‘Queen of the Universe’ Judges Reveal What They’re Looking for in the Season 2 Winner


The first thing that struck returning “Queen of the Universe” judges Michelle Visage, Trixie Mattel and Vanessa Williams was how beautiful the Season 2 contestants were. TheWrap caught up with the trio ahead of Friday’s season premiere.

“The first day on a drag show is exciting for me because that’s when you see everybody for the first time,” Visage, who also serves as a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” said. “I love that.”

“There was a few the first day when they walked out where we looked at each other like ‘This bitch,'” Mattel recalled. “Some of these competitors are so beautiful. Their faces, the way the light hits it, the way these competitors know how to apply makeup for TV — these are some of the prettiest queens I’ve ever seen in my life, to be honest.”

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But ultimately, “Queen of the Universe” is a singing competition, and all three judges agree that vocals and performance ability trumps beauty when determining the eventual winner.

“I prioritize voice and performance over drag,” Visage said. “Because drag can be learned and taught and improved. But pitch — you either got it or you don’t. That’s just the fact. So for me, performance and vocals have to go hand in hand, and then drag.”

“I agree with Michelle because drag can be improved over time, your point of view and dragging a ball over time,” Mattel concurred. “Being able to sing in front of people the same way you sing the best in your bedroom, that’s like a real talent. So I think performance and the singing go together, that’s the most important thing.”

“On Season 1, we had a frontrunner that could have stole the whole thing,” Williams added. “And for some reason, she changed the key at the last moment. When it came time to perform, we were sitting there and this queen was singing completely in the wrong key. And you couldn’t deny it. She had the voice, had the power, but clearly could not hear the music. But it still comes down to the performance and the audience. And we knew that it wasn’t right. So it can be disastrous.”

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Tough feedback, but with a $250,000 cash prize on the line, they want to crown the very best of the best.

The international competitors this season include:

  • Aura Eternal (Palermo, Italy)

  • Chloe V (Rio de Janeiro)

  • Jazell Royale (Orlando, Florida)

  • Love Masisi (Amsterdam)

  • Maxie (Manila, Philippines)

  • Militia Scunt (San Francisco)

  • Miss Sistrata (Tel Aviv, Israel)

  • Taiga Brava (Cancun, Mexico)

  • Trevor Ashley (Sydney, Australia)

  • Viola (Coventry, England, U.K.)

Season 2 of “Queen of the Universe” will premiere on Paramount+ with two back-to-back episodes exclusively on the service Friday, June 2, in the U.S. and Canada, and on Saturday, June 3, in the U.K., Latin America, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Australia.

Williams can’t wait for Season 2 to premiere.

“The production value this season, the dancing, the pyrotechnics, the glamour onstage is mesmerizing,” the beauty queen turned singer said. “You have opera, you’ve got R&B, you’ve got pop, you’ve got every genre of music. And they’re belting it and singing for their lives. So it’s amazing!”

Get a sneak peek with this clip of Israel’s Miss Sistrata singing below: