Michelle Visage to host Drag Race Down Under

RuPaul steps down as host of local drag talent show with judge Michelle Visage to succeed as host.

Drag Race Down Under will return to Stan later this year but without RuPaul hosting after three seasons.

Judge Michelle Visage steps up as host, with RuPaul to remain as an Executive Producer.

This is the first time in the 15 year history of the franchise a CIS woman will host in any territory.

Rhys Nicholson will also return as judge, joined by a rotating cast of Australasian drag performers -the first time Down Under queens will judge their peers.

Michelle Visage said: “Thank you, RuPaul, for entrusting me with one of your beloved shows. The colour, humour and outrageousness of Down Under drag holds a special place in my heart. I’m ready to do everything in my power to encourage these beautiful queens to believe in themselves and let their inner light shine through.”

10 new queens from Australia and New Zealand, who will compete for a cash prize and the title of “Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar” will be revealed soon.

RuPaul Charles said: “It has been my great honour to bring Drag Race to Australasia. I can’t wait to see the franchise flourish under the leadership of the incredible Michelle Visage.”

Cailah Scobie, Stan’s Chief Content Officer, said: “Drag Race Down Under is such a beloved show and we’re excited to welcome Michelle as our new host to nurture fresh local talent alongside Rhys Nicholson and our yet-to-be-announced Australian Drag Race royalty from Season 1, 2 & 3. This season will have the whole world talking, and we can’t wait to show what makes Drag Race Down Under so special.”

Michelle Visage will feature today at a Stan content showcase at the Sydney Opera House today.

The Stan Original Series Drag Race Down Under is an 8×60’ World of Wonder production in collaboration with Warner Bros. International Production New Zealand for Stan in Australia, WOW Presents Plus everywhere else. Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, and RuPaul Charles serve as Executive Producers. Cailah Scobie (Stan), Amanda Duthie (Stan), Pip Rubira (WB), Nick Tanner (Passion) also serve as Executive Producers. Passion Distribution distributes the series globally in line with Passion Distribution and WOW’s distribution strategy.

11 Responses

  1. The Australian drag scene hasn’t really hit the same maturity as the US, meaning we don’t really have any modern drag “royalty” of the same scale (except Courtney Act who is obviously out of contention) but glad they’re trying this out! They’ve also had some drag queen hosts on Drag Race Canada, so maybe they’re testing the waters in the non-Ru franchises.

  2. These issues have been addressed. I hope they can be improved. Another issue I have is with the host being neither Australian nor Kiwi. This means they might not always get our humour or references. For example, in the first episode of the first season, an Indigenous queen walked down the catwalk showcasing her culture. Neither Michelle nor RuPaul understood it.

    1. The simple thing is I don’t think a host of drag race from its own country is a main thing …. look at Drag Race Beligium where Rita Baga who is originally from Canada hosts, Drag Race Mexico is co-hosted by Valentina who is not from Mexico and of course there is RuPaul who hosts Drag Race UK I will say when they dont get a local reference I think it makes it even funnier especially when the contestants has to point out the reference…. Just also remember what a drag queen wears on the catwork isn’t necessarily relevant to the theme …

  3. You’d think that they get an Aussie to host – while I don’t watch Drag Race, it feels silly to just have the American personalities hosting the show, when presumably there would be suitable Aussie (or kiwi) talent.

  4. Certainly a step in the right direction for the franchise. Let’s hope some of the budget that was allocated to Ru as host will be used to up production value. If they can get that right, I feel the franchise will be on track for a hit season.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, it’s been such a painfully cheap, and cheap looking, production to date. Other international versions have been doing a lot better, Spain and Italy in particular. But leaving them all in the shade has been the Pinoy “Drag Den” hosted by (RPDR alum) Manila Luzon. The set is incredible (especially season 2) and there’s a refreshed format and the unique Drag Cartel theme. The style of drag from the Philippines is also quite different to other countries and showcased with this production.

      But back to Down Under, there’s also a side issue of the hosts imposition of USA drag standards in different territories, this happens in the UK version as well, hopefully that might be mitigated a bit without Ru’s presence. So far Down Under has felt rather underwhelming.

  5. Such a shame Courtney Act seems to have completely distanced herself / been distanced from the Drag Race family as she would have been the obvious choice. Also, disappointing the Kiwi production team who have been doing such an anaemic job of our version hasn’t been switched out. Of course I’ll still watch every episode but they really need to oomph it up and I hope the uniqueness of Michelle at the helm helps with that..

    1. Courtney Act has been critical of World of Wonder for RuPaul’s comments about transgender women being unable to do drag. RuPaul later clarified her position to be more inclusive. In other words, she’s blacklisted by the production.

    2. Sorry I am so glad it wasn’t Courtney Act and they were never been a obvious choice and not just because of any comments made about World of Wonder. Find Courtney Act presentation still very one note in something I have seen them present. Completely have no issue with Michelle Visage hosting. It would also be interesting in the same series we have a female contestant. Look what happened in Drag Race Germany in the first season Pandora Nox won…..

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