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race" has gone on to achieve a distinct notoriety in nightlife culture across the country, and reap the rewards that accompany the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar."

The last queen to hold the title was Sharon Needles, who also is partnered in life with Top 3 contender Alaska. They have become Drag Race's premiere "drag couple." Needles performed at the finale event at XL with the illustrious Amanda Lepore. Needles debuted the single "I Wish I Were Amanda Lepore," before returning the turntables to the evening's DJ MiMi Imfurst.

You Better Work!

On "RuPaul’s Drag Race" every week’s challenge raises the stakes of the competition and forces the racers to think outside of their wig box. With one of the highest rated seasons yet, if RuPaul is Queen Madame of the roost, her sister in arms is her long-time friend Michelle Visage. When asked what is it about the show that continues to inspire excitement with every cycle, Visage coyly responded: "I have nothing to do with it. I just sit back and let Ru do all the work. But seriously," she adds, "Ru knows what Ru’s looking for and which queens are ready."

Visage agrees that even after five seasons (and one All-Star run) it’s still a surprise whenever the queens emerge on the runway for their final looks. "I know what the challenge is, but I can’t wait to see how they interpret it. It’s an incredible reveal every time." And does Michelle Visage have a favorite in the now historic pantheon of contestants that have passed each test? "There are now so many of them!" Visage admits, "They all mean something to me."

Joined by XL Cabaret’s Friday Night "Hotmess" hostess the legendary Bianca Del Rio, Visage introduced the evening with a special performance from Season 5 favorite Detox who performed "Boy Is a Bottom" along with Season 4 fave Willam and possible next season contender Vicky Vox. Detox made one of the most incredible impressions this season, but admitted: "I’m so glad that it’s over! The stress of the competition is such a mind-fuck, but it pushed me as a performer, and especially as a human being." Detox found the experience to be "very therapeutic".

Check out Detox’s video here:

Class of Their Own

Though everyone was anxiously anticipating who would take home the title at the end of the night, all the cast members agreed that participating on the show is unlike anything they could have imagined. "Overall it was amazing," commented season favorite, Ivy Winters. The always immaculate Ivy Winters added: "I had a ball every episode. It’s been everything and more. I bonded with everyone of these girls - it’s been a blessing." Ivy Winters was named "Miss Congeniality" in Season 5. Vivieene Pinay left the competition much too soon, but also agreed with her cast mate: "It’s bittersweet. I had some good times, and some not so good times, but it’s been amazing."

As they headed into the final legs of the competition, Top 3 contender Roxxxy Andrews threw down the gauntlet to shake the other girls, especially at Jinkx Monsoon. "It was great competition," Andrews said. "The show was edited, but I had to say those things - I knew I could shake her a bit. I was in it to win it!" Was Andrews confident that she was going to make it to the final three? "You never could have known what was going to happen. I had my doubts." In the end Andrews emerged as this season’s villain, though she’ll contend it was all in good fun.

For Monica Beverly Hillz, who revealed she was transgendered on the show, this has been a remarkable launching pad for her role now as a model and spokesperson for the transgendered community. "It was very rewarding. I wouldn’t change a moment of it. There’s not one day that I’m not flooded with emails - it’s a humbling experience to know that America loves me."

The Winner Is...

CoCo Montrese was wearing a spectacle of dress that was bringing to life some Hollywood glamour. This queen was the only one in the cast to fall into the bottom most times this season, had to lip sync for her life and still made it to the Top 5. "When you have fourteen girls and you make it that’s amazing," Montrese shared. "It was a chance for the world to see me perform."

There was one underdog that all the other cast mates eyed very carefully. The more comedic Seattle native Jinkx Monsoon revealed a deck of characters that she expertly portrayed. "I’m a little shocked and surprised," said Monsoon. "I really went on the show to perform as ’Little Edie’ on Snatch Game, but I didn’t really think of winning until I made it into the top five." Her hilarious portrayal of the Grey Gardens icon forced the other girls to take notice of the talent in their midst. Jinkx also credits her time on "Drag Race" as having given her the platform to not only inspire through her performance, but also contribute as an advocate. "I realized that what I was doing here was keeping up the good fight for Gay Rights and social change. That’s really what "Drag Race" is doing. Drag is cool now."

Taking home the crown, the cash prize of $100,000 and the title of "America’s Next Drag Superstar," Jinkx Monsoon will now headline the "RuPaul’s Drag Race: Drag Tour" sponsored by Absolut Vodka and joins the celebrated legacy. With engines revved...the best woman won.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


  • , 2013-05-11 09:45:58

    Seriously? You squeeze in one small photo of the winner in the middle of the piece with one sentence mentioning her then promote Willam/Detox/Vicky? Shady. PFFFT Jinkx Monsoon doesn’t need "night life culture" like the others, she’s an accomplished star on the theater stage (Rent, Spring Awakening, Hedwig just last year). She sells out every single thing she touches. Like The Vaudevillians, her original off Broadway show repeatedly selling out for 3 weeks in July.

  • , 2013-05-14 07:45:09

    YES!!!!!!! I’m glad jinx won! I’ve been rootin for her since episode one!! :D

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