‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ UK: Who’s on the judging panel?
In the pantheon of sage, wise leaders guiding young newcomers through an unimaginable fantasyland, several stand out: Willy Wonka made Faustian bargains in chocolate; Obi-Wan Kenobi taught Luke in both the ways of the force and pulling off floor-length, earth-toned robes; consider Glinda the Good Witch, Gandalf the Grey, Professor Albus Dumbledore – and of course RuPaul.
RuPaul is arguably the most famous drag queen in the world, as the host, mentor and inspiration on RuPaul’s Drag Race, the ultimate in drag queen competitions. RuPaul plays a dual role: reigning supreme in all judging and eliminations while also helping guide contestants as they prepare for each challenge.
Contestants include the nation’s most outrageous, cutting-edge, talented, and stunningly gorgeous drag queens all fighting for the title (and tiara) as top drag queen of the land.
Working with the contestants are top models, designers and American idols all rolled up into one. Each week includes its own trials and tribulations filled with glitter, glamor, and show-stopping performances, as one drag queen is eliminated until reaching the next superstar drag queen of America.
What we know so far about Drag Race season 12 (US)
VH1 announced that season twelve is officially in the works, and the race is on to find the queen to take the crown from 2019 winner Yvie Oddly. The channel also revealed RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 is also on the way, with Mama Ru herself offering a hint about when viewers can expect both seasons to be hitting screens.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: All the tea
This October, ten sickening British queens will sashay down the runway and compete for the title of Britain’s Next Drag Superstar for eight spectacular episodes on BBC Three. It’s the UK, so naturally, they know all about royalty – and the lineup for the judges and special guests already looks truly amazing.
The fabulous judging panel
Michelle Visage is joining Mama Ru, and she’s back and as amazing as ever! Brits are truly blessed, as they will have a direct pipeline to all the sass that Visage brings every year.
Alan Carr is also on the judging panel. Carr is known throughout Britain as being hilarious and witty and chatty, which will only mean good things for the show. He also has his own show Alan Carr: Chatty Man, which has been running since 2009.
Rejoice, Limeys! Rejoice and take heed! Graham Norton will also be on the judging panel. Norton is known throughout Britain for being a beam of sunshine on late-night talk shows and also has his own show, The Graham Norton Show.
This isn’t the first time Norton has stood alongside RuPaul: he has appeared as a guest judge for All Stars 2. America fell in love with him, obviously, so let’s hope he continues to shine as a regular judge for the UK version.
The judges will appear as rotating resident judges each week, joining RuPaul, Michelle Visage, and a celebrity guest judge. Both chat show hosts are major fans of the worldwide hit show, and Norton appeared as a guest judge on the original show. For the grand finale, they’ll both appear on the judging panel.
What special guests can we expect?
Mama Ru called Cheryl’s name when searching for Drag Race guest judges, and the iconic recording artist (and ex-Girls Aloud group member) answered the call loud and proud.
Cole is a mainstay popstar in the UK music industry, having notched six number-one singles atop the British charts. In addition to hitmaking, the singer has long voiced support for marriage equality and gay rights in the region, and even has a well known drag doppelganger named Cheryl Hole (who’s also rumored to be a part of the Drag Race UK cast).
The Amazing Spider-Man actor (and Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge star) is set to kick off Drag Race UK as a guest judge on the season’s pilot. A self-proclaimed fan of the Drag Race franchise, Garfield described drag’s “creativity is always totally outside the box,” indicating “when someone does something I wouldn’t have thought of myself” is “one of the many reasons I watch and love this show.”
Actress Maisie Williams is no stranger to games over a throne. This one has just a smidge less murder and way more wigs, lipstick, and sequins than her popular HBO program. (Duh, she was Arya Stark on Game of Thrones.) The Bristol-born performer will swap winter for wigs as she presides over the competition with Ru and Michelle Visage across a single episode of the upcoming program.
20% of the Spice Girls will be make her Drag Race debut on the UK panel. Geri Horner, also known as Ginger Spice, will tout her signature message of girlpower as she joins the competition program for a one-off episode.
The ever hilarious Michaela Coel is sticking to the Drag Race UK panel like chewing gum. The writer-actress (who’s appeared in Black Mirror and Black Earth Rising, in addition to her sitcom Chewing Gum) will preside over an episode in which she serves “realness, wit and glamour,” according to a network announcement.
A veteran electronic music producer and singer, MNEK has crafted tracks for Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, and Christina Aguilera (in addition to releasing his first solo album, Language, last year). His next conquest? Fine-tuning the ladies of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. The London native will coach the queens through a musical challenge with help from dance masters AJ & Curtis Pritchard.
An icon of swinging 60s fashion (and reality competition judging panels), the former America’s Next Top Model sweetheart and modeling legend will sashay from the realm of Tyra Banks and into RuPaul’s family for Drag Race UK.
Joining Drag Race UK’s big slate of girl group icons is Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall, who has long been open about her connection to the LGBTQ community. (She’s even called RuPaul her personal idol in past interviews.) Little Mix also incorporated several Drag Race alums into their “Power” music video, including Alaska, Courtney Act, and Willam.
Celebrated UK journalist, LGBTQ ally, and television personality Lorraine Kelly will be on-hand for the British version of the fan-favorite Snatch Game challenge, which sees the queens channeling celebrities as they play a mock version of Match Game.
Joining Kelly as a Snatch Game panelist will be television personality and documentary filmmaker Stacey Dooley, who recently won Strictly Come Dancing (Britain’s version of Dancing with the Stars), which Michelle Visage will compete on next season.
Where and when will RuPaul’s Drag Race UK air?
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is coming to BBC Three in October in the UK. It is unclear how Americans can catch the British version – but hopefully shantay will stay.