Drag Race España: Final Four

Posted on July 12, 2021

We’ve enjoyed our time being pleasantly confused by the Spanish cultural references and slang terms on Drag Race España’s inaugural season. As we said before, you tend to zero in on aspects of the drag when the other stuff keeps flying over your head. It’s been a fun way to watch a version of a show that’s gotten stale in its original form. But we have to admit, it was comforting watching an episode that was pretty much universal in tone and concept, doing what every Drag Race franchise is at its best doing: celebrating the universal art of drag.

 

We’ll always have a soft spot for the makeover challenge. While we think the main show could do with some new challenges after years of recycling the same ones over and over again, the family makeovers were the ones that inspired our book. More than any other recurring Drag Race challenge, this is the one that’s most referential to gay life and queer history.

 

It’s the challenge that routinely inspires competitors and their guests to muse on family, homophobia, and the mechanics and aesthetics of drag, from walking in heels to tucking. It’s when we get to watch people literally become drag queens before our eyes, after it’s all explained to them.

 

Or maybe we just enjoyed all the jokes about Fernando’s apparently massive untuckable. Sorry, but we’ll always love seeing a bunch of queens become undone by a series of dick jokes. That’s the true heart of drag, bitches.

 

Or maybe we just enjoyed looking at Fernando.

 

But before we get to all that, a fun and equally as universal mini-challenge, wherein all the girls were tasked with putting on their faces in three minutes without benefit of a mirror; one of those perfect little challenges that gets to the heart of drag and puts every queen’s drag skills to the test. To no one’s surprise, Carmen aced this one. In perhaps a prophetic moment, Pupi did the worst job of it. With the finals looming before them, suddenly the thing that the judges tended to wave away in earlier episodes – a professional level of drag polish – is becoming central to the competition. And while Pupi’s always been one of the best and most well-rounded queens in this group, her rough drag has been excused up until now.

Interestingly enough, while we think this quartet of queens is fairly high on the drag talent level, there was only one queen who did a decent job of it, in our opinion (and the judges as well). The rest of them were messy as hell.

 

We can see that a man shaped like Pupi’s sister presents a number of challenges when it comes to turning him into a drag queen, it’s hard not to look at these half-assed and dowdy outfits and not come to the conclusion that Pupi simply gave up. This is easily the worst thing she’s ever worn on the show and Pepi’s look is worse than hers. Just a terrible attempt on her part and we can’t really argue with how it all shook out, despite her former frontrunner status.

 

As for Carmen, we don’t see how this bitch doesn’t take the crown. What an amazing job, turning out both of those outfits in the space of one night. In a more competitive outcome, he might have been dinged for not making the resemblance a little stronger, but he was the only one who presented a fully polished set of character-based looks.

 

Sagittaria’s attempt was half-assed; shoving her sister into a dress that didn’t fit her and a hideous wig while trying to save herself by serving the only thing she’s consistently good at serving: body. Nothing about these looks coordinated outside of the color and they both looked kind of awful.

 

We’ll give Killer credit for doing a pretty great job on the hair and makeup. The costume designs were fairly good as well. Of the three on the bottom, she was clearly the best, but there were too many issues with the finishing details. We expected her to be waved off as safe, but it didn’t bother us that she was asked to lip sync with the other two. Carmen served something so perfect that it made every other entry look that much worse by comparison.

 

And the result was easily the best, most intense and fun lip sync of the entire season. These bitches were HUNGRY for it.

 

But again, as shocking as it might have been, we can’t argue with the decision to let Pupi go. He’s very talented but we think he tends to treat his drag as a joke, which comes off a bit like a defense mechanism. Not to get all new-age Ru in our assessment, but he feels very walled-off as a drag queen.

 

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: WOW via Tom and Lorenzo]

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