Rap impresario Master P — who ran his No Limits Records music empire out of Baton Rouge for several years — will join a roster of new entertainers and judges for the Miss USA pageant, replacing celebrities who defected in the wake of pageant owner Donald Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants.
Country music entertainer Adley Stump, a former contestant on “The Voice,” will perform as a guest vocalist with a live in-house band, according to a news release from Reelz, the cable network that picked up the pageant for broadcast after it was dropped by NBC and Univision. Former “American Idol” singers Stefano Langone and Felicia Barton also announced on Twitter that they would perform.
Barton’s tweet indicated that they will be joined by former boy band NLT frontman Travis Garland and television background singer Toni Scruggs.
Master P will make his guest appearance backstage along with daughter Cymphonique. The pair are starring in an upcoming Reelz series.
Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller, left Baton Rouge in 2002 after living here for several years. The rapper had moved No Limit Records to the city and his family into a home in the posh Country Club of Louisiana. When he moved away, he issued a statement saying he was leaving because of “prejudice” of those in the city. He also left behind a trail of debts and litigation over money disputes.
He could not be reached for comment Friday.
The new judges are all former contestants with the Miss USA and Miss Universe organizations: Nana Meriwether, Miss USA 2012; Leila Umenyiora, Miss Universe 2011; Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010; Crystle Stewart, Miss USA 2008; Danielle Doty, Miss Teen USA 2011; Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006; Kimberly Pressler, Miss USA 1999; Brook Lee, winner of both Miss USA and Miss Universe 1997; and Michelle McLean-Bailey, Miss Universe 1992.
Earlier this week, Miss USA also filled its vacant host spots with Todd Newton, an Emmy Award-winning host, and Alex Wehrley, Miss Wisconsin USA 2009.
The Miss USA pageant, which Baton Rouge is hosting for the second year in a row, became embroiled in controversy after Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, made comments about Mexico sending criminals to the U.S. Entertainers, judges and hosts dropped out of the event, citing Trump’s comments.
The original lineup of entertainers included rapper Flo Rida, singer Natalie LaRose, former winner of “The Voice” Craig Wayne Boyd and Colombian singer J Balvin.
The hosts who dropped out were Jeannie Mai, a daytime host of “The Real”; Cheryl Burke, of “Dancing With The Stars” fame; and Thomas Roberts, an “MSNBC Live” host.
Former judges who have disassociated themselves with the pageant are Jonathan Scott, an HGTV star; former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, who represented Puerto Rico; and NFL legend Emmitt Smith.
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.
The pageant finals are Sunday night in the Baton Rouge River Center.
Staff writer Andrea Gallo contributed to this report. Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter, @rebekahallen. For more coverage of city-parish government, follow City Hall Buzz blog at http://blogs.the advocate.com/cityhallbuzz.