Full disclosure: this is now a Carmen Farala stan account.
Episode 2 continued Drag Race Down Under’s lovely trend of beefy boys standing around in their underwear, as the Expanded Drag Race Espana Pit Crew came out for a little game of Drag-a-Word. This was all in Spanish, so obviously I had no idea how to decipher these word jumbles. Also I didn’t care, because I was busy being a total lech. The Down Under Pit Crew is super hot, but god damn the Espana boys are giving them a run for their money. How do you say, “What a blessing” in Spanish?
The winner of the mini game was Pupi Poisson, our chief narrator for the episode. Pupi and Hagaceo Crujiente — the winner of Episode 1 — were team captains for the main challenge, in which the girls split in two and had to record individual verses in a song about the power of being a diva. The two teams were Team Metal Donna (was this a play on Madonna? I felt like I was missing something here), featuring Hugaceo, Carmen, Sagittaria and Killer Queen, and Team Five and a Quarter (again I feel like I’m missing something here, is it a reference to someone on the team being fatter than the average person?) featuring Pupi, Dovima Nurmi, Inti, and Arantxa Castillo de La Mancha, and Drag Vulcano. Vulcano was the last picked, and chose to join Pupi’s team. They made a point that Vulcano is extremely quiet out of drag, and barely speaks. Which is…never a great edit on Drag Race.
The actual challenge was interesting to me. On American and UK Drag Race, they’ll auto tune these girls to hell and back. There was none of that here. Whatever they put down on that track is what came out, and a lot of it was…really rough. I have no idea what Arantxa was doing in her verse. It sounded awful, like she was summoning demons or something. Even though they praised Pupi, I was cringing through her whole Donna Summer “Love to Love You Baby” orgasm moment. There was a lot of leaden, lifeless delivery, but the judges ate it up. So I’m going to chalk this one up to a different set of expectations.
The runway challenge honored La Veneno. If, like me, you had only heard bits and pieces about La Veneno, I encourage you to look into this story more. La Veneno was a trailblazing trans woman in Spain. She was a singer, actress, and author, and lived her life out loud. The Javis — Drag Race Espana judges — created a very popular TV series based on her life, which you can apparently watch on HBO Max. And the guest judge for this episode, comedian and actress Paca La Pirana, was a close friend of La Veneno prior to her untimely death a few years back. I don’t know if we have anything in American culture to compare to La Veneno. Certainly we have major transgender celebrities, but based on what I’ve seen La Veneno lived her life in a much more fearless way.
The results on the runway were largely great. The queens had a wide range of interpretations. Some, like Inti, Sagittaria, and Pupi, went for what I took to be fairly literal translations of La Veneno’s actual looks. Others, like Carmen, Killer Queen, and Drag Vulcano, were more conceptual in their takes. And poor Hugaceo, totally out of her element, went for an Art Pop comic concept that was 100 percent not La Veneno, but was a cool look. Hugaceo was lucky they gave her a free pass this week.
Ultimately the win went to Carmen Farala, possibly for her absolutely breathtaking runway alone. I said last week that Carmen blew me away, and she did so again. I gasped when she came out in that snake outfit (btw “La Veneno” means “poisongirl,” so a snake is relevant). Carmen also held her own in the actual challenge, giving great performance even if the vocal wasn’t amazing. Carmen is, to me, the one to watch this season. She’s got the looks, the presence, and the drive.
That said, this episode I was also super impressed by Dovima Nurmi, who I had kind of written off last week. Dovima was absolutely stunning in the challenge and on the runway, and she totally dropped her “I’m a bad girl” schtick after her near brush with elimination. Interestingly, she and Sagittaria (another one to watch) were awfully cozy on the couch together, despite allegedly having major beef. This is smelling like a manufactured Alyssa/Coco feud to me.
In the bottom, correctly, were Arantxa and Vulcano. Arantxa was just a mess the entire episode, and Vulcano looked great but gave us more of what we have already seen from her. That’s not great for Episode 2. They lipsynched to a song by La Veneno herself, and Arantxa really threw herself into it — and escaped elimination. Drag Vulcano was eliminated. It bums me out, because I love the aesthetic, but you have to be more than just colossal looks to advance on Drag Race, no matter which franchise.
Next: the girls play soccer, and Killer Queen is GOING THROUGH IT.
How are you doing in our pool? Check out the updated scoreboard. If, like me, you’re already in danger with your picks, fear not we will have a shuffle right after Episode 4.