This week in the UK it was the omnipresent Snatch Game, a challenge which split the remaining seven queens between those who were excited for it (Kate Butch, Ginger Johnson, Michael Marouli, Vicki Vivacious) and those who were dreading it (DeDeLicious, Cara Melle, Tomara Thomas). I do think the fandom puts too much weight on Snatch Game — and we’re the problem, it’s us; check out our Best Snatch Game Performance episode of the podcast — and I also think our expectations of the queens are generally too high. Overall I would rate this Snatch Game as fairly middle-of-the-road, veering toward the disappointing side. There were really only a few performances that stuck out as truly successful, and not all of those even made it to the top of the pack per the judges.
Let’s break down each queen’s performance in the Snatch Game, from strongest to weakest (in my opinion):
Ginger Johnson as Dame Barbara Cartland, a famed — and also deceased — romance novelist. Ginger was unquestionably the best performer on that set, and I say that as someone who has no real familiarity with the celebrity she was impersonating. But it was funny, it was camp, and most of it all, it played directly to Ru’s tastes of D-list celebrities of yesteryear. I believe Ginger said in confessional that she specifically picked Dame Barbara because she knew Ru would know her. Her answer to the judges — she picked someone who “wanted to be there” — was very smart and very political, but ultimately Ginger knows what she is doing, and she is playing this game better than anyone this season. Ru is the judge. Ru does not give a shit about YouTubers or influencers or TikTok-ers. Are you trying to entertain the viewers? Sure. But at the end of the day, you have to get laughs from Ru. I cannot think of a single successful influencer Snatch Game performance and there have been MANY, going back at least to S9 Farrah Moan as Gigi Gorgeous. Take the fucking hint, kids. Ginger was rightfully rewarded with her THIRD win in a row. After a slow start she is absolutely dominating this competition, and the other girls better kick it up a notch.
Michael Marouli as Catherine Tate, specifically two characters from “The Catherine Tate Show,” Bernie the vulgar Irish nurse and Derek the totally gay but not-gay guy. I was surprised that Michael was merely safe here. While he was basically copying bits wholesale, he was doing it well, and they were funny. I also appreciated the different approach he took for the heart-themed runway, which overall I thought was a real dud (with props to Vicki for her spectacular look). I thought she was better than the other person who placed High…
Tomara Thomas as Robin Williams, but really as Mrs. Doubtfire. This was a very interesting situation. Tomara did a fairly solid Mrs. Doubtfire impression, but fell prey to the very tempting trick that Ru has been playing a lot lately: encouraging the queens to go with a different direction in her pre-Snatch Game workroom walkthrough. In Tomara’s case, Ru encouraged her to work in other accents and not just keep it in the Mrs. Doubtfire high bellow. This was met with limited success, as the American Southern accent she deployed out of nowhere confused the celebs playing Snatch Game and just didn’t really land at all. Apparently Tomara peppered in other global accents as well, though we didn’t see them. Where I think this worked was in the fact that it was totally Robin Williams to spend an interview zipping in and out of bonkers characters for seemingly no reason. Do I think that was Tomara’s intent? No, I think she was just trying to listen to Ru. Ultimately it was a risk that paid off. But I don’t think she should have been Top 2 of the week.
Note the huge gap in performance level between the preceding queens and the ones that follow.
Cara Melle as Dionne Warwick. Cara was clearly terrified of Snatch Game, and you could see those nerves in the walkthrough, when Ru told her Dionne is one of her favorite singers of all time, and asked Cara to name a Dionne Warwick song that wasn’t “That’s What Friends Are For” (Cara couldn’t). I thought Cara started out strongly with her introduction, but then didn’t really take it anywhere. There’s a LOT you can do with Dionne. She is hilarious on social media. She was absolutely ruthless on “Celebrity Apprentice.” You can make jokes about the Houston family. We didn’t see Cara do any of that, but she also was not bad. Safe was the correct placement, but her precipitous decline in this competition is pretty clearly weighing on her.
Kate Butch as Kate Bush. I really wanted to like this more than I did. I think Kate simultaneously took the performance too far, and yet somehow didn’t do nearly enough. Giving Kate Bush a gutteral, commoner accent is a starting point, not a destination. The answers she provided were so overwrought that I think they lost most of the room before they got to the end. Kate is naturally funny, although it’s a reactive humor. Volleying is a big part of Snatch Game, but so is understanding what people want to see/hear. And I don’t think Kate was successful there.
DeDeLicious as Lady C., a minor British aristocrat who was a contestant on “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.” DeDe was between two picks, Lady C and Julia Fox, another Gen Z viral sensation. When Ru asked DeDe to explain who Julia was, DeDe started saying she went to a fashion show and there were all these TikToks and Ru, blessedly, was like, “I’m already bored.” Girl, same. DeDe didn’t do much better with Lady C, who was largely pretty dull and awkward. And DeDe knew it. To her credit, she knew she bombed and would need to lipsynch.
As did Vicki Vivacious, who totally shat the bed as TV chef Fanny Craddock. This was BAD. It was boring. It was antagonistic. It was unfunny. I’m honestly shocked, because I think Vicki is a generally funny queen. She knew she was absolutely screwed, and even with the best runway look on the stage (by a mile), she ended up in the Bottom 2 alongside DeDe.
The lipysnch, to “Heartbreak on Hold” by one of Ru’s current faves, Alexandra Burke, was pretty good. DeDe gave us a very different approach to her dramatic lipsynch from last week, and it is clear she is a very dangerous opponent in that arena. Vicki went for a more literal interpretation of the song, and the performance felt a bit small to me. In the end, DeDe won and Vicki was rightfully eliminated.
Which is shocking, because in Episode 1 I really thought Vicki could go all the way. Terrific outfits, comedy and performance chops — I honestly thought she was a contender. But like Banksie, she was the worst this week. It was the correct call. And now we’re down to our Final 6.
International “Drag Race” Round-Up
I watch all the international seasons so you don’t have to!
Drag Race Brasil Season 1: The good news: I generally enjoyed the Top 5 episode of Brasil more than I have most of the season. The queens were actually pleasant to watch (for the most part) and there was a loving, supportive vibe (for most of the episode). I think part of that has to do with it being a makeover challenge, which by its nature tends to be very Up With People in approach. The bad news: The winner of this week was absolute fucking horseshit and I don’t know how they hope to justify it. Multiple times they stressed that an important metric for success was family resemblance — like every other makeover challenge in the last 15 years. And yet, the team with a makeover with the LEAST similarity was somehow the winner? With Hellena standing right there, looking flawless AND as though there was a family resemblance? Insanity. She even called it herself in a confessional that she was robbed. She’s right! Another example of Production pushing Organzza for reasons that, I’m sorry, escape me. They keep telling us how amazing she is but I am at a loss to tell you almost anything remarkable she did this season. The Bottom 2 were Miranda, who had major issues with her costumes (but there was still a strong family resemblance!), and Shannon, who let her sister go out there looking an absolute mess. And ultimately Shannon got chopped. I think this is the correct Final 4 for Season 1 of Brasil, and I’m eager to get it over with. I’ll skip the reunion, because they bore me. But even in the preview it’s gang-up time, with Melusine Sparkles apparently getting brigaded. Gross.
Drag Race Germany Season 1: Another miss of an episode for Germany, unfortunately. Down to the Final 4, the improv-based challenge was to create original web series that would draw viewers. The queens were put in pairs: Metamorkid and Yvonne Nightstand, and Pandora Nox and Kelly Heelton. I absolutely hated Pandora and Kelly’s show. It was more of what we have come to expect, especially on this franchise: a lot of nonsense screaming and before long the queens are making out/having sex. It is so BORING. It is so creatively bankrupt it might as well be a Trump business. I am begging you, queens, PLEASE come up with something more interesting than, “OMG wouldn’t it be wild if we just started frenching?!” That said, Meta and Yvonne’s show was pretty great, a drag tips show that culminated in an interview with Tessa Testicle’s legendary leggings. In a twist, the two of them lipsynched for the win, with Meta taking it for “Rock Me Amadeus.” I don’t know why we needed a nonelim episode at Final 4, because we have ANOTHER Final 4 episode next week, a makeover. While Germany started out really strong, it has really struggled to maintain cohesion throughout the season. A pity.
Drag Race Italia Season 3: It was the Rusical for Italia, this one in honor of Paola & Chiara, sisters who became Italian disco-pop stars who championed the LGBT community in conservative Italy. I’m not familiar with their background, but there clearly seems to be some drama there, and I thought the Rusical was solid overall. The judges did too, as they told the queens that because they were all so good in the main challenge, critiques would largely center on their runways, which were themed around eternal love. There were some strong looks in this bunch, including Sypario’s instantly iconic poem dress and Melissa Bianchini — the runway queen of the season — superb Cupid. Ultimately I agreed with the elimination, and the queen in question took it like a pro. If you’re not watching Italia, I highly recommend it. It’s the second-best currently airing franchise, after UK5.
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