Will ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 13 Have a Live Finale?

After a long and winding road to the end, Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race is about to come to a close and a new queen is ready to be crowned. Gottmik, Symone, Kandy Muse, and Rosé have each proven their place in the competition and shown that they’re ready to fight for the crown. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still happening, fans are wondering what the finale will look like this year in what has been an unprecedented year for the franchise.

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(L-R) Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Michelle Visage, Kim Chi, and Kameron Michaels perform at a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” show in Berlin | Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images

COVID-19 has been affecting ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ for over a year

The coronavirus pandemic broke out while Season 12 of Drag Race was airing in spring 2020. Although the filming of the season didn’t suffer as it was filmed the previous summer, the grand finale — which is filmed after the top four is revealed to the world — had to be conducted virtually, with each of the queens celebrating the season from their living rooms.

The pandemic also derailed Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Filming began in the spring but the queens were sent home for an unprecedented seven-month break before they could resume and conclude the season.

Violet Chachki
Violet Chachki at a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” show in Berlin | Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 13 was filmed during the pandemic

The seven-month break for Drag Race UK was due in part to the fact that RuPaul and Michelle Visage had to film Season 13 of Drag Race US in summer 2020.

Filming Season 13 was a massive effort that required several extreme safety precautions, from plastic screens on the judges’ table to frequent COVID tests on set. All crew members wore masks and things like hand sanitizer were readily available. The special episode “Corona Can’t Keep a Good Queen Down” gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at how they were able to make Season 13 happen under such unprecedented circumstances.

Alyssa Edwards, Coco Montrese, Detox, Katya, Tatianna, Ginger Minj, Roxxxy Andrews, Phi Phi O'Hara, and Alaska of 'RuPaul's Drag Race: All-Stars'
Alyssa Edwards, Coco Montrese, Detox, Katya, Tatianna, Ginger Minj, Roxxxy Andrews, Phi Phi O’Hara, and Alaska of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars’ | Chance Yeh/FilmMagic

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The Season 13 finale will look familiar to fans

Because of Season 12’s finale happening at the height of the early days of the pandemic, the usual pre-filmed, larger-than-life grand finale at a theater filled with hundreds of people couldn’t happen. But with the pandemic seemingly plateauing in the US, it’s possible that the Season 13 finale may resemble what fans are used to.

According to the website On Location Vacations, which tracks Hollywood filming locations and dates, the reunion and finale episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 were filmed the weekend of April 10 and 11, 2021 at the Ace Hotel theater in downtown Los Angeles.

The Theatre at Ace Hotel has been temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Given the health risks of hosting a large cheering audience indoors at the moment, this year’s finale was closed to the public and won’t feature many (if any) spectators.