Welcome back to the marathon that is Drag Race Season 13. I hope you’ve been hydrating and stretching properly, as — believe it or not — we are only HALFWAY DONE with this season. It just…goes on like this.
I won’t bother commenting on the punk lipsynching mini challenge — Tina Burner won, deservedly I think — and instead get straight to the meat: Snatch Game. Snatch Game has taken on an incredible importance on this show, in some ways a defining episode of any season. Expectations are always sky high, and are rarely if ever met by the entire cast. But at the same time nearly every Snatch Game has some incredible performances. I think the Season 13 edition stacks up well overall. There were three terrific queens (not all three made the judges’ Top 3), two who I thought were solid, and four who were terrible. But that’s always going to happen. Although the queens have the longest time to prepare for this challenge, it’s just not in some queens’ wheelhouses. And others just choke (*cough*Olivia*cough*). But if more than half the cast does decent or better, I’m pleased.
Our guest celebrities this time were Raven, who seems to be going through some kind of an aesthetic phase that I will politely describe as “ill considered,” and Victoria Porkchop Parker, who is getting so much play this season that they ought to just add her to the cast. (But not really. No more episodes for you, Season 13.)
We’ll go over each queen individually, from the top left to the bottom right on the Snatch set:
Symone as Harriet Tubman: Symone was hilarious right from the jump, hiding from the white people. Based on what we saw, she didn’t have a bad moment — even her mix-up of Jenifer Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence was hilarious and she spun it well. She was also easily, EASILY the best dressed on the runway, serving incredible style along with a powerful message. And she was…safe. Not even High. This is what happens, kids, when producers realize that someone is effectively lapping the rest of the competition and there are still six eliminations to go. They start obviously hobbling the frontrunner’s track record. But I can’t think of a stronger Snatch Game/runway combo that was sent to the Safe section. Symone was fully robbed.
GottMik as Paris Hilton: This was terrific. GottMik not only looked exactly like Paris (they would know, as they’ve worked as Paris’s make-up artist), but everything about this was dead on. The affected voice. The drowsy energy. The banal slogans. And it was so funny. GottMik is really growing on me again, and this is a key win (oh right — GottMik won). They’re not just a fashion queen. They’re quite well rounded. Excited for what’s next.
Rose as Mary Queen of Scots: An out-of-left-field pick, but I thought this was very funny. The accent was great, the look was spectacular, and the answers were a bawdy delight. Turning Mary into a motormouth drama queen was a risk, but it paid off. Rose placed High.
Tina Burner as Richard Simmons: The weakest of the top row, but I still thought Tina did fine. As GPCD panelist Kara Austin pointed out, that was in no way a Richard Simmons wig — I believe Porkchop called it out as a Vicki Lawrence, which seems correct — and the mannerisms also weren’t quite right. But there was energy there, and some passable gags. It’s interesting that A’Whora on UK2 did basically the British version of Richard Simmons, right down to the *exact same* fake leg gag (S13 taped its Snatch Game before UK2’s, in case you’re wondering), and ended up in the Bottom. Tina was Safe.
Kandy Muse as Kandy Muse in a Turban: In reality, Kandy was impersonating make-up artist Patrick Starr. But in ACTUAL reality, this was just Kandy being Kandy, saying “bitch” five times per sentence, and then making the bold, cerebral move to — wait for this comedic genius — start eating all the food next to her, because Patrick is on the heavier side. Oh my gosh, we have NEVER SEEN THAT on Snatch Game before. What a witty move! I full-body eyerolled when Kandy complained that nobody has heard of Mary Queen of Scots, and she’s out here doing a YouTuber who will have the pop-culture lifespan of a fruit fly. Kandy was Safe, but you wouldn’t know it since once again the producers spent half the episode making sure that we got Kandy’s opinion on everything everybody did.
Olivia Lux as Tabitha Brown: I have no idea who Tabitha is, but this was terrible. Ru tried to warn her that Tabitha “was not famous” (see also: Starr, Patrick — future Drag Race contestants, please understand that the vast majority of the people watching this show, and the judges you are trying to impress, do not give a single shit about YouTube/TikTok “celebrities”). Olivia wouldn’t listen. This was unfunny and boring. Olivia choked, and what’s worse, she seemed to actually think she did an OK job. That is very worrisome, and it’s indicative of her inexperience. I get that it’s different for the person in the chair, but I don’t know how you could make some of the flubs she made and think, “Yeah, I’m great!” Olivia landed in the Bottom 3, and narrowly avoided lipsynching.
Denali and Jonathan Van Ness: I’m torn on this one, as I often am with Denali. I think there were some great moments where she was fully channeling Jonathan’s delightful turns of phrase. I don’t think she was able to meet Jonathan’s energy — a tall order, to be sure, as that is a deep and full puss — but more than that, I found the moustache/beard combo to be almost difficult to look at. Denali placed High, but this would have been a Safe for me.
Elliott with 2 T’s as Rue McClanahan: This is at least the second, possibly third queen to do Rue on a Snatch Game, and they have been universally terrible. Elliott seemed to think the judges felt she wasn’t obnoxious enough as Rue. That was not it at all. She just wasn’t RUE. There was no inherent lusty energy. No playful come-ons. It was one-note, and that note was in the key of Meh. Elliott ended up in the Bottom 2.
Utica Queen as Bob Ross: This was less Bob Ross and more “guy living in the broken down bus on the side of my parents’ driveway, probably cooking meth” (that is a true story folks, welcome to my life). Much was made of Utica not being able to wear an afro, and instead making a wig out of stuffed animal squirrels. Inside baseball: apparently a new rule was instituted this season that queens must now only perform impersonations of people of the same ethnic background. I believe that was playing into this whole thing. But bonkers wig aside, Utica’s take was fully insane. The voice was not Bob Ross’s hushed, dulcet tones. It was like Buffalo Bill telling me to put the lotion on my skin. The spray paint, which Utica eventually ate, was just eye-popping weird. And there was some creepy sexual stuff going on — total fail. We have seen this from Utica before in the improv challenge. It’s like she’s operating in a completely different reality than we are. That can be endearing when we are brought into that alternate reality (Katya’s brand of relatable insanity), but Utica lacks the ability to really bring us along with her fantasy. We also found out in Untucked that she may be a stealth bitch who is putting on a hippy dippy facade for the cameras, which I did not see coming at all. Anyway, she was justifiably Bottom 2.
Ultimately it was Utica vs. Elliott in the lipsynch to “Fascination” by Company B (that’s a deep cut!). I expected Elliott to wipe the floor with Utica here, but speaking of not seeing things coming, Utica was great. Toward the end she started pulling those *wacky* *clowny* faces she’s been told to tone down, but early on she was giving me grace, groove, and a bit of sex. I was impressed. Elliott, on the other hand, seemed over the whole thing until about a third of the way through. I can’t really blame Elliott. This was her second time in the B2, but she had also already been “eliminated” twice. How do you have anything left to give at that point? And so Elliott was actually eliminated, for real, this time (I think). If you told me pre-season that Elliott would have made it to Episode 9, I would have been shocked. She hung in there longer than I predicted, and she fought, and I appreciate that. But my god, this season feels interminable. I’m actually hungry for elims at this point.
Next: makeovers! The queens have to overhaul EACH OTHER. That’s one way of getting around a COVID bubble…
Here is this week’s Photo Finish, featuring special guest judge Devan Lalas!
ALSO: Don’t forget that this is the week where you can shake up your bench by picking a new winner and swapping out one of your other picks. Make sure you don’t miss this opportunity as we go into the back half!