Saturday, November 26, 2022

REVIEW: 'Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs. the World' - A Global Leader Provides Inspiration for the Queens in 'Snatch Summit'

Crave's Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs. the World - Episode 1.02 "Snatch Summit"

The queens impersonate celebrities and play the iconic Snatch Game, with a twist. Guest judges are Sarain Fox and Priyanka.

No episode of Drag Race is ever truly forgettable. So many inherent things in the structure of the show are memorable, colorful and unique. In its conception, the show was a play on the many tropes of the reality competition format. Over time, it became the new standard bearer of the genre. As such, it's grown more difficult for the show to reinvent itself without seeming like an inferior copy of previous seasons. The format has successfully been translated to several international versions. They don't all have the benefit of RuPaul hosting. The show is built around more than one person. She still inspired a global phenomenon. It just makes it more difficult to compare how the franchise continues to evolve when some essential moments fail completely. The queens often put so much pressure on themselves to do well at Snatch Queen. It's seen as the challenge the fans remember the most. It certainly doesn't have to be that. It's become more difficult to do over the years because so many jokes and characters are already familiar. This isn't the first time Adele and Donatella Versace have appeared in Snatch Game. Characters can repeat if the performer has a funny approach to the bit. This challenge is about more than celebrity impersonation. It's an improv challenge that requires so many things to go right. It used to be the great indicator of what's to come for the season. But now, it's become so much more difficult to stand out. It's easier than ever to crash and burn. The All-Stars seasons have attempted new various on the original idea. It still needs to be a spoof of a classic game show format. This latest iteration doesn't really have that at all. The production team wanted to be more serious and play into the fact that the first leader of a country is stopping by the set. It just doesn't translate to what Snatch Game does best.

Of course, it's still a huge deal that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the workroom. He has truly been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community for years. He's been a progressive voice for the entire Western hemisphere throughout his term. Stephanie articulates this wonderfully when she notes her appreciation for an easy immigration process. Meanwhile, Rajah is in the dark about just how diverse his cabinet has always been. He embraced that perspective long before several other countries with equal standing on the global stage. It means something for a leader of his stature to come on and show his support for what these performers offer. It's his quest to offer more than simple tolerance. He needs this community to be uplifted and celebrated. They challenge the world to be even better. That should be embraced because it provides a collective good to the world. Not every leader is enlightened in that way. It's special that Canada is so lucky. Moreover, Trudeau actually delivers a read better than any of the queens in the actual competition. Just like Snatch Game, the reading challenge is suppose to be fun. It's meant to be fundamental to how this community functions. And yet, all of these queens suddenly forget how to tell a joke and have fun at each other's expense. Meanwhile, Trudeau comes in expecting to see RuPaul and has to settle for Brooke Lynn Hytes. That's a simple and concise joke that adds to how special this moment is.

Unfortunately, the reading challenge foreshadowed what was to come with Snatch Game. Typically, the story for an All-Stars season is to pit the queens who previously did well against those who failed. Silky and Anita are former winners. As such, they have high expectations to meet. Of course, nothing they do here discredits their past success. Those moments still live on as standouts. And yet, it appears as if Anita went into this competition assuming that Snatch Game wouldn't be the challenge that slips her up. She deluded herself into believing she was one of the best as Adele. She showed no self-awareness of how her performance was coming across. That should absolutely have been obvious from the lack of laughter. However, no one was truly making Brooke Lynn, Tracy and Sarain Fox fall out of their seats. In fact, the two best performances came from the people who wanted to disregard the rules of the game entirely. None of the jokes were particularly memorable. Nothing that happened here will be lifted up as a highlight of the entire season. However, Icesis and Rajah were serviceable as Donatella and Big Freedia, respectively. They were the only two the judges could say anything positive about. In fact, it was funnier when the queens were reacting after the fact about how boring each other was. That being intercut with the footage of the actual game made it seem more delightful. It was still full of potential that ultimately went nowhere. Silky, Victoria and Rita didn't have the hooks to make their characters stand out. No one was ultimately bad - though it was cringy how often Anita brought up Adele's divorce. This simply showcases how fantastic Snatch Game is when done well. This wasn't a dumpster fire like Season 14. It does strengthen the argument that everyone needs to stop putting so much emphasis on this particular challenge. Brooke Lynn and Priyanka bombed and look at them now!

Icesis and Rajah are rightfully declared the winners. That's worth it for their final lip sync alone. That's another bright light in an overall dismal episode. The runway theme is "Celestial Bodies." A lot of the queens look pretty. It's fascinating to see which can marry wonderful design with their drag personas and ability to actually sell it on the runway. Vanity brings it harder than everyone else when striking a pose and showing off her garments. Icesis equally walks with confidence. Their designs could have been punched up a little more. Vanity's details could have gone even bigger while Icesis' needed to incorporate lights somewhere else in the dress besides the headpiece she carried with her. Similarly, Silky was stunning in the makeup, hair and dragon puppetry. However, the body suit needed more to balance it out. Anita finally provided the perfect balance of camp and glamour. That offered the first evidence that she has more to showcase. That's essentially how she pleads her case to be saved. That's in contrast to Stephanie who is in the bottom for the second week in a row. Her performance as Cardi B was just too one-note without offering many jokes. Her runway was stunning once again. That's never in question. Now just seems like the natural point for her journey to end on the show. Personally, eliminating Anita would have been fair because she didn't understand how her performance was received. Delusion is necessary for a drag queen. Too much of it can be annoying. That's not flattering whatsoever. It's a fine balance that must be found. Anita is saved because of the perception that she could still do well. And yet, these queens want to label themselves as good at comedy. That hasn't proven to be true. They are much better on the runway. That's especially true for the lip sync. Icesis and Rajah battle it out to Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi." It's insane that song hasn't been used until now. The queens had to bring it. They did. Icesis' drag style better suited what the song needed. Rajah held her own too. It was a close call. However, Icesis proved that she is a winner for a reason, baby.