One look at Mother Minaj on the Drag Race panel, and it’s clear: All of these [drag queens] are her sons.
Rap superstar Nicki Minaj will make her RuPaul’s Drag Race guest-judging debut on the upcoming season 12 premiere, and EW has the exclusive first look at the icon seated among the Emmy-winning reality show’s panelists for the first time.
“I pledge allegiance to the drag!” Minaj previously said in a promotional video announcing her Drag Race guest spot, which also teased her runway reactions — including particular praise for a contestant who looks “like a Barbie out of the box.”
Minaj has yet to appear on Drag Race in the flesh, but has had a hand in shaping various elements of the show’s history, with season 10 competitor (and eventual All-Stars 4 champion) Monét X Change performing one of the most memorable lip-syncs to the rapper’s 2012 single “Pound the Alarm,” while Trinity K. Bonet previously portrayed Minaj during the season 6 Snatch Game celebrity impersonation challenge. Minaj also has built up a steady roster of reality show judging gigs, including a one-season stint on American Idol (alongside Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, and Keith Urban) and a guest spot on America’s Next Top Model‘s cycle 17 All-Stars edition.
Speaking exclusively to EW for the first round of season 12 interviews, RuPaul revealed that “the best word to describe season 12 is ‘OVANESS!’” before teasing that “producers have come up with twisted, outrageous challenges that raise the bar for all competition of reality” and promising “truly legendary” guest judges (more of which are expected to be announced in the weeks ahead).
RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 premieres its first 90-minute episode Friday, Feb. 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET on VH1. Check out EW’s exclusive sneak peek at Minaj’s guest appearance above.
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