At the start of Mel B’s new drag talent show, she says she is looking for a new member of the Spice Girls to go on tour with.
But perhaps that won’t be necessary as the star has told Sky News it won’t be long until the five original members get back together.
“We are going to be doing some stuff, all five of us pretty soon, which is going to be announced,” she said.
“But yeah, I like giving a little bit of a dig to my girls – ‘I’m going to replace ya’ – not that I ever would or I ever could anyway.”
For fans desperate to know if that “stuff” means a Spice Girls tour, Mel had this to add: “There will be – if I’ve got anything to do with it.”
The Spice Girls last reunited for a tour in 2019, but as a four-piece without Victoria Beckham. The last time all five performed together was for the London Olympics in 2012.
For now, Mel is joining the second series of Queen Of The Universe, a talent show that sees drag queens from across the world singing live.
She’s on the panel along with returning judges including RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, actress and singer Vanessa Williams, and US drag superstar Trixie Mattel.
Despite being there to critique the queens, Mel is also sympathetic when things don’t necessarily go their way. She remembers how it feels to be on the receiving end, she says.
“I think back when Spice Girls were out, it was way harsher because we weren’t seen to be pushed to be so politically correct.
“So it was more like, ‘You’re fat, you’re this, you’re the wrong colour’ – whereas now it’s a little bit more inclusive and a little bit kinder, if I can say that.
“So it’s not as harsh, but the struggle is still there – I mean, on the show you get to hear some of the stories and the trauma that they’ve gone through to be still part of the drag community and still do their drag act, and it’s not an easy road at all for any of them.”
‘In drag, you will get cut down if you’re not good enough’
There’s no doubt that drag is gaining popularity – with shows such as Queen Of The Universe and RuPaul’s Drag Race bringing it to TV audiences across the world.
“I think because it’s more and more accessible in people’s everyday now, people are having to look at it and actually give it credit because it is an art form and it’s never going away,” says Mel. “So we might as well celebrate and all join in.
“It’s a tough world out there, just like any part of the entertainment world is, but particularly drag because you will get cut down if you’re not good enough or you have to learn the hard way.
“Being part of this show, I get to see it first and foremost right there in front of me, and I get to see stuff that goes wrong and how they can kind of turn it around and just make it part of the routine – you’ve got nails pinging off, you’ve got wigs being flung everywhere. It’s really dramatic.”
While giving her feedback, Mel doesn’t soften any blows. At one point, another member of the panel tells her to “stop being scary, Scary!”, in reference to her Spice Girls nickname.
Scary, Posh, Baby, Ginger and Sporty were the nicknames dished out to Mel and her bandmates when they first rose to fame in the 1990s. They instantly stuck after being dished out by a “teenybopper magazine” journalist. “It wasn’t a thing that we necessarily chose, but it was like, I don’t mind my name… well, let’s just roll with it then,” she says. “And it’s one of those things that just made sense so why even try and correct it?”
But she says that perhaps it suited her because she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks.
“I think maybe my northernish attitude can make it feel like I’m scary, but I’m just what you see is what you get. And I’m honest, which is why I like being on this panel because, you know, I’ve done these other shows before and some of the other judges have like a writer writing their stuff or they like to watch rehearsals.
“I’m not that person – I like to be in the moment and critique and comment on what I see right there in that moment, so I don’t always know what I’m going to say, but I know it comes from a good place and I’m always going to be honest.”
Mel might be direct, but some of the drag acts are happy to push back on what she says – something she has mixed feelings about.
“I do respect it, but then also you’ve got to think of why we’re on the panel in the first place – it’s to give our critique. And I’ve got so much experience from performing and doing Broadway and touring the world with the Spice Girls that I’m like, ‘No, I think I know a little bit more than you, otherwise you’d be sitting here’.”
Queen Of The Universe premieres on Paramount + in the UK on Saturday 3 June