Welcome to my review, recap, and power rankings of the eighth and final episode of Drag Race Belgique Season 1! The Drag Race Belgique Grand Finale and its “Eleganza Extravaganza” theme that brought bought all ten queens of the season for a final walk down the runway!
SPOILERS AHEAD for the winner of Drag Race Belgique! Consider yourself warned!
This final episode stuck to the familiar Drag Race finale format. The queens had to pen a verse to a song, though it was an original called “Fierce” rather than an anonymous RuPaul remix. They all had out-of-drag sit-downs with Rita Baga, who was charming-as-always in her out of drag appearances.
And the queens had to deliver an elegant final runway and make some commentary to their younger selves (a cringe-inducing import from the US show that I hoped Rita would jettison as Canada’s Drag Race has done).
The format turned out to be a terrific showcase for the final three, even if it also confirmed that two of them had already already fully ceded their chances of winning to the third.
Susan was crisp and powerful in her choreography, showing off a muscular quality to her drag we hadn’t had the chance to see since the Talent Show. Athena regained a steely, fierce quality that had been eroded over the course of the season, delivering the most-convincing fierce drag performance of the trio.
Yet, there was no denying that this episode, and this entire season, belonged to Drag Couenne. We have rarely seen a queen represent herself and her runway package so meticulously and with such confidence across all of the many Drag Race franchises. I place Couenne’s powerful full-season performance alongside the greats like Bob The Drag Queen, Envy Peru, and Carmen Farala.
I think it is incredibly exciting that Rita Baga and the rest of the judging panel rewarded Drag Couenne’s singular take on drag with a Drag Race crown. I feel like on many franchises that a queen as weird as Couenne would be patronized and cut just short of the finale. That the judges gave Couenne the space to show of the fullness of her powers speaks to their taste in consistency in judging this entire season.
I loved Drag Race Belgique Season 1 from beginning to end. Even if I thought Rita Baga’s drag fashions were often forgettable and Lufy’s judging was often wrong-headed, this was a tremendously talented cast who were all treated fairly by the show.
This week’s final placements shook out exactly as I ranked them last week after the “Discour de Reine” challenge. What’s left to power rank? I’m not going to be ranking the queen’s final “Eleganza Extravaganza” runways, which were universally lovely. Instead, this final ranking is a retrospective of each queen’s placement, and how that compares to my pre-season predictions.
(Want to watch Drag Race Belgique outside of Belgium? For most of the world, it’s available as part with a Wow Presents Plus subscription as soon as the episode is done airing.)
Lecteurs, start your engines. Et, que la meilleure Drag Queen gagne!
Reminders: I consistently refer to Drag Race artists with their drag names and with she/her pronouns even when they are not in drag, which is the convention of the show. Some performers may have different personal pronouns. Drag is inherently brave, political, and artistic, and all drag is valid. It’s also hard to do. Every drag artist in the world deserves endless essays dedicated to their talents and life stories. I’m commenting on drag artistry in how it fits the established expectations of this specific television program, but the reason I’m commenting at all is because I celebrate all drag and the people who create it.
Drag Race Belgique Season 1, Episode 8 – Grand Finale Review & Power Ranking
Before we get to a breakdown of all 10 queens and their Drag Race Belgique Grande Finale looks, let’s take a moment to appreciate Rita Baga in what might be her best runway of the entire season! I think the best way to dress Rita is in a huge, regal, vintage silhouette like this one. She looks every part the queen.
10th Place: Brittany Von Bottoks – 1 Lip Sync (was Pre-Season #9)
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Brittany Von Bottoks has a perspective on drag that intrigues me, but she didn’t figure out how to turn up her own volume to be louder than her fashion. Stand-up comedy requires a lot of nerve, and she didn’t have that in her talent show performance or in the subsequent lip sync.
I absolutely love Brittany’s Drag Race Belgique Grand Finale “Eleganza Extravaganza” runway. This is absolutely her Muppet Couture aesthetic turned up all the way to 11. The silhouette of this dress is perfect for her. I love the peaked shoulders and how they create a “V” of her torso, and the dress has the perfect amount of train. I enjoy how the green on the dress isn’t overwhelming, but it’s enough to make the purple vibrate. Top that all off with a pile of vertical hair and it’s all very flattering!
(Except those lower lashes. GIRL.)
I had Brittany ranked #9 in my Pre-Season rankings. I knew she would be an early out. What I didn’t catch was that her nerve and personality would be her drawback rather than her fashion. In fact, Rita Baga actually dug her look on the first episode!
Brittany has an extremely idiosyncratic drag look. Her overall presentation gives me a slight whiff of Dragula’s Disasterina, who famously put up a firm wall between her drag personality and her actual self.
She has a knack for taking vintage pieces and juxtaposing them with hyper-modern elements. That might read well on the Drag Race runway if she can avoid it looking too off-the-rack.
I’m excited by many elements of Brittany Von Bottoks, but I’m not sure how she will play on a brief first season of a new franchise. I don’t think it will offer her enough time to hone her aesthetic into something sharper.
9th Place: Amanda Tears – 2 Lip Syncs (was #9, Pre-Season #10)
Amanda Tears is a beautiful queen, but at 21 years old she was too early in her journey of discovering herself in drag against a cast almost entirely comprised of veteran performers.
I was surprised by the simple elegance of this Amanda Tears “Eleganza Extravaganza” runway, but I think she pushed the simplicity a bit too far. While I enjoy the crystal tears on her skirt, there needed to be at least five times as many – they barely read on the runway! Also, she really isn’t doing anything to alter her silhouette or shape her body here. Higher shoes, more exaggerated hips, or bigger hair could have helped her look more dragged up (and I hate her cutting off her neck with that massive chunky necklace).
I ranked Amanda Tears as my choice for first-out, but I also correctly guessed that “Amanda could survive an initial cut depending on the first challenge.” That was a perfect prediction, since she survived the first lip sync only to be promptly eliminated in Episode 2. I think I perfectly predicted her arc in my my Pre-Season ranking:
I didn’t get a strong sense of personality from Amanda Tears (fka Milla Glace) in her Meet The Queens interview.
She talks about how her drag informs being a stylist, and being stylist informs her drag. That definitely lends context to her social media looks, which tend to be assembled pieces rather than original haute couture. However, I worry that her stylist’s perspective leads to her underselling the potential impact of her personality and make-up.
If I’m reading her Instagram correctly, Amanda Tears is three years into her drag journey. That’s not nothing, but I think her casual style and low-key make-up are going to get drowned out by the more experienced high-glam queens on this cast. I can’t see total weirdo Rita Baga getting excited for drag that’s this plain.
8th Place: Edna Sorgelsen – 1 Lip Sync (was #4, 2, Pre-Season #4)
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Edna Sorgelsen seemed like the one shocking boot of Drag Race Belgique, but after seeing her return in this Grand Finale I’m not so shocked anymore. I think Edna gave me (and many of her competitors) a false positive impression because of her self-confidence, but her casual femme realness take on drag was never going to be what Drag Race Belgique was looking for.
I think Edna’s “Eleganza Extravaganza” gown was exactly what I expected to see from her: lady in a gown.
It’s beautiful gown and she’s a beautiful lady, but Edna’s drag often starts and stops with “beautiful.”
The false positive of Edna’s gregarious personality combined with her unique take on the promo prompt drove me to award her with a high placement in my pre-season ranking. However, I also caught on to her weaknesses quickly – I just didn’t let them influence my ranking enough!
Despite Edna’s low placement and literal take on female impersonation, I still came away from the season enjoying her drag. I think her talent show song was unusual and her acting was amusing. I suspect if Edna hadn’t been cut early for a design challenge she would have been a major threat in Snatch Game and the Queen’s Speech challenge.
Edna Sorgelsen comes off as exactly the kind of drag queen the first season of a new Drag Race franchise wants to crown. She’s pretty, she’s confident, she’s funny, and there’s something just offbeat enough about her drag that it’s not easy to compare her to anyone else.
[I]t looks like Edna Sorgelsen tends to portray a pretty, feminine version of drag that borders on serving “realness” but with a vein of camp in her performances.
I had a hard time absorbing and recalling Edna’s social media looks. It’s not that they aren’t good, but they aren’t always STRIKING. I think the big question about Edna on the show is whether she will bring the more casual side of her drag we see on her Instagram, or more fashionable and conceptual looks like her promo.
7th Place: Mocca Bonè – 2 Lip Syncs (was #6, 5, 6, Pre-Season #6)
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Mocca Bonè is a queen with genuine heart and charm. She’s also an agent of chaos when it comes everything from her dancing to her fashion to her acting. That made her fun to watch, but even when she had the skills to win she lacked the focus to succeed.
Mocca Bonè SHUT IT DOWN in this Drag Race Belgique Grande Finale “Eleganza Extravaganza” runway with an absolutely stunning gown and glittering silver fox glam. This is the best eleganza look of the entire night. I truly didn’t know she had it in her to deliver such a refined look with impeccable detailing. If we saw some more of this restraint from her on the show she might have gone farther!
I was only off by one in my predicted placement for Mocca, and I think I understood exactly what her hurdles would be on the season. Even if I had no idea she would be felled by a tricky acting script full of double entendres, I think my comments about shock factor and “honing” explain exactly why she became a mid-season elimination.
It’s obvious from Mocca Bonè’s socials that she serves high glamour alongside body-ody-ody, which makes the juxtaposition of her glittering beard even more striking. However, what I’m not getting is a sense of her ability to edit. There’s just SO MUCH TO LOOK AT in every single look, from the frills on her garments to things affixed to her head.
“More is More” plays well on Drag Race to a point, but from there you have to be able to edit. In her interview, she said she’d “like to be the shock factor all of the time,” but if you’re always shocking can it be shocking anymore?
I suspect Mocca Bonè is going to be a fierce and clever performer, but I wonder to what extent she can hone her personal aesthetic to tell a clear and singular story on the runway. I think that will be a major factor in determining if she can make it to the finale.
6th Place: Valenciaga – 3 Lip Syncs (was #6, 7, 6, 3, Pre-Season #5)
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Valenciaga serves such fierce fashion and makeup on her social media that I never expected she would show so much sensitivity and vulnerability in her performance on Drag Race Belgique. I expected her to be a haute couture runway slayer, but she turned out to be the heart of Drag Race Belgique Season 1.
Valenciaga’s Drag Race Belgique Grand Finale “Eleganza Extravaganza” look was a rare fashion miss from her this season. I don’t have anything against the idea of a tiered bubble skirt, but something about the execution of this look was off. It’s not just that the skirt needed a thorough steaming, but that the empire waist gives her an awkward shape and she needed much better hair to sell the volume of her dress.
Even if I assumed Valenciaga would slay the runway, I also caught on to her sensitivity and soft-spoken qualities in my pre-season ranking. She ultimately pushed through to impress me in the second acting challenge, but otherwise struggled with the amount of performance challenges this season.
I think Valenciaga grew a lot in her confidence over the course of the season. She’s a prime candidate to return for an All Stars season where she speaks the language.
In Meet the Queens, Valenciaga is soft-spoken and tentative. Of the entire cast, she was the one queen who struck me as not being experienced in speaking to camera. That is almost always the sign of a mid-out on Drag Race.
She plays with the limits of how to proportion her face in a way that teases at transformational pop goddesses like Madonna and Gaga. She also shows range in her fashion, from businesswoman to pinup girl, always with a dash of goth.
I am incredibly excited by her drag. Based on social media alone I had her ranked #1. On the other hand, if I use my typical standards of ranking Meet The Queens, she is going to be in 6th – 8th place – someone who survives the initial fodder but doesn’t stand out in Drag Race’s typical mix of performance challenges.
5th Place: Peach – 2 Lip Syncs (avg. 4.20, was #5, 2, 3, 3, 8, Pre-Season #8)
I was so prepared to roll my eyes at Peach’s pretty party-girl drag, but her ditzy drag was backed up with so much depth of character and nerve to go all-out in performance challenges that I wound up falling completely in love with her as the season wore on. I don’t know if Peach could’ve pushed her drag persona this far without the crucible of Drag Race.
I think using deconstructed denim for “Eleganza Extravaganza” is a hard sell. Even if you successfully emulate an elegant style, sometimes the texture of the denim itself can make it come off more casual. I think that’s exactly what’s happening with Peach’s look. It’s gorgeous. I love everything about how it’s assembled and the shape of it, especially the train. However, it’s just hard to make denim feel elevated without adding a fuckton of crystals to it.
Between Peach’s “Meet the Queens” and her sparse social media presence I didn’t have much to go on for my pre-season predictions. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have had any way to know just how compelling she would turn out to be in the early pair of acting challenges.
As much as Peach wants to paint herself as a pretty girl, I think she is secretly a born performer and natural comedy queen. I really hope she branches out and becomes a staple of Belgian television after this season.
Peach is the queen in the cast whose personality is “sexy” and “party.” I don’t say that to read her. This is a common aesthetic that Drag Race casts for – a younger queen who is all about serving body and turning the party. The question immediately becomes if there’s depth to a queen’s drag once you’ve seen their sexy body at the party.
Peach isn’t the most confident in speaking to the camera, but there are hints of that depth of skill. She says she is a dancer and a seamstress, which are two things that can take you far on Drag Race.
Peach remains somewhat of a mystery. She’s a young queen in a cast stacked with several drag veterans. Does her breezy, model-y style belie the level of drag craft beneath? Or, will she have trouble adapting quickly to the demands of the competition compared to pillars of the Belgium drag scene?
4th Place: Mademoiselle Boop – 1 Win, 2 Lip Syncs (avg 4.83, was #4, 2, 3, 5, 8, 7, Pre-Season #1)
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Ah, Mademoiselle Boop. She is famously the only queen I ever wanted to place dead last based on her promo look but first based on her promo interview. I should’ve known she would fall somewhere in the middle based on that broad spectrum of reaction. But, it was too tempting to assume that Boop would be the preordained winner based on her prominence in Belgium’s tiny drag scene.
I am absolutely IN LOVE with Mademoiselle Boop’s “Eleganza Extravaganza” runway. It’s elegant while still being weird and slightly witchy, which is Boop’s trademark. I think it could’ve used a loose silver belt to help give her body some shape.
Something that I hit upon again and again in my pre-season ranking of Boop was the idea of her “sense” of style and self. Boop is a consummate professional, but she doesn’t have a strong through-line to her own drag aside from a vein of austerity with a slightly-witchy twist.
That came through not only on the runway, but in the challenges. Boop was never a failure, but she was rarely forceful. It often felt as though she was leaving an opportunity unturned, whether that be in her puzzling talent show or even in her winning Snatch Game. I was never sure if that was down to a lack of Nerve or just a more mature, placid take on drag.
It’s obvious from Boop’s Meet The Queens interview that she is a canny and experienced queen who simply dressed to meet the astrological prompt. This look isn’t anything like what she wears across her social media. I think that’s a good thing and a bad thing. She isn’t going to try to fit her existing looks into the runway prompts, but we almost may lose her own sense of style along the way.
Boop seems to be a consummate professional with a slick take on drag that gives “former showgirl who’s the boss bitch now (but still does numbers on the weekends).” There is something slightly austere to her looks, so much so that I feel like the colorful promo is her way of saying “LOOK – I CAN BE FUN.”
She’s the kind of brand ambassador Drag Race can trust to represent them all around the world … I think Boop will be headed to the finals of Drag Race Belgique unless she loses her sense of self in trying to fulfill each runway prompt in a unique fashion.
3rd Place: Susan [from Grindr] – 1 Win, 1 Lip Sync (avg. 4.17, was #3, 3, 5, 2, 7, 5, Pre-Season #2)
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Susan was our beloved weirdo who was never given the chance to get fully weird this season after the opening talent show. That didn’t stop her from showing off her uniquely de-glammed and highly camp take on drag week after week. It’s a testament to her sheer charisma that she made it all the way to the finish even though the judges were consistently hard on her fashion choices.
I can agree with the judges that Susan’s take on “Eleganza Extravaganza” was underwhelming. Actually, I love her cooper-colored jumpsuit with its suggesting of a bust with the front panel and the baggy back tied up with a massive bow.
I think the problem her came with the styling. I appreciate the “copper rusts to green” quality of her hair and make-up, but caving in and wearing a wig for this one runway would’ve made a difference – even if she defiantly whipped it off to reveal her natural hair underneath. Also, wearing a pair of chunky black boots with this look is painful. A simple pump would’ve been much better.
Susan was strong all season long aside from a brief wobble when paired with Mocca Boné for an acting challenge. I honestly felt as though a few addition wins were within her grasp, including the talent show, Snatch Game, and the final Queen’s Speech challenge. I got the sense that she fully pushed all of Rita Baga’s buttons, but the other judges often cooled the overall reception of her performance.
Even if Susan had come into the finale with another 1-2 wins under her belt, I think she was destined to be a lovely 2nd alternate. It’s hard for a queen who pushes against the established vibe to win a first season of a new franchise, and that’s especially true since Susan was up against another boundary-pushing queen who conformed more to the judge’s expectations of polish.
From the first moments of her Meet The Queens it’s obvious that Susan (né Susan from Grindr) will be bringing the camp to this season of Drag Race Belgique. That’s not just evident from her silvery space-alien jump suit and her randomly chewing on her accessories, but from the way she interviews. “I hate drag queens,” she says, “so it’s going to be fun.”
Susan presents a severe look inspired by Annie Lennox or Pink with a hairy chest – feminine but exaggerated with an edge of nervy humor. Yet, her space alien look doesn’t feel like a total departure from the rest of her drag. It’s simply how Susan would do astrology.
Susan strikes me as a queen who can do extremely well at Drag Race. She has personality, glamour, camp, and an ease at speaking to the camera. Most importantly, she has uniqueness! I have a feeling that Rita “The Alien Actress” Baga isn’t going to be impressed by queens who simply serve glamour.
Runner-Up: Athena Sorgelikis – 2 Wins, 2 Lip Syncs (avg. 2.83, was #2, 4, 4, 4, 2, 1, Pre-Season #3)
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Athena Sorgelikis was a queen who had everything that it took to win a season of Drag Race, and she demolished this final episode. Yet, there’s no denying that waiting so long for her second win after the Talent Show gradually eroded her nerve until she had all-but volunteered herself as a runner-up to Drag Couenne.
I think Athena Sorgelikis nailed her “Eleganza Extravanganza” look. She is not a queen who typically delivers massive silhouettes, so it makes sense for her to deliver something streamlined for the Grand Finale. I think this silvery look delivered simple elegance without ever seeming too plain. Because Athena is so long and lean she didn’t need to add giant hair, which means she could get away with the flowing straight mane of silver hair she showed off here.
One of my pre-season highlights of Athena was “her ability to credibly insist she believes she will win,” so it makes sense she fell just short of a victory when she lost that ability.
She has a certain severity to her look that’s matched by her confident, nearly-brusque tone in her Meet The Queens. I think one of the most-positive indications of how a queen will perform on her season is her ability to credibly insist she believes she will win during these canned interview segments. Self-belief counts for a lot on Drag Race.
[U]p-close there is also a severity to her makeup on camera. Her black-lined lips look like a mustache, and the greyish highlighter on her chin reads as 5’0-clock shadow. I’m not saying I could do any better! It’s a difficult thing to adapt stage drag make-up to on-camera drag make-up and these are surmountable problems. I simply wonder how ready Athena is for the big stage, bright lights, and HD cameras of Drag Race.
She also has years of interesting fashions on her Instagram, often with a slight avant garde twist. It’s an aesthetic I find very appealing. … Does she have the performance chops to win an entire season?
Winner: Drag Couenne – 3 Wins (avg. 1.50, was #1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 4, Pre-Season #7)
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Drag Couenne is Belgium’s next drag superstar, and I couldn’t possibly be any more thrilled about it!
Drag Couenne’s “Eleganza Extravaganza” was a perfect choice for her. This is the most straight-forward glam she has delivered all season, but still comes with a dose of weirdness in the egg-shaped skull cap, the peaked shoulders, and the rounded hips. I even like the choice of the exposed silver zipper, which most queens would choose to hide.
Plus, I absolutely live whenever a dress pools into a liquid puddle of train like this, as if it’s torn from a fashion illustration of Morticia Adams.
My low ranking prediction for Drag Couenne was less about thinking she would do badly, and more about being nervous that I’d give her too much credit for being exactly the sort of drag performer I love. Her social media showed off a true punk edge with some real messiness to it, and I was afraid that messiness might come through in her runways. It never really did. Even when some of the Couenne’s details were jagged, they were jagged with intention.
Yet, I also caught one of Couenne’s few weaknesses in my pre-season comments – her tendency to ramble. Couenne is great at editing her fashion, but she isn’t always supreme at editing herself. While the judges enjoyed that in her early commercial performance, they were less a fan in Snatch Game, and it almost cost Couenne her win in the Queen’s speech challenge.
Drag Couenne’s drag is glammed-up, punk rock, gender fxck, with a splash of horror. That pushes every single button of what I love in drag art. From another queen, I’d think the mess of details in this promo look could not possibly be intentional. From Couenne, I’m sure it looks exactly how she wanted it to look.
When it comes to her confidence on camera, I’m less certain. Drag Couenne speaks surely, but compared to the other queens she had a tendency to ramble. It’s endearing, but she hasn’t mastered the ability to present herself concisely to the camera.
Couenne has a model’s body and an artist’s eye, and she seems to be a feral performer. The question is how much all of that will translate onto the sometimes severe structure of Drag Race. … If Drag Couenne cultivates a her messiness in a deliberate way, her personal brand might be enough to carry her deep into the season. However, I’d be (pleasantly) surprised if she was the the winner of Drag Race Belgique.
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