With five episodes of season 12 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” tucked away, tensions continued to mount between New York’s confident queen Brita and Georgia’s small town up-and-comer Aiden Zhane. Last week, Aiden and Brita were scene partners in a dramatic acting challenge, but Aiden scored among the tops of the week while Brita fell into the bottom of the pack for the third straight week and battled in the Lip Sync for Your Life for the second time. In that battle she bested France’s Nicky Doll, sending the fashionista home.
This week, stars of “Mean Girls” Daniel Franzese and Jonathan Bennett join RuPaul Charles on the set of the annual comedy challenge “Snatch Game,” testing the queens’ ability to inhabit the personas of celebrities and to share banter and quick wit with Ru.
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “RuPaul’s Drag Race” recap of Season 12, Episode 6 to find out what came of the brewing rivalry between Brita and Aiden and if they improved upon their inconsistent improv skills in “Snatch Game.” After reading our thoughts on the episode, be sure to sound off in the comments section about the April 3rd episode and who you think will ultimately join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners list.
8:01 p.m. – Following Nicky’s elimination, the girls gathered to collect themselves. Brita was confused why she was in the bottom without Aiden since they were scene partners. It was yet another tense moment between the two, but this time Brita came off even more bitter than before. She continues to struggle with the conflict between the confidence she had prior to the show and the insecurities growing with so many trips to the bottom.
8:04 p.m. – The next morning Ru surprised the cast with the revelation that they’d already made it to the iconic “Snatch Game” episode of the season. This would be their chance to show off their celebrity impersonation skills, a hallmark ability of any drag queen, and stretch their comedy chops with improv and live jokes with Ru. For many of the girls — like Heidi N Closet, Brita and Jackie Cox — this was a chance to redeem themselves from past improv failures.
8:12 p.m. – While they prepared their impersonations, Ru entered the workroom for his walkthrough and brought two-time contestant Vanessa Vanjie Mateo with him! Vanjie is a contestant that completely bombed “Snatch Game” in season 11 so she was prepared to school the girls on what not to do with their performances. Ru and Vanjie were most concerned with the decisions of Heidi (portraying Leslie Jones), Crystal Methyd (portraying robot persona pop star Poppy), and Gigi Goode (portraying actual robot Maria the Robot) while the other girls questioned whether Aiden could pull off an interesting take on Patricia Quinn, the actress the played Magenta in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
8:25 p.m. – In the “Snatch Game,” contestant introductions made it clear that Jackie as Lisa Rinna, Jaida Essence Hall as Cardi B and Gigi’s robot had the strongest material to work with. Widow Von’Du as Tina Turner (and later Ike Turner), Jan as Bernadette Peters and Sherry Pie as Katharine Hepburn went with well-known legends for easy portrayals while Brita’s choice of Jennifer Holliday quickly proved to be a one note character.
8:35 p.m. – Through the course of the game show, Daniel and Jonathan laughed most at the characterizations by Jackie, Gigi and Sherry. Aiden, Brita and Crystal bombed despite easy volleys for jokes thrown to them by Ru. The funniest bit was Gigi’s physical comedy in trying to pick up her card with the stiff arms and fingers of a robot. She really amped it up by giving Maria a foul mouth, including calling Ru and the other queens “bitch” at times. Sherry knocked it out of the park with smart comedy when she would write her answers as scribbles and then when Ru asked her what it said she would unexpectedly say the correct answer.
8:49 p.m. – Later, as the queens got dressed for the “Frozen Eleganza” runway, Widow and Gigi shared opposing stories of their uncles. For Widow, after his mom died he went to live with his uncle who threw him out of the house for being gay. That left Widow homeless and having to couch surf and bounce from one abusive relationship to another in order to survive. That very difficult time in his life was juxtaposed with Gigi’s supportive gay uncle who introduced him to and taught him everything he learned about the LGBTQIA community from a young age. Sharing those memories led to Gigi opening up about their feelings of being gender fluid, embracing both their masculine and feminine sides equally while claiming neither fully.
9:00 p.m. – Daniel and Jonathan returned to the episode to serve as guest judges for the runway, joining Ru, Michelle Visage and Carson Kressley to critique the girls. In “Frozen Eleganza” the queens were inspired by all things ice, snow and Elsa. The most interesting takes on the theme came from Gigi as a mid-century ice cream vendor, Aiden as a cartoon abominable snowman, Jan as a mix between Elsa and a “Game of Thrones” white walker and Widow as Kate Winslet drowning and frozen in “Titanic.”
9:10 p.m. – Based on their performances in “Snatch Game” and on the runway, the judges decided that Heidi, Jaida, Jan and Widow were all safe for the week. This was disappointing for Jan who once again missed the opportunity to be critiqued (good or bad) by the judges. For the other six, Jackie, Gigi and Sherry scored in the top while Aiden, Crystal and Brita fell to the bottom. The judges liked Jackie’s versatility and use of costuming and props to create her Lisa Ring character, loved Gigi’s risk-taking with Maria and the surprise of her excelling in the role and appreciated that Sherry managed to further her personal brand with her Katharine portrayal and runway look, but questioned whether she was relying on what she’s comfortable with. For the bottoms, Aiden completely understood her failures as Patricia Quinn and acknowledged that she wasn’t good with the improv, Brita was praised for a bright and elegant runway look, but dinged for a one note portrayal of Jennifer, and Crystal could admit that she dug herself into a hole picking such a little known celebrity to portray and not providing anything extra to make it more engaging.
9:23 p.m. – With those critiques in mind, Gigi was declared this week’s winner and rivals Brita and Aiden fell to the bottom to face off in a deciding duel. For their LSFYL they had to perform the Disney ballad “Let It Go,” a song that didn’t provide them the chance to rely on dancing, but instead required them to perform in convincing dramatic fashion. It was a DOA performance from Aiden who has never shown much versatility in facial expression and is overall not a large performer. Brita however made the most of it, using her full body to express the passion of the song. The deal was sealed for Brita’s win when mid-song she pulled out a sparkler on stage that made the judges gag. So in the end, Brita earned her second “shantay you stay,” and in the process ousted the less confident Aiden. Waaaah!
NEXT TIME: The queens put their vocals and choreo skills to the test in “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical” with guest judges congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and model Winnie Harlow.