After a week of waiting, Judgment Day finally came for the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race and their Snatch Game snafu.
In season 14’s latest episode, which aired on Friday, Mar. 18, every queen (save for challenge winner DeJa Skye) was flung into the coliseum for a lip sync LaLaPaRuZa smackdown. Performing in back-to-back, head-to-head lip syncs to stay in the competition, the queens kicked, flipped, split, twirled and shook their bodies until only two were left standing — Jasmine Kennedie and Bosco.
Performing in one final lip sync to the Diana Ross classic, “Swept Away,” the queens offered up sexy, sultry performances, vying for the judges attention. In the end, though, it was Bosco who kept the judges enthralled, leaving Jasmine Kennedie to be cut from the competition — after her fourth time in the bottom two. Below, Billboard chats with Jasmine about her time on the show, her relationship with on-screen rival Daya Betty, and the key to performing a good lip sync.
How are you feeling about your time on Drag Race?
I’m feeling great! I definitely had a roller coaster trajectory throughout the season — I mean, I was in the bottom for four weeks. [Laughs.] But I had my highs and lows, and I’m very happy with all of them. I wouldn’t change anything, and I’m just thankful I made it this far without winning a challenge. Not a lot of girls can say that! It’s a humbling experience, but very gratifying as well.
Before we talk about anything else, I did want to take a moment to congratulate you on your coming out! I know that must have been difficult to do — what led to that Untucked moment?
It was honestly a great feeling in that moment — to be honest, I don’t remember much that I said while I was there. And then I watched it, and I was like, ‘Oh, I said everything!’ [laughs]. You could see it in my neck, I was letting it all out! Honestly, it’s a great feeling to finally talk about it, and to take that time in between to focus on what I wanted to do, so that once the announcement happened on the show, I could show people my progress. It’s been a very full circle moment. From there to now, it’s honestly surreal to see how differently I’m living my life — and it’s a really great feeling.
I remember Kerri Colby told us that she called the trans girls from the season the “Trans-tastic Four,” and now Willow has joined the club, so that’s five now!
Yep! [Laughs.] I will say, originally there was a Fantastic Five! I’m on that comic knowledge, honey!
Well, before we can talk about what happened this week, we have to talk about the Snatch Game. It obviously didn’t go great – can you explain what that pressure to perform feels like in the moment when you’re on Snatch Game?
It’s interesting, to be sure. When you go there, you think it’s one thing — but when you’re in it, you’re constantly questioning yourself, like, “Am I supposed to talk?” It’s very weird! There’s no real prompts and you have to kind of get in there and do it for yourself. It’s very much a thing where RuPaul tells you, “Snatch Game, this is what it is.” But what she’s saying is not necessarily what she wants you to do. It’s not just about impersonating a character, but it’s also, “Can you make us laugh, be irreverent, and still make sense?”
I think all of us, and this is for me, were just so laser-focused on giving good answers. It was about trying to make the answers make sense, we weren’t necessarily worried about listening to what anybody else was saying. Honestly, I probably only listened to Camden, because she was right before me, so I was like, “I gotta make sure what she’s saying isn’t the same as what I’m saying.” After that, I kind of just sat there — like, I answered, and then just went back to Betsy! [Laughs.]
So let’s get to the LaLaPaRuZa lip sync battle. You got to go first, and you brought this tension you had with Ms. Daya Betty to a head by lip syncing against her to “Respect.” What do you think caused such a tense relationship between you two while on the show?
There’s a two-way street, I think, here. I think me and Daya are very similar in terms of how we are as a person, and we may not necessarily always recognize that. We do just say what we want, and we do have very bold ways of doing stuff. The thing is, though, that when she said that she was the “big sister” looking at her little sister — in my eyes, watching it as a viewer rather than someone who lived it, I got the sense that she was not happy with how she was doing in the competition. She would put her emotions towards me because, even though I was in the bottom and I would lip sync, I was still generally happy and fine.
I think we just have different outlooks on how things should be handled, so we clashed sometimes! Listen, not everyone’s gonna be the best of friends, but we’re still gonna have a mutual respect and love for one another.
Now as the battle goes on, you proved yet again to be a fantastic lip sync artist, and you slayed every single battle you were in — when it comes to lip syncing, what is some advice you would give to the girls who are looking to up their lip sync game?
Stop doing top 40! It’s been done! I’m very much a B-side girl, I will never do the main track of an album, because it pushes you more to find new stuff. People who come to my shows know I always do JoJo, I do Zara Larsson, but never the main stuff from them. You may not necessarily think it’s a crowd-pleaser, but if you know the song better than them and find the little quirks in it and make it your own, people will love it. My entire career in New York City is nothing but lip-syncing B-sides, I swear.
Also, listen, we’re all here to do drag. That’s great. But if you’re doing drag to get on a TV show, you probably shouldn’t be doing drag! That is not the basis of what drag is. Listen, I’m young, but I have been doing drag now for eight years, so I’ve understood in the time that I’ve done it that Drag Race is a great thing — but if you’re doing drag, you should do it for the art rather than a TV show! When you’re working and lip syncing at bars, people can tell if you’re in it for a TV show.
Well, before I let you go, because this is Billboard, we like to ask the queens about music! What’s a song, album or artist that has been really giving you life as of late?
Ooh! Probably Saweetie, to be real — I have been listening to “Fast” non-stop. “Fast” is my go-to shower song right now, with the sprayer in my hand, girl. Als … oh, Adele, it’s always Adele. She will always be it for me.