‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Alum Accuses ‘America’s Got Talent’ of Mocking Drag Queens
We’re still two months away from the premiere of America’s Got Talent Season 12, but the show can’t stop making headlines — for good and for bad.
Well, mostly bad, actually, with the long-running reality show dealing with host Nick Cannon’s dramatic exit, judge Mel B.’s shocking divorce, and now, a public battle with a RuPaul’s Drag Race champ!
Season 2 winner Tyra Sanchez, nee James Ross IV, just called out the NBC series for attempting to use him for what he claims was a cruel joke.
As he tells TMZ, producers tried to have him come on as Tyra Sanchez, only to bait and switch him last minute.
Though he thought it would be a fun bit alongside new host Tyra Banks, he soon came to find out they wanted to use him as a contestant — one who impersonates the supermodel!
“I was offended because they approached me in a way as if I was actually working with Tyra and not as if I was going to be competing for Tyra as Tyra Banks,” he starts.
The Drag Race alum continues, “And then even after I thought about it with my friends and we thought this could still be a great opportunity, you could still win a million dollars, I was like, ‘I’ll do it, but I’m not going to be Tyra Banks, I’m going to be myself, Tyra Sanchez.’”
After that, they apparently told him they could do the “whole drag queen thing” another time, insisting he appear as the other Tyra.
James continues, “You can’t really imitate Tyra Banks unless you’re smizing all the time or walking the catwalk, and I don’t think that would win America’s Got Talent.”
He then notes all of the past drag queens who have been on the show, and how judges “make fun” of them instead of celebrate them.
“The queens are there to be a joke for their ratings,” he maintains.
“I thought they wanted me to be part of a joke but in this case, once I read the emails, I realized that I am the joke, I’m not part of the joke. The joke is on me.”
Though he’d hoped to use this as “an opportunity” to change how drag queens are portrayed on the show, he ultimately realized it wasn’t worth the risk.
Now, he’s warning his fellow drag queens not to do the show or watch it until they change the treatment of their art.
Right now, AGT has yet to respond to his accusations. Stay tuned!
America’s Got Talent Season 12 premieres Tuesday, May 30 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
For more of Wetpaint’s coverage of America’s Got Talent, click below:
Tyra Banks Is the New Host of America’s Got Talent!
Nick Cannon Quit AGT Because He Was Treated Differently
17 Moments Proving ANTM Is Nothing Without Tyra
Nick Cannon Fires Management Team, Insiders Concerned for Mental Health
Nick & Mariah Match Their Twins In Adorable Outfits at the KCAs