How is everyone enjoying season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race? For my money, thus far it is among the best seasons, fulfilling plenty of hopes for the season! The talent pool is among the most diverse we’ve ever seen and this season finds the balance in giving the audience what we want without phoning it in with repetitive storylines we’ve heard told better. However, that momentum could turn sour if it becomes predictable or weak performances like Derrick Barry keep getting a free pass.
Leading up to the premiere, there was The 8 Days of RuPaul’s Drag Race where I featured fun things like lipsync wishes, guilty pleasures, and the highest squirrelfriend of them all. What better week to hop back into the Drag Race realm than that of everyone’s most-anticipated episode: Snatch Game!
Snatch Game is a real make or break episode for each season’s batch of racers. Aside from Queen Henny herself, Stacy Layne Matthews, no queen has ever taken a Snatch Game win to less than fifth place. There may be the odd Courtenay Act or Phi Phi O’Hara slips on their celebrity impersonation, but no queen has ever done a lipsync after Snatch Game and gone on to the final 3. Bad news for Naomi Smalls!
While the best individual performances are easy to recall, what are the best overall Snatch Games and which season entries left us wanting?
Sure, season 7 is somewhat the reigning punching bag (at least in these parts) but do you remember a moment or joke from this uninspired lineup? This season’s Game is most criminal for opening the can of worms that is previous Drag Race contestants. Perhaps that comes from a naive group of contestants lacking in pop culture references, but going self-referential is a bit of a buzz kill. If we want Alyssa Edwards, we can always go back and have the real thing. The tie of Ginger Minj and Kennedy Davenport is a cop out from awarding the deserving winner (Davenport) for her controversial risk.
- Bet You Forgot: Pearl as Big Ang
- Shoulda Lipsynced: Miss Fame as Donatella Versace
- Crunchiest: Max as Sharon Needles
The biggest disappointment is that this current season’s edition of Snatch Game is not a significant improvement on last year. Bob The Drag Queen’s risk of playing multiple characters gave him a win, but was it just having a slight edge over an absurdly repetitive runway that sealed the deal? The attempt was there across the board (you can’t say that for season 7), but the entire cast was fairly unfocused and imprecise. Even Thorgy Thor couldn’t quite land an easy target like a Blanket Jackson joke AND they wasted a perfectly good Charo appearance!
- Meh, But That Look Though: Derrick Barry as Britney Spears
- The One You Will Forget: Robbie Turner as Diana Vreeland
- Best, But Really Who’s To Say: Chi Chi DeVayne as Eartha Kitt
A Snatch Game so overrun with tomfoolery it caused the sweethearted Latrice Royale to unleash her fury back in the workroom. But when even her flat Aretha Franklin was among the best, you’ve got a very lackluster year. How did this shitshow rise above the worst of the seasons? The obvious: Chad Michaels as Cher. It’s fitting that this was the one of the worst, because no one else stood a chance.
- Coulda Won in Another Year: Willam as Jessica Simpson
- Why Would You Ever Choose to Impersonate: Beyonce
- Crunchiest (Ever): Milan as Diana Ross
Probably one of the most solid choices of impersonations, from the weird and off-kilter (Imelda Marcos), to the current (Mo’Nique via Precious), to the iconic (Tina Turner). Too bad that didn’t result for very many memorable moments or quotables. Stacy’s win as Mo’Nique can probably be attributed more to story arc than her rising above Manila Luzon or Raja’s equally funny takes.
- Bet You Forgot: Carmen Carrera as Jennifer Lopez
- Are You Playing the Celebrity or Yourself: Shangela as Tina Turner
- Crunchiest: Mariah as Joan Crawford
The inaugural season! The queens were at the clearest disadvantage of each of these seasons, playing Snatch long before its benchmarks had been set and resulting in the likes of Morgan McMichaels relying on a look without any jokes. Everyone praises Pandora Boxx’s imprecise (but moreso than Bob the Drag Queen’s) Carol Channing and often incorrectly remembers her as the winner, but the rightful crown belongs to Tatianna’s Britney “I got lost” Spears.
- Bet You Forgot: Jujubee as Kimora Lee Simmons
- Why Would You Ever Choose to Impersonate: Beyonce
- Crunchiest: Sonique as Lady Gaga (“Trust.”)
Here’s the real power of Snatch Game: Jinkx Monsoon went from quirky outsider to instant frontrunner with a character mostly unknown to the show’s primarily young audience. It’s exactly how you win Snatch Game: capture the look perfectly, use iconography (but never as a crutch), and be funniest when interacting with the other queens. Even without Jinkx, there would be a few queens still vying for a worthy win. The worst performance even gave us some unintentional laughs instead of the usual outright cringes.
- Meh, But That Look Though: Coco Montrese as Janet Jackson
- Bet You Forgot: Alyssa Edwards as Katy Perry
- Crunchiest: Ivy Winters as Marilyn Monroe
The best, and also the toughest to call. BenDeLaCreme served iconic Snatch Game quote (“We originated the language”) on a character of barely recognizable as the celebrity, but I’d vote giving the win to the creepy accurate and affectionate take on Anna Nicole by Adore Delano. Here’s one where Bianca Del Rio’s reputation for hilarity hurt her – how could she ever win this with the bar set so high for her? As a non-Real Housewivesian, I had exactly zero clue what Joslyn Fox was doing or saying, but I laughed every moment. The absolute widest gap between best and worst of any Snatch Game, and the worst of this season were far from the worst of all time.
- Are You Playing the Celebrity or Yourself: Gia Gunn as Kim Kardashian
- Bet You Forgot, But It Was Actually Good: Darienne Lake as Paula Deen
- Crunchiest: Milk as Julia Child
And don’t forget to spray and neuter your neighbors’ pets.