J. Cole Added to Universal Studios' Mardi Gras Concert Series

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ORLANDO, Fla. (January 12, 2012) – This spring, the fun and excitement of The Big Easy makes its way to Universal Orlando Resort for Mardi Gras 2012 – an authentic celebration that completely transforms Universal Studios Florida into a family-friendly version of the famed New Orleans street party.

On Saturdays and select nights starting February 11 through April 14, Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration combines unparalleled theme park entertainment with an elaborate Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic New Orleans bands, delicious Cajun cuisine and live concerts by some of today’s most popular artists.

With a combined total of more than 350 million albums sold, guests will rock out to 14 of the biggest names in music. On Feb. 18, pop superstar and Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson will take the Music Plaza Stage to perform major hits from her recent album, “Stronger;” Hot Chelle Rae will please crowds with their hit “Tonight, Tonight” during their performance on March 23; and singer-songwriter and Grammy Award nominee B.o.B, known for his multiple top singles “Nothin’ on You,” “Airplanes” and “Magic,” will perform on March 24. Additional performances include Billboard magazine’s “Female Entertainer of the Century” and disco diva Diana Ross; Boyz II Men, the most successful R&B group of all times with more than 60 million albums sold worldwide; teen sensation Big Time Rush; 2012 Grammy nominee for “Best New Artist” J. Cole (Friday, March 16); and four-time Billboard Latin Music Award winner Prince Royce.

Before enjoying the live concerts, guests can experience all the fun and excitement of The Big Easy as Universal Studios Florida is transformed into a family-friendly version of New Orleans’ famed Mardi Gras. The celebration includes an elaborate Mardi Gras parade, where guests can dance along with street performers and collect beads by the handful as colorful floats wind down the street of Universal Studios. This year’s parade will take guests on a journey through the earth’s different ecosystems with elaborately theme floats including: bayous and swamps, rainforest, coral reefs, the deep blue sea and Polar Regions. Every year, the parade’s hand-crafted floats are built by Blaine Kern Artists – the same company that designs the floats for the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. The heart of Mardi Gras is Universal Studios’ French Quarter Courtyard, where guests can groove to the soulful sounds of authentic New Orleans bands every night before the headliner concert. Since 2006, more than 20 bands have traveled straight from The Big Easy to Universal Orlando to perform Blues, Jazz and Zydeco music for partygoers – adding to the authenticity of Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration. The French Quarter also features delicious Cajun cuisine, including jambalaya, gumbo, beignets and much more.

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