RuPaul announces brand-new Drag Race judge joining her for Down Under spin-off: ‘The sexual tension is palpable’

Rhys Nicholson RuPaul Drag Race Down Under

RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under – an Australia and New Zealand spin-off of the hit show – has announced its third judge: Australian comedian Rhys Nicholson.

Rhys Nicholson will join his “new mummies” RuPaul and Michelle Visage on the new Drag Race series, which is set to premiere on streaming service Stan in Australia later this year. He said the first words that RuPaul said to him were “welcome to the family”.

“Ru and Michelle are like my new mummies,” Nicholson said in a statement. “I hope the editors took out the bits where I’m just staring at them wide-eyed trying to comprehend sitting next to them.”

He added that being part of the Australia and New Zealand version of the show and helping “expose the world” to “our distinctive and particularly magnificent style of down under drag will forever be a part of my life and an honour”.

RuPaul said Nicholson is the “perfect addition to the Drag Race Down Under family”. The iconic Drag Race host explained: “His quick wit, love of drag and willingness to carry Michelle Visage’s heavy luggage have already made him indispensable.”

The Australia and New Zealand queens competing in the new eight-part series will be unveiled during the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on Saturday (6 March).

Nicholson has earned acclaim at multiple comedy festivals, including an ARIA nomination for best comedy release. He also appeared in four episodes of the sketch comedy series Orange is the New Brown and participated in the news-based comedy show 7 Days from 2018 to 2019.

In a post on Instagram celebrating his joining the Drag Race cast, Nicholson apologised that audiences will “have to be dealing with these nasal tones for a while”. He added: “I”m absolutely beside myself to finally say out loud that I’m joining [RuPaul], [Michelle Visage] and the Drag Race family on Drag Race Down Under.”


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Visage commented on the post, saying “finally”, and Nicholson replied that fans will be able to witness the pair’s “palpable on-screen sexual tension”.