Ballroom culture has a rich history dating back to 1920s Harlem, but the art form didn’t disappear before the turn of the century. With HBO Max’s Legendary, contemporary ballroom stars are finally getting their due: over the course of ten episodes, eight modern-day voguing houses use fashion, dance, and performance — and tons of shade — to compete for legendary status and a $100,000 cash prize.
The contestants won’t be the only icons on the show, though. As Pose fans know, every ball needs a whip-smart, entertaining, and fierce MC, which is why HBO Max tapped dancer, instructor, and King of Vogue Dashaun Wesley to host the unscripted series. DJ MikeQ will provide the music, and a panel of judges, including both ballroom legends and celebrities, will determine each house’s fate. Among these figures are chart-topping rapper Megan Thee Stallion and iconic house mother Leiomy Maldonado.
This is not to say there hasn’t been controversy surrounding Legendary’s casting choices. Shortly after the show was announced, a press release misreported that actress and ballroom newcomer Jameela Jamil would be the MC. Jamil clarified that she is just one of several judges, and also took the opportunity to come out as bisexual. “I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom,” she wrote. “But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show.” Since the backlash, HBO Max has adjusted their promotional language so as to not single out Jamil over the other judges.
New episodes of Legendary drop Wednesdays on HBO Max. Before you get to know the stars of each house, here’s your guide to the team of judges that will be assessing them each step of the way.