Kittens, it finally happened. Season 8 of Drag Race brought us the much-anticipated celebrity impersonation circus that is one of RuPaul’s biggest claims to fame: the Snatch Game!
Things that were snatched this week, in chronological order:
- Naomi’s body.
- This week’s win, right out of Thorgy’s hands.
- My weave—off my head—with that bombshell elimination.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s unpack this week’s pseudo-star-studded episode!
In the Workroom
On the heels of Naysha Lopez’s second elimination this season, Chi Chi DeVayne was saved from going home last week. Our favorite bankrupt, trashbag-wearing, possum-eating, brains-smelling queen from Louisiana apologized to Derrick Berry—her teammate last week—for not participating in her group’s efforts.
Based on the footage we saw on air, Derrick did not accept this apology, and instead called Chi Chi a bitch.
And thus begins Derrick’s reign of terror this episode. Get ready.
Literally within the first 2 minutes of this week’s episode, Derrick beefed with Bob the Drag Queen. Bob claimed Derrick throws shade more than a sycamore at sunset, and what did Derrick do? Threw shade at Bob.
So ensued the juicy, catty moment we’ve all been waiting for based on the previews:
Derrick: “If I want to do ratchet drag, can you give me some tips?”
Bob: “If you want to do memorable drag, I can give you some tips.”
This is when Derrick claimed Bob was just trying to be hurtful, and Bob replied, “If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be crying right now.” When Derrick said Bob would never make her cry, Bob ended with, “Don’t give me a challenge, bitch.”
Better watch your hypertension with all that SALT, ladies and gentlemen!
Watch Your Snatch
After teasing that the girls’ challenge this week would be to make roadkill couture, RuPaul announced the true competition for this episode: Snatch Game!
The queens all prepared their looks and caricatures, and already there was an issue: Naomi Smalls planned to play Whoopi Goldberg’s “Celie” from The Color Purple, but Bob said he might channel Whoopi’s “Deloris” from Sister Act. Said 21-year-old Naomi in the confessional: “Oh shit. I might be out of my league here.”
Meanwhile, Acid Betty prepared her Nancy Grace look. “She seems like a major bitch, and I can relate to that.” No argument here, Betty.
But Robbie Turner—who had big pumps to fill after her Seattle counterparts Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme both won their respective seasons’ Snatch Games—set out to imitate Diana Vreeland, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine. Said Bob: “Do you think that’s a tad obscure?” Robbie replied, “Not at all.”
Well… perhaps not quite as obscure as some of the former Puerto Rican queens’ Snatch Game choices, but definitely more obscure than Whoopi fucking Goldberg.
Kim Chi invented a sister to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Little Kimmy Jong-un was ready for battle, and this was honestly a great choice for Kim—unless she gets death threats from above the 38th Parallel.
Thorgy set out to personify Michael Jackson—a bold move since he was (likely) a man, though with Season 7’s Kennedy Davenport winning Snatch Game with a Little Richard impersonation, the precedent has been established.
Derrick tried to act like a white woman who acts like a black woman who is not terribly funny.
And that left Chi Chi to put together her Eartha Kitt attire. “How are you going to make her funny?” Ru asked. Chi Chi replied, “I know she played Catwoman, and I’ve got two cats at home.”
So, done deal, right?
Let the Games Begin
The Snatch Game judges consisted of Vogue covergirl Chanel Iman and Sports Illustrated model Gigi Hadid. Super cute, super beautiful, and they had great critiques later on.
All the queens stuck with their initial celebrity choices except Derrick, who sensibly switched to the predictable but practiced Britney Spears, and the Whoopi disputers. Naomi ended up choosing Tiffany Pollard (aka “New York”) from Flavor of Love, which was a good idea 10 years ago, and Bob brilliantly went with Uzo Aduba’s “Crazy Eyes” character from Orange is the New Black.
Many queens fell flat, including Naomi’s bland New York attempt and Derrick’s tolerable Britney, which we must compare to Tatianna’s hilarious rendition in Season 2. But some key moments that nailed it include:
Ru: “There’s a new dating app for drag queens. When you join, the first question they ask is, ‘How big is your blank?’”
Kimmy Jong-un: “Weapons of ass destruction.”
Ru: “The big bad wolf is a drag queen. Instead of huffing and puffing and blowing, she blanks the house down.”
Michael Jackson: “Takes a long nap in a bed with everyone they know.”
Eartha Kitt: “Licks.” (Cut to Chi Chi lifting her leg above her head and licking it.)
Ru: “Lady bunny has an unusual way of celebrating gay pride. Instead of hanging the rainbow flag outside, she wags her blank out her window.”
Michael: “Her blanket.” (Dangles a baby doll over the podium ledge. Genius.)
And then Bob somehow switched from Crazy Eyes to Carol Channing! This was also a bold move, and not because Bob is dark chocolate while Carol Channing is literally the whitest person to have ever lived, but because Pandora Boxx delivered an epic Ms. Channing on Drag Race Season 2. Bob channeled Channing with a hilarious ramble, though, and was a huge hit.
And then, ladies and gentlemen, Charo came onstage. Literally, Charo. Because reasons.
Runway: Night of 100 Madonnas
Now, this is where it gets ridiculous. The theme of the runway was “100 Madonnas,” but between 8 queens, they only represented about 5 Divine Miss Ems.
That’s because apparently most of the girls shared a zeitgeist: “I’ll be totally original and wear a black shoulder-length middle part wig with a kimono.”
While the queens prepared for the panel in the workroom, Bob and Naomi had one of the most poignant conversations of this season. Naomi disclosed that she has 8 brothers and 3 sisters, was adopted by white parents (Naomi is mixed race with African descent), and he was the sole gay child in this huge family. Naomi explained that he had a wonderfully supportive mother and a great childhood, but Bob asked, “Did you feel like you needed to study up on black stuff?” Naomi said yes, and that growing up, he got a lot of, “Oh he’s kind of cute for a black guy.”
Are you listening, gay men? If you label and limit someone’s attractiveness based on their race, you’re doing it wrong.
This week’s runway judges were Ru herself, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Gigi and Chanel from the Snatch Game.
Cue kimono 1: Thorgy.
Kimono 2: Kim Chi.
Kimono 3: Derrick.
Kimono 4: Naomi.
Now, if Bob brought three different character options for the Snatch Game, don’t you think at least one of these queens would have thought to bring an alternate Madonna costume? The challenge is for everyone to dress as the same person, ladies. Think.
Betty delivered Madonna’s dove-decorated maternity gown à la Bedtime Story, Robbie came out as a Georgia Peach from A League of Their Own (brilliant), Chi Chi donned Madonna’s quintessential Blonde Ambition conical bra look, and Bob took it home with Madonna’s 2015 GLAAD Media Awards politically charged boy scout getup.
Despite so many goddamn kimonos onstage, Kim Chi was deemed safe, as was Chi Chi. Thorgy was praised for her hilarious Michael Jackson, while Michelle told Betty she was let down by her performance as Nancy Grace. Quoth Michelle: “Her Nancy Grace was more like a Nancy Disgrace.”
Robbie was given great feedback on her catwalk look, but when the judges said they were underwhelmed with her Diana Vreeland, Robbie said she had lost her voice. The excuse did not sit well with Ru and Michelle.
Michelle pointed out that Derrick went with the obvious—a Britney impersonation—and praised her for it. But Bob got the most accolation with his dual Snatch Game performance and his clever runway choice. “I do want to caution you,” Michelle warned. “Sometimes you border on showboating.” You’ve been advised, Bob: tone it down.
Poor Naomi’s terrible Snatch Game performance as New York didn’t go unpunished. Carson summed it up well: “She wasn’t New York. She wasn’t Connecticut. She wasn’t New Jersey.”
Based on the feedback from the judges, Derrick was in the Top 3 this week. And while Thorgy really did a great job on the runway and on the game show set, Bob was named the winner of the episode. (Poor Thorgy’s Susan Lucci effect is now indisputable.)
Robbie was in the bottom 3 yet again while Naomi and Betty found themselves there for the first time. But in an upset, Robbie was rescued from lip syncing by Ru, who made a point of saying that the judging panel disagreed, but that the choice was hers to make. I interpret this to mean Ru sees the same excellence that Seattle sees in our hometown hero—and no, Chi Chi, we’re not going to hang her. But we’re hoping she gets an opportunity to show some vulnerability and blossom in the spotlight.
The Lip Sync
That left Naomi and (surprisingly) Betty to duke it out in a lip sync battle to Madonna’s Causing a Commotion.
The thought crossing our minds at that point was, “Holy shit. Betty, the exceptionally talented makeup artist and this season’s unquestionable bitch, is in the bottom 2. There’s no way she can go home.”
And then, this perfect seedling of a notion sprouted in my excitable brain. “HOLY SHIT. Betty has something IN that pregnant BELLY! She’s going to do a big REVEAL, blow Naomi out of the WATER, and literally DELIVER one of the most memorable moments on Drag Race History!”
But here’s what actually happened: Betty waved her arms and pranced. The most memorable aspect of her performance was when she sat on the floor at the end. Meanwhile, Naomi slinked out of her red kimono shift, revealed her floss-width crimson undergarments, and sexed up a Madonna song that was recorded before she was born.
Naomi Smalls was deservedly saved from elimination, and Betty was sent home. This was certainly justified based on the lip sync performances, but that leaves us asking ourselves, “Who is going to take Betty’s place as the season antagonist?”
Your move, Derrick Berry.