Canada’s Drag Race: The Snatch Game

Posted on July 31, 2020

The Snatch Game challenge is not only a make-or-break moment for the individual queens, it’s also something of a proving ground for an entire season or, in this case, an entire franchise.


If the dolls can’t serve up a gag-worthy set of snatches, it can cast something of a pall over the whole enterprise. When we wrote our book, we compiled a string of quotes from over the years, from at least 3 dozen queens, all of which expressed the same sentiment, put most succinctly by Trixie Mattel: “The Snatch Game is fucking hard.”


And yet, despite it being commonly understood as one of – if not THE – most difficult Drag Race challenges, every season, on every franchise, a bunch of queens show up with very little in the way of a game plan, still under the delusion that it’s the kind of challenge where you can just wing it if you have a good lewk. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves because this episode also packed in the other make-or-break challenge: the Library mini-challenge.


To be fair, we’ve never seen an indication that a queen’s trajectory on the show is in any way altered by her reading skills. This is a mini-challenge, after all. But it does tend to give the audience at home a better understanding of who really knows how to think on their feet and serve up comedy instead of cringe. This is always so edited that you have to take any assessments with a grain of salt, but we’d say Jimbo, Lemon stood out, with Ilona and Scarlett making a fairly good showing.


Brooke Lynn, on the other hand, simply isn’t there yet and when you put him in Ru’s shoes, taking on Ru’s role, uttering Ru’s lines, his stiffness and somewhat too-sharp humor only serve to illustrate that he’s not at Ru’s level. Not to cheerlead too much for the guy the show’s fandom love to hate the most, but Ru is … well, Ru because he’s not just a talented and experienced drag queen. He’s also a talented and experienced show host. We’ve been saying it from Day One, but we’ll repeat it: Ru is one of the greats because he’s naturally funny, extremely quick on his feet, and like all the best TV show hosts, is good at faking sincerity and creating onscreen connections. Which isn’t to suggest that we think only Ru can host this show. Mary Walsh came in as guest host this week and (because she’s got a lot of experience at this sort of thing) pretty much blew the rest of the judging panel out of the water because she came off smooth, confident and effortlessly funny while they’re all still trying to figure out how to deliver one-liners or critique the queens without being total bitches about it (JBC, we’re looking at you, bitch).

Now let’s go judge some snatches.


A darkly cute idea for a character (the earbuds as nasal cannula is kind of hilarious), but if you’re going to pick someone that requires minimal effort in terms of drag (think Gigi Goode as the robot), you need to really nail the character and make up for the laziness of the look. Didn’t quite happen for BOA.


We were honestly kind of shocked by Jimbo’s Joan Rivers. We always thought he was a hilariously weird front-runner, but we did him a disservice by assuming he couldn’t pull off such a smoothly professional impersonation. He didn’t wing it. He sounded exactly like her and came with jokes in hand. And he got in a really good reference to the longstanding (and wholly unproven) gay rumor that Judy Garland loved the ladies on the side.


Meh. We think she’s too easy to mimic and ridicule. Low-hanging fruit. Lemon did okay, but dear God, that wig is heinous.



A fun idea and a great look. Priyanka should’ve known she’d need more than that.



It’s not that we didn’t get the reference, but we sure didn’t understand why the judges fell all over Rita for her Edith Piaf. She did a lot of mugging, but we can’t recall her landing one good line.


Scarlett’s Liza worked despite the fact that it wasn’t a very good impression of the lady. Sometimes, a queen just needs to lean all the way into the schtick and she did that to pretty good effect.


We don’t even know what this is. What kind of drag queen can’t pull off a Mariah impersonation? The woman practically is a drag queen. Except for the Santa costume, nothing about this look really said “Mariah Carey” and Kiara didn’t have one joke ready, even though MC is practically a meme machine herself. One well-delivered “I don’t know her” would’ve saved her but she couldn’t even manage that.


Another meh. Fine, do a super-trashy take on a porn star. But if your only characterization of her is “I’m a trashy slut,” then you’re not saying anything funny or interesting about her. One cock joke is fine. Ten in a row is tiresome.


And now, the very best argument as to why there should be a Canadian Drag Race in the first place, an all-Celine Dion runway:


We didn’t find it all that surprising that a lot of the queens picked looks from Celine’s Merry Widow phase of the past few years, when she seriously ramped up her fashion bona fides. This is a decent idea, but the end result isn’t quite as fab as we’d expect.


Another very recent iteration of Tante Celine and another one that’s good, but not as good as it could’ve been. The point is not to do a cheaper-looking version of the real thing. The point is to do a dragged-up version of it.


Kiara’s take didn’t quite drag it up as much as we’d have liked, but she got the look and the details right. The judges called her out on her janky wig, but from what we can tell, there’s an epidemic of janky wigs (and crooked eyelashes) among these queens.


Of course Rita would do a deep dive. Love the references, but Michelle Visage would’ve torn into her for her square body and fivehead.



Nailed the shit out of it – and took it to another, draggier level by rendering the whole look in sequins. That’s how you do it. She absolutely earned her win this week by being head-and-shoulders above every other girl there.


We respect the deep dive, but if you’re not going to take such a relatively plain dress to drag levels, why bother? And that wigline is frightening.


Exactly right. Don’t mimic the look like you’re trying to pass for her. Take it to another level while still being recognizably the same look. That’s the heart of drag: reinterpreting the mainstream through a queer lens.


She saved her ass with this one.


Actually, that’s not entirely true. Priyanka’s runway looks helped rehab her after that terrible Snatch Game, but she sealed the deal with that drop-dead astonishing lip sync. Which isn’t to take anything away from Kiara, who also brought her A-game. We keep saying this because we keep getting proven right on it: A rougher crop of queens makes for much more exciting lip syncs because these bitches are HUNGRY and they bring everything to it. It helps when you give them the right material and Celine’s “I Drove All Night” was practically engineered for drag queens.


Slowly, the awkward girls or the girls who (like Kiara) didn’t show up with much of a game plan are being weeded out, which is as it should be. Each week, the show gets a little tighter and a little more professional in tone – leaving the judges as the main problem with the show.



“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.”


[Photo Credit: WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]

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