Sissy that Snatch Game

RuPaul

Last week marked the midway point of RuPaul’s Drag Race when the queens finally faced off in the “Snatch Game” competition, a parody of the classic TV game show “Match Game.”  Drag racers and viewers alike were reminded that the stakes were high when last year’s winner, Bianca Del Rio, made a bit appearance on the Ru-mail monitor advising, “I’ve got one tip for you.  You’re a drag queen.  Be funny.”  Who knew that Bianca’s words would fall as a curse on deaf or otherwise unfunny ears?  RuPaul himself arrived in the workroom reminding competitors that their task in “Snatch Game” is “to impersonate another star’s charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.  But be careful whose you choose because it could be a very hairy situation.”   

Fashion designer, Donatella Versace
Fashion designer Donatella Versace

Immediately there was tension between Miss Fame and Violet Chachki when both queens revealed that they planned to impersonate Donatella Versace.  Max offered a decidedly uncompetitive and Midwestern perspective on the situation, “Sounds like one of you has to be the bigger person and just bow out.”  It looked as if Miss Fame was going to take Max’s advice when RuPaul showed up in the workroom menacingly/mentoringly saying, “I just want you to do what’s in your best interest not in the best interests of the other contestants.”  Miss Fame took Mother Ru’s advice and sniffed in her individual interview, “This is a competition.  Sometimes you have to step over other girls to get where you want to go.  So . . . sorry, girl.”  Miss Fame finally got her wit back and she didn’t even have to shove Miss Chachki down the stairs!

Violet Chachki learns that Miss Fame is doing Donatella
Violet Chachki is dismayed to learn that Miss Fame has decided to impersonate Donatella Versace after all.

Meanwhile, Mama Ru sashayed across the workroom to plant a seed of doubt in Violet Chachki’s idea pot.  After hearing Violet’s Donatella accent, Ru asked to hear other possibilities.  Just when it looked like Violet’s idea pot was empty, she served up a reasonably inspired Alyssa Edwards impersonation complete with a vocal click and disappearing chin.  Ultimately the Donatella Debacle turned out to be much ado about nothing because neither queen delivered an especially memorable performance. 

More disappointing than the outcome of the Donatella Debacle was Max’s impersonation of season 4 winner, Sharon Needles.  While the makeup and overall look were flawless, poor Max did not deliver the improvisational and comedic skills befitting Drag Race royalty.  Max seemed to realize she’d missed the mark and made a valiant effort to recover though her timing was odd, if show stopping.  As the queens stood poised to receive their critiques following the “Leather and Lace” runway challenge, Max became faint.  Loosening her stays and reclining on the stage steps she seized upon the moment to break into song.  Will such theatrics become the new “maxim” for queens on the verge of elimination?  Elimination is where Max found herself when she lost the lip-sync challenge to Jaidynn Dior Fierce—a shocking turn of events for a queen who has otherwise performed consistently well. 

RuPaul with Snatch Game contestants
RuPaul with some of this season's Snatch Game contestants including Max at upper left.

Max is no Bianca Del Rio when it comes to having a catalog of quips at her fingertips but she has an identifiable style.  Her old Hollywood lilting manner of speech and prudish disposition round out her je-ne-sais-quois.  The gray wigs and oddball costumes—she accessorizes with a walker!—make her a very special queen indeed. 

At the end of last week’s episode RuPaul promised to bring back one eliminated queen.  It seemed too soon to say au revoir to Max.  Will she return tonight?  Will RuPaul bring back Max and her steamer trunk full of dreams and gray wigs?  Tonight’s episode will tell.

Check back soon for a change of pace in essays when I review Hello!  Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty currently on exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

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