The Down Under drag race is on! Following days of speculation, reports and sightings, we can confirm that production will resume on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under in New Zealand this week.

Australian streaming service Stan, which is owned by Nine, confirmed they will premiere the eight-part Stan Original Series later this year with RuPaul hosting, alongside judge Michelle Visage.

The series is a World of Wonder production in collaboration with Warner Bros. International Production New Zealand. As well as Australia and New Zealand, it will air in other countries.

“I cannot wait for everyone to see that Down Under queens have some of the biggest charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talents in the world,” RuPaul said in a press release obtained by ET Canada. “Thank you to Stan and TVNZ for providing a platform for these outrageous drag artists to share their heart, soul and humour.”

RuPaul is executive producing the project, alongside Tom Campbell and World of Wonder’s Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey. Passion Distribution will handle global distribution.
“The dazzling queens of Australia and New Zealand have always been an inspiration to us, so we are thrilled to team up with our local production partners Stan and TVNZ to bring the creative genius of drag down under to international audiences on WOW Presents Plus,” Bailey and Barbato said.

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“You asked for it Australia, and now we’re bringing it to you – finally, our very own Aussie Drag Race, the new Stan Original Series RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under!” added Stan Chief Content Officer Nick Forward. “The series is already a huge hit with our audience, so to now be working with RuPaul and the entire team at World of Wonder to create a local version is beyond a thrill. We can’t wait to reveal all the guest judges and see what our local queens bring to the global sensation that is RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

The series’ third judge, contestants and celebrity guests are yet to be revealed.

The news comes one day after Auckland, New Zealand, locals spotted Visage out and about in the city, with one recognizing the white stripe in the star’s hair. Described as “very friendly,” Visage happily greeted the fan and asked how they were.

New Zealand drag queen, Miss Geena, meanwhile snapped Visage strolling down hip shopping strip Ponsonby Road, while clutching an H&M bag.

“Omg I’m the worse paparazzi ever but just saw Michelle Visage walking down Ponsonby Road!!!!” Miss Geena enthused on Twitter.

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Another Twitter user shared a possible sighting of Visage on K Road, which is home to several LGBT+ nightlife hot spots.

According to New Zealand LGBT+ news outlet Express, RuPaul arrived in Auckland and commenced a 14-day hotel quarantine on January 7. The site reported that 10 Australian and two New Zealand drag queens will compete in the series.

Having effectively managed the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand’s borders are currently only open to returning residents, citizens and those who are able to obtain exemptions. All entrants must complete a two-week quarantine and undergo COVID-19 tests within 24 hours of arrival, and again on days three and 12.

It’s believed that the series was originally set to shoot in Australia, but moved to New Zealand due to circumstances related to the pandemic.

Other productions which have filmed in New Zealand during the global pandemic include James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog and Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel series.