'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 11 Finale: 5 Things You Didn't See on TV
By John Boone
Photos by Getty Images / Artwork by ETonline
The RuPaul's Drag Race season 11 grand finale may have unfolded in a breezy 90 minutes on TV -- culminating in the crowning of Yvie Oddly as America's Next Drag Superstar -- but filming of the finale took just shy of five hours in total, taking place earlier this month at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
That means there were plenty of behind-the-scenes gags and goops that didn't make it to your television screens, including Love Connie as the audience hype woman and a full-scale search for someone in the audience who was actively leaking the show. (Move over, Pikachu. Detective Visage was on the case.) ET was in the audience for filming, so here is everything you didn't see:
1. Justice for Miss Vanjie
Michelle Visage took the stage before filming began to welcome the audience and share some "big breaking news." "No, Trump has not been impeached yet," she said. Instead, because the finale was taped before the penultimate episode had aired, she had to reveal who didn't make the final four: Vanessa Vanjie Mateo. The crowd instantly erupted into a chorus of boos.
"I'm telling ya, those f**king bathing suit leotards are cursed," Visage deadpanned. The Vanjie love continued throughout the evening, with the audience chanting her name every single time she appeared onstage, so much so that her "Man on the Street" segment felt less like a funny bit and more like a way to introduce her rejoining the competition.
2. What Happens After You've Lip Synced for Your Life?
After Brooke Lynn and Silky's "Bootylicious" lip sync ended, Brooke immediately ran to Silky for a hug while crewmembers cooled them off with "WERK" fans. It was such a long, deep hug that Silky's makeup rubbed off onto Brooke and had to be wiped off before filming began again.
As for the results, if you think it's nerve-racking waiting the length of a commercial break while watching at home, there was a good 15-20 minutes between filming the lip sync and when Ru announced who was sashaying away, all the while Brooke and Silky and then A'Keria and Yvie remained onstage awaiting their fate.
3. The Lip Sync You Didn't See
The finale is recorded in bits and pieces, so while Ru does indeed leave the stage to watch each lip sync from the audience, the production has to wait until after all of the numbers are over to turn the camera around to shoot Ru's "And don't f**k it up" line.
Instead of making the final four perform again, Eureka O'Hara and Kennedy Davenport were on hand to perform mini bonus lip syncs that Ru would cue up and during which the camerapeople could record additional audience reactions. Eureka did all of the flips and splits you'd expect, while Kennedy, in a muumuu and bedazzled sandals, bent backwards at one point to do an Yvie imitation and pretended to throw her back out.
4. If Brooke Lynn Hytes Had Won...
Production filmed both of the final two being crowned winner -- in order to avoid the ending being spoiled and (perhaps) to give Ru time review the tapes before making her decision -- and had Brooke won, her final words were: "No doubt aboot it now, the queen of the north is here, bitches!"
Here's another fun tidbit: While receiving congratulatory hugs from her fellow queens, Brooke's scepter got caught in Ra'Jah O'Hara's purple dreadlocks, requiring a bit of untangling that Ra'Jah breezily laughed out.
5. She's Yvie Oddly and Oddly Enough... She Wants to Eat a Baby
Not only did the show film both Brooke and Yvie winning, but Yvie's win had to be filmed twice, because her original final words upon being condragulated were, "Um, stay odd. And does anyone have a baby I can eat?"
After Yvie pranced down the runway with her crown and scepter, Ru bid the audience goodbye -- only for production to scramble to keep everybody in their seats to record an alt line for Yvie, which is when she did the bit about following your oddities and letting your freak flag fly.