Drag Race España: ¡Bienvenidas a España!

Posted on June 01, 2021

Another month passes and with it comes another Drag Race franchise because that’s how things work now. Not that we have any complaints any time the show features a new facet of the worldwide drag diamond, so to speak. We may be suffering from franchise fatigue, but we’re happy to meet a new crop of queens and maybe learn a little bit about how drag is done in a different part of the world. None of that has anything to do with the above picture, but we don’t feel it requires further explanation. In fact, here’s another unrelated picture:

 

As to what we can surmise about Spanish drag culture from the first episode, we suppose it felt quite a bit like watching an Almodóvar film with a cast of colorful queer characters and divas fighting for our attention. Let’s run down quick first impressions while we try to commit to remembering everyone’s names.

 

Arantxa Castilla La Mancha

Funny and full of personality. The look is cute, but the makeup and wig are a bit rough. Her best feature is her exuberance and excitement.

 

Sagittaria

The shadiest queen in the lot. She thinks she’s cute (and she is), but she shouldn’t assume she’s the leader of the pack when it comes to serving looks. Her history with Dovima should provide some fun during the season, assuming they’re both in it long enough to hash things out on camera (which they both wisely said they’d do if they make it to the finals).

 

Hugáceo Crujiente

It’s not a good season of Drag Race if you don’t have a freaky art queen in the mix. Love Hugáceo’s look here, but the real surprise was how sweet a personality he has.

 

Carmen Farala

Clearly a looks girl (and in our opinion, the cutest of the group when they’re out of drag), but as Ana Locking noted, she can’t play the Versace girl forever in this competition. She came out strong in the first episode, but she might be limited.

 

Pupi Poisson

Obviously full of personality and willing to go for camp over glamour. That’s fine and could serve her well if she can pull it off with polish and flair. The problem seems to be that her drag’s a little rough around the edges. This look is a cute idea, but it looks thrown together from costume shop pieces.

 

Killer Queen

This lady wants you to know that she is also a LADY DOCTOR, which is, to be fair, a pretty notable thing in a drag race competition. Kind of an odd first look, but her drag is pretty high-level.

 

Dovima Nurmi

A spectacular high-fashion debut look, but she’s way too reserved for the show. She may have gotten the message by the end of this episode, but we’ll see.

 

Inti

She’s got the looks and bearing of a runway supermodel, but we aren’t in love with the wig or the outfit here.

 

Drag Vulcano

It feels like there’s a big “TBD” sign hanging over Drag Vulcano. She’s a big girl who likes a freakier form of drag and that’s all well and good. Other than that, she didn’t make much of an impression this time.

 

The Macarena

Absolutely stuffed with personality and very fun to watch on camera. The problem is that her drag was just too rough out of the gate.

 

But as a group, they seem fun, game, and shady, with enough of a range of styles and levels of professionalism to keep the proceedings interesting. Exactly the kind of cast you want for any season of Drag Race but especially for a kickoff season.

 

Supremme de Luxe established herself quickly as “Not RuPaul” and in this case, we mean that as a compliment to her hosting skills. She’s smooth, personable, quick on her feet and warm. Also: Are they cloning Pit Crew members over there?

 

While we’re at it, we’d like to note how impressed we were by the judges, who are quite possibly the most sophisticated and articulate panel any Drag Race show has ever seen. They all got quite specific in their critiques and were far more focused on being constructive and instructive about it rather than trying to be the funniest. We were actually taken aback by how good some of them were – especially Ana Locking, who nearly started crying at one point, she was so overcome by one queen’s beauty and artistry.

And speaking of artistry…

(Yes, we’re going to use every screen cap of cute Spanish guys in metallic Rocky Horror speedos as the law will allow)

The challenge was our favorite of them all and the very best one to kick off a season: a DIY Drag affair. The queens had to use whatever materials they had in whatever “rummage sale” box they chose. Their efforts were …

 

All over the map.

 

Like we said, Ita’s got the bearing of a supermodel, which is the only reason this rather craftsy effort got deemed safe. Arantxa already feels limited, given how close this look is to her entrance look, although she’s to be commended for making something that almost feels like a real costume. We doubt Ru and Michelle could have brought themselves to give the win to a look like Hugáceo’s but it brought Ana Locking to the brink of tears. We’d quibble with some of the design elements, but there’s no denying the artistry and vision on display here. The makeup is amazing. Killer Queen pulled together a surprisingly polished look from trash bin pieces. Sagittaria took a risk, but because her hair and makeup were so well done and the costume so effective despite its minimalism, it paid off. To literally hang all her chances on some hula hoops was a… wait for it … ballsy move.

 

The Macarena’s look was a mess, full stop. The flamingo was a cute bit of flair, but the hair and makeup were terrible and the rest of the gown look unfinished. We’re surprised that Dovima wasn’t called out for making a look so similar to Sagittaria’s (or vice versa), but we can see why the judges praised the latter but put this effort in the bottom. Pupi’s an absolute mess and we think the only reason she didn’t have to lip sync is because of her reputation. There’s no denying Carmen’s efforts here are really impressive, but she’s already painted herself into a corner. She needs to show something completely different to the judges as soon as she can. Drag Vulcano’s look was… a look. Seriously, it’s fine but underwhelming. The makeup and the flowers more or less save it.

 

After several weeks of incredibly underwhelming lip syncs from the Down Under girls, it was a pleasure watching two Spanish queens come out of the gate with the most drama-filled showdown we’ve seen in ages. We assumed The Macarena had this locked up, but Dovima pulled something out of herself and suddenly it became anyone’s game to win. We almost thought Supremme was going to keep both of them and we honestly might not have minded it.

 

It’s interesting that the entire judging panel seems to have a say in the final decision.

 

It’s interesting that such a strong queen was let go so quickly, but it may just be a signal that this version of the franchise is going to place a lot of importance on polished, well-executed drag. And of course it’s worth noting that keeping Dovima in the game pretty much ensures a dramatic confrontation with Sagittaria down the road. No matter the country, some rules of reality television never change.

 

Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR is on sale wherever fine books are sold!

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Atresmedia, WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]

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