Talent Recap

Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean Wins ‘RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race’

AJ Mclean on 'RuPaul's Drag Race Secret Celebrity' and AJ Mclean at the 2021 MTV Video Music AwardsRuPaul's Drag Race via Twitter, Photo by Kevin Mazur/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ ViacomCBS

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The winner of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race was announced during Friday’s finale, and Backstreet Boys star AJ McLean (aka Poppy Love) took home the title. His identity had previously been revealed earlier in the season.

AJ McLean Wins RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race

During the sixth episode of the show this season, the Top 5 drag queens revealed their identities. Along with McLean, other celebrities competing on the show included Tatyana Ali, Kevin McHale, Mark Indelicato, and Daniel Franzese.

“I am a completely different person, and it really all started this show,” McLean told People of how the competition changed him, calling it “the most liberating thing I think I’ve ever done.”

The Backstreet Boys singer (who previously wore drag at his wedding) said he found support on the show after getting sober in 2021. He also shared that the show inspired him to get liposuction on his neck and lose around 30 pounds through diet and exercise.

“I can say that I love myself today because of what I learned from this show,” McLean said. “I’m finally loving the body that I’m in.”


The Backstreet Boys Supported McLean’s Journey on the Show

McLean told PopSugar that he informed his fellow Backstreet Boys that he would be doing the show as soon as he found out. They apparently “all wished me the best of luck.”

“And they all said, ‘This is right up your alley. This is perfect for you and we hope you win it,'” McLean recalled. “They were very, very supportive. And I’ve told the guys, ‘Don’t knock it until you try it. You should definitely try it.'”

McLean went on to say that he thinks Kevin Richardson and Howie Dorough would be particularly good on the show. Might we see one of them in a future season? We’ll have to wait and find out.

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