Entertainment Celebrity Kylie, Dannii Minogue and Taika Waititi to join ‘dragtastic’ judging panel
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Kylie, Dannii Minogue and Taika Waititi to join ‘dragtastic’ judging panel

The stars will join RuPaul for the upcoming first season of Drag Race Down Under. Photo: Getty/TND
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Start your engines, because some familiar faces are gracing the judging panel for the inaugural season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under. 

Kylie Minogue, her sister Dannii, and Academy Award-winning director Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok), are the first guest judges announced for the forthcoming season of the competitive drag show.

The season, which will air on May 1 on Stan, was filmed in New Zealand at the beginning of the year.

Contestants were revealed during Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in March, and featured a number of Australia’s most well-known drag queens.

In a statement, Kylie said she was “SO excited” to help the long-running show’s regular judges, RuPaul Charles, Michelle Visage and Rhys Nicholson, crown the first Australian or Kiwi queen.

“It’s such an iconic show and I can’t wait to watch the contestants perform their hearts out,” Kylie said.

Kylie’s younger sister Dannii will also help decide the next Drag Race superstar, and revealed she shared a tense moment with contestants on the series’ behind-the-scenes spin-off, Untucked. 

“I got to have a cheeky Untucked chat with the girls,” Dannii said in a statement.

“They had come straight from the runway challenge so it was exciting and tense all at the same time, not knowing who was going to have to lip sync for their life.”

It is unclear whether this season of Drag Race will adopt the structure of earlier seasons, where each episode featured a new guest judge, or if it will recreate latest season’s structure, meaning Waititi and the Minogues would return to judge multiple episodes.

Contestant controversy

Those who frequent drag clubs and comedy festivals will be excited to catch some of the scene’s most popular performers showing off their “charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent”.

But they aren’t without some scandals of their own.

Scarlet Adams, whose real name is Anthony Price, was recently accused of racism when images of her in Blackface were unearthed.

Images also showed the performer playing a stereotypical Asian character wearing a Sari.

“There is no way to sugar-coat it, when I was a teenager roughly eight years ago I performed in Blackface/cultural appropriation,” Adams said in a statement.

“I was young and ignorant. I am no longer this person.”

Comedian Karen From Finance will also compete for the coveted crown, but found herself in the centre of social media storm about a controversial tattoo.

Otherwise known as Richard Chadwick, the performer was spotted with a large golliwog tattoo, a racist caricature of Black people, on her leg.

“I’ve committed to an ongoing journey of accountability, activism and education, and to uncover and unlearn any and all racial bias – conscious or unconscious – that may or may not be embedded within me,” she said, adding that the tattoo had since been covered.