Rita Ora Replaced by Mannequin After Alleged ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ No-Show
Rita Ora’s 2014 single “I Will Never Let You Down” hits different for RuPaul, now.
The British singer and songwriter reportedly pulled a last-minute no-show to an episode taping of RuPaul's Drag Race U.K. back in November 2020 after an alleged disagreement about bringing along her entourage to the set.
According to reports, COVID-19 restrictions limited alternative options and available guests for the show, which forced producers to scramble and replace her spot on the judges panel with... a mannequin.
In an episode that aired last week, a male mannequin based on Danny Dyer, an English actor who plays Mick Carter on BBC soap opera EastEnders, sat alongside the likes of RuPaul, Michelle Visage and Graham Norton, instead of Ora.
“Everyone on set was anticipating Rita’s arrival but, when she didn’t show up, producers had to use their heads and came up with the idea of decorating a mannequin. Surprisingly, it worked out OK and became a running joke,” a source claimed, according to Daily Mail.
Ora last appeared as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars in the U.S. in 2018.
The pandemic has proved to be a problematic time for the 30-year-old singer. Ora came under fire for throwing a birthday dinner with friends in November during the second COVID lock-down, ignoring official government restrictions. Lock-down regulations at the time had banned indoor meetings.
The artist was forced to pay a fine. She addressed the dinner party in a statement where she said her actions were an “inexcusable error of judgement.”
"Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lock-down and this would be OK ... I'm deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk,” she wrote on her Instagram Story. “This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgment. Given the restrictions, I realize how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility."
"I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe,” Ora added.
She also broke quarantine rules when she was paid to appear at an event in Egypt in November.
“I apologize again, unreservedly,” she told the Metro U.K. in a statement, in response to the backlash. “I would like to add that I have been tested subsequently, including today, and remain negative for COVID-19 and the same is true for all members of my immediate family who form my support bubble.”