The highly anticipated second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is finally here, and judge Rhys Nicholson believes they’ve discovered an OTT and addictive formula.
Speaking exclusively to So Dramatic!, Rhys revealed season two will be more unfiltered (and untucked) than ever before.
“In the first season, they really pulled out the big names in Australian drag. There was this pressure on the queens that the show ‘better be good’,” Rhys said. “This year, the queens have more freedom.”
How Introducing Up-and-Coming Queens Changed the Dynamic of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under
Rhys revealed that having newer queens meant the judges didn’t have established expectations, which created a whole new dynamic both on stage and in the “Werk” room.
“The girls aren’t tied to the fact that they are the first season of the show. They don’t have that hanging over them,” Rhys said.
In the second season, Rhys got to see a lot more of the getting ready process for the queens, admitting they hadn’t actually seen them all dressed “as boys” in the first season.
“I’m normally on the main stage. I didn’t see them until they were all out in front of me in season one. I go into the Werk Room a lot more this season,” he said.
They explained the show aimed to highlight the genuine, diverse and “wild” characters both on- and off-stage, rather than focusing too much on perfection.
Rhy Nicholson Breaks Down The Biggest Rumours of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under
RuPaul’s Race Race as a franchise has come under scrutiny over its 13-year run and its Down Under version was no exception.
One of the most prominent conspiracy theories that sparked during the inaugural season was that Ru Paul wasn’t really in Australia for filming. That seems like WAY more effort than just flying him in, LOL.
Rhys thought the rumours about RuPaul being green-screened on the show were hilarious, telling trolls to pick a side.
“If you don’t think we have the budget to film it properly, how do we have the budget to green screen Ru? I want the rumour this year to be I’m superimposed on. I’m not actually there. And Michelle is just a composite image,” he joked.
As we all know, reality TV constantly comes under scrutiny for the editing of contestants, plot lines and apparently even judges. Rhys admitted they could relate to the fear of getting a “bad” edit.
“I think everyone on the show is worried about the edit they get. I’m in a very privileged position on the show but I still question whether they cut out jokes,” they said.
Drag Race Down Under Host Rhys Nicholson Speaks About the Australian LGBTQI+ Community
Rhys – who identifies as queer and non-binary (he/they pronouns) – grew up in Newcastle and moved to Sydney when he turned 18. There was a small LGBTQIA+ scene in Newcastle when they were coming out, but there were only a few drag queens.
“There’s not even a gay bar in Newcastle anymore,” Rhys said, sounding shocked. “There are still queer spaces though”.
When they moved to Sydney, Rhys thought they would be more involved in the Oxford Street LGBTQIA+ party scene but quickly realised he preferred hanging out with “old queers” and going to cabarets.
“It’s about finding your tribe,” Rhys explained, joking he quickly found out they preferred wearing “three-piece suits” to clubbing until dawn.
They pointed out that queer culture evolved over time, with a lot of the younger generation being a lot more laidback than his generation had been.
“They [the younger LGBTQIA+ community] are just sitting down. The drugs they do are different too, they’re all doing downers. We’re an uppers generation,” the 32-year-old joked.
The generational differences in values and styles could also be seen on Drag Race Down Under, with this year’s contestants ranging from 21 to 49 years old.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Judge Rhys Nicholson’s Comedy Career Flourished in the Middle of a Pandemic
Rhys described seeing success in the middle of the pandemic as “survivor’s guilt”.
In 2020, Rhys filmed his Netflix special Rhys Nicholson Live at the Athenaeum, which led to RuPaul seeing it and wanting them as a judge on Drag Race Down Under.
“Well at least that’s what they tell me,” Rhys said, joking he’s still not convinced that RuPaul knew who they are.
They also starred in The Imperfects, an upcoming sci-fi series with big The Umbrella Academy and The Boys vibes.
It was filmed last year and hasn’t got a public release date yet. It’s is a new sensation for Rhys, who is used to the immediate gratification of being on stage.
“I’ve been a stand-up comedian for nearly 15 years now, but being patient is new for me,” he said.
The same thing could be said for Drag Race Down Under, which was filmed in New Zealand in early 2020.
“I’m not used to having secrets. I’ve been doing pressers for the past few days and I can’t say certain things…. Imagine if I just told you the Drag Race winner,” Rhys laughed. Um, please do!
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