“Drag Race Espana All Stars” Season 1, Episode 4 Recap

February 28, 2024

BY Eric Rezsnyak

When your Girl Groups episode turns into mostly a bummer, you know something has gone very wrong with a season.

Continuing from the previous episode, Sagittaria’s spiraled into misery, as she again reasserted her position that in the Ball 1) the judges are obviously favoring certain contestants; 2) Drag Sethlas did not deserve the win last episode; and 3) Sethlas and Samantha Ballentines should have actually been in the Bottom, not the Top. It’s worth noting that the other queens also mentioned that Sagittaria thought she was in the Bottom last episode — I did not get that at all. I thought she was the third High spot, and just lost out on Top 2. But maybe I was totally wrong about that.


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Regardless, Sagi’s mood cast a pall over this entire episode. Literally every other queen mentioned it in their talking heads, and every single one of them was over it. I always try to be cognizant of editing, and how it can skew certain subplots to seem much more intense than they actually were. But there were multiple unbroken, unedited talking heads from literally all five other queens very clearly stating that Sagittaria was obnoxious and impossible to work with, so I tend to believe this narrative is, if not accurate, at least rooted in reality.

I’ve seen numerous posts online saying that Sagittaria got the “villain edit” this season, and I genuinely don’t see her as a villain. She’s not being aggressive here. She’s not maliciously attacking anyone. She’s being hyper defensive and, yes, accusatory of favoritism. But I don’t see her as a “villain.” I see her as a brat. Which is maybe worse, because at least a villain can be fun to watch. Sagi was fucking insufferable the past two episodes. I think Juriji had it exactly right when she said Sagittaria came in with high expectations for herself, and expected the judges to praise her. When that didn’t happen, she started to collapse and ultimately decided to bounce if she couldn’t get the attention she thought she deserved. I thought that whole convo between Juriji and Sagi was the perfect encapsulation of what was going on, and Juriji gathered her perfectly. And it wasn’t intended to be nasty, but to state for the record the reality of the situation.

On some level, I feel bad for Sagi. She came into S1 largely derided as the Wish version of U.S. Season 10’s Aquaria, but proved a lot of people wrong, and exited the season as a fan-favorite. The edit was overall kind to her. It has to be challenging when you’re given the soft touch by Production in your first season, and come back to find that touch has moved on to someone else. (See also: most of the queens in U.S. “All Stars 7,” who were all happy to be favored by Production in their winning seasons, but suddenly had ethical issues with it when others were shown deference.) That’s exactly what has happened to Sagittaria in “All Stars.” Personally I thought Sagi had been doing well in this competition overall. I thought her Talent Show could easily have been a High performance. Her Snatch Game was undeniably a dud. I thought overall her Ball package was excellent, but she did miss the prompt on the third look. And in this episode, she arguably SHOULD have excelled in the Girl Group challenge, but she was very much in her Feelz, and sabotaged herself. If there’s a villain this season, it’s Sagittaria’s inner saboteur. Because nothing that happened this episode (or last episode, frankly) needed to happen had she not gotten into her own head.

Let’s briefly go over the Girl Groups, which were fine. Supremme told the six remaining queens they needed to split into two teams of three, and as expected, the S2 alliance — Juriji der Klee, Drag Sethlas, and Samantha Ballentines — immediately hooked onto each other, leaving The Other Ones — Season 1 sisters Sagittaria and Pupi Poisson, and the sole remaining S3 queen Hornella Gongorra. This is another situation where doing an “All Stars” after only three seasons has had very real impacts on the way this season played out. S2 has a chokehold on this competition, and makes up fully 50 percent of the F6. Anyway, anyone who has watched this show could guess that these teams are wildly unbalanced. Juriji and Sethlas are seasoned stage performers built for this kind of challenge. Pupi, bless her, is the Ethyl Merman of “Drag Race.” Sagitarria could have, SHOULD have been the bright light on her team in this challenge — it is the MOST aligned with her skillset — but she was checked out before it even began.

The S2 girls did great. I actually thought Sethlas had the best verse and the best performance — her dance moves were totally in synch with the back-up dancers, and had terrific flourish. Juriji was great, putting her sensuality and vocal skills to excellent use. Samantha was a horny mess, which is very much her brand, but I thought she was wildly overrated here. That performance would never fly in an actual girl group, and it sure seemed like that was the standard to which everyone else was being held. Meanwhile, on Team Leftovers, Pupi actually did great in a challenge that was WAY outside her safe zone. Hornella was fine, and Sagi seemed distracted. They did not gel, visually, energy wise, really in any way. And, obviously, that team lost the challenge.

I’ll admit I had no idea what was going on with this runway prompt. It translates roughly to “divine rhinestones of death,” and I am assuming there is a cultural component that I’m missing, and that’s fine.

At panel, the judges lavished praise on the Season 2 team, and were largely kind in their critiques to the leftovers team. I thought Javier Ambrossi was actually quite delicate in his criticism of Sagi. Basically, she was fine, but he knows she’s capable of so much more, and it was disappointing to see her throw away this chance. That’s a totally reasonable and even kind assessment of the situation. I thought the judges were way, way too enamored of both Hornella and Samantha’s runways, which were not successful to me. They both read as “regular season” runways, not “All Stars.” And compared to what Sethlas, Juriji, and even Pupi were wearing, they didn’t even come close. And yet they were specifically singled out for their runways. Work.

The Top 2 was ultimately Samantha and Juriji, while Pupi was spared, leaving Hornella and Sagittaria in the Bottom 2. For anyone at home convinced the judges are fixing this competition in favor of Sethlas, I point to the fact that she was VERY CLEARLY Top 2 this challenge, and was simply marked as Safe. She was absolutely stronger than Samantha in both the challenge and the runway, not even a question. Samantha was fine, and yes, she has improved significantly over her first season. Full credit there. But Top 2? I don’t think.

But I DO think the producers got spooked by Sagi’s accusations, and they decided that the smart move was to Nerf Sethlas at this point, to make her marginally less of a threat to the remaining queens, and to tamp down viewer allegations of favoritism. I’ll just be clear: in my opinion, Sethlas has deserved Top 2 in every single week of this competition thus far. She has had a flawless season. Her one wobble was on her third look for the Ball, and even that was justified by 1) the sin she was assigned, and 2) the strength of her other two looks. Her Talent Show and Snatch Game were unimpeachable, as was her performance in this challenge. It’s not favoritism if someone is just genuinely snapping the neck of a competition.

Before the queens were sent back for deliberations, Sagittaria interrupted the proceedings to say, out loud in front of the judges, that she was quitting. Supremme, who did not seem at ALL surprised by this, very calmly and cuntily told Sagi that it’s not her decision, and that they will abide by whatever the winning queen decided. That exchange was a VERY CLEAR indication that Sagittaria’s attitude was no secret to anyone working on this show, and was not a product of editing. During 1:1s, Sagi told both Juriji and Samantha that she wanted to go home, that she wasn’t mentally well, and that it would be a blessing for her to be eliminated. But if they DID decide to keep her, she would work hard to live up to their expectations. Both Juriji and Samantha found that to be disingenuous bullshit, as they should. Again, I thought Juriji’s read on Sagi here was dead on, and her exasperation over all of it was amazing. “I’m not here to babysit.” Fucking exactly, Juriji.

In the lipsynch, to “Mafiosa” by Nathy Peluso — who was a great guest judge by the way — I personally would have given it to Juriji, although there were parts of the song where it seemed she did not know the words. Lipsynch Terrorist Samantha Ballentines went immediately back to old tricks, taking off her multiple layers of clothes and relying on props. Yawn. Samantha Ballentines Keep Your Clothes On During a Lipsynch: Challenge Rating: Impossible. Ultimately Samantha was named the winner and…meh. If you think this season is rigged for Sethlas, I personally saw way more favoritism toward Samantha this episode. Just saying.

Samantha didn’t even hesitate as she gave Sagittaria the boot. Sagi seemed pleased with herself, and during her exit interview, again asserted that the fix was in, and basically someone from Season 2 was going to win this season, no matter what. I do think there is at least some truth to that, although I’m not sure it’s malicious. By hustling out an “All Stars” with only three seasons in the can, this show all but assured that original-season alliances would play an outsized role in all of this. Statistically the strongest players were from Season 1 — 4th Place, and 2nd/3rd Place — while Season 2 had the most early outs in the bunch. But there were more of them, and when queens eliminate queens, it’s ultimately a numbers game. But do I think the producers are pushing the Season 2 girls, specifically Sethlas? I don’t. If anything, I think they deliberately lowered Sethlas’ threat index this episode, and they absolutely have not been pushing Juriji at all.

NEXT: it’s the Roast, and god help us, it looks like they’re bringing the “All Stars” jury twist back. Quelle horror!

Did You Miss Our Previous Recaps? Here They Are!

Episode 3 Recap

Episode 2 Recap

Episode 1 Recap

And Don’t Forget, We’re Also Recapping U.S. Season 16 and “Drag Race UK vs. the World” Season 2! Find Those Recaps Here!

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