The “Snatch Game” challenge is the most anticipated segment on RuPaul’s Drag Race—a gauntlet that pushes the queens to transform themselves physically, and stretch themselves mentally, with delicious results. (To quote the sage Mariah, “When it’s right, it’s right.”)
Below are my picks for the 12 best “Snatch Game” impressions ever.
Jessica Wild as “RuPaul”
This one makes the list for sheer courage: As a Season 2 queen, Jessica had no foreknowledge of this event, so her decision to lampoon the host of the show was both impulsive and risky. While her depiction wasn’t particularly accurate, it demonstrated one of Ru’s favorite qualities: Nerve.
Kennedy Davenport as “Little Richard”
Impersonating a man on Drag Race is an iffy proposition, but this Season 7 queen wisely chose a star who has embodied androgyny for decades, and gave it her own Victor/Victoria spin. Wop-babaloo-bop-doo-wop-bam-boom!
Alexis Mateo as “Alicia Keys”
When you’re not sure about your impression, you’d better know how to make the audience laugh. Alexis took her portrayal to the next level by flirting shamelessly with guest judge Amber Rose. Who doesn’t want to see a pregnant drag queen try to make out with her?
Alaska as “Lady Bunny”
This could have been an easy one to botch: Bunny is close with Ru and known mainly for her sense of humor. Luckily, Alaska’s pretty quick-witted herself. Her oddly gruff vocalization missed the mark, but her answers were right on the money. She gets bonus points for sitting up straight under the weight of all that synthetic hair.
Willam as “Jessica Simpson”
Playing a mindless blonde with a passion for expensive clothes wasn’t exactly a Meryl Streep moment for Willam, but she had us in stitches with her depiction of a Jessica so absentminded that she literally got up and walked away.
Pandora Boxx as “Carol Channing”
Every gay man can do a passable Channing impression but, Pandora’s hilarious responses nearly propelled her to a win.
Raja as “Tyra Banks” Fans across the nation gasped in unison when Raja announced her choice of celebrity: As Sutan Amrull, he worked closely with the real Tyra on several seasons of America’s Next Top Model. She gets credit for biting the hand that used to feed her.[/item]
Tatianna as “Britney Spears”
Pandora’s performance was eclipsed by Tatianna’s brazenly brainless Brit-Brit. Despite panicking in the workroom that she’d never done an impression before, she managed to embody her target with truly toxic accuracy.
Adore Delano as “Anna Nicole Smith”
Anyone can be stupid, but to play stupid well takes charisma, uniqueness nerve and talent—good thing Season 6 finalist Adore Delano has all of those in spades.
Also, good thing Adore probably watched Anna Nicole’s TrimSpa commercial a million times on TV growing up.
Sharon Needles as “Michelle Visage”
The Season 4 winner had the balls to send up Ru’s best squirrelfriend with a buxom, braying and utterly hysterical caricature. The visual impact wasn’t spot-on, but the random ramblings on candy corns and Buffalo nickels were pitch perfect.
Jinkx Monsoon as “Little Edie Beale”
In a performance that displayed both uniqueness and talent—and savvy pop-culture knowledge—this season’s staunchest finalist gave us a revolutionary costume and an impersonation to match. Queens who never heard of Little Edie were lucky to receive an introduction this exceptional.
Chad Michaels as “Cher”
This consummate professional has been doing her Cher act for so long that even People magazine has mistaken her for the real deal.
It could’ve been cliché, but with three costume changes, a flawlessly contoured face, and an arsenal of hilarious quips, Ms. Michaels snatched the top spot in this countdown. She’s Cher, bitch!
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Dan Avery contributed to an updated version of this article