Canada’s Drag Race: Season 1, Episode 5 Recap – “The Snatch Game”

Hello and welcome to another post recapping the latest spin off of the hit reality TV competition RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show has headed north to assess the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent of the very best of Canadian drag in the debut season of Canada’s Drag Race. Across ten weeks, twelve drag performers will battle it out to win $100,000 and the title of “Canada’s First Drag Superstar”.

Last week, the Queens were split into three groups and were tasked with creating a unique fashion line made of recycled materials and to strut their stuff in their new collections on the runway. Rita Baga cemented herself as the Queen of Fashion, with victory in the Episode 1 design challenge being followed by another one here. Once again, BOA was on shaky ground with her reliance on comedy over style, and Ilona Verley broke down after having to change her outfit to suit team-mate Jimbo and then receiving very poor critiques from the judges. But it was Tynomi Banks, a drag star in Canada who failed to shine in this competition, who became the fourth elimination.

*Warning: This recap contains spoilers of the episode’s results and elimination*

Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 Promo (Crave/Out TV, 2020)

Tynomi’s exit certainly made an impact on those queens remaining, particularly those from the Toronto scene. For Ilona Verley, it is a bittersweet success as it feels like someone close to her has been sent packing; at last, we are seeing more emotion coming from the Toronto-based queens, but I do fear this will be more of a distraction than anything. The edit after the elimination makes it clear that two people, more than others, are focused on victory. Rita Baga is the top dog in this competition, having two wins under her belt, but is still very focused on the prize. However, it seems that the other queens see Priyanka as being the one to beat after a series of good challenges, but can she live with the pressure of being the star representative for Toronto? After a small spat with Ilona, where the former told the latter she was playing the victim card and being disrespectful to the competition (not far off the mark) and the latter reacting very badly, it is clear that the sisterhood of these queens are being broken slowly.

In the grand tradition of Paris is Burning, the mini-challenge for this week is the reading challenge, which should be fun considering the tension around. Many of the queens miss the mark with their reads, going for the mean card and for questionable references and comments. Rita Baga was hilarious, reading all of the girls (including judge Brooke Lynn Hytes) to filth, whilst Lemon and Jimbo also get some good reads in. Lemon wins the mini challenge and a $1,000 gift card for jewels, which I’m not mad about.

But now things are getting serious; this week’s challenge is the iconic Snatch Game. Based on the game show Match Game, it is an important milestone and a challenge that is an indication of how well someone will do in the competition (just don’t tell Brooke Lynn Hytes that, who bombed in season 11 and gave us the iconic double save lip-sync with Yvie Oddly). During Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman’s walk-through, Ilona is ready to bring her personality out by playing C**k Destroyer Rebecca Moore, Jimbo is warned that she needs to start bringing everything forward, Priyanka is playing to win with psychic Miss Cleo, and Scarlett BoBo does not know which of her two characters she will play. BOA is at sea at this point, having many characters to choose between but nothing good is coming out yet, Rita feels a bit of a pressure to deliver the first French character in Snatch Game, Kiara is playing generic popstar with Mariah Carey, and finally Lemon is confused by the critiques and is desperate to show that she is not a coaster. The runway for this week will be “Night of 1,000 Celine (Dions)” and the guest host will be funny woman Mary Walsh.

Here are my thoughts on the Snatch Game characters in this week’s challenge (from left to right, back row to front):

BOA (Gypsy Rose Blanchard)Picking someone as controversial as this could have been pulled off if they were funny. For all of BOA’s personality, she was completely outshined by the big characters around her.
Jimbo (Joan Rivers)Stayed in character throughout and had some hilarious moments, most notably involving ashes used as cocaine and a gag involving her finger as she and Judy Garland played the original “Snatch Game”.
Lemon (Jojo Siwa)Another one who stayed completely in character, she was probably the funniest at the start and her energy and personality was so high throughout.
Priyanka (Miss Cleo)What happened Priyanka? We know that psychics can work on Snatch Game, but her test lines in the Werk Room were a hundred times funnier than what she brought out.
Rita Baga (Edith Piaf)I was a bit worried at first but Rita shows she is more than a designer with a brilliantly layered character who seemed to get stronger as the Snatch Game went on.
Scarlett BoBo (Liza Minelli)Liza has been done before in Snatch Game (the one who did her, Alexis Michelle, went on to win the challenge) and this was another great portrayal, having many great comebacks, particularly to the other characters.
Kiara (Mariah Carey)Placing a popstar, you are usually doomed to be safe or completely flop; sadly for Kiara, the latter occurred. It was almost as though she thought a few Mariah Carey references would be enough, not knowing how strong this Snatch Game would be.
Ilona Verley (Rebecca Moore)Ilona showed some great personality in this challenge and was a completely different energy level to the others. She even left her seat at one point to sniff Joan Rivers’ finger. Definitely not in the bottom two this week.

The spin-offs seem to be producing much funnier Snatch Games than the main show, with both this one and the UK series killing the first in their herstories. Jimbo and Kiara are the ones who talk about their childhoods, and generally this show is doing a good job at highlighting what queer kids go through, hopefully inspiring some viewers to be themselves. It is now time for the runway challenge, “Night of 1,000 Celines”, and here were the looks on the runway tonight:

BOA
Kiara
Scarlett BoBo
Rita Baga
Jimbo
Lemon
Ilona Verley
Priyanka

On the main stage, Ilona Verley and Scarlett BoBo were named as safe; they both did good jobs but didn’t have the depth in character some others have. BOA was called out as nervous in her performance, and her fringe dress didn’t show her figure well. Kiara’s dress was liked, but her Mariah Carey completely vanished. Rita Baga’s Snatch Game was loved for her unpredictability, and her runway walk was an odd choice but made sense with Celine Dion. Jimbo received unanimous praise for her runway and for playing Joan Rivers. Lemon’s personality came through in the challenge, but her runway look was hated for the lack of shape and the simplicity. Priyanka’s runway look was loved by all of the judges but her Miss Cleo took advantage of none of the character’s strengths. All of those critiques were relatively fair in my opinion.

Jimbo wins her first challenge of the season for her terrific Joan portrayal and her runway, winning a cruise, which she was very excited about. BOA once again escapes by the skin of her teeth, despite getting the worst runway critique out of the three bottom girls. At this point, it is the third time she has been in this position. That leaves Kiara and Priyanka up for elimination, to lipsync to Celine Dion’s “I Drove All Night”. The lipsync was jaw-dropping, both queens giving so much energy; personally I preferred Priyanka’s interpretation of giving energy and tricks when the dance track came on, and embodying the emotion and vocal range of Celine in the big notes. Kiara gave it her all in every moment, but becomes the fifth to be eliminated from Canada’s Drag Race.

Next week, the seven remaining queens will take place in another acting challenge, to produce commercials for new drag queen law firms, but who will be sentenced to elimination? You can see my recap of Episode 6 very soon!

Do you think the right person was eliminated? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. If you want to keep up to date with the latest posts, subscribe to the blog to receive email notifications when new posts are published, and don’t forget to like this post. See you all next week for another recap of Canada’s Drag Race.

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