RuPaul’s Drag Race 07:07

I think that at this time, to process this episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it pays to ask the musical question posed by the late, great Amy Winehouse….

What Kind Of Fuckery Is This?!?!?

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Hang your head in shame for a moment Ru while I explain why.

But first, it’s the long-awaited return of Blankety Blank

… sorry, that’s the British version (and hello hello Lily Savage! We love you!). I mean, Match Game

… sorry about that (but cheers to dear Mr. Rayburn and company). I mean Snatch Game!

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After all of these weeks, we finally – finally – get to the most beloved challenge on the show (aside from the reading challenge). I’ve spoken in depth about the importance of Snatch Game before, but I’ll sum it up for you: The reason the fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race live for Snatch Game is that it’s easily the hardest challenge on the show. Not only do you have to do “celebrity” impersonation (itself one of the cornerstones of drag), not only do you have to be funny and quick on your feet in your answers and your interactions with Ru, the “contestants” and the other panel members, but you have to do it all effortlessly. This is the challenge that the real front runners emerge and we can conclusively tell who is not long for this competition. This year’s edition had some surprisingly good moments, and some shockingly bad ones.

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In addition to the show, the ladies have to walk the runway in a leather and lace themed runway for Ru, Michelle, Ross, and guest judges (and Snatch Game contestants) Michael Urie and former Snatch Game panelist Tamar Braxton, though Ru was right to call it a “convention of former Prince protégés”).

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Let’s take a look at how the girls did, starting at the upper left…

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It pains me to say this, but MAX was way off the mark as Season 4 winner Sharon Needles. The look was on point but as soon as she said she was trying for “a Disney version of Sharon” I was worried, because the one thing Sharon Needles is not is Disney (though I would pay good money to see it – say a remake of Hocus Pocus with Sharon and Max as two of the three Sanderson sisters). Even worse, the wit which Sharon has (and which we all know Max has) was sorely lacking, which was the bigger sin in my book. Meanwhile, I have to agree with Ross that the black hair did nothing for her at all (see Michelle, you were wrong). As for that big moment when she took off her corset on the runway…

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Shady, no? (And on a side note: As someone who took their drag name from the Judy Garland version of A Star Is Born, I totally got it. On another side note: Now I want to see Max do the “Born In A Trunk” sequence.”)

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JAIDYNN looked great as Raven-Symoné, and the seeing visions bit was cute if repetitive. Where she lost me was on the runway; the look was flattering but the top didn’t tie into the leather and lace theme that well.

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KATYA’s Suze Orman was exact in the look and the mannerisms, but not in the voice. Where she excelled was in the comic timing in her jokes and her repartée with the other panelists. As for the runway look, I’ll just use Katya’s apt words: “I’m trying to just serve sexy and confident whore. Slutty cougar on the prowl. Third-rate Faith Hill impersonator. 80 percent sex, 20 percent disgusting.” If I could ding her for one thing it’s her hair (though I’m not going to ding her for wearing a blond wig every time on the runway – with the exception of Babe-raham Lincoln) I am going to say that the hair needed a little more tzujing to give it some volume.

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VIOLET ditched her plans to play Donatella Versace at the last moment and ended up going with Season 5 standout and YouTube personality Alyssa Edwards. It wasn’t the most groundbreaking portrayal in the game’s history but she nailed the look, the physicality, the facial expressions, and the vocal cadences. And her runway was spectacular; a dead-on homage to fetish illustrator John Willie (and I have to give her credit for knowing her reference and delivering accordingly). In my mind, her runway and her flexibility in changing was what kept her safe this week.

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PEARL shocked the hell out of me with her take on Mob Wives star Big Ang. Everything was on point: from the makeup (including Ang’s massive lips), to the look, to the vocal inflections it was all correct. Even better, she made Ang laugh out loud funny (“What is your bra size?” “It’s a medical mystery.”). The only part that lost me was the runway, which was cute but not really setting the world on fire, and that’s why I think she wasn’t in the top three, even though her performance deserved to be there.

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MISS FAME stuck to her guns and she did Donatella Versace. And while it looked great, the performance was a complete mess. While the look was right, she did nothing to make her Donatella funny at all. And that’s my big problem with Fame; she’s a stunning queen (and make no mistake, both her looks were fantastic this week) but she shows more personality in the work room than she does on stage. And I’m sorry; if you’re going to do Donatella, you have to be better than Maya Rudolph’s iconic impersonation.

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KENNEDY shocked me in a very good way this week. I initially thought that she was mad in doing Little Richard for her impersonation, but she went for it and it paid off in spades. Not only did she look great, but she was hilarious (when asked what Dorothy does to the Tin Man in Quentin Tarantino’s hypothetical remake of The Wizard of Oz, she answered that Dorothy tightens his screws because everyone likes a nice, tight screw; when asked what a gay Batman and Robin convert the Batcave into, Kennedy says “a bathhouse with a dark room and gloryholes”) and accurate in the delivery. As for the runway she followed it up with a fantastic look on the runway (basically if TS Madison was impersonating Diana Ross). A risky, but deserved win.

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GINGER also won for her portrayal as Adele but I was not as impressed. Sure she was funny, she looked great, and her runway was fantastic. But I don’t think it was a tie-worthy effort; not in comparison to the real risks that Kennedy took.

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In a surprise, Max was in the bottom two with Jaidynn, and frankly I was shocked. While I don’t think Max was great, she didn’t deserve to be in the bottom three compared to Fame’s performance. And as soon as I heard that the song was Michel’le’s New Jack Swing classic “No More Lies”, I knew that Max was done for. It’s not that she didn’t deliver on the performance, but it was clear that the song played more towards Jaidynn’s strengths. If they wanted to make this a fair lip sync (and this is a hallmark of all the great Lip Synch For Your Life moments on the show) they should have picked a number that would have worked for both girls (maybe a Robyn number, perhaps that plays into Max’s sensibilities and Jaidynn’s high-energy delivery). Thus Max was told to Sashay Away, and I have to call shenanigans. Lest we forget, Max has won two challenges and has not been in the bottom once since this challenge. Something is not right here! We demand answers Ru!

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And then Ru drops her shock of the episode: An eliminated queen is returning next episode! She has now started a #BringBackMyQueen campaign on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, but I do have to ask how much influence is going to have on the season. That said, I would be shocked if it wasn’t #TeamMax, as she deserves to be there. That said there is another possibility. Miss Trixie Mattel, you have the floor:

Random Notes
– As much as I can bitch about the episode, that moment between Katya and Miss Fame was touching. Anyone who’s in recovery knows that it’s tough being in a situation without your support network. Seeing Fame be there for Katya during her meltdown was refreshing to see. Good on both of you for doing what you have to do to be healthy,

– While we’re on that subject, a separate note to Katya: We all love you. You’re dementedly funny, talented, glamorous, and have the love and support of your fans. Please never forget that.

– Now that we’ve had Little Richard, how long till we get Prince on the panel?

– It made me happy and sad to see the great Bianca Del Rio on our screens for only a second last night. Her appearance was controversial in that caused the people at the screening I was at to weigh the merits of the remaining queens against the legends of the game (like Bebe, Nina, Ongina, Raven, Jujubee, Pandora, Raja, Manilla, Alexis, Shangela, Sharon, Chad, Willam, Latrice, Alaska, Jinkx, and Bianca, to name a few examples). And sadly, they were found wanting in comparison. It’s interesting to see if any of these current queens could have survived past seasons. What do you think?

– You know, I am shocked and kind of surprised that no one has approached Miss Brett Somers, the doyenne of Match Game, to appear on this episode. Yes she’s old as dirt but it would be fun as hell to have a “contestant” that could put the “panel” on its toes.

– As Max’s tweets showed, the show was edited in a shady way. If you don’t think RuPaul’s Drag Race is highly edited, you need to watch this.

– Speaking of tweets, this won the internet as far as I’m concerned. (Side note: Come visit us Sharon! We love you darling!)

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– I said it on Twitter last night, I’ll say it again: Max, you were done dirt on the show. We all love you! xoxo

And now it’s time for:

Art by Chad Sell

Art by Chad Sell

Here’s the breakdown: 4 each for the winners, 2 for third place, 1 for the safe girls, 0 for bottom three, -1 for “Shante, You Stay,” and -2 for “Sashay, Away.”

Therefore…

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I know the scoreboard is geared towards longevity but Max is still in the double digits. And again, she has not been in the bottom three the entire challenge. I don’t get it, Ru!

NEXT WEEK – Someone is coming back. Place your bets now, ladies and gentlemen…

PS: #TeamMax

Photo & Video Credits: Logo TV / World Of Wonder, CBS Television, ITV, Chad Sell

Originally Published on 14 April 2015 as part of “The Idiot Box,” my television column for l’étoile

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