Simon and Blake, sashay away.
Actor and recording artist Vanessa Williams, drag queen luminary Trixie Mattel, pop music star Leona Lewis and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” perennial Michelle Visage have joined the judging panel for “Queen of the Universe,” the Paramount Plus reality competition show showcasing a global cast of drag queens singing — not lip-syncing — for the crown.
All four judges have extensive experience in the worlds of music, drag, and reality TV competitions. Williams, a former Miss America, has earned multiple Grammy and Emmy nominations and was a contestant on “RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race” in 2020. Mattel, who won Season 3 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” has released multiple chart-topping studio albums. Lewis, who won the UK version of “The X Factor” in 2006, was a guest judge on the German drag competition series “Queen of Drags” in 2019. And Visage, who has been a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for 11 seasons, performed in multiple music groups in the 1990s and released several chart-topping singles.
The judges will be joined by “Queen of the Universe’s” emcee, comedian and talk show host Graham Norton.
Much like “RuPaul’s Drag Race” reimagined the formats of “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway” through a drag lens, “Queens of the Universe” aims to makeover an “American Idol”-style singing competition series with drag queen contestants — and with a global perspective.
The series, which is shot in London, will feature contestants from 10 countries — including the U.S., Mexico, China, India, England and Canada — performing in person in front of the judges and a live audience.
Over the past two years, World of Wonder has aggressively expanded “Drag Race” internationally, with versions set in Canada, the U.K., Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, the Philippines and Australia and New Zealand either already streaming, in production or soon to premiere.
“Queens of the Universe,” however, is the company’s first major attempt to expand beyond the “Drag Race” brand, in partnership with MTV Entertainment Studios.
The show will debut on Dec. 2 on Paramount Plus in the US, and will stream on various services in Latin America, Australia, Canada and Scandinavia.