We not only got a new season of RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race this year but an entire overhaul of the show as we knew it.
Celebrity Drag Race season 2 debuted on VH1 on Friday, August 12—finishing with a grand finale and crowning of this season's winner on September 30—and fans of the series may have noticed that things looked a bit different this time around: for one, Mama Ru traded in the usual Drag Race workroom for a live stage in front of a studio audience and also added the element of surprise to the show's sophomore season.
Nine celebrity performers competed each week in a classic lip-sync smackdown, but their identities were hidden The Masked Singer-style—thanks to copious amounts of wigs, liquid foundation and Elmer's Glue—from both the audience and the judges' panel, which included the usual lineup of RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews. One performer was eliminated each week and it was only then that the world found out who was behind all of that makeup and masquerading.
At least, that was the intended conceit. But after the first episode, viewers seemingly figured out who are the celebrities on Celebrity Drag Race. Were they right?
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Who are the celebrities on 'Celebrity Drag Race'?
Here are all of the famous folks who competed on Secret Celebrity Drag Race season 2:
- AC McLean of The Backstreet Boys, performing as "Poppy Love"
- Kevin McHale of Glee fame, performing as "Chic-Li-Fay"
- Tatyana Ali from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, performing as "Chakra 7"
- Daniel Franzese, a.k.a. Damian from Mean Girls, performing as "Donna Bellisima"
- Taylor Dayne, dance-pop icon behind songs like "Tell It To My Heart," performing as "Electra Owl"
- Thom Filicia from the original Queer Eye cast, performing as "Jackie Would"
- Mark Indelicato, from Hacks and Ugly Betty, performing as "Thirsty Von Trapp"
- Jenna Ushkowitz, McHale's Glee castmate, performing as "Milli Von Sunshine"
Who won 'Celebrity Drag Race' season 2?
Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean won Celebrity Drag Race season 2, earning $100,000 for the non-profit Trans Lifeline.
The first eliminated contestant from RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race season 2 was Loretta Devine, an actress-singer known for her roles on stage (she was one of the original Dreamgirls!) and screen, including Waiting to Exhale, Crash and Grey's Anatomy. Devine performed under the drag name "Fabulosity," lip-synching to Mary J. Blige's "Just Fine," but was unfortunately told to "sashay away" by Ru in week one.
During week two, '80s pop star Taylor Dayne—behind dance hits like "Tell It to My Heart"—was knocked out of the competition after a less-than-fabulous performance of “Last Dance" as her drag alter-ego, "Electra Owl."
In episode three, judge Carson Kressley got quite a shock when he, and the rest of the world, discovered that this week's departing contestant, the Lizzo-loving "Jackie Would," is his former Queer Eye costar Thom Filicia. "You're one of my favorite men in the entire world, and now you're one of my favorite women too!" Carson joked after the elimination.
During week four, fans had to say goodbye to Milli von Sunshine, a.k.a. Glee actor Jenna Ushkowitz, who had been mentored by Drag Race contestants Gottmik and Jujubee throughout the episode but, alas, still got knocked out during a lip-sync battle against fellow competitor Thirsty von Trap to Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You."
In fifth place this season was Donna Bellissima, a.k.a. Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese. And after portraying queen Celine Dion during a special celebrity Snatched Game, Kevin McHale's Chic-Li-Fay was eliminated during a Gaga-themed seventh episode, having performed the singer's "You and I."
That left three competitors for the season's grand finale: Tatyana Ali's Chakra 7, Mark Indelicato's Thirsty von Trap and AJ McLean's Poppy Love, the latter of whom proved the season's overall victor.
Fans guess the celebrities on 'Celebrity Drag Race':
Fans were quick to figure out who the celebrity contestants were during the series premiere, some based on voice alone:
KEVIN MCHALE I KNOW THATS YOU ON RU PAUL SECRET CELEBRITY DRAG RACE I KNOW YOUR VOICEAugust 13, 2022
We know this one is Loretta Devine on RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race! I know that voice anywhere! #SecretCelebrityDragRaceAugust 13, 2022
Ok first contestant on "Secret" Celebrity Drag Race is very obviously AJ McLean. They're not even trying to hide. Kudos to him for doing this though.August 13, 2022
They might as well delete the word "secret" and just make it Celebrity Drag Race. #SecretCelebrityDragRace pic.twitter.com/UbCmUWeHbmAugust 14, 2022
Where to watch 'Celebrity Drag Race' season 2?
Those located stateside can watch RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race season 2 on VH1. However, it is possible to take in all of the lip-sync liveliness outside of the United States with the help of a VPN.
A VPN is a handy piece of software that allows you to browse anonymously and change your IP address so your mobile, computer, or laptop thinks it's in another location. That means you can watch your favorite show, film or televised event—even if you’re away from home.
Our favorite VPN service is ExpressVPN, rated the best VPN in the world right now, by our colleagues at TechRadar. All Drag Race fans abroad have to do is turn on their VPN, set their location to America, and then they can view Secret Celebrity Drag Race on VH1 or using the VH1 app.
Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life.
More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.
When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.
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