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Just yesterday, on Feb. 14, Drag Race fans finally learned who some of the Drag Race UK judges would be for the very first season happening across the pond in London. While we already knew the competition’s namesake, RuPaul, and Ru’s best friend and closest confidante, Michelle Visage, would be taking a seat on the panel, we know who else will be joining them.
Two UK comedians, Graham Norton and Alan Carr, released videos onto social media yesterday making the big announcement — that they would make up part of the regular panel of Drag Race UK judges. This is not to be confused with the U.S. version’s celebrity guest judges who change up each episode, though Norton and Carr will be swapping the duty episode by episode, much like the arrangement Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews have Stateside.
Announcement!! No dog shit was laid in during this broadcast pic.twitter.com/WkndjvEdui
— Alan Carr (@AlanCarr) February 14, 2019
But today Carr let slip who will be appearing in the other available slot on the Drag Race UK judges panel: Paul O’Grady, a drag queen and comedian in his own right.
(For what it’s worth, a BBC spokesperson told PinkNews, “In his excitement, Alan may have got over-enthusiastic. As brilliant as Paul O’Grady is, the other judges on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK have yet to be confirmed.” So perhaps O’Grady will only be appearing on a single episode.)
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) February 14, 2019
Carr’s announcement squeaked out during an appearance today on BBC Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show. He also laughingly commented on how not one of the three men let slip to the others that they’d accepted the job.
“Isn’t it funny, no one said a word,” Carr said. “Everyone’s like, ‘Oh yes, did you hear they’re looking for judges on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK?’ And no one said a word. Everyone [was] keeping it secret.”
Interestingly, and as many queer outlets have been quick to point out, Paul O’Grady — who made a name for himself as drag queen Lily Savage — has previously been critical of the reality TV show. In 2017 he said of the show on BBC Four, “That’s not drag! It’s all about shading and contouring your face now and being like supermodels. … This new brigade who just parade around going, sashay, shantay—that’s not drag to me.”
The series is set to air later in 2019 on BBC Three, and the format will remain the same as the show’s American counterpart. Ten UK queens will compete for the title of “Queen of Great Britain” over eight 60-minute episodes.