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Monday, March 14, 2022


The last few weeks of RuPaul’s Drag Race have been chocked full of season-stretching shenanigans (the double shantays,  weeks without eliminationsbringing back eliminated queens, THE CHOCOLATE BARS). However, what transpired during this week’s Snatch Game warrants some special circumstances.

In countless seasons, All Stars twists and international iterations, we have seen a wide range of Snatch Game performances, from the sublime to the “romper room bullsh*t,” but never has a Snatch felt so disappointing. Without question, this was the hands-down worst Snatch Game in herstory. Yes, even worse than the bizarre season four car crash that managed to mangle impressions of BeyoncΓ©, Snooki, Diana Ross and Lady Gaga. 

It has been a hotly-contested season, with several strong contenders regularly one-upping each other, especially when it comes to comedy challenges. Willow and Bosco are clever, DeJa and Camden serve theatricality, and Jasmine and Angeria have the potential to get laughs without really trying. Daya commits to everything she does, and Ru has a soft spot for Jorgeous. All signs were pointing toward a killer Snatch Game. Instead, we got seven losers. 

How did we get here?

A lack of any drama or tensions with the queens’ Snatch choices after Ru’s visit should have been my first indication something was amiss. We head into the game with all the gals feeling fairly confident in their first choices.

Our players include RuPaul regular (and Ru’s personal makeup artist) Raven. She’s playing against actress (and soon-to-be Powerpuff Girl) Dove Cameron. The latter is especially great this episode,

volleying best she can with the queens during Snatch and offering (much needed) criticism later. In fact, she likely gave the true best performance of the night.

But our queens? Universally bad. Even the winner! After weeks of strong performances, DeJa finally gets her win. (Talk about winning an ugly dog contest … ) DeJa is undoubtedly the best of the night, but that’s paltry praise indeed. Her choice to portray Lil Jon is smart, and DeJa nails his look. In terms of character work, DeJa does exactly what you expect. She punctuates the show with YEAH! and references to the A-T-L. It’s solid, but it’s missing a joke beyond the shallow silliness.

And that was the best! It only gets worse from here. Despite DeJa’s one-note performance, at least the note was in tune. The same can’t be said for Angeria, whose bold choice to play Tammie Brown starts out promising enough. Unfortunately, Angeria knows exactly one mannerism and voice for Tammie, an oddball queen with at least 1,000 of each. What she has isn’t bad, but there’s just not enough of it. She fails to reference some of Tammie’s most iconic lines. (How dare she neglect, “Come on Teletubby, teleport us to Mars!“) Had she not told us, I think most viewers — even diehard Drag Race fans — would struggle to identify Tammie from this performance.

Lady Camden decides to do a gender-bending Shakespeare with a naughty side, which, again, on paper, sounds perfect! What we get instead is Blu Hydrangea’s Austin Powers inside Powerpuff Girls villain HIM. (Maybe it was a promotional tie-in?) The weirdness alone should be enough to sell it, but the problem is Camden struggles at every turn to integrate her humor into the game itself. It leads to awkward moments, like when she answers a prompt, “Even [Prince Harry’s] BLANK has a red carpet” with a convoluted poem that leads us to believe she’s going to say “F***” but instead says “Fairytale.” I mean, ok. That’s a fine joke, maybe even a good one by this show’s comedy standards, but it doesn’t really make sense, does it? Neither F*** nor “fairytale” complete that sentence in any kind of satisfying way. Without that, it just seems a bit random.
The other gals also struggle to merge their visions for their characters with the game at hand. Jasmine Kennedie begins the game at a disadvantage with inexplicable hair and makeup choices for Betsy DeVos. By all means, DRAG HER ASS, but it just doesn’t read. She also leans too hard on literal Betsyisms about reading the Bible and not preparing for briefings. (For an all-time great Betsy DeVos sendup, I simply must recommend comedian Jo Firestone on The Tonight Show. I wish Jasmine borrowed from this kooky approach instead.)

Speaking of Brooklyn comedians, Jorgeous has an inpsired pick in Broad City‘s Ilana Glazer. It’s a great choice, because she is someone familiar to Ru (Mama Ru appeared in several episodes during Broad City‘s run), she has a ton of unique mannerisms, and we’ve never seen anyone like her in Snatch before. It’s a hip, young pick for a hip, young queen. I like it. Jorgeous clearly is familiar with Ilana’s work, and she comes prepared with a few tricks in her [nature’s] pocket. We knew this would be a difficult challenge for Jorgeous, and it’s not long before she’s clearly struggling to weave her prepared jokes into the game format. Once the wheels start coming off, she gets in her head and fizzles out.

Daya decides to do Ozzy Osbourne, and it’s fine. She does the requisite joke about biting heads off stuff, but then spends the rest of the game duplicating Bosco’s answers. It’s not like the answers were so original, so it’s possible they just land on the same, obvious thought. Regardless, considering Bosco’s own struggles, she’s not the queen whose paper I’d be cheating off of.

To her credit, Bosco at least comes in with a solid plan. She’s going to skewer Gwyneth Paltrow’s ridiculous GOOP content and products. OK! There’s a lot there to work with, and Bosco tries her hardest with all of it, including one of Gwyneth’s vagina candles, as well as a large jug filled with a viscous substance and label featuring a … creative … spelling of “kombucha.” It all feels like variations on the same mediocre joke.

But even one mediocre joke is more than Willow lands. I save her for last, because she is the most disappointing. From the first episode of the season, Willow established herself as one the most inventive and hilarious queens. She clearly has an encyclopedic knowledge of art and pop culture. This should have been right up her alley! 

It feels like a case of a queen picking a celeb she admires too much. Maybe Willow’s love of Drew Barrymore kept her from “taking the piss out,” as they say across the pond. Willow has Drew’s mannerisms down, and she gives her a little bit of a ditzy, new-agey vibe, but no more than the ditzy, new-agey vibe Drew usually has on her talk show. It’s so frustrating to think what Willow could have done had she just layered on one more idea: Drew Barrymore on mushrooms, Drew Barrymore after three coffee enemas, Drew Barrymore struggling to maintain her sunny disposition in the face of a pandemic, #MeToo, racism, late-stage capitalism and the pressures of a Wordle streak, something!

The result of all these middling impressions is a chillingly laughless Snatch Game. As it drags on, you can feel the panic settling in. It’s hard to watch, but impossible to look away from. We are watching herstory, one way or another.

Judging isn’t quite the bloodbath it could be. At one point Ru tells Jorgeous not to be so hard on herself, because they were all equally bad. She’s not wrong! Michelle turns the mainstage into a crime scene, investigating exactly what went down on the night this Snatch Game was murdered. DeJa gets heaps of praise for a Snatch that was no better than fine, and she she is eventually given the win she’s been so deserving of (even if this wasn’t her most-deserving week).

As for the remaing seven, Ru declares them all (rightfully) in the bottom. She also demands to see them all lip sync … but tonight. Instead, next week, we’ll have a Lip Sync LollapaRuza to determine who will go home. That means we are without an elimination yet again, but I’m OK with it! Considering how fantastically this season’s queens flopped the Snatch, a single — or even double elimination — doesn’t feel appropriate. This also adds a ton of drama, because a lip sync challenge favors Jorgeous and Jasmine, two queens who would otherwise be considered our bottom gals. 

As Mama Ru once said, I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

How did this disaster shake up our rankings? Find out below, and leave your rankings in the comments!

1. I do not feel good about Willow‘s chances to hold on to this top spot next week. We know she’s a choreographer, and her opening talent was technically a lip sync, but up against Jorgeous? Jasmine? Willow’s Drew Barrymore wasn’t the worst on stage tonight, but it still stung to see such a funny queen crash and burn like that. Luckily, she did turn it out on the runway in Holy Couture. It was a loose interpretation, but I’ll buy she “worships” mushrooms. I appreciated her explanation of how mushrooms helped her face death (especially after watching the great Netflix doc Fantastic Fungi), but, more importantly, it was really beautiful. That’s it, mushrooms are officially gay now. Sorry, that’s just science.

2. Thank the good lordt for Angeria‘s stunning church lady couture, because I rebuke her Tammie Brown in the name of the father, son and House of Gucci. It was barely Tammie (and barely comprehensible). We haven’t seen Angeria lip sync for her life, but her talent show performance displayed a ton of energy and panache. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s unlikely we see Angie go home next week.

3. Unlike some other queens who just didn’t know what they were doing up there, Bosco had a vision and executed what she planned. It just wasn’t very funny. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than someone like Jorgeous or Camden, whose half-baked ideas never really materialize fully enough to truly fail. It does seem like a fluke misstep, but it could not have come at a worse time or during a more important challenge. Bosco’s naughty nun runway was striking, and the cloven hooves were a nice touch, but I worry Michelle is gonna come calling for all those bikinis and panties on the runway.

4. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for DeJa‘s performance this week, she did clearly win. I’m glad to see her getting recognized and mixing it up with the other top queens. She looked beautiful on the runway, dressed as she described as “Joan Jett of Arc.” (I got a little more Florence Welch from it, personally.) 

5. DeJa’s gain is Lady Camden‘s loss, though. After a few strong weeks, Camden is back to treading water. Her Shakespeare was about 70 percent of a good idea that just need a bit more time and thought to come together. She looked great, and she gave it her all, but it just did not work. Compounding matters, her runway this week missed several marks. I get it. If Willow gets to worship mushrooms, Camden gets to worship the Spice Girls, but at a certain point we’re losing the point. Worse yet, Camden is getting a reputation for being “off-the-rack” and “costumey.” Will her dance skills be enough to save her next week?

6. I have to imagine next week is the week Daya really cracks. She’s been slowly simmering with resentment all season. The pressure of a failed Snatch and a lip sync for your life sudden death competition will likely be the point where she goes full villain, and, frankly, I can’t wait. Don’t be surprised to see a “shocking” elimination next week come at the expense of Daya Betty, out-danced (and out-charmed) by the other queens.

7. Jorgeous has the opposite problem as Daya. Jorgeous has not been doing well in the competition, but I still want to keep her around, because she is so likable. (Unlike Daya, whom I’m tired of seeing scowling on my screen, even if she is performing well.) As a Broad City fan, I knew what she was trying to do, but she just did not know when to do it. As a marijuana fan, I loved Jorgeous on the runway. Given the pint-sized queen’s dancing ability, I like her chances to survive next week.

8. Speaking of likability, I’ve really come around on Jasmine Kennedie, as well. I really appreciate her sort of Alyssa Edwards-esque silliness, which is why it was so disappointing to see her locked into these Betsy DeVos soundbites. I would rather see Jasmine try to portray someone she knows NOTHING about. Like Jorgeous, Jasmine is going into next week with an advantage, so don’t be surprised to see her skate by another week.


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