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Get Ready for 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 12

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By Bailey Banks

There's no doubt that drag as an art form is having a cultural moment. It's bigger than ever, primarily thanks to RuPaul's Drag Race, the hit reality show in which drag queens compete against each other for a cash prize of $100,000. In recent years, RuPaul's show--now on its 12th season--has won Emmys and fueled spin-offs across the globe. And, just last week, RuPaul hosted Saturday Night Live. You definitely won't want to miss the new season of Drag Race that comes out this February, so here's everything you need to know before it premieres.

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When and Where Will 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 12 Premiere?

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RuPaul's Drag Race Season 12 will premiere on Friday, February 28th at 8/7c. The new season will air weekly on VH1, and likely will not be available without a VH1 subscription. It is possible that as we near closer to the premiere date, the Drag Race production team will reveal more information about where the show can be streamed. However, as of now, it seems like the only way to watch the new season as it airs will be with a VH1 subscription. If you don't have access to VH1, you might want to check out your local gay bar, as many bars host weekly Drag Race viewing parties. In the meantime, you can catch up on old episodes of the show on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

What Can You Expect?

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The 12th Season of RuPaul's Drag Race will feature 13 drag queens competing for the crown of America's Next Drag Superstar along with a cash prize of $100,000. Contestants on Drag Race often find their booking fees to accelerate greatly after being on the show, so competing can be an excellent opportunity even if you don't win. VH1 recently announced the names of all queens who will be featured on Season 12 and released a series of "Meet the Queens" videos introducing each contestant. This season features a variety of queens with aesthetics ranging from high-fashion to campy to theatrical to pageant-y. The theme for this season's promo shoot was America. Past seasons of the show have included sewing challenges, fashion runways, and lipsynch battles, and you can expect more of the same this season. Plus, there's always sure to be plenty of drama and colorful costumes.

Who Judges?

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RuPaul is, of course, the host and main judge on Drag Race, but she's also joined by a handful of permanent and rotating guest judges. Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley, and Ross Matthews will all be returning to the show as permanent judges. Visage has been RuPaul's wing-woman on the judging panel since the second season of the show, and Kressley and Matthews both joined for Season 7. Although most of the guest judges haven't been announced yet, the RuPaul's Drag Race official Instagram account did reveal that Nicki Minaj will be the very first special guest of Season 12. With such an established rap diva on the judging panel, the new season of Drag Race is sure to start out on the right foot. Previous season premieres have seen Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, and Miley Cyrus grace the RuPaul's Drag Race judging panel.

Is There Any Controversy?

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In past years, RuPaul has come under fire for making insensitive remarks regarding transgender competitors. Many fans and alumni of the show think that Drag Race should be more inclusive to all genders, particularly transgender women. When the Season 12 cast was announced, some noticed that there were no transgender women competing. Many viewers took to Twitter to begrudge and condemn the lack of diversity in the new cast. Among such voices was Detox, a beloved queen who competed on the show twice.

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