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Miss Universe 2023 Judge Big Freedia Opens Pageant Singing High Notes With Dancing Beauty Queens & Sparkling Style

Big Freedia brought out big vocals on Saturday in New Orleans, Louisiana, to help open the 2023 Miss Universe pageant.

The rapper, who served as a judge, performed as the Miss Universe contestants danced onstage. Hosts Olivia Culpo and Jennie Mai Jenkins also joined in by dancing alongside members of the audience.

As a New Orleans native, the “queen of twerk” was an apt choice for the vibrant introduction, which featured a jazz band, dancers dressed in Mardi Gras-style costumes and delegates twirling their pastel parasols.

The bounce-music artist wore a checkered button-down top and matching trousers, both done in a blue and silver pattern emblazoned with a glittering finish.

Continuing the sparkle, Big Freedie changed into a sequined green blazer with rhinestone-embellished shoulders for a seat at the judge’s table, where the entertainer asked Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Carino a question during one of the interview rounds. “If you were crowned Miss Universe, how would you represent all of this year’s delegate throughout your reign?”

“I am a mirror of what a woman is,” Carino responded. “I believe in the dream and power that we all hold to make our dreams reality. That’s why I’m standing here today. I know what it’s like to not believe in your dream, but I also know what it’s like to find your voice. We are the voice of tomorrow, so let your voice echo in the chamber of time.”

Big Freedie, who identifies as gender non-conforming, represents the Miss Universe pageant’s makeover — a focus on inclusion, diversity and adding visibility to underrepresented communities. New changes also include contestants who are married and mothers.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 14: Jeannie Mai Jenkins, Olivia Culpo and Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Carino speak during The 71st Miss Universe Competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 14, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
(L-R): Jeannie Mai Jenkins, Olivia Culpo and Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Carino speak during The 71st Miss Universe Competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on Jan. 14, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
CREDIT: Getty Images

The change is led by the Miss Universe pageant owner Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, a transgender businesswoman who purchased the organization for $20,000,000 last year. She aims to revive the pageant’s relevance in a time when critics have considered it outdated.

“I was not accepted by society because they did not want to embrace my differences,” Jakrajutatip said on stage. “I chose not to surrender. I turned pain into power and turned life lessons into wisdom. On this stage called the Miss Universe competition, we can elevate our women to feel strong enough, good enough and qualified enough and never be objectified again.”

Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel of Texas was named Miss Universe 2023, Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel was named first runner-up and Miss Dominican Republic Andreína Martínez was the second runner-up.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 14: Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel Miss USA R'bonney Gabriel and Miss Dominican Republic Andreína Martínez speak during The 71st Miss Universe Competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 14, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
(L-R): Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel Miss USA R’bonney Gabriel and Miss Dominican Republic Andreína Martínez speak during The 71st Miss Universe Competition at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 14, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
CREDIT: Getty Images

PHOTOS: Miss Universe National Costumes 2023

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