Secret Celebrity Drag Race queen Kevin McHale says Glee costar Lea Michele would kill the reading challenge

Kevin McHale is certain his former Glee costar Lea Michele can read — at least when it comes to opening the RuPaul's Drag Race library.

The latest RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race eliminee tells EW in his exit interview that, despite the ridiculous internet conspiracy theory alleging that Michele is illiterate, he thinks she'd kill a series of playful "reads" on the set of the Emmy-winning show.

"I hope she does a TikTok with that. It would be great if someone edited her into a reading challenge on Drag Race," McHale — who competed on Celebrity Drag Race as fierce queen Chic-Li-Fay — jokes to EW, referencing Michele's debut TikTok in which she ran with the joke about her lack of literacy. "In all seriousness, I do think she'd be great. Meme-wise, I think they need to put her in one of those scenes, and then just have crickets playing. Maybe she should do it, she seems like she's leaning into it."

Kevin McHale, RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race, Lea Michele
Kevin McHale, RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race, Lea Michele

MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images; World of Wonder; Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Kevin McHale says 'Glee' costar Lea Michele would kill 'Drag Race' reading challenge.

RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race continues Friday at 8 p.m. ET on VH1. Read on for EW's full exit interview with McHale, in which he reveals what it was like kiki-ing backstage with fellow Glee alum (and Celebrity Drag Race competitor) Jenna Ushkowitz, addresses fan theories that Amber Riley is on the current season of The Masked Singer, spills on attempting to redeem the good name of his drag mother, Brooke Lynn Hytes, with a Celine Dion Snatch Game, and reveals whether or not he'll see Michele in Funny Girl on Broadway.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It looked like you were having the time of your life on that stage.

KEVIN MCHALE: It was a lot of hard work, but I was like, I'll never be the same. I was such a cliché. By the second episode I was like, everyone needs to do this at least once.

Will you continue to do drag after this?

We had the best setup possible, where it felt like we just had to show up and perform. We weren't doing our makeup or coming up with our outfits. It took an army to get us ready and feeling right, though it was uncomfortable. It romanticizes how hard drag is and how good these queens are that are doing all of these different things by themselves.

So, no shake-and-go wigs for you at a bar on Friday night?

I started at the top! I now know what it's like to be at the pinnacle, the best it can get. A shake-and-go wig from CVS isn't going to cut it.

This must've felt like a throwback to Glee, because what kind of gay chaos was it having both you and Jenna on this show together?

It was a bit of a throwback, but it made both of us even more excited to do it. We also look out for each other a lot, so going into a new thing that's so different and foreign to us, we were able to have a home base [on the show]. It was the most diverse and welcoming crew, though, even if Jenna wasn't there.

Kevin McHale, Glee | Why they belong together: While Tina and Mike Chang bonded over their similar backgrounds, dim sums with Mama Chang can only go on for so…
Kevin McHale, Glee | Why they belong together: While Tina and Mike Chang bonded over their similar backgrounds, dim sums with Mama Chang can only go on for so…

Carin Baer/Fox Kevin McHale as Artie and Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina on 'Glee.'

I know they tried to keep contestants secret, but it's inevitable that you'd hear things. Do you remember the moment you realized that Jenna was competing with you?

It's damn near impossible, there's [nothing] that will keep Jenna and I apart…. I'm always sleuthing, so I was trying to get dirt and peek around corners to see who else was there. [I'd text Jenna] like, "What are you doing? I heard your laugh around the corner."

What were those first conversations like with her backstage once you both found out who the other was?

It was basically like, "Oh, thank God, this is crazy, how uncomfortable are you? This corset hurts." Also, no one knew Jenna was pregnant, except me. So, she'd run to my room like, "I'm so nauseous," and the next episode would go by and she'd be like, "They have to re-take my measurements." I'd be like, "I can't dance like I used to" or "I think I'm going to nail this," those things I wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable telling other people, I could tell her.

On Glee, you famously did a Lady Gaga episode, and here you are performing to "You and I." Did you get Glee flashbacks to that day?

It was during Thirsty's performance. That's full-on what we would've done on Glee. Watching that, I was like, oh, s---, that's what I should've done. I should've tapped more into the Glee thing. So many of the artists we performed on Drag Race had been on Glee, so every day we were thinking about Glee, and so much of it felt familiar in that way. Jenna and I were sitting out there like the two old Muppets in the balcony, with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other, like, "Here we go again. Put on the wig!"

In addition to the show, you also have performing experience in a group that was called NLT. How did that happen and what was that experience like?

That was from age 14-20. I was in a boy band back in the day before the resurgence of boy bands. I grew up being obsessed with boy bands and pop music, standing in front of the TV, dancing and singing. That was my dream, to be in a boy band, and in my most formative years, that's what I was doing. It ended up being this incredible training ground for basically everything I'd be doing on Glee, but that would be successful — the group was not. I had to deal with record executives when I was 16, these crazy-ass music people, and long hours in a recording studio after school up until 2 a.m., dance rehearsals all day, going on tours — and not in the glamorous way. I'd done all of my extracurricular learning pre-Glee.

RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race
RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race

World of Wonder 'RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race' season 2 'Snatch Game.'

Brooke was your drag mentor this season and coached you through Snatch Game on this episode. What did she reveal to you about bombing on Snatch Game as Celine Dion on her season as advice for your Celine Snatch?

She was upfront, like, "I shouldn't give you advice." But Brooke was so helpful through this entire experience. She elevated every performance with just a note or two, and it would change the whole thing. Obviously, she knows how to f---ing perform. When Snatch Game came along, she was like, you know, if you have to lip-sync for your life, it's to "Edge of Glory," which I also had to do. So, doing the old one-two to bring back your trauma. It made me nervous…. I remember her looking at me, like, horrified when we had to do the behind-the-scenes things because I wouldn't give her a Quebec accent because I didn't have one yet. It's like an acting thing: I'll go home, work on it, and do it when I have to do it. For the first time, I saw the fear of God in her eyes!

Doing a show like this, fans have opinions, as Brooke learned with Snatch Game. There was chatter about your drag name, Chic-Li-Fay, which many saw as a play on Chic-Fil-A, which has been known for some controversial stances on LGBTQ issues. Why did you choose that name?

The name came about because my boyfriend gave me that name years ago, just because I'm from the south and I love fried chicken. When this happened, I was like, I have to use it. It also felt like an F-you to them, let me use a play on your name on the queerest show possible. I guess people might see it as advertising for them, but to me it was the opposite. Yeah, I'm going to use your name and I'm going to be a man in a wig, in heels, and be my gay-ass self, and you'll have to deal with it.

Have you ever been asked to do something like this before, like The Masked Singer?

I've been asked to do Dancing With the Stars a couple times. The Masked Singer hasn't. I don't necessarily want to do these types of things, but I love Drag Race, so this was a yes. Also, my boyfriend threatened to break up with me if I didn't do it…. With the other shows, I don't know if I'd enjoy it the way I knew I'd enjoy doing Drag Race stuff.

These shows are always searching for Glee alums. Fans think Amber Riley is a contestant on the current Masked Singer season as Harp. Do you recognize her voice?

I haven't watched, I did see a trailer and I will say that a voice did sound very familiar. I mean, I genuinely have not even asked her about it, but, it's like, you know, that voice has been on 50 million singles sold? We all know what she sounds like.

In the spirit of libraries on Drag Race, drag queens know all about reading, how do you think your Glee cOstar Lea Michele would do in a reading challenge on Drag Race?

I hope she does a TikTok with that. It would be great if someone edited her into a reading challenge on Drag Race. In all seriousness, I do think she'd be great. Meme-wise, I think they need to put her in one of those scenes, and then just have crickets playing. Maybe she should do it, she seems like she's leaning into it.

I also asked Jenna about this, but I'd like to know from you as well: Did you wish Lea well before Funny Girl?

I haven't talked to her. We haven't talked in quite a while. Jenna and I talk every day, but I haven't spoken to her in a long time. So I haven't talked to her about Funny Girl.

So, you wouldn't see Funny Girl?

I wouldn't say I wouldn't see it. I don't know. To be honest, I haven't thought about it. That's the real answer.

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including reactions with the cast, special guests, and more.

Related content: