Miss Universe 2017 Judges: Who Are Judging the Contestants?

The 2017 Miss Universe Pageant airs tonight at 7 p.m. ET/PT and 6 p.m. CT on the FOX network. Steve Harvey returns as the host, with model Ashley Graham also coming back to the show as the backstage host. With Graham being a plus-size model, she understands the scrutiny that some of these contestants can be under, explaining to FOX News how she deals with cyber bullies. Graham stated, “You know, if you really start to read all of the comments, and you let it sink in and into your soul, it will affect you and it really will hurt you. So I don’t necessarily read all of the comments from social media. And I like to say, ‘Hey haters!’ Because at the end of the day, they are only on your social media page talking negatively to you because they don’t feel great about themselves.” Graham also had advice when it comes to how people should build confidence in themselves. She explained, “I wish that confidence came in a little pill you take and then, boom, I’m confident! But it takes dedication. And it took me years to get to where I am. My mother was a huge role model for me who gave me lots of encouragement and she taught me what affirmations were … And I think that if more people would change the way they talk about themselves – instead of calling themselves stupid or fat or ugly or not worthy of having that perfect job or that perfect success story they really want. Then they’re not going to let themselves get to that point. But if you change your own words, you will change your destiny.”

In addition to Harvey and Graham, TV personality and pageant expert Lu Sierra will provide on-air commentary and analysis throughout the competition. There will also be two performers this year at the event. Singers Fergie and Rachel Platten will be taking the stage to perform. When it comes to the judges this year, there are six. Get to know more about each of them below.


Wendy Fitzwilliam

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Fitzwilliam is Miss Universe 1998 from Trinidad and Tobago. This year’s Trinidad and Tobago contestant almost didn’t make it into the pageant when there were issues regarding her contract. She was stripped of her title as Miss Trinidad and Tobago, but was later reinstated. As for Fitzwilliam, in addition to being a beauty queen, she is a lawyer, actress, model, singer, and TV Host. Currently, she is a judge on Caribbean’s Next Top Model.

Jay Manuel

Jay Manuel is a television host, creative director, and makeup artist, who many may know from his years on the reality competition show America’s Next Top Model. He was also the host and a judge on Canada’s Next Top Model. Currently, Manuel is the founder and CEO of his new brand, Jay Manuel Beauty.

Ross Mathews

Ross Mathews is a comedian, television personality and red carpet correspondent who is known for his gigs with the E! network. In an interview on the podcast LGBTQ&A, Mathews recently talked about his difficulties when he first appeared on the TV scene. He revealed that, “I remember when I got my start on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno back in 2001. It was a very different time in the world and that was reflected in television and how little diversity there was for people of color and people from the LGBTQ community. I started unapologetically and raised a lot of eyebrows.” Mathews said he never cared what other people thought and that’s one of the reasons he’s successful.

Megan Olivi

Olivi is a Fox Sports 1 host and reporter for mixed martial arts, via UFC Ultimate Insider. According to MMA Junkie, Olivi even covers her own husband, UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, when he fights.

Lele Pons

Lele Pons is a Vine and YouTube personality. She is a Venezuelan-American internet personality, in addition to being an actress, and she recently ranked as number 8 on Forbes’ Top Influencers of 2017 list for the entertainment industry. Pons also recently co-hosted the Latin America’s 2017 MTV Millennial Awards.

Pia Wurtzbach

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Wurtzback is the Miss Universe 2015 winner from the Philippines. Many remember her from host Steve Harvey’s major mistake, announcing Miss Colombia as the pageant winner. He read the card wrong and for about a minute, the world thought Miss Colombia had won. Sadly for her, she had to remove the crown from her head and give her bouquet of flowers to Wurtzback.


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