RuPaul's Drag Race Downunder Queens and release date finally announced

Ever since TVNZ confirmed an Australasian version of popular reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race, fans have been holding their collective sequin-loving breath for details on when the show will air. The wait is finally over.

Saturday night is now the night to stay in, rather than head out, with RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under premiering on May 1 on TVNZ OnDemand and screening the same day on TVNZ 2.

Hosted by RuPaul, with Drag Race veteran Michelle Visage and award-winning Australian comedian Rhys Nicholson on the main judging panel, 10 fabulous queens will prove their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. There are also bound to be some jar-dropping special guests appearing throughout the series, but the wait is still on for details on who they will be.

The 10 Australasian queens hoping to snatch the crown are: Anita Wigl'it, New Zealand, Art Simone, Australia, Coco Jumbo, Australia, Elektra Shock, New Zealand, Etcetera Etcetera, Australia, Jojo Zaho, Australia, Karen from Finance, Australia, Kita Mean, New Zealand, Maxi Shield, Australia and Scarlet Adams, Australia.

RuPaul's Drag Race premiered in 2009, and is airing its 13th season on Netflix. In the show, a dozen drag queens each season compete for the title of the next Drag Superstar. American and Canadian contestants win $100,000 alongside the title and crown.

The show is the most-lauded reality show in the history of the Emmy Awards. RuPaul entered the Guinness Book of World Records last year for the most consecutive wins for Best Reality Host.

On bringing a local flair to the eight-part global juggernaut series, new panel judge Rhys Nicholson said: "I just can't tell you how thrilled I am to have been invited into the illustrious house of Drag Race. I genuinely still can't bloody believe it.

"The first words RuPaul ever said to me were 'welcome to the family' and that's exactly what it feels like. A family. Ru and Michelle are my new mummies. I hope the editors took out the bits were I'm just staring at them wide-eyed trying to comprehend sitting next to them."

Nicholson added: "Being able to be a part of the show and help expose the world to our distinctive and particularly magnificent style of Downunder drag will forever be a highlight of my life and an honour. I hope I didn't f**k. It. Up."

On welcoming Nicholson into the fold, RuPaul said: "Rhys Nicholson is the perfect addition to the Drag Race Down Under family. His quick wit, love of drag and willingness to carry Michelle Visage's heavy luggage have already made him indispensable. I know our audience is going to love him as much as we do."

  • RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under will premiere on TVNZ OnDemand on May 1.

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.