Welcome to my review and power rankings of the fifth episode of Canada’s Drag Race Season 3 – Snatch Game!
This was a classic Snatch Game with a clear top group of performers and a few obvious bottoms. The funniest queens were very funny, and the unfunniest queens were very bad. That lead to a shocking elimination.
Seriously: this wasn’t just any shocking elimination. This is perhaps the most-shocking early-t0-mid season elimination since Morgan McMichaels back on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2! We had a front-runner sashay away who tanking Snatch Game but who was crushing the competition, who killed her runway look, and who gave a strong lip sync that could’ve credibly been declared a win.
If Brooke and Yvie hadn’t been granted a double-save on their Snatch Game, it would’ve been exactly this shocking.
For me this raises an essential question of what we want out of Drag Race. Should it shock us, or do we want it to be predictable?
If Drag Race is a fair competition where queens battle to survive every week, then it will sometimes yield surprising results as queens make their own luck. We’ve seen that many times over, but especially starting with Season 9 with the fall of Valentina and the lip sync victory from Sasha Velour. Jaida Essence Hall’s Season 12 dominance was another fair win, as was Bimini defying her early-season story on Drag Race UK Season 2 to come back to crush the back half of the show.
If Drag Race is instead structured story with clear heroes and villains, then the weekly ups and downs matter less and we occasionally get counterintuitive judges choices to preserve that storyline and protect queens when they falter. There’s no better example of this than last week’s finale of All Stars All Winners, where several competitive wins were voided in favor of awarding success based on storyline. While it is typically more subtle on regular seasons, we’ve seen this with blatant saves of certain queens, like the “Kandy wait” moment in Season 13.
For me, the examples from the “fair fight” category have all been more memorable and satisfying, and the moments from the “structured story” category all linger as disappointments. That means I have to learn to take the shocking along with the satisfying.
I think a major difference in Canada’s Drag Race is that it has never shied away from these “fair fight” moments in its first two seasons, where there have been several eliminations that were shocking not due to the weekly performance that lead to them, but because they violated our story expectations.
Even if it’s frustrating in the moment, it’s not a bad thing. It is part of what gives Canada’s Drag Race a certain underdog charm compared to the US franchise, and it often becomes a star-making turn for the queen who got the shock.
What do you think? Do you prefer a season with some shocks, or a season where the story is obvious from start to finish? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Readers, start your engines! And, may the best Queen (of the North) win!
Reminders: I consistently refer to Drag Race artists with their drag names and with she/her pronouns even when they are not in drag, which is the convention of the show. Some performers may have different personal pronouns. Drag is inherently brave, political, and artistic, and all drag is valid. It’s also hard to do. I’m commenting on drag artistry in how it comes across on this specific television program, but the reason I’m commenting at all is because I celebrate all drag!
Canada’s Drag Race Season 3 Episode 5 – Snatch Game: Power Rankings
This might be my most unusual Drag Race Power Ranking of all time, because Lady Boom Boom’s elimination leaves a true power vacuum amongst the other queens.
It was feeling like Boom Boom was our one confirmed finalist, with Giséle locking up a second spot while Jada tried to hang on to hers for dear life. Now, we have Giséle way out in front of the other queens, and an extremely open field behind her that will solidify based on who wins the next two challenges.
Before we get to the excitement of the Power Rankings, let’s take a moment to examine Brooke Lynn Hytes serving “fancy baked potato” realness!
I joke, I joke. I just think that silver on a blonde with nude make-up can look a little washed out, and to add wet-styled hair on top of that is… a choice.
1. Gisèle Lullaby – 2 wins (avg. rank 4 – was #1, 4, 7, 7, pre-season #7)
Gisèle Lullaby (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) cemented herself as our front-runner this week with a second win on the strength of a commanding comedy performance (even if she wasn’t exactly playing the Snatch Game).
Giséle’s Lullaby’s Cesium runway was… fine. I found it somewhat confusing to look at. Most of the impact was from the gold leafs, and you if you look more closely it’s really just a gold vinyl corset with somewhat mangled hip extensions and an awkwardly-cut black bottom.
I’m not saying it’s a “BOOT” for me, but… actually, now that I mention it, it’s a BOOT for me. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t get excited about it. Even in her glistening Instagram photo shoot version all of the impact of the look is in the accessories for me.
In a weird way, I feel similarly about Giséle Lullaby’s Snatch Game performance as Marie Curie.
I think she did a wonderful job at making a real life historical figure incredibly comedic, but a lot of that was a completely pre-planned arc with a progression of props. I felt like we were watching sketch comedy in installments, not an improv challenge. While I admire a queen who can successfully pre-script herself for Snatch Game, if she doesn’t have enough potential answers prepped to keep her gameplay relevant I get a little less excited.
Even if I wasn’t feeling Giséle’s win this week, I’m still excited to see her cement her position as a queen to beat this season. There’s something incredibly watchable about her, and the fact that she was so magnetic this episode despite some wobbles goes to show just how forceful her personality can be without needing to be the loudest in the room.
We’ve now seen Giséle Lullaby successfully do comedy, dance, and design. Unless she is the worst singer in Canada, I cannot imagine how she will be eliminated before the finale!
2. Vivian Vanderpuss (avg. rank 4.8 – was #3, 5, 9, 5, pre-season 6)
Vivian Vanderpuss (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) gave the most-consistent Snatch Game performance alongside the best runway of the night. To avoid giving her an obvious win in her strongest area when it could’ve obviously expanded the field of competition is a clear message she is not making it to the finale.
I absolutely loved Vivian Vanderpuss’s femme fatale take on arsenic. I think dressing as your element was the expected take on this challenge, but to transform into a character associated with your element while still carrying the them through your look is next level. Add on top of that the obvious reference to the film Arsenic and Old Lace and this is *chef’s kiss*
The outfit is not unexpected as far as glamorous drag goes, but it’s incredibly well done. I love the corset-over-a-corset effect of the structured bodice with a low cowl neck. I love the robe. I love the stiff black lace hem on the slit of the dress. Once again, Vivian is wearing something as a character rather than letting the character wear her.
I really thought this was Vivian’s week to win, since comedy is one of her strong suits. Her Tammy Faye Messner wasn’t as over-the-top as Ginger Minj’s from All Stars Season 2, but it was delightfully well-observed and dense with jokes and character references. She found plenty of ways to actually play the Snatch Game while still being her character, including volleying with Brooke. To me, that’s a Snatch Game champion.
There are two conclusions we could draw from the judges deliberating withholding a win from Vivian here. The favorable one is that they see her breaking out from the pack, just as Giséle has just done, and they’re waiting to award her as the field thins. The less favorable one is that they have no intention of seeing her in the finale so didn’t see the point of spreading a win to her when they could use it to reinforce a serious contender like Giséle.
Either way, I think it was the wrong call. Vivian has been so much more consistent in both challenges and runway than Kimmy or Miss F, and I wish the show would treat her run as seriously as she is competing for it. Yet, even without a win on her track record, I think it’s clear that she’s standing wig, head, and shoulders above the rest of the cast after the past two weeks.
3. Miss Fiercalicious – 1 lip sync (avg. rank 5.4 – was #7, 9, 4, 4, pre-season #2)
Miss Fiercalicious (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) was charming in Snatch Game, perhaps the first player to ever find any comedy in a member of the Kardashian clan. Paired with a technicolor Matrix take on her Neon runway and it feels like she is shedding her bad attitude at just the right time in the competition.
I don’t want to overpraise this runway look. It’s a bodysuit with detached sleeves and high boots that look suspiciously like chaps. What makes it stand out to me is that it feels like the first Miss F look that has felt entirely complete. It’s a concept that is thought through from head to toe.
I wish it had more neon spray coming from her head and connecting down to the rest of her look, and I wish the colors in the front of her head were more of a proper fringe of bands and not a flat glued-on panel. Even without those tweaks, this is a strong look and she presented it well. I think she was wise to present a dark, severe make-up look that emphasized the drama of the outfit rather than playing it clownish since she was just a literal clown a few weeks ago.
Similarly, I was impressed with how smartly Miss F played her Snatch Game character, especially with it being her second choice! I have never seen a second of actual Kardashian media other than when they show up on Drag Race and I don’t plan to start now, but from what I understand they’re just… rich ladies. That’s not to say they aren’t intelligent, beautiful, or compelling reality stars, but they aren’t distinct characters with specific bits and catchphrases.
For Miss F to take on the challenge of being one of the less-favored sisters and to actually find comedy in it showed off just how smart she really is beneath all of the petulant behavior.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that this came along with Miss F swearing off her pettiness and focusing that energy into the competition. We saw how far she got with negativity in a challenge like the awards show, so imagine how far she can get focusing on hard work with a positive intent!
(It also makes me wonder if she deliberately played up being a brat after her challenging first week to ensure she had enough story to outlast the ruthless early cuts.)
Even without a win, from the narrative of the season it’s starting to feel like Miss F. could actually be our third finalist along with Giséle. If she can score a high placement or a win next week, she will have completely reversed her villain edit and pivoted straight into being the charming underdog, which is a shocking twist!
4. Jada Shada Hudson – 1 win, 2 lip syncs (avg. rank 3.6 – was #6, 2, 5, 1, pre-season #1)
Jada Shada Hudson (Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube) was boring in Snatch Game and had the worst runway of the evening, so the fact that she was safe tells us that she is a top production pick regardless of if she is bringing it to the challenges and the runway.
Jada Shada Hudson’s runway is actually made out of salt, which is cool.
I’m not sure what else I can say about it. Drag is incredibly difficult and I couldn’t make or model this garment with make-up and wig-ometry as gorgeous as what Jada is presenting here, but I can’t say anything positive about her garment. There’s just not enough of it, which isn’t a comment on her size, but on the fact that really didn’t seem to have a distinct shape or a specificity to how it related to her plain white panty beneath.
Jada’s Snatch Game was a strong resemblance, including some things her character might actually do, but it lacked comedy. For such an uproariously funny queen, I was surprised she didn’t simply lean into being herself to banter and give funnier answers.
I truly believe it was Jada’s time to go tonight with her third bottom-worthy performance, but the judges didn’t agree. Purely on the power of them keeping her safe, I think we can’t put her in the bottom of the ranking – they could’ve eliminated her if they wanted to!
I hope we’ll see her bounce back this season – she was my top pre-season pick! But, my fear that her runways wouldn’t be strong enough to compete in this field of queens are coming true, in addition to her flopping in several challenges where I was sure she’d do well. I suspect she will be able to snag a win in singing or acting, but she’s got to relocate her momentum as soon as possible.
5. Bombae (avg. rank 4.4 – was #5, 6, 3, 3, pre-season #9)
Bombae (Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) was graded harshly for a decent characterization that came along with a handful of jokes, plus one of the most memorable runways we’ve had on Canada’s Drag Race. Even though she’s still without a win, she still feels like she has enough credible story potential to hang in till the end.
Bombae’s runway look is so gorgeous, so inventive, and so stupid that I’m a loss for words.
It’s rare that I am head-over-heels for such an outré conceptual look, but this “complementary colors club kid as the Michelin Man” concept for Helium is beyond. The proportions. The balloon ears/hair. The chunky yellow high heel boots. It is fucking awesome from head to toe.
I thought that Bombae’s Snatch Game was firmly safe. Did it make sense to play Aziz Ansari as gay? No, but Bombae captured his frantic energy and cringe-inducing delivery perfectly. It’s hard to play a comedian on Snatch Game by making them funny in a way that’s distinct from their own jokes, and Bombae is the rare queen who nailed the challenge.
I wish she had dressed him up to be a little bit draggier rather than going for a straight-up visual impersonation, but even with a plain presentation I can’t justify this being in the bottom over Jada – especially given her best-of-all-time calibre of runway.
Bombae feels stuck in a similar situation to Vivian Vanderpuss, with the difference being that we’ve seen Bombae in the bottom a few times now. She has such impeccable energy and such fun drag, but she hasn’t stuck out as the queen in any challenge other than week one. As with everyone whose name is not Giséle, if Bombae can’t get on the board with a win (or, at least, a commanding high) next week this might be the end of her run.
6. Irma Gerd (avg. rank 7.8 – was #8, 7, 10, 8, pre-season #10)
Irma Gerd (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitch / Twitter) surprised with one of the most-cerebral Snatch Games of all time by portraying self-aware wit as Marilyn Monroe.
Irma Gerd’s look was low-key compared to some of the other runways, but it was low key amazing for me. I completely understood her entire Radium Girl story: she was an early Cold War era housewife giving hazmat suit dress with lace radioactive symbols! She took me there, and I love a queen who can effortlessly tell a story with a runway look.
That she used a heavy upholstery fabric for the dress and hand-died the black lace makes her runway even cooler because it feels like real life mad science went into making it!
I felt similarly about Irma’s Marilyn Monroe. It was so well-considered that at points it got to be borderline boring before curving around to be funny again. Irma is the rare performer who understands to show off Marilyn’s ditzy qualities you have to first ground your portrayal in her intelligence and wisdom, and also a tinge of sadness. That shines through in even her most frivolous performances, and certainly in any personal footage of her.
While it’s hard to award this sort of cerebral Snatch Game performance with a win, it was an absolute knock-out in my book. I think it would’ve landed much better with RuPaul than it did with the Canadian judging team.
That made Irma a strong-but-distant third in Snatch Game. Even if that represents an upward trajectory for her it also means she missed out on a criticial “must-win” challenge. Does she have enough nerve to stand out in singing or acting against all of these other hungry queens? I’m just not sure, and even if she does I fear that anything she can do Giséle, Vivian, and Jada are going to be eager to do better.
7. Kimmy Couture – 1 win, 1 lip sync (avg. rank 4.4 – was #4, 3, 2, 6, pre-season #5)
Kimmy Couture (Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) flatlined in Snatch Game despite fighting to keep her prepared character and wore a tragic bone collection on the runway.
I think it is very hard to make bones look good on the runway. We’ve seen a lot of queens attempt it, and while some of those attempts have been memorable I can’t say I loved any of them. Ultimately, even if you carve up interesting shapes out of the bones, you’re still accessorizing with a material that’s firm and flat white. It’s hard to make it pop, and it’s hard to make it do anything other than dangle weirdly off your frame.
Also, I simply find the idea of “Oh, Calcium – I’ll do bones!” boring in a similar way to thinking “Oh, prehistoric – I’ll do bones!” is boring. WHAT IS FASHION ABOUT BONES?!
I think Kimmy’s rib cage corselet is the cool idea on this outfit. I like the idea of using bones to built a cage for the body to perform fashion inside. However, this bone-and-chain bikini is nearly identical to every other look Kimmy has served so far. It feels like we’ve seen one idea repeated for several weeks in a row.
Here’s the thing about Ariana Grande: even if you do the things that make her funny, it will still come off as mild. You can do the squinting, the obsession with Celine Dion, the talking about her lovers’ penises, the silent whistle tones… and it’s still going to be a very flat character.
The thing that’s funny about Ariana in real life is that she is so tiny, adorable, and glamorous while being a total goofball. I think the only way to make that work on Snatch Game is to go totally hyper with her, and we’ve seen how annoying that can be.
It feels like we’re approaching the limits of Kimmy Couture’s abilities – and of her storyline. She has a win on her side, which gives her a slight edge against these other queens, and she can also likely out-lip-sync most of the remaining cast. That might be enough to save her from elimination on her second trip to the bottom, but can she make it to the finale past so many other seasoned performers when it’s clear there must be some singing and acting challenges ahead of us?
Eliminated: Lady Boom Boom – 1 win, 1 lip sync (avg. rank 1.5 – was #2, 1, 1, 2, pre-season #3)
Lady Boom Boom (Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Twitter) was the most consistent and consistently-fascinating queens remaining on this season. While there is no defending her failure in the Snatch Game, it’s also impossible to justify her elimination given the other performances in this episode and the lip sync.
I’m not usually one to beat the drum of “Justice for XYZ Queen” after a shocking elimination, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this shocked by a Drag Race departure in over eight years of watching this show other than by Valentina’s self-sabotage.
We had early hints that Lady Boom Boom would bomb at unscripted comedy in Snatch Game. She had trouble volleying with Brooke in her blind date mini-challenge, and she also had trouble riffing on the spot in the Ted Talk mini-challenge.
What surprised me is that Boom Boom’s weakness this week was used as an excuse for elimination rather than a chance to show vulnerability. This is a queen who has really leaned into perfection so far, and it would have been narratively interesting to see her come back from the brink of elimination to see if she changed her approach at all – especially when there are so many challenge types we haven’t yet seen her in!
I genuinely feel robbed of seeing what else Lady Boom Boom would achieve in challenges and on the runway. Her absence leaves a power vacuum in this cast. Will it leave the rest of the competition feeling hollow, or can other queens step up to fill in the gap?
I’m sure something interesting will emerge, but one thing is for certain: there’s no replacing Lady Boom Boom.
[…] challenge gave us an unsurprising elimination, even if it was a queen who wasn’t at the bottom of my ranks last week, plus one meteoric rise of a queen gunning for a spot in the finals. Do we actually have our final […]