On Thursday the cast for RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under was officially revealed and Rhys Nicholson stopped by to chat with Michael James about what to expect from season two.
Rhys was a judge on the first Aussie version of the show and was praised for his humour and good-natured critiques of the queens.
After filming the second season he reflects on what we can expect and what will be different the second time around.
Rhys Nicholson: “If you don’t like it, no one’s putting a gun to you to watch”
While not everyone was a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, it had some stellar moments with some wonderfully talented queens who truly shone.
But reflecting on whether fans loved or hated it Rhys was passionate about the work that went into the show.
“That’s the nature of everything” he laughed.
“It’s the nature of every single thing that’s happened. People either do like it or they don’t like it. That is the world.”
“If you don’t like it, no one’s putting a gun to you to watch the television program. The television program that people worked really hard, that people were very passionate about.”
Speaking of the negative comments and rumours, in particular, that RuPaul was not present for filming, he was equally passionate.
“He was! And it’s incredibly rude for people to think that he wasn’t there because of the amount of work that was put into him being there.”
“I get all riled up about it because it’s like the show is made for you, not in spite of you.”
“We really wanna make something that you like!”
Drag Race Down Under season two: Fresh faces and new stories
When filming wrapped on Season one of Drag Race Down Under Rhy Nicholson was pretty hopeful he’d be returning for a second season.
“On the last day of filming, when all the queens were gone, Michelle and I were sitting there having a quick chat to say goodbye.”
“Ru said ‘ok well I’m gonna go, but I will see you next year.’ And then Michelle said, that’s what he said to Santino.”
Despite the joke and the hopeful promise of a second season, nothing was certain.
“We didn’t know if we were going to get a season two. Like all pieces of content at the moment, you never know until it’s happening.”
But season two did happen and earlier this year Rhys travelled to New Zealand to film with this fresh batch of queens.
Despite being a judge, Rhys didn’t lay eyes on the queens until they hit the runway.
“I didn’t see them until they were all out in front of me.”
“What was great is that this year we do have some kind of newer queens. I feel like a lot of last year’s season were some well-known queens.”
“Whereas this year I didn’t know who a bunch of them were, I didn’t know what their stories were.”
“Having no expectations on any of the queens was pretty thrilling this year.”
But was there anyone Rhys had his money on from the beginning?
“There’s no point.”
“You don’t want to be like, that one! That’s my queen! Because Ru could just send them home.”
“Like a fan of the show, you’ve got to invest in all of them.”
What’s different for season two?
With so much focus and expectation on season two, we asked Rhys Nicholson about what to expect the second time around.
Will we see a change in production or will we keep it all about the queens?
“I think it needs to be about the queens and that’s the focus” he affirmed.
“There are definite evolutions in the show but like if people are demanding… you know there are absolutely some valid demands and I hope that people see those changes.”
“But at the same time maybe if it’s so hard for you to deal with the production values of this television program, maybe the world is a little bit tough.”
“I just hope that people can not just deal with the show, but enjoy it! ” he says.
“I mean, it’s a competition reality show about drag queens.”
“Yes, it’s very important, but it’s also not important at the same time.”
What does Rhys Nicholson think we should most look forward to?
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment in the show, especially without giving anything away, but Rhys does his best to let us know what to expect.
Overall it’s not the drama, the production or even the costumes that will shine through this season, it is the contestants.
“I think the fact that these are season two girls and they aren’t tied to the fact that they are the first season of the show.”
“There is a bit of, like a feeling of they don’t have the sword of ‘how is this going to work?’ kind of hanging over them.”
“So there is a freedom to them.”
There is a bit of like a ‘let’s fucking get this done’ type of vibe. And it was a real thrill to watch.”
This is the crux of the season for Rhys, watching the queens grow, develop and find themselves through the season.
“There are some definite storylines in the show this year where you see proper like people having major developments and kind of as Oprah would say ‘ah ah’ moments in the show.”
“You think it’s good television. But it’s like happening in front of you and like seeing Ru at kind of full Rupaul talking about the inner saboteur kind of stuff.”
“That is the good shit in the show.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under will air exclusively on Stan in Australia from July 30th.
Watch our full interview with Rhys Nicholson and Michael James below.