It’s time to go Down Under!
The premiere date for the Australian iteration of RuPaul’s Drag Race has been announced, and it’s arriving so much sooner than we thought.
According to World of Wonder, Down Under will sashay onto our screens on – drum roll please! – 1 May. It will be available in the United States and select territories on WOW Presents Plus, TVNZ on New Zealand and Stan in Australia.
Full availability for other territories, including the UK, will be confirmed at a later date.
Down Under will be the third iteration in the franchise with RuPaul and Michelle Visage, after the US original and Drag Race UK. They will be joined on the panel by Australian comedian Rhys Nicholson.
“The first words RuPaul ever said to me were ‘welcome to the family’ and that’s exactly what it feels like. A family,” Nicholson said in a statement.
“Ru and Michelle are my new mummies I hope the editors took out the bits where I’m just staring at them wide-eyed trying to comprehend sitting next to them.”
Like the original, the contestants will take part in weekly challenges and the bottom two queens will lip-sync for their lives to remain in the competition.
Ru said she cannot wait “for everyone to see that Down Under queens have some of the biggest charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talents in the world.”
She continued: “Thank you to Stan and TVNZ OnDemand for providing a platform for these outrageous drag artists to share their heart, soul and humor.”
Like Drag Race UK season one, Down Under will run for eight episodes.
The 10 fierce Australian and Kiwi contestants are as follows: Anita Wigl’it, Art Simone, Coco Jumbo, Elektra Shock, Etcetera Etcetera, JoJo Zaho, Karen from Finance, Kita Mean, Maxi Shield and Scarlet Adams.
You can view their official profiles here.
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Speaking with Variety last year, World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato said seven new international versions of the Emmy-winning phenomenon are in production.
“We’re excited. None of them can be announced yet, but there is more on the way. It’s been a long process. I think what we’ve seen is a reframing of drag as a cultural/artistic phenomenon,” revealed Bailey.
“Every country has a rich tradition of drag, and it’s different in every country. What is true in every country is that it hasn’t been a television proposition. I think it’s taken broadcasters in different territories a little time to adjust, to recognize that.”
Drag Race UK, the first international version of the show to see the return of RuPaul and Michelle Visage, was streamed over 10 million times on BBC iPlayer.
Bailey credits its success with opening the door for more spin-offs.
“I think that encouraged other international territories to come along for the ride. The BBC is doing it! It can’t be that scary a proposition!’” he said.