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Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.
Kristen Michelle Wilson is the new ringmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Presents Circus XTREME, becoming the first-ever female ringmaster in the circus's 146-year history.
Feld Entertainment, the production company that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, described Wilson as a "dynamic" performer with "exceptional" vocal skills.
"She came in and sang a song from the show and, yes, she sounded great, but then she sang 'Greatest Show on Earth' by Christina Aguilera, and it blew me away," circus director Rye Mullis told the Tampa Bay Times. "That was the moment I knew she was right for the job. Her pop vocals are insane and her presence. She was like no one we saw during the audition process."
According to icFlorida.com, Wilson, 35, was motivated to join the circus after seeing "Pippin" on Broadway. She beat out hundreds of candidates in a nationwide audition process for the role.
"To be the ringmaster of The Greatest Show On Earth is a bucket-list role," she said.
Ringling Bros. has boasted many impressive female stars, but Wilson, of Orlando, will break the ceiling as the first female ringmaster when she joins the show on Jan. 12. Wilson, lead singer of the Florida-based rock/funk band Sonic Gypsies and who also works in dinner theater shows, will be the 39th ringmaster in Ringling Bros. history.
"I love running through the crowd, dancing and pumping people up. Now, I get to do all my favorite things on this grand scale," she told the Times.
Wilson will replace David Shipman, who is retiring from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, and she will take over at about the midpoint of the tour.
Her premiere performance will be in Orlando, followed by stops in Jacksonville, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Greenville, South Carolina, and Greensboro, North Carolina.
Read more at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.