Well isn’t this delightful? Our newest international spinoff, Drag Race Espana, kicked off with its own unique host, Supremme De Luxe, welcoming 10 gorgeous Spanish beauties competing for the title of Spain’s Next Drag Superstar.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from the series, as the international spinoffs have been a mixed bag. Thailand had some of the most jaw-dropping drag of any of the franchises, but also some really bizarre judging decisions. Holland started out strong and then went off a cliff (although its Top 3 were wonderful, and the rumored cast for Season 2 — now filming — is VERY exciting to me). UK’s two seasons are two of the strongest in franchise history. Canada was a wild ride that gave us some memorable queens and…so little padding. And Down Under is…well, let’s just say there’s room for everybody!
After Episode 1, I’m feeling very bullish on Espana. This cast is exceptional. Pre-season I dismissed several of the girls as being basic and unexciting, and I was completely wrong. Specifically I’m referring to Carmen Farala and Arantxa Castillo de La Mancha, whose promo looks did not make much of an impression — but they immediately captured my heart this episode. I thought Sagittaria was going to be an embarrassing Aquaria knockoff, but she absolutely nailed that first design challenge (she still seems reductive to me, but I’m open to being persuaded). And the ones I expected to enjoy — Hugaceo Crujiente, Drag Vulcano, Inti, Killer Queen, Pupi Poisson — did not disappoint whatsoever. They’re all gorgeous and artistic and have oodles of personality. I was more charmed by this group in one episode than I have been by the Down Under queens (minus Anita Wigl’it) after five entire episodes.
After a mini challenge in which the gals had to take a photo while riding a mechanical bull (the first moment Carmen really caught my attention — actually no, Carmen out of drag in confessionals also caught my attention, for completely different reasons), the girls got to work in the now-familiar initial design challenge: take a bunch of dollar-store junk and turn it into a drag look. Overall I thought most of them did well, but it was clear that La Macarena was out of her element, and Dovima Nurmi created an interesting look that she could barely walk in. They were the correct Bottom 2, in my opinion, but I was absolutely gutted when La Macarena got the pork chop and was the first Espana queen sent home. My girl showed up to the promo dressed like a fucking mouse! That’s the kind of gonzo stuff I want to see in my drag queens! Speaking of gonzo, the incredibly exciting Hugaceo Crujiente won the challenge. Hugaceo is a real artist, and I am excited to see what she brings to the competition, even as I fear that her extremely specific version of drag is going to be hard to apply to a wide range of challenges.
The panel of judges — Supremme is joined by “La Veneno” creators Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo, as well as fashion designer Anna Locking, who all seem to be VERY excited by this gig — did well overall, even if it felt like judging went on a VERY long time. Overall I think Supremme is a great host here. She brings a very different energy than Ru or any of the other international hosts/judges. While she was definitely stiff in parts, there is a real warmth to Supremme. I don’t feel like she’s trying to come off as fierce or imperious, as Ru, Fred from Holland, or Art and Pangina from Thailand have a tendency to do (to say nothing of poor Jeffrey Boyer Chapman from Canada…). She has an infectious energy about her and seems delighted to be working with all of the queens, and wants them all to succeed. I appreciated that, and I’m hoping that Supremme continues to grow into this roll.
We will not be doing video fashion reviews for Espana every week, simply because we cannot keep up with the pace of two Drag Race shows airing concurrently. But I will be doing Toots, Boots, etc. for each episode along with Antonio Dominguez-Rice, our honest-to-god Spanish pool member who is truly living his best life watching Drag Race come alive in his home country. We will try to do videos for the “key” runway episodes (ball, makeover), so stay tuned for that. Otherwise just check the spreadsheet to see how your queens did with fashion points.