DragPodcastPop CultureThe Randy Report

Vanessa Williams Talks All Things ‘Queen Of The Universe’

International recording artist and actress Vanessa Williams knows what it takes to win a talent competition, and she’s not afraid to share.

The Grammy/Tony/Emmy-nominated artist is serving as one of the judges for the new drag-tastic reality series Queen of the Universe produced by World of Wonder.

Drag superstar Trixie Mattel, UK pop star Leona Lewis, and RuPaul’s Drag Race guru Michelle Visage join Williams in handling judging duties.

Vanessa Williams (image via Paramount+)

The show pits drag queens from around the world throwing down impressive vocals as they sing live competing for the title and the $250,000 prize money.

No stranger to drag, Williams has appeared as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. And, in 2020, she competed as “Vanqueisha De House” on RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race.  The former Miss America not only won her episode, but Williams donated her $30,000 prize to The Trevor Project. 

Impressive vocals, choreography, glamorous production values, glitter bombs galore and more are all a part of the “Queen of the Universe” proceedings.

Related: Vanessa Williams hosts “A Capitol Fourth – 40th Anniversary Edition”

The Randy Report recently chatted with the superstar about what she really thinks of the singers, her role as a judge, and more. One surprise nugget: even the judges don’t know who will win the title!

Just some excerpts – Williams’s thoughts on being a judge in a talent competition:

“Judging is so one dimensional. I think we’re there to instruct, help, guide, and suggest – as opposed to rip and tear down somebody. I want to see them be their best, have fun, show up on time and be a professional.”

Was Williams, a multi-platinum-selling recording artist, surprised by the queens vocal prowess during the competition?

“We were – particularly Ada Vox. Also, we don’t see any of the (background) packages that you see. We know where they’re from – but we don’t know their stories unless they tell us on the runway. But they keep getting better and better each week.”

Vanessa also talks about her work as a founder of Black Theatre United and her upcoming starring role in Stephen Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle at Carnegie Hall.

Hit the play button below to listen.

Randy Slovacek

Randy Slovacek is the owner & editor of The Randy Report covering the daily news cycle in terms of politics, pop culture and entertainment news of interest to the LGBTQ community. He's also a senior editor at Instinct Magazine.

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