This week’s RuPaul’s Drag Race centered around everyone’s favorite recurring challenge: the Snatch Game. The contestants pulled together some altogether unexpected looks and plenty of what was expected as well, namely super-high highs and extremely low lows. That said, the episode did what we needed it to do and provided five great moments for us to pore over the next day.
After RuPaul announces to the queens that the maxi challenge for the week will be the one and only Snatch Game, everyone rushes to start pulling together their costumes, having arrived at the show with a plan in mind. However, complications start to arise almost immediately when it’s revealed that both Miss Fame and Violet plan on being Donatella Versace for the challenge. The two scrap a bit over who should get to do it, and eventually, Fame backs down. But when Ru shows up to talk to the girls as they work, she encourages Fame to do what’s going to put her in the best position, not what she thinks is nice, and Fame switches back to being Donatella, leaving Violet in a pickle. In talking to Violet, Ru strongly encourages her to switch to her emergency backup choice, veteran Drag Race contestant Alyssa Edwards, advice Violet decides to take.
Meanwhile, Kennedy Davenport is struggling over which character to portray after Katya and Ginger tell her she shouldn’t be portraying Little Richard since he’s, you know, a man. They instead encourage Kennedy to do Sweet “ain’t nobody got time for that” Brown, which Kennedy isn’t exactly opposed to but certainly isn’t confident in. Ru comes by, and it’s clear that she’s underwhelmed by the idea that Kennedy may ultimately choose to portray a man but doesn’t tell her not to do it, either.
For as much potential as this challenge has year after year, season seven’s offering just wasn’t up to snuff. So many of the contestants seemed to rest on the idea that if they looked enough like their subject, then they’d be able to coast by, not understanding the intricacies involved in crafting actual humor. Predictably, the comedy queens, namely Katya and Ginger Minj, were outstanding, with Ginger’s Adele being a fully realized Snatch Game performance for the ages. Kennedy Davenport, making the risky move of performing as Little Richard, killed it, and her risk paid off in the end.
Many of the other queens didn’t fare quite as well — many were just being okay, like Pearl’s Big Ang or Violet’s Alyssa Edwards, but some were nonstarters from the get-go. In some cases, it’s because the person chosen didn’t necessarily have recognizable traits one could exploit, like with Jaidynn’s choice of Raven-Symoné. With others, the character had so many recognizable characteristics that missing too many opportunities was unforgivable, as with Max’s Sharon Needles impression.
In a profoundly touching moment, Katya reaches out to Fame about her anxieties in the competition that she’s been struggling with since she arrived. Fame completely relates to everything that Katya says, and the two are able to comfort each other for a bit. Most interesting here is the complete lack of artifice. To go on a reality show, particularly this one, is a very surreal situation that forces a person to examine all of her weaknesses in a very up-close-and-personal way. Then, on top of that, the contestants are judged week to week, and inevitably, at times, the judges will point out issues that the queen already struggles with on a day-to-day basis. Which is to say nothing, then, of the critics, professional and otherwise, at home registering their every thought and opinion on the internet with nary a care in the world.
All of which is a really long-winded way of saying that I feel bad calling Miss Fame bland last week.
Max had a bit of a meltdown during the judging this week after being put on the spot about his lackluster performance in the challenge, demanding that he be able to loosen his corset, and then, while topless, singing while sitting at the steps in front of the stage, saying something like, “He saw a window and he took it.” It was all very bizarre and largely inexplicable.
Big Girls Bring It
Though Jaidynn wasn’t at the top of her game tonight, with the continued success of Ginger, it’s obvious that this season has some of the best plus-size queens the show has ever seen. The most significant place this seems to be evident is on the runway. Ginger understands her body and finds a way to portray it in the best possible light at all times. Her Elvis-inspired, white-leather-and-lace look from last night was fire, and she really seems to be putting together a very strong case for being the first plus-size queen to take home the title.
Winners: Kennedy Davenport and Ginger Minj
Bottom Two: Max and Jaidynn Diore Fierce
Line of the Night Honorable Mentions:
“I’m just trying to serve sexy and confident whore …” —Katya on her runway look.
“… third-rate Faith Hill impersonator …” —Still Katya.
“… 80 percent sexy, 20 percent disgusting.” — and scene. (Katya)
“We got a new Whitesnake bitch!” —Tamar Braxton, about Katya’s runway look.
“While you relax backstage, the judges and I will braid each other’s hair.” —I wish, Ru.
“ [Heavy sigh.]” —Michelle Visage’s wordless response to Max’s antics prove that sometimes you really do say it best when you say nothing at all.