The most controversial Snatch Game performances in RuPaul’s Drag Race history
Drag Race Down Under’s Snatch Game episode is the latest to stir up shock
You simply can’t have a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race without Snatch Game. There is no challenge more iconic. It’s the Match Game parodying event that separates the wheat from the chaff. The queens who place high will soar, and those that fail to bring the laughs are in immediate lip sync for your life danger.
Both in the original main stateside Drag Race franchise and in all its international spin offs, the choices for Snatch Game impersonation has ranged from the anticipated gay icons (Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Gemma Collins, etc) to the completely left field (… AI humanoid viral sensation Sophia the Robot, anyone?). The age old Drag Race debate rages on on whether it’s wiser for queens to stick with what they know in their impersonation wheelhouse and play it safe or take a complete risk. These risky choices often bring with them a load of controversy – helping to solidify their season’s Snatch Game in Drag Race history.
With Drag Race Down Under airing its first ever Snatch Game episode on BBC iPlayer yesterday bringing a new dose of Snatch Game controversy, we rounded up the most shocking celebrity choices in herstory.
Sharon Needles as Michelle Visage – Season Four
The first time a queen impersonated a member of the judging panel was Jessica Wild, back in the very first Snatch Game during season two. Wild was safe for her performance – but would have struggled to get good critiques for it in later seasons. By the time Sharon Needles was competing in season four, the bar for Snatch Game had been significantly raised.
Needles’ choice to play no-nonsense Michelle Visage was met with huge shock from RuPaul and the other queens, and was instantly branded to be a massive risk in case she took it too far and offended the woman who got to decide whether she stayed in the competition or not. Thankfully, Sharon was hilarious, the impersonation became endlessly quotable and the spooky queen went on to win the season.
Jinkx Monsoon as “Little” Edie Bouvier Beale – Season Five
“She’s always begging for the pate but the labels faded, I can never tell if its pate or if it’s giblets for the cats.”
Jinkx Monsoon’s choice to play Little Edie, the star of cult classic documentary Grey Gardens, was scoffed at from the other queens as an unknown choice. Monsoon stuck to her guns and insisted it was the other queens who should brush up on their history, and her performance was by and large the funniest the show had ever seen up to that point and showed queens and audiences that there was more impressions to be done than just pop stars and reality TV icons.
If it wasn’t for Jinkx’s choice here, we may never have gotten other more niche historical choices that went on to win like Alaska’s Mae West in All Stars 2 and Sasha Velour’s Marlene Dietrich in season nine.
Adore Delano as Anna Nicole Smith – Season Six
Adore Delano’s choice to play Anna Nicole Smith in season six was easily the darkest portrayal done for Snatch Game in Drag Race history back in 2014. Anna Nicole Smith’s accidental overdose back in 2007 received intense media coverage, as she had done her whole life for her various scandals.
Delano’s performance is excellent and very darkly funny, but definitely toes the line between parody and insensitivity.
Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard – Season Seven
Kennedy Davenport’s decision to play a man for Snatch Game was unheard of in season seven, and was met with heavy skepticism and controversy. This is Drag Race, after all. People were expecting to see female impersonation, as had always been the norm.
But Kennedy’s curveball choice paid off massively, and changed the way queens attacked Snatch Game forever. Bringing male celebrities onto the cards has changed the pool of options for competitors to go for and made the challenge wider, more inclusive and funnier. Davenport’s risk laid the foundations for Shea Coulee’s Flava Flave and A’Whora’s Louis Spence.
Bob the Drag Queen as Uzo Aduba AND Carol Channing – Season Eight
Bob the Drag Queen used the Snatch Game of season eight to further solidify herself as the frontrunner in the race, showing her acting ability to be truly something to be behold. The decision to change characters in the middle of the Snatch Game was a completely left field one, and definitely something no queen ever thought doable.
But controversy remains: should queens be allowed to change in the middle of the game? Many argue it’s a great way for the queens who can to get their chance to do what they’re good at, whilst others maintain that it should be against the rules and queens should just choose one impersonation to master.
BOA as Gypsy Rose Blanchard – Canada’s Drag Race Season One
On its first ever Snatch Game, BOA’s choice to play Gypsy Rose Blanchard on Canada’s Drag Race proved very controversial indeed. Currently serving a 10 year sentence for the second-degree murder of her Dee Dee Blanchard, Gypsy Rose’s case has become infamous after gaining sympathy due to her fake illnesses imposed on her by her mother and has spawned several adaptation in fiction – but rarely done, for obvious reasons, in the style of comedy.
This could have been done well – controversial humour on Snatch Game is definitely not off limits. But BOA’s bad performance lead to it being written off as a notorious Drag Race mistake.
Etcetera Etcetera as Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton – Drag Race Down Under
The innocent conviction of Australia’s Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton for murdering her nine week old daughter in 1982 when she was actually snatched by a dingo is a hugely sad story, and resulted in Chamberlain-Creighton serving a three year sentence for a crime she never committed. It took away from her the chance for her to properly grieve her daughter.
Snatch Game can have dark humour. But when it comes to this particular case, Etcetera Etcetera’s fellow Drag Race Down Under competitor Art Simone said it best: “I don’t know where the humour is in that.” Pulling off dark humour is a skill, and if you don’t have it down – it shouldn’t be attempted. The impersonation is causing a stir in the news in Australia and New Zealand, and the blood soaked dingo puppet has turned more than a few heads.
With this latest controversy, Snatch Game continues to prove endlessly memorable and retains its ability to shock audiences 11 years after the Drag Race mainstay began.
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