Two more performers and one judge pulled out of the Miss USA competition Wednesday, joining several others once affiliated with the pageant who have since distanced themselves from Donald Trump’s Miss Universe organization.
Rapper Flo Rida and singer Natalie LaRose have canceled their performances for the pageant July 12 at the Baton Rouge River Center, according to reports from The Associated Press and Billboard. Former NFL player Emmitt Smith announced Wednesday on Facebook that he would no longer be part of the pageant “in light of Mr. Trump’s statements and the subsequent decisions made by NBC.”
Miss USA now has only one performer and one host left standing.
Host Jeannie Mai told People on Wednesday that she will continue her co-hosting duties. Mai is one of the hosts of daytime talk show “The Real” and is known as a fashion expert and makeup artist.
In the past, she has taken viewers behind the scenes of Miss USA and offered fun facts about the contestants while the pageant is airing.
“While I absolutely do not condone Mr. Trump’s statements, after careful deliberation I have decided to continue my role as co-host of the upcoming Miss USA Pageant,” Mai said in a statement.“... I can’t abandon these women when they need our support now more than ever.”
Country artist and former winner of NBC’s “The Voice” Craig Wayne Boyd also had not announced plans to drop from the pageant as a performer as of Wednesday.
Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe organization said in an interview released with Entertainment Weekly on Wednesday that the pageant will live stream online “at a minimum.” She said the organization is shopping for other possible avenues to air the pageant and likened it to the year that a writers’ strike was happening during the Golden Globes.
In light of the string of hosts, performers, sponsors and others who have dropped out of the pageant, Shughart said, many people with ties to Miss USA have offered to fill in.
“And on the judge front, the nice thing is that we’ve had contestants and former title holders come out of the woodwork, who are rallying around the organization because we’ve really changed their lives and they know what the contestants are going through,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “So I have a feeling it’s going to be a good celebration. A lot of our formers will be involved.”
Where the Miss USA pageant airs could affect what kind of money the city of Baton Rouge and the state pay the organization. While the city of Baton Rouge’s contract was not tied to the pageant being broadcast, Visit Baton Rouge’s $200,000 contract with Miss USA mentions NBC by name several times.
Visit Baton Rouge’s contract with Miss USA stipulated that Visit Baton Rouge would pay $75,000 by Wednesday, July 1.
“As of now, we have not paid the additional $75,000 as of yet,” Visit Baton Rouge President and CEO Paul Arrigo said late Wednesday afternoon. Arrigo would not say if his office planned to pay the $75,000.
Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne has already said that his office might not pay Miss USA $65,000 in incentive packages if the broadcast pageant does not reach an audience similar to what NBC would have provided.
Mayor-President Kip Holden did not respond to interview requests for the third day Wednesday. He has not said what the city-parish plans to do about its $280,000 in incentive payments, although a Metro Council member has urged that any payments be stopped.
The Miss USA preliminary competition on July 8 will also stream live on the Miss Universe and Miss USA website, according to the Miss USA Facebook page. The results of the preliminary competition determine which contestants make the cut for the top 15, who will be announced at the beginning of the Miss USA pageant on July 12.
Trump has had trouble hanging on to allies after he accused Mexican immigrants in a presidential campaign speech last week of bringing drugs, crime and rape into the United States. Since then, NBC and Spanish-language network Univision announced they would no longer air the Miss USA pageant that is less than two weeks away.
Macy’s also announced on Wednesday morning that it was cutting ties with Trump. Although Macy’s is not involved in the Miss USA pageant, the store had been carrying a Donald Trump menswear line, according to The Associated Press.
Trump has mostly stood by his statements. He announced on Wednesday that he filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, and he has also threatened to sue NBC.
“If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court,” he wrote Monday in a statement on his Instagram page.
The Miss USA pageant has now lost a string of performers, hosts, judges, sponsors and other supporters. On Tuesday, hosts Cheryl Burke — known for her long stint on “Dancing with the Stars” — and MSNBC Live host Thomas Roberts pulled out of co-hosting the pageant.
Jonathan Scott, an HGTV star who was supposed to judge the pageant, announced on Instagram on Monday that he was stepping down as a judge “as I cannot support the views of the powers that be.” Former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, who represented Puerto Rico in the competition, also announced last week that she would no longer judge the competition.
Chilean actor Cristian de la Fuente and Puerto Rican singer and actress Roselyn Sanchez said last week that they would no longer co-host the Miss USA simulcast in Spanish. In a video posted to his Facebook page, de la Fuente called it a shame that Miss USA “is now in the hands of a clown.”
Colombian singer J Balvin also announced last week that he was pulling out of his scheduled performance.
In addition to the sponsors, judges and co-hosts who are dropping from the Miss USA pageant, former Miss Universe Lupita Jones, who represented Mexico, said Tuesday her country will not participate in Miss Universe this year.