RuPaul’s Drag Race: Snatch Game

Posted on April 04, 2020

YAAAAS QUEENS AND FIERCE BROCC-ALLIES! It’s everyone’s favorite Drag Race challenge! And we’ll only mention once that we wrote an entire chapter of our (extremely well-reviewed) book on the Snatch Game and how it references and pays homage to classic female impersonators of history! Maybe twice, tops! Anyway, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

 

First, Vangie showed up, to offer her thoughts as someone who completely fucked up her Snatch. Which means she had no advice to give anyone, but hey, it’s always nice to hear her foghorn drag in the werk room.

 

She did just okay  – and that’s better than to be expected since Leslie Jones was such a poor choice for the witty southern coquettishness that Heidi is so good at. She just couldn’t bring the volume.

 

Poor Jackie. In almost any other Snatch Game, she’d have been a clear winner with this one. There are two ways to go with a Snatch Game impersonation. You can either work as hard as you can to get the mimicry perfect or you can decide what you want to say about the person you’re imitating and go with a series of jokes that drive the point home. Jackie came pretty close to managing both at the same time.

 

Jaida had a great look and managed not to embarrass herself, but she didn’t really have much to say about who she was playing.

 

 

Jan had the voice and mannerisms down cold, but the hair felt a little off to us and she really didn’t land many jokes.

 

 

Just not funny. And it wasn’t particularly great drag either – which is surprising, since Widow can drop some pretty eye-popping looks when she wants to.

 

BRILLIANTLY funny. Gigi’s not just a glamour queen or a pretty girl. She’s a damn good performer, from rapping to dancing to comedy and improv. There’s some strategic brilliance at play here as well. Gigi seems well enough versed in the history of the show to know that a queen who takes a risk and pays it off is a queen who gets Ru’s highest praise. She stripped the drag trappings back to near minimalism. No wig, no contacts, no jewelry, no padding. Just a bald cap, some basic makeup, a blouse and a pair of gloves. With the bare minimum, she created a fully realized and unforgettable character. Ru eats that sort of thing up with a spoon.

 

Tragically bad. He’s not a performer of any real skill. Not yet, anyway.

 

It took a minute for us to realize she was playing Holliday and not Hudson, simply because there were no recognizable traits or affectations. It was just Brita with the dials turned up, which is another way of saying “just Brita.”

 

On the one hand, we really feel sorry that such a sweet, original queen like this is constantly being subjected to Ru’s 30-year-old cultural references, which are only confusing and upsetting her. Seriously, Ru. Let the DeBarge thing go, for god’s sake. Have you never seen a young Millenial twink with a mullet? Get out more.

On the other hand, she had no jokes.

 

They’re doing their best to edit around the queen who’s clearly out in front of almost all of the other queens. We’ll say this, though: We’re less impressed with her drag. She’s got comedy skills and performing skills out the wazoo, no doubt about that. But her runway looks are very expensive parade floats and her makeup effects often owe way more to theatrical makeup techniques than drag techniques.

 

 


Not to rehash old news, but this is at least a little bit why Nicky Doll got sent home. These bitches are serving LEWKS on the regular and you need to show Ru you’re more than a pretty girl. Starting with the safe girls: We reiterate our observation that Jan serves up very good cosplay with somewhat forgettable drag applied to it. We thought Widow’s look was a cute idea, cheaply and badly rendered.

 

It bears repeating: Poor Jackie. She really is the Susan Lucci of the season, but as great as this look is, it didn’t stand a chance next to Gigi’s wit and Sherry’s costume design budget, which is apparently massive.

 

Aiden’s costumes have all looked cheap and half-assed throughout the competition. We don’t mind homemade drag – we prefer it in a lot of ways – but conceptually, most of his drag is just flat and lack follow-through to really push it to the next level.

 

Brita’s whole look comes off stale and aging to us. It’s okay at a time when it needed to be jaw-dropping. Crystal’s hair and makeup looked amazing, but we hated the business pajamas. Sherry’s look really is amazing, but she looks like she’s headlining a Broadway show with an enormous budget. It feels – no pun intended – cold to us. Unlike the clear winner of the week:

 

Pardon our French, but come the fuck on. We heard some early grumbling about Ru favoring another skinny white glamour queen – and sure, that’s a valid observation and criticism given the show’s history. But THIS BITCH is way more than skinny and pretty. We can say without reservation, as two queens who recapped every episode of the show in real time over the last 11 years, that this is EASILY in the top ten Drag Race runway looks of all time and possibly even in the top five. Look past the glamour, past the wit (that nose!), and notice how much of Gigi’s drag reflects her gender fluidity. This look has as many masculine-coded tropes as feminine ones. This is why it comes off as so much more than just a well-designed costume a la Sherry Pie. Gigi’s drag isn’t just fabulous or glamorous, it’s expressive and personal, which is why it resonates.

 


We honestly did sit for the first few seconds of the number wondering if perhaps Aiden had some untapped reservoir, but it was obvious nearly from the beginning that Brita was going to send her packing. A song like this doesn’t call for a lot of dips or wig snatches or other forms of dragrobatics, but it does ask for a lot of big gestures and over-emoting, which is what Brita’s all about and what Aiden simply can’t manage. You could feel him giving up halfway through it.

 

This is why we could never get too upset about Aiden skating by on a few challenges. There simply was no way for her to progress in the competition given her limitations as a performer. Granted, we don’t blame the queens for being a little put out that she lasted as long as she did because of those limitations, but from the viewer’s perspective, it was always clear she’d be going home sooner rather than later. She’s got some good raw material to work with and we suspect this experience did a lot to push her drag forward, but she was always under the “not ready for it” category as far as we could see.

 

“Our book Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life is on sale now!

The Los Angeles Times called it “a nuanced exploration of the gender-bending figures, insider lingo and significant milestones in queer history to which the show owes its existence.”  The Washington Post said it “arrives at just the right time … because the world needs authenticity in its stories. Fitzgerald and Marquez deliver that, giving readers an insight into the important but overlooked people who made our current moment possible.”  Paper Magazine said to “think of it as the queer education you didn’t get in public school” and The Associated Press said it was “delightful and important” and “a history well told, one that is approachable and enjoyable for all.”

[Stills: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]

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