We’re heading into the home stretch, which means it’s time to put these bitches through their paces with the hardest, most intimidating challenge on Drag Race, the Snatch Game. We never loved the All-Stars version, which is more of a parody of the Dating Game than Match Game, largely because the queens are divided up and there’s less of an opportunity for them to play off each other. And while the guest stars (Cheyenne Jackson and Drag Race fave Fortune Feimster) were as game as ever, the exchanges tend to be a little more awkward when Ru’s not the one bantering with them.
As we noted in our critically acclaimed book (hey, you’ve gotta let a couple of whores be a couple of whores every now and then), there are two different approaches to the Snatch Game and either one of them can result in a win. You can either do a perfect mimicry (looks and voice) of someone or you can do an impersonation that doesn’t necessarily nail the voice and mannerisms, but gets to the heart of what that person was all about. The only thing that remains true in both approaches is that you absolutely must make Ru laugh. You simply can’t win without nailing that part of the brief. Bottom line: you absolutely have to come prepared and that’s never more true or more important than when it’s an All-Star Snatch Game. If you don’t know by now that you’ve gotta have jokes and ideas at the ready, you deserve to be cut from the competition. It amazes us when seasoned queens like Trinity and Pandora don’t seem to have a game plan for the one challenge almost every queen agrees is the toughest.
Ginger’s Phyllis Diller was far from a perfect mimicry. She didn’t sound anything like her and the hair and makeup didn’t really evoke Diller’s deliberately scary and unsettling look. She was a little too pretty and her lines all sounded like Ginger, rather than Phyllis (partially because of her accent). But the costume was on point and more importantly, she got to the heart of Diller’s biting, self-deprecating brand of insult comedy. If this was purely a looks-based challenge, Trinity might have been a frontrunner. She clearly has the Whitney look down cold. Unfortunately, she had no characterization, did nothing to actually sound like her (Whitney’s frenetic style of speech should be fairly easy to mimic) and worst of all, she came with absolutely no jokes on hand. We like Trinity and we’re glad to see she’s been doing well in this competition, but the fact remains that she’s not on the same level of some of the other girls. Once again, Kylie has blown us away. We keep underestimating that girl and we think that may just be the secret weapon that gets her to the finals; everyone’s lowered expectations. No one had any reason to expect her to be that funny and that quick on her feet. She didn’t really sound all that much like Dolly and we think the wig was all wrong (if she wins it all, we hope she invests in a good wig stylist), but like Ginger, she got to the heart of what Dolly’s all about. As she said, she’s “As country as a biscuit,” which made the choice all that smarter, especially since she failed so spectacularly at playing Lady Gaga, with whom she has very little in common.
It seems strange that it’s taken so long for Divine to make an appearance on a Snatch Game, but we’re glad Eureka was the queen who finally did it. Of all the queens who ever appeared on the show, no one is more suited to playing the Baltimore Terror than her; not just because she’s a big girl who already resembles her, but because she has exactly the kind of brash personality to pull it off. The look was flawless and the jokes were appropriately off-color and a little disturbing, just like Divine herself. In a different setup, she’d be an easy choice for the win. Ginger just happened to make Ru laugh more. Pandora’s Kim Catrall was a huge disappointment. She got the look down, she got the voice down and she even worked in a couple of good quips. The problem was that most of her decent lines were things Kim actually said on Sex and the City. Any queen at brunch can sling a good “I’m dating a guy with the funkiest-tasting spunk,” but an All-Star should be capable of much more than that. A good snatch isn’t about just parroting a person, but extrapolating from their personality to come up with jokes that sound like them. It didn’t help that Pandora was once again too reserved and unsteady for an All-Stars competition. Ra’Jah did okay for herself but her LaToya only kind of looked like her and only kind of sounded like her. She did nail the personality, though.
The runway category was Pop Art, which means the endless Warhol iterations weren’t wrong, but they sure came off a little unimaginative. At the very least, we’d have liked to have seen one Campbell’s soup can in the lot.
Ginger’s take was okay, but the dress was a little too basic. The wig was fantastic, though. We just wish she hadn’t defaulted to her usual pretty-face makeup style and went for something a little broader and more colorful.
We loved Trinity’s look the most. Of course the “Black Lives Matter” sign was timely and her salute to Black trans women was beautiful, but we also loved how she worked to make herself look like an actual piece of Pop Art rather than simply wearing a dress with a Warhol motif.
Meh. Not a winning look. We reiterate that as good as Kylie’s been in this competition, her makeup and wigs need work.
The latex bodysuit was a great Leigh Bowery-esque touch to an otherwise standard Warholian costume. We really hated the wig and makeup, though. And the neckline was extremely unflattering to her. As Carson noted, it might have worked better if her head matched the version on the dress.
This should have been an easy category for Pandora to ace, since she’s done Pop Art drag in the past. The costume was okay, but the colors are too dark and muddy. And we think she really needs to have a consult with Raven on her makeup. It’s entirely too harsh and aging on her. We realize she’s the oldest queen in the competition, but Ru has nearly a decade on her and her drag never looks harsh or aging. It pains us to say this, but her drag this season just doesn’t come off very happy or joyous.
A cute look from Ra’Jah, but not really all that Pop Art in style, captions aside.
Always fun to see Heidi again and she sure worked her ass off, but we think the only way to lip sync a song as ridiculous as Sugar Walls is to go for the comedy over the sexy. Ginger had this in the bag. It was fun watching all the incredulous twinks on social media discover the song in real time, though. Long before there was “WAP,” good girl pop star Sheena Easton was singing about her own WAP in much more poetic terms.
Do we have the math right here? Has Ginger really won a $50,000 in lip sync money this season? Because it’s time for the other girls to realize just how far ahead of them Ginger really is. Trinity can brag all she wants about her two wins, but it’s clear that Ginger’s lapping all the other girls.
We’re sorry to see Pandora go. We don’t think she loves us all that much (she once said we were way too mean to her), but she was the first Drag Race queen we ever interviewed and we’ll always have a soft spot for her. Sometimes it seemed like the grinder of the competition was not good for her and we hope she walked out of this one with her head high. She’s a great queen who, despite her many times on the merry-go-round, probably isn’t suited to reality television.
Our book, Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, is on sale wherever fine books are sold!
[Photo Credit: Paramount Plus via Tom and Lorenzo]