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RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to Australia – and here’s who will be hosting

An Aussie favourite is said to be out of contention - but another big name is not!
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Start your engines – RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to Australia! But don’t hold your breath for the Australian version to be hosted by Aussie drag megastar and season 6 alum Courtney Act. Sources say it may in fact be another graduate from the same season, Bianca Del Rio, who gets cast – she has already proved a huge success with Aussie audiences after four sell-out tours

The mega-popular American reality show, which has recently spawned versions in the UK and Thailand, will be launching an Australian edition next year – and now everyone is asking what it will look like.

LISTEN: Courtney Act drops bombshell about relationship with RuPaul

While RuPaul and offsider Michelle Visage trekked to the UK to host, it is believed that no such arrangement has yet been locked in for the Aussie version. While some see reality TV fixture Courtney as a shoe-in for the role of host, one insider says her decidedly bumpy histories with both RuPaul and Visage make that ‘highly problematic’, and also ‘pretty damned unlikely’.

Ru and Courtney famously fell out over the US host’s past negative comments – since retracted and apologised for – on the issue of whether transgender contestants should appear on a show about drag and gender illusion.

‘Ru as a cis man having conversations about, and rule over, women’s bodies is alarmingly in line with the current swing of conservative politics,’ said Courtney at the time.

An incensed RuPaul allegedly blocked Courtney on Twitter after the spat, but denied any feud.

RuPaul's Drag Race
Courtney was a sensation on Drag Race (Credit: Getty Images)

However Courtney’s catalogue of sometimes brutally honest comments about the star and show could make it very difficult to get cast on Drag Race again.   

Courtney – real name Shane Jenek – told JOY FM’s Word For Word host Benjamin Norris that she was not friends with RuPaul – who is famed for not getting close to any contestants during filming.

‘RuPaul is there in the room, what you see on TV is all of what you get, there is not anything beyond that,’ Courtney said.

When asked of the lack of friendship, ‘Does that make you not like him?’, Courtney responded, ‘I’ve chosen to focus on that legend of RuPaul, just like with everyone there is the legend and there is the human.’

Asked previously if she would ever return to the show as a contestant, Courtney has said no.  She has previously questioned the editing on the show, which she alleges made her look bitchy.

‘I love watching Drag Race so much – I’m a huge fan of the show – but I don’t think I would go back into the frying pan,’ she told British TV show The Wright Stuff.

‘I feel like I made it in and made it out alive, but I wouldn’t wanna tempt fate. I loved it. I really loved it, but I love watching it more.’

Bianca Courtney
Bianca Del Rio, Adore Delano and Courtney Act (Credit: Getty Images)

Not helping matters is the fact that Courtney has publicly thrown shade at RuPaul’s close friend and show fixture, Michelle Visage. 

Recently asked who was the ‘bitchiest queen she knows’, Courtney replied: ‘Can I say Michelle Visage actually?

‘I think we just rub each other the wrong way. We bond on many levels, but then there’s also this element where I just feel like she doesn’t like me.’

While no Aussie TV network has yet been locked in, the show is scheduled for a 2020 launch. The US version has been hugely successful locally on streaming service Stan, and also enjoyed a brief run on the ABC. 

WATCH: Courtney Act reveals why Michelle Visage ‘doesn’t like her’

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‘Yes ITV Studios Australia have secured the rights to arguably one of the biggest formats globally at the moment,’ confirmed ITV company CEO David Mott to TV Tonight.

‘With Drag Race UK about to launch and already a major hit in the US and other territories we are set to shantay onto Australian screens in 2020.

‘Drag Race has moved on to being a show that captures the imagination of everyone, no matter their age or gender and we will commence discussing with potential broadcast and streaming partners shortly. It will be one of the most talked about and noisy formats next year.’

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul: Will he host the Aussie version? (Credit: Getty)

The show already has some strong Aussie links. Offscreen, host RuPaul is married to an Australian man, Georges LeBar, and many of the former contestants have successfully toured Australia, and are highly familiar to and with local audiences.

Could one of them be cast as host? One source in the know suggests so: ‘Watch out for Bianca Del Rio – her last tour here was very big and she’s the funniest of the lot.’

As for RuPaul himself, a local appearance has not been ruled out, pending schedules and the right offer. Visage might be a more realistic option for a major role, says one source, with the star having accepted a number of overseas reality TV roles in the past, recently in both Ireland and the UK. 

WATCH: Bianca Del Rio thrills Australia 

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