Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews on the Strengths of Season 2 Finalists (Video)

Friday night sees the grand finale of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race Season 2, and when it comes to the final round of competition, there really is something for everyone.

Poppy Love (aka Backstreet Boy AJ McClean), Thirsty Von Trapp (aka “Ugly Betty’s” Mark Indelicato) and Chakra 7 (aka “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” alum Tatyana Ali) go head-to-head as they battle for the crown .

“AJ not only came out of the box very strong, he stayed really strong,” judge Michelle Visage told TheWrap when we spoke to her and her co-panelist Ross Mathews on Thursday (you can watch our conversation above). “Poppy, you know, we said that on the show — she’s one of those queens that we know will kill every time.”

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“But I’ll say when you start out strong like Poppy, there’s a lot of pressure to keep going because now we know how good you can be,” Mathews added. “But the thing about Poppy is that she’s maintained that level for most of the season. And so she goes into the final and is in a really strong position.”

Indelicato’s Thirsty Von Trapp had some tough laps to tackle early in the season but has begun to peak in what judges in the Drag Race franchise often describe as “just at the right time.”

“Yeah, it’s all about momentum,” Mathews explained. “We sort of learn who you are in the first few episodes. But if you don’t go full throttle for the last five, four episodes of the season, then you’re never going to make it to the end and you’re not going to win. [Thirsty] found the right mojo at the right time. She has come to herself. She defines herself as a queen. Maybe I wouldn’t necessarily have seen her take the crown for the first week or two. But now watch out.”

Ali’s drag personality, Chakra 7, also had its ups and downs in Season 2 of Secret Celebrity Drag Race. But as her last appearance showed, she has reached her peak.

“It’s mostly about the journey. Sometimes there’s a clear frontrunner right from the start,” Visage said.

“When there is a journey, you invest in someone,” she continued. “Someone else, you know, you’re comfortable at all times. Someone you’re comfortable with, but there’s a journey – that was chakra I think, and it just flowed into the process.”

For Mathews, Chakra’s attention to detail in all aspects of her performances is one of the main reasons she stands out.

“What I love about Chakra … is that she’s always done these fully thought out performances that were so comprehensive and so intelligent — from the color and the design to the song choices to the theme of everything,” he said. “She just played so smart. And I love that kind of performance because I just melt into it.”

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RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race took the competition to a new level for Season 2, turning the show into a weekly drag queen showdown with the celebrity contenders being mentored by Brooke Lynn Hytes, Monet X Change, Jujubee and judges criticized – RuPaul, Visage, Mathews and Carson Kressley.

For the first few episodes, the show only gave hints about the celebrities competing in the drag competition (unless you could tell who they were by their voices), only unmasking them when they were eliminated. Some of the stars in attendance included actress Loretta Devine, pop singer Taylor Dayne, Mean Girls actor Daniel Franzese, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy graduate Thom Filicia, and Glee graduates Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale — the latter of whom almost did it would have made it to the finals.

“It shows that our roof welcomes everyone and it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, what kind of celebrity you are. When you indulge in the art of drag, not only are you welcome, but the sky’s the limit,” said Mathews. “Look what these people did on our show, you know? Who would have thought these people we know so well could do it all? And that’s only because the drag is so limitless.”

The season 2 finale of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race airs Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.

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