'Canada's Drag Race' changes judging panel with Brugel, Goreski and Melchor

·2 min read

TORONTO — "Canada's Drag Race" has some new faces on its main judging panel for season 2, premiering later this year.

Streaming service Crave says actor Amanda Brugel, fashion personality Brad Goreski and CTV's "etalk" senior correspondent Traci Melchor join Brooke Lynn Hytes to critique the drag-queen contestants.

Brugel, Goreski and Melchor replace two previous resident judges — actor and activist Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and supermodel Stacey McKenzie, who were on season 1 with Hytes.

The show's Twitter account said this week McKenzie "won't be able to return for Season 2 due to COVID-related challenges."

And Hytes and McKenzie announced on Instagram in March that Bowyer-Chapman wouldn't return because of a scheduling conflict with his role in the upcoming Disney-Plus series "Doogie Kameāloha, M.D."

Like "RuPaul's Drag Race," the Toronto-shot version sees drag artists compete in a series of challenges for the title of the Next Drag Superstar and a grand prize of $100,000.

Melchor was also on season 1 helping the queens in a role dubbed Canada's Squirrel Friend.

Crave says Melchor and Brugel will appear throughout the season but won't be in every episode, while Hytes and Goreski will be on each episode.

The show won five Canadian Screen Awards in May, including best reality/competition program or series and best host or presenter for Hytes, Bowyer-Chapman and McKenzie.

Bell Media has said the series is one of Crave's top performers.

But its queens and judges have been the target of hateful online comments, prompting Crave to issue a statement last August saying "there is no place for hate in the 'Canada's Drag Race' community, or anywhere."

Bowyer-Chapman deleted his Twitter account last summer after facing online criticism for his pointed critiques.

At the time, "Rupaul's Drag Race" season 6 contestant Osmond Vacious, a.k.a. Vivacious, wrote on Instagram that the criticism forced Bowyer-Chapman to limit his interaction with fans.

"The bullying has to stop," Vacious wrote.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2021.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

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