RuPaul steps down as “Drag Race Down Under” host, Michelle Visage takes over judges panel

EW exclusively reveals that Visage will take the reins with RuPaul's blessing: "I can't wait to see the franchise continue to flourish," Ru says.

RuPaul's right-hand woman is taking center stage on RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under.

EW can exclusively reveal that Michelle Visage — Mama Ru's longtime best friend and RuPaul's Drag Race panelist — will take over for RuPaul as the host of the upcoming Drag Race Down Under season 4.

Regular judge Rhys Nicholson will remain on the panel, with additional seats being occupied by a rotating roster of Down Under queens throughout the season in addition to regular celebrity guest judges.

“It has been my great honor to bring Drag Race to Australasia. I can’t wait to see the franchise continue to flourish under the leadership of the incredible Michelle Visage," RuPaul — who will remain on board as a Down Under executive producer — tells EW in a statement, while Visage adds: "Thank you, RuPaul, for entrusting me with one of your beloved shows. The color, humor, and outrageousness of Down Under drag holds a special place in my heart. I'm ready to do everything in my power to encourage these beautiful queens to believe in themselves and let their inner light shine through."

<p>World of Wonder</p> Michelle Visage takes over for RuPaul as 'Drag Race Down Under' host

World of Wonder

Michelle Visage takes over for RuPaul as 'Drag Race Down Under' host

The move marks the first time that Visage, a former member of the girl group Seduction, will preside over an entire Drag Race spinoff, after she joined the American Drag Race iteration as a permanent co-judge on season 3 in 2011.

Visage has regularly worked alongside RuPaul throughout her career, including as the cohost of his VH1 talk series The RuPaul Show between 1996 and 1998. On her own, Visage became an even bigger star in Europe in recent years, having competed as a contestant on the United Kingdom's Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Big Brother, as well as joining the judging table on Ireland's Got Talent.

To date, Drag Race Down Under has crowned three winners: Kita Mean, Spankie Jackzon, and Isis Avis Loren. Season 4 is set to welcome 10 new queen competitors from Australia and New Zealand, who will compete for a cash prize and the title of Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar.

Drag Race Down Under season 4 premieres later this year exclusively on the WOW Presents Plus subscription streaming app in the United States and other select territories (including New Zealand), as well as on Stan in Australia.

Subscribe to EW's Quick Drag podcast for recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including reactions from the cast, special guests, and more.

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Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.