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RuPaul Picks America's Next Drag Superstar... Virtually

Saturday May 30, 2020
Jaida Essence Hall winning "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 12
Jaida Essence Hall winning "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 12  (Source:Screenshot)

Nothing, not even COVID-19, was going to keep RuPaul from crowning America's next drag superstar.

And on Friday night, ending a season fraught with controversy, politics and ending in the first virtual finale in "RuPaul's Drag Race's" twelve-year history, Jaida Essence Hall was crowned.

"The 32-year-old pageant queen from Milwaukee, Wisconsin — known for her flawless runway looks and unexpected comedy chops — was crowned the victor in the VH1 reality show's grand finale, which was filmed remotely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic," reports People Magazine.

She beat out fellow competitors Gigi Goode, 21, Crystal Methyd, 28.

"Jaida Essence Hall, you are simply the best," said host RuPaul after Jaida's win. "The Drag Race family is honored to have you as our Next Drag Superstar. Thank you for raising the bar during the most competitive season in herstory. To Gigi Goode and Crystal Methyd, you are both wildly creative artists and I cannot wait to see what you do next! Oh, and don't forget to vote on November 3rd."

"This victory symbolizes the fact that no matter who you are, where you're from or how big you dream, hard work pays off," Jaida said. "If I can capture a dream, we all can."

There was supposed to be a fourth contestant in the final competition, but Sherry Pie, the 27-year old New York City queen, "was was disqualified from the competition earlier this year after apologizing for the "trauma" she caused amid allegations she had catfished multiple men. Pie did not appear in the show's finale." People Magazine continues.

Sherry Pie became the queen whose name dare not be spoken during the final two virtually produced episodes.

During the competition, Jaida Essence Hall won hree challenge wins, and had only found herself in the bottom-two once; but in an unusual move, RuPaul kept the three finalists right through the final lipsynch, indicating that the race was particularly tight this year.

Jaida received a virtual crown from last year's winner, Yvie Oddly. She follows other season's winners BeBe Zahara Benet, Tyra Sanchez, Raja, Sharon Needles, Jinkx Monsoon, Bianca Del Rio, Violet Chachki, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour and Aquaria.

In addition to the title, Jaida also went home with a one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics and a $100,000 cash prize.

"If you feel like today you want to be the Grinch, then, baby, be the Grinch. Drag is all about expression. Whatever I'm feeling, I just let it out in drag," Hall previously told Entertainment Weekly of her approach to the craft.

"Clearly, I'm very much trade. I do live for the transformation. There's something so sickening about the art. Drag is the embodiment of being who you want to be. People would never expect me to be like this glamorous doll that loves beautiful things in a rich fantasy. I think I'm the one percent, even though I have no money to pay my rent at the end of this month. It's not just [a physical] transformation of myself to Jaida, but an emotional shift when I get in drag. I stand up a little bit better, I feel more sexy. I move more snaky and slithery and slinky!"

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