Fans of uber-popular reality competition shows RuPaul's Drag Race and American Idol should absolutely watch Paramount Plus's Queen of the Universe — aka their sickening lovechild. With RuPaul Charles as executive producer and BAFTA Award–winning comedian Graham Norton as host, the drag queen singing competition series features no lip-syncing. These fierce queens can't rely on a Lip Sync for Your Life second chance.
A total of 14 diverse drag queens hailing from 10 countries across the world showcase their talents in front of superstar judges Michelle Visage, Trixie Mattel, Vanessa Williams, and Leona Lewis — all of whom boast gag-worthy vocals. Queen of the Universe is set up in a similar fashion to American Idol; the contestants perform in front of the judges. As for how eliminations work, it's a bit complicated.
How do eliminations work at the start of 'Queen of the Universe'?
At the beginning of the series, the judging panel decided eliminations. Critiques are based on the acronym WAP (which differs greatly from Cardi B's cheeky acronym). WAP stands for "What you're wearing," "All-star attitude," and, most importantly, "Performance."
In Episode 1, seven queens — who Graham Norton introduced as the "seven drag wonders of the world" — gave their all in legendary live performances based on the theme of the night: "This Is Me."
After each live performance, the judges gave their critiques according to the WAP acronym.
Toward the premiere episode's end, the nervous competitors lined up at the front of the stage while Graham prepared to dramatically announce the eliminated queen.
"In my hand I hold the name of the queen who will be eliminated tonight," he stated. It's all so ominous. But in a somewhat expected twist, no one was eliminated. They were safe to slay another day. Instead, the seven gagged and gooped queens were introduced to the second half of competitors (which includes former RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars contestant Jujubee), who magically appeared at the back of the stage.
"Your universe is about to expand," Graham said. The original seven were previously clueless to the fact there would be seven more competitors.
In Episode 2 (which is really the second half of the premiere), the second batch of seven performed in an identical manner. But in an unexpected twist, Graham announced that a whopping six of the 14 queens would be eliminated by the end of the episode. GASP! This left just eight remaining queens.
Competing queens Betty Bitschlap, Jujubee, Chy'enne Valentino, WooWu, Novaczar, and La Voix were eliminated and sent to pack their wigs.
The elimination process changed in Episode 3.
In Episode 3 — which had a "Turn Back Time" theme — the studio audience was given a bit of power. Similar to shows like The Masked Singer, the live studio audience voted on their favorite performances of the night. From there, the fate of the three contestants with the least amount of votes — aka the Bottom Three — were put in the hands of the vocally gifted judging panel.
Michelle, Trixie, Vanessa, and Leona then decided which of the Bottom Three queens should go home. We're assuming this is how eliminations will be carried out for the rest of the season.
The surprises didn't end there, however, as previously eliminated queen La Voix was brought back into the competition!
And because RuPaul likes to play games, the newly eliminated queen wasn't revealed at the end of Episode 3, as the episode ended with a "to be continued..." note plastered on the screen. We just want to know who got the boot!
We'll be firmly holding on to our wigs from here on out, because we have a feeling Queen of the Universe is going to snatch them every week.
New episodes of Queen of the Universe air Thursdays on Paramount Plus.