“Drag Race Espana All Stars” Season 1, Episode 3 Recap

February 19, 2024

BY Eric Rezsnyak

The mierda got real on “Espana” this week, as the Deadly Sins Ball produced a slew of terrific looks, and also a ton of drama that has spilled out from the Work Room and into the fandom in real time. As I write this, there are numerous fiery arguments taking place on Reddit and social media. And I’ll level with you: I agree primarily with the judges here. So sharpen those claws, carina, because we’re going to get into it.


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This episode there was no minichallenge. Supremme led the girls to a fairly elaborate prop tree, and one by one had them pick a bright red apple hanging from the branches. In turn, the girls had to bite into the apples, all of which apparently tasted disgusting except for one: Juriji der Klee picked the sweet one. (Pupi Poisson, no dummy, pretended that her apple was sweet — or she has no taste, which is possible given many of her wardrobe choices.) Supremme then brought out the Pit Crew, each dressed — I use the term loosely — to reflect one of the 7 Deadly Sins.

I’ll pause here to state that a 7 Deadly Sins design challenge has been a frequent wish-list challenge on “Drag Race” for YEARS. In my head, I feel like at least one of the other international series got to it first, but I also may be thinking of the iconic “America’s Next Top Model” 7 Deadly Sins graveyard shoot. I’m old and congested. Anyway, for everyone carrying on about how this show’s Production team is so awful: in this case they literally gave you what many of you have been howling about for ages. Just saying.

Juriji’s sweet apple allowed her the advantage of assigning a sin to each remaining queen. Juriji chose Sloth for herself, and then gave Samantha Ballentines Greed, Drag Sethlas Envy, Hornella Gongora Pride, Pakita Wrath, Sagittaria Lust, and Pupi Gluttony. Then in something of a twist, Sethlas — the embodiment of Envy here — was able to choose one queen to swap sins with, and she chose to take Pride from Hornella.

I’ve seen a lot of conspiracy theories claim this was nonsense and clear favoritism for Sethlas. Could that be true? Maybe. But Production didn’t assign the sins, Juriji did. Production had no idea what Sethlas was going to do with either sin at that point. It was literally minutes after the sins were assigned. To me, Occam’s Gayzor says the simplest explanation is the correct one: Sethlas was assigned Envy, and Production wanted to play into the sins’ unique properties. As such, if she coveted another sin, she could swap it out. I think any of the queens who had been assigned Envy would have had the same opportunity. I certainly don’t understand the theory that Production somehow KNEW what Sethlas was going to do with either sin, and somehow came up with some complicated way to give her a “better” sin.

Along with that, when Supremme and Ana Locking did their walkthrough in the work room, Supremme explained that since Samantha got Greed, that entitled her to extra guidance from Ana. In fact, that was such a contentious point that Supremme had to repeatedly admonish Ana when she was doling out free advice to the other queens. Is it possible this was again some kind of Production manipulation to favor Samantha? I guess it’s possible, but of all queens — why Samantha?! I just don’t buy it. I’m also not convinced there weren’t other sin-related advantages doled out to the other queens that we just didn’t see.

Regardless, it’s important to know that the fandom already had reason to accuse Production of favoring Sethlas, and that was before we even got to the ball/judging. With that being said, let’s go over each queen’s performance in the ball, in alphabetical order. For reference, the three categories were: Cielo (“Heaven”), Infierno (“Hell”) — which included looks brought from home — and then their individual deadly sin, featuring looks made in workroom.

Drag Sethlas: Sorry not sorry: Sethlas deserved a Top 2 spot here. Let’s ignore the third look for a second. Both of Sethlas’ Heaven and Hell looks were top-tier “Drag Race” looks. Absolutely stunning all around. They were not just massive and filled with detail, there was also tremendous thought put into both of them and they told a story. Even if you discount that third look completely — which a lot of people seem to be doing — the first two looks were among the best in both of those categories. And that’s really saying something, because I thought the queens almost all fucking brought it to this ball. Now, the third look. I am not going to deny that it was underwhelming compared to many of the other looks on that stage. It was very much a typical Sethlas look, and involved virtually no sewing — just shattered mirrors glued to a massive collar and a corset/half bodysuit. It also directly related to Sethlas’ assigned sin — Pride, with the mirrors on the collar making her incapable of seeing anything but her — and relating to the sin was clearly a key part of the rubric for the judges. They mentioned that with basically every look on the runway, not just Sethlas. On its own, the third look would have been Safe for me. Maybe Bottom 3, but it wouldn’t have been in the Bottom 2 for me among the homemade looks ( would give that to Pupi and Hornella). When you averaged it in with two of the best looks in the first two categories? That overall grade puts Sethlas in the top of the pack. Again. Sagitarria sitting there saying she should have been bottom of the night with those first two looks? Drag delusion. Sagitarria is burning through all of her Season 1 goodwill this season, and I’m honestly embarrassed for the legions of viewers who seem to be echoing her talking points.

Hornella Gongora: Hornella was Safe, and I think that was correct. I didn’t particularly care for her Heaven look, one of two of the evening that featured a saint being shot through with arrows (or something along those lines), and to me it was the less successful of the two. I absolutely loved her Hell look, taking inspiration from the the Egyptian god Anubis and other mythological figures that guard the realm of the dead. I didn’t think her Envy look was particularly successful. It was generically pretty, but it missed the brief on the sin itself.

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Juriji der Klee: Juriji showed up this episode, which was exciting in and of itself. I adore Juriji and I was so disappointed by her Talent Show this season, and left confused by her Snatch Game last episode. To see her thrive in this episode was honestly thrilling. Her Heaven look, in which she became the world’s sexiest hot-air balloon, was both clever and playful. Her Hell look, a Pokemon evolution of the outfit she wore in her legendary “Untucked” moment from Season 2, was terrific. Her Sloth look was both fashionable AND clearly referenced her sin. Juriji nailed this challenge, I have absolutely no notes. She was Top 2 and she deserved to be. I actually think she was pretty clearly the best in the challenge overall.

Pakita: OK, let’s get into this. I also consider myself a Pakita fan, and I didn’t think she did poorly in the ball. Unfortunately, other people simply did better. Her first look was among the least impressive of the Heaven looks for me. Having Mary going from chaste icon to yassified was an interesting concept, but I didn’t think the look itself was particularly exciting. I thought her Hell look was dramatic and beautiful, but aside from the skull headpiece, did it necessarily read “Hell” to you? Most of the other queens had very clear narratives around their Hell looks, and Pakita’s was among the more nebulous. But was it gorgeous? Absolutely. Also stunning: her Wrath look, which featured roses that were a reference to the 13 roses story about young women assassinated by the Franco regime. It was beautiful, the presentation on the runway was dramatic, but I agree with the judges: the connection to Wrath was not evident in the garment itself. Pakita’s screaming was a nod to to the sin, but not the dress itself. It was a beautiful dress with removable rose details. If it was a floral runway, I would have put it toward the top. But that wasn’t the assignment here.

Pupi Poisson: Pupi was always going to struggle here. The aesthetic has never been strong, and while she has improved this season, it wasn’t enough for this ball. The Heaven look was genuinely pretty, a sky that turned into a rainbow, but it was also a fairly simple concept. The Hell look, a Gorgon that featured a dress we have seen referenced SO many times on “Drag Race,” was clunky and Pupi didn’t even seem to buy what she was selling. For her Gluttony look, she glued a bunch of food to a corset and called it a day. It was certainly more tasteful than her Bed Bath & Beyond bukkake from Season 1, but it still wasn’t good. In Pupi’s defense, in addition to not being a fashion/look queen, Gluttony was probably also the hardest sin to translate into fashion. I just don’t think Pupi even really TRIED. She was Bottom 2 and she deserved to be. Pupi had the worst package of the night.

Sagittaria: Sagittaria was HOT this episode, and while most of the fandom seems to be coming to her defense, I thought she was an insufferable twat. Here’s the thing: she did great in the challenge, and as someone who is generally quite impressed by Sagi, I was glad to see it. Loved the Louis XIV concept for Heaven. The Hell look was gorgeous but I agreed that I wasn’t getting “spider” from those feathers. Her Lust dress was gorgeous, it was an impressive creative work — from a strictly aesthetic point of view it was absolutely at the top of the pack. But it did not say “Lust.” It didn’t. It was red. She brought out a sad little whip. That’s not enough, and you can love Sagitarria and respect her craftsmanship — and I DO — and still acknowledge that the look did not reference her assigned sin in a way that was easily recognizable. And I would argue Lust is one of the easier sins to interpret into fashion. Sagitarria got a plan into her head and she committed to that concept, and she ignored a key part of the assignment. I think she deserved her Top 3 spot based on the strength of her first two looks, but I don’t think there were any shenanigans going on to keep her out of the Top 2. And frankly, her pissy behavior was a huge turnoff for me, and, I’m assuming, the remaining queens. She all but chopped herself the next time she falls into the Bottom 2. And she’ll deserve it.

Samantha Ballentines: I am not, generally speaking, a Samantha fan. But I thought she did a very good job here. Her Pegasus look for Heaven was a bold, creative interpretation. The prosthetics looked a little derpy, but I was captivated by the way her wings flapped, and I thought overall it was a quantum leap for Samantha in terms of runway presentation. The Hell look, which was quasi-Cruella de Vil with an invisible Hellhound, was fine — solidly middle of the pack for me. I personally did not love her Greed look, but again, it was very clearly tied to her assigned sin, and it didn’t look BAD. Samantha was Safe and I think that’s exactly where she deserved to be.

Ultimately the Top 2 were named as Sethlas and Juriji, while the Bottom 2 were Pupi and Pakita. I genuinely do think those placements were correct, and that Sagi was just out of the Top 2 due to her third look not meeting the brief, while Pakita was in the bottom for the same reason. In my opinion, Juriji was the clear winner of the challenge, while Pupi was the worst — but that’s not the way “All Stars” works, kids. It comes down to the lipsynch, and again, I didn’t particularly like either performance. Juriji looked unfocused and awkward in parts, while Sethlas went to tricks that often seemed out of place in the song. I will also point out that Sethlas breaking the mirror on stage was a huge problem for me, as that was dangerous as fuck — and apparently Juriji did indeed cut herself on the shards left behind. Why are these “All Stars” not being allowed to change into lipsynch outfits after grand runways? That’s pretty standard on “Drag Race” and it is impacting these lipsynchs in a big way.

Sethlas was declared the winner, and she decided to chop Pakita. Let’s break this down, because again, so many accusations of production favoritism. It is true that Sethlas has been in the top all three weeks, and won 2/3 of the lipsynchs. I think Sethlas unquestionably deserved a Top 2 spot in the Talent Show AND Snatch Game. I guess the argument here is that Sagitarria should have been given the other Top 2 spot to…spread out the wealth, I guess? Again: that’s not how “All Stars” works. And for reasons I’ve already gone into, Sagi was justifiably not Top 2. Sethlas is kicking this competition’s ass, judges favoritism or not. It’s like the people who caterwauled that Production was somehow fixing “All Stars 7” for Jinkx Monsoon. WE HAVE EYES. We see the performances they are laying down. Sometimes a queen just comes in and steamrolls a season. It’s not a conspiracy, and while there have been some obviously questionable decisions made on “Drag Race,” I am not seeing them on “Drag Race All Stars,” with the exception of Onyx getting shafted in Episode 1. There’s a pretty clear explanation for pretty much everything else so far.

Regarding the elimination of Pakita, she was not the worst in the challenge. I’ll even go so far as to say she was good. But almost everyone was good, and in “All Stars,” sometimes merely “good” is not good enough. Between Pakita and Pupi, I understand why Sethlas chose to save Pupi. She had a win under her belt. From the track record logic, Pakita was the less-successful Bottom 2 queen. From a public perception, Pupi is beloved by the fandom. Which is not to say Pakita doesn’t have her fans. I consider myself one of them. I think she’s talented, gorgeous, and exciting to watch. The cards were simply stacked against her here. I’m sorry to see her go, but I don’t think there was any kind of foul play involved.

Next: it’s girl groups, and Sagittaria continues to spiral. This is not going to end well.

Did you miss our previous episode recaps? Check them out here:

Episode 2

Episode 1

We’re also actively recapping U.S. Season 16 and “UK vs. the World” Season 2. Get those recaps here!

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