The 11th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race kicks off this Thursday and, when it does, there’s a special in store: Miley Cyrus will be making a surprise appearance as a guest judge. She will be almost unrecognizable at first, though, as Cyrus went undercover to surprise the contestants.
She managed to avoid detection by dressing up as her drag king alter ego “Barry ‘B.J.’ Johnson,” as Cyrus and the show revealed on social media today. In the preview clips, Cyrus ditched her now-signature blonde hair for a brunette pixie cut and matching goatee. She also dressed up as a crew member to make the disguise all the more imperceptible. “They can’t see me at all? I’m freaking out!,”she says in one of the clips. “I’m going to go and meet the queens for the first time, but they don’t know they’re meeting me,” she says in another, explaining, “I wanted to go undercover with the ladies. So I’m going in as a crew member… I love me some f—ing beautiful women! Season 11’s not going to know what hit ’em.”
That much is certainly true. The upcoming season of the show, which premieres Thursday, at 9 p.m. ET on VH1, will hold plenty of other surprises for the contestants as well. Outside of Cyrus’ guest judge stint, the show will also be bringing appearances from Troye Sivan, Wanda Sykes, Cara Delevingne, Rachel Maddow, Kandi Burruss, Gina Rodriguez, and Tiffany “New York” Pollard, to name just some.
This will be Cyrus’ first time as a guest judge but her history with RuPaul’s Drag Race goes back further. Back in 2015, she famously hired some of the show’s alumni such as Shangela, Alyssa Edwards, Laganja Estranja and Gia Gunn for her 2015 MTV VMA performance of “Dooo It!” Plus, that same year, when the show was on its seventh season, Cyrus actually watched it from the audience during the finale.
As for how her cameo was received by the contestants, Cyrus managed to please both her fans and those who’ve taken issue with her antics in the past. As Ariel told Entertainment Tonight, “She’s going to be so much fun to watch. She always has such high energy. And we’re able to feed off of her energy … she gave really good feedback to us. She gave us a pep talk, made us feel really comfortable about the first episode.”
Meanwhile, Silky came from a different place: “I have to ask her like, ‘Miley, would you forgive me for judging you?’… Because I love her,” Silky told ET, before adding, “Even though she didn’t create twerking, that came from black people, honey, I still have a deep love for her and a newfound respect for her artistry.”
As Cyrus wrote on Instagram when sharing sneak peeks of her episode, “You heard me. If you ain’t tucked , you ain’t part of the f-ckin party!”