Monday night, one of three queens officially will reign over "RuPaul's Drag Race."
The Season 4 finale on Logo will feature three completely different aesthetics in what probably is the closest race in the show's history. Filming was completed late last summer, but the new episodes have been parceled out since January, like so many sparkling, belated holiday gifts.
Finally, the finale.
Sharon Needles, aka Aaron Coady, grew up in a small town in Iowa but has made her home in Pittsburgh. On last week's show, contestants' audition tapes were broadcast, and seeing Sharon staggering around an alley in what looked to be Bloomfield made it clear she was no ordinary glamour queen.
"Sharon has such an incredible ability to take something so odd and make it so chic and ugly-beautiful," noted former Drag Race contestant Chanel.
So there is Sharon Needles, who needs "the fright stuff" to win, according to host and show creator RuPaul. She has proven herself throughout the season, winning four individual challenges.
Her audition tape also showed a softer side, where she smooched boyfriend Alaska and said, "Now let's go on TV and be famous."
A suggestion to "Drag Race": Alaska has auditioned for the show four times. Why not give him a chance sometime? An all-star edition will be filmed next, however. Although Logo is being tight-lipped about the cast, it's interesting to note that Sharon Needles was the winner in a Facebook poll of current and past queens.
Chad Michaels, who played mother hen to the other contestants throughout the competition, reached the finale as well. Last in the lineup is Phi Phi O'Hara, who bickered and fought with Sharon Needles over the course of the season.
"We all should be sisters ... we all should be friends," Phi Phi is shown saying in her audition tape. The editors clearly have a strong sense of humor.
Winner of "Drag Race" receives $100,000, a lifetime supply of Nyx cosmetics, a prize from sponsor Absolut vodka, and a trip from Al and Chuck Travel.
It was an action-packed episode on "Top Shot" (History, Tuesdays). The six remaining marksmen got their hands on the Belgian FN Five-Seven pistol, referred to as "a .22 on steroids."
Contestants, including Belle Vernon's Augie Malekovich, had to rappel down the side of a 30-foot tower, stopping along the way to take out jars of bright blue liquid.
It was a timed challenge, and marksmen had to holster the pistol between target groups.
"I haven't rappelled since 1995," said Mr. Malekovich, a former Marine. "I don't know if this is going to turn out well for me."
It did. He placed third overall and was safe for another week. Mr. Malekovich has not been sent to the elimination round yet.
This week's elimination round was particularly rousing: a run through a Hogan's Alley in SWAT gear, blasting door locks with a heavy-duty shotgun and shooting exploding targets at the end.
Next week: machine guns on a moving tank!
Maria Sciullo: msciullo@post-gazette or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG. First Published April 21, 2012 12:00 AM