After making a brief pit stop on the road to perdition last week, the fallen angels of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 have picked themselves up and bounced back with a vengeance. It’s like my Nana always used to tell me, “Hell hath no fury like a Loosey LaDuca scorned!” Each of the remaining 14 queens has had a jolt of fear run through them after feeling the fiery flames of elimination graze their padding, and right on schedule: It’s time to play the Snatch Game!
In the past, Snatch Game has been a rite of passage that only a select few Drag Race queens get the privilege of competing in. To throw the contestants off the scent, it usually appears when only seven or eight queens are left in the competition. But a super-sized season deserves a super-sized Snatch Game, and that is exactly what we’ve been blessed with this week. As a supporting actress in Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born once said, “Halleloo!”
The queens are competing in two rounds of Snatch Game, each round with seven queens doing their very best impressions. With the newly trimmed episode lengths and 14 queens to show off in every Drag Race fan’s favorite challenge, there’s no time for any shenanigans in the workroom. Ru doesn’t stop in like he usually does to grill the queens about their choices of celebrities to impersonate. While some might miss the tension that builds when Ru inevitably says something like, “Hmm, how’re you going to make Samara from The Ring funny?” I didn’t mind cutting the misdirections and faux stress this time around.
Half the episode is spent on Snatch Game, which is a godsend that has realigned my chakras and snapped my third eye wide open.
The first group of queens is mostly fantastic. Of course, there are a few whose weaker performances are more noticeable among such strong showings around them. Malaysia Babydoll Fox (whom I have tragically, accidentally called “Malaysia Babydoll 370” too many times to count) as Saucey Santana faded far too much into the background for a bombastic personality, while Robin Fierce’s elegant RHOP housewife Karen Huger was a bit too classy and demure.
And then there was Salina EsTitties as the Virgin Mary. It was a strange choice that occasionally threatened to derail her group’s overall strength, with her trying to steal the camera by screaming about immaculate conceptions. In the calculated dance that is Snatch Game, loud asides never work in your favor.
A few slumps aside, the remainder of the group held strong. Marcia Marcia Marcia’s Tim Gunn was a hoot. Marcia has had three weeks in a row with robust comedic performances—stronger than many of the other girls who openly call themselves “comedy queens”—and she should be seen as a bigger threat than the judges are giving her credit for.
Sure, a Tim Gunn impression isn’t that hard to do, but Marcia took cues from both Ru and the other queens in the room and turned in a fabulous performance. Though, I do think it could’ve been even funnier if she had kept the energy of her first joke about the Pit Crew’s speedos and made Tim Gunn a horny lech.
Sitting just past Marcia were Mistress Isabelle Brooks as Rosie O’Donnell and Anetra as Gorgina Ramsey, a dragged-up version of “her brother” Gordon. I am a Mistress Isabelle Brooks stan through and through already, but I didn’t think her Rosie was as fabulous as the judges did. The impression was a little lacking of Rosie’s idiosyncrasies and even resulted in Mistress Isabelle herself dipping out of character into Abbey Lee Miller.
On the other side of that coin, I think Anetra’s Gorgina Ramsey got the shaft. She made a delightfully silly decision that paid off in only a smidgen of camera time, and the shot of Anetra breaking in laughter sent me to the floor. Luxx Noir London’s Amanda Lepore looked the part, but stumbled after the first joke about answering a question with Amanda’s “other set of lips.” Sure, Amanda Lepore has big smackers, but she’s also an incredibly eccentric personality. Leading with the same delay of silence followed by, “Sorry, I was answering in my mind,” would’ve been much more Lepore.
In the second group of queens, things quickly turned for the worst. Putting Sugar and Spice in the same group together was sure to be great (and unbearable) television. If only the twins could’ve realized that they were being handed an express ticket to the bottom two. Sugar’s Trisha Paytas has no impression involved—which I say because Sugar already has the bimbo act down pat—and Spice’s Miley Cyrus has some of the most nefarious energy I’ve ever seen manifest on television. But that’s perfectly fine, because Loosey LaDuca’s Joan Rivers is there to corral the entire group with one of the most pitch-perfect impersonations we’ve seen on Snatch Game yet.
Loosey as Joan is almost like seeing one of the greatest comedians to ever live spring back to life and tell us that she was just resting her eyes. The judges all but said so later in the episode—even Joan would’ve loved this take. It’s intelligent and biting, perfectly bouncing off the heads of everyone else in the room.
But the unfortunate thing about a group with one outstanding performance and multiple bombs is that the others are shuffled off to the background entirely. I would’ve loved to see more of Sasha Colby’s Jan Crouch, and even Jax’s Mona Lisa had some potential that was set up. The only reason we saw so much of Amethyst’s Tan Mom was because she was sandwiched between Sugar and Spice’s canned bits! By the time Spice took to bonking herself on the head with Miley Cyrus’ mallet from the “Wrecking Ball” video—which the editors brilliantly kept looping—it was absolutely time to say goodbye to this wicked bunch.
The judge’s critiques are decidedly tame, and it’s a shame that they’ve cut their deliberations, because it would be so fun to see them geek out over the tops and bottoms of this week, in particular, without the queens present. Those deliberations are where viewers get a sense of what the judges are thinking as the weeks go by, and without being privy to them, it gets harder to know if they see what we’re seeing. Some might enjoy that it relieves us of any winner edits, but for fans, the deliberations are half the fun of the final act. Though, I’m sure they’ll be added in when the number of queens is shaved down later this season.
Sugar and Spice both land themselves in the bottom, and the inevitable twin-against-twin lip sync arrives only three episodes into the season. With everyone across the world strapped in, ready to enjoy some good, old-fashioned sibling rivalry play out before us, Sugar and Spice delivered their most surprising rehearsed joke yet: a fully choreographed lip sync to Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run.”
The twins chase each other around the stage and mime for the judges the entire time. At one point, they even do the old invisible lasso move, like they’ve just come from the set of a Buster Keaton film (or, more accurately, clown college). The choreographed lip sync is certainly an interesting attempt at getting the rare double-shantay from Ru, and that gift would’ve almost certainly been theirs if they hadn’t done this hokey routine.
If both of them fought hard, individually, Ru would’ve had a reason to keep them both around. This lip sync was a test of their ability to show off their individuality and differentiate from each other. It was a test that the twins, unfortunately, did not pass.
When faced with a difficult choice, Ru decides to keep Spice, who had the better original song in the first episode’s talent show. That wasn’t a reasoning that was given, but if I know RuPaul’s penchant for deliciously braindead electronic music like I think I do, it factored into the decision. Sugar is sent packing in an emotional sibling send-off, and Spice decides to stay and fight another week.
Now that one of the twins has departed, it’ll be interesting to see if this season keeps its steady ascent or stumbles without the gimmick of having both siblings in the workroom. If there’s one thing that has been abundantly clear in only three episodes, it’s that competing together was holding the both of them back. So, who knows, maybe this is Spice’s game to lose now?
Imagine the drama if Spice were to climb the ranks and find her voice, only to have her sister brought back to compete just a few episodes before the finale. I’m just saying, anything can happen! And I’m only giving my ideas away for free because I know it’s too late for reshoots.