A DRAG artist will once again be given the chance to sashay to the top as the second champion of Drag Race Philippines, the successful reality competition show that premiered in the country last year on discovery+, HBO Go, and WOW Presents Plus.

Based on the original American series RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Filipino version aims to find the Philippines’ next “Drag Superstar.”

“Last year was fantastic and this year is going to be bigger and better. We’re very proud to bring back Drag Race Philippines for season two,” Warner Brothers’ discovery+ Vice-President for Asia Pacific Daniel Tan said at the launch on Aug. 1 at Xylo at the Palace, Bonifacio Global City.

Award-winning actor and “transformation” queen Paolo Ballesteros, or Mamwa Pao, will return as host. RuPaul’s Drag Race alumna Jiggly Caliente and presenter and Karen Davila impersonator KaladKaren will also return as resident judges.

Almira and Mylene Cercado of the P-pop girl group 4th Impact, actresses Maricel Soriano, Gloria Diaz, and Anne Curtis, social media creator Bretman Rock, and Thai drag queen Pangina Heals are among the guest judges in season two.

Precious Paula Nicole, a drag artist from Camarines Norte who has been performing for 12 years, won the title of first Filipino drag superstar in the first season.

She shared that, on the way to the viewing party venue, she was reminded of coming to the O Bar to start being a drag queen many years ago.

“I was told by my boss that if I didn’t improve within three months, I wouldn’t make the cut,” she told the audience. “Fast forward to today. I’m very grateful to Drag Race for opening the doors for me and my sisters.”

For Precious Paula Nicole, season two will prove that there are still many doors to open and many beautiful, talented, fierce Filipino queens who have yet to show the world what they can offer.

In the second season of Drag Race Philippines, 12 drag performers will be racing to the finish line. But first, they will do so by completing challenges in two groups of six — a controversial move that marks a big departure from season one.

The queens in the first group are:

Arizona Brandy, a performer at the Cubao drag bar Rapture, has a persona that focuses on her fondness for drinking and philosophy of not taking life too seriously.

Captivating Katkat, a prominent transgender woman and drag queen who performs at The One 690 Entertainment Bar, garnered viral attention for her rendition of “Let It Go.”

M1ss Jade So, another transgender woman, considers herself a “power top bratz doll” and is known for her impeccable sense of fashion and fantasy.

Matilduh calls herself a “multimedia drag superstar,” using her skills as an events designer and florist in her drag appearances and performances.

Nicole Pardaux is the face of Cebu drag and aims to show through her artistry and flair what the Queen City of the South has to offer.

Tiny Deluxe, a newcomer to the industry, started off as a singer and hopes to eclipse the shadow of her drag mother, season one alumna Viñas Deluxe.

The queens in the second group are:

Astrid Mercury, who performs at Nectar, Club Level, and Chelu, is renowned for mesmerizing looks, supplemented by her background as a former cheerleader and stunt queen.

Bernie, the third transgender woman competing this season, has over 16 years of experience in the Manila drag scene and is a regular performer at O-Bar.

DeeDee Marié Holliday, whose fiery talents have been known globally for over a decade, advocates for AIDS awareness while showing love and passion for drag.

Hana Beshie from Cagayan de Oro City blends camp and creativity in her art, including her name which is a pun on the appliance brand Hanabishi.

ØV CÜNT is the provocateur of the season, known for showcasing the darker and edgier side of drag and shattering creative boundaries.

Veruschka Levels is a Hong-Kong based Filipino drag artist whose skills as a photographer and makeup artist help her show off her beauty and artistry.

The competition will follow the 12 drag queens as they battle it out in obstacles that require creativity and confidence, from photoshoots and talent shows to the dreaded elimination lip-sync showdowns.

New episodes of Drag Race Philippines will be released every Wednesday, and the spin-off and after-show, Drag Race Philippines: Untucked, releases new episodes every Friday. The shows stream on discovery+, HBO GO, and WOW Presents Plus. — Brontë H. Lacsamana