Nicki Minaj to Guest-Judge on 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 12 Premiere

The hip-hop superstar will help the Emmy-winning series kick off a new cycle when it returns to VH1 on Feb. 28.
Rich Fury/Getty Images for Billboard
Nicki Minaj

VH1 on Thursday announced that hip-hop superstar Nicki Minaj will join RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews as a guest judge on the season 12 premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race.

In recent years, the Emmy-winning reality competition series has welcomed a string of notable names — mostly of the pop diva variety — to help kick off each season, with Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga appearing as inaugural judges for the last three premieres.

Season 12 of Drag Race will feature 90-minute episodes followed by its Emmy-nominated aftershow, RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked, which gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the workroom while the judges are deliberating on the participating drag queens' performances.

Those competing for the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" in 2020 include Aiden Zhane (Acworth, Ga.), Brita (New York, N.Y), Crystal Methyd (Springfield, Mo.), Dahlia Sin (Los Angeles), Gigi Goode (Los Angeles), Heidi N Closet (Ramseur, N.C.), Jackie Cox (New York, N.Y.), Jaida Essence Hall (Milwaukee, Wis.), Jan (New York, N.Y.), Nicky Doll (New York, N.Y.), Rock M. Sakura (San Francisco), Sherry Pie (New York, N.Y.) and Widow Von’Du (Kansas City, Mo.).

Last August, host RuPaul spoke with The Hollywood Reporter In Studio on the set of Drag Race, where he revealed what he's looking for as the queens lip-sync for their lives throughout their fight for the crown.

"The lip-sync is always such a telling point of this whole experience because the girls are literally lip-syncing for their lives in this competition. And it could be the very last thing that people around the world see of their experience in doing the show," he said at the time. "I've seen a lot. Not just on this television program, but in lip-syncs since I started working in show business."

Continued RuPaul, "On this show, we’ve seen tears. We’ve seen a wig underneath a wig. What I’d like to see someone do is take out a set of teeth to reveal another set of teeth. That would be great. You know, alien drag."

The announcement of Minaj as a guest judge comes months after VH1 revealed the latest expansion of Drag RaceRuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race — which is set to premiere sometime in 2020. Each episode will feature three stars undergoing complete drag transformations with the help of beloved queens who have competed on past seasons of Drag Race, such as Alyssa Edwards, Trixie Mattel and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, among others.

Season 12 of RuPaul's Drag Race premieres Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. on VH1. Watch a promo for Minaj's appearance below.