Univision announced Jencarlos Canela was the third judge on “Nuestra Belleza Latina.” If you’re anything like me, you probably jumped from excitement when you found out the news. He’s a major star in both the music and acting worlds, and he’s a major babe. Yes, I said babe. Jencarlos began his musical career when he was 12 years old as the lead singer in the group “Boom Boom Pop,” but it wasn’t until 2010, with the debut of his first solo album “Buscame,” that Jencarlos became the biggest revelation in Latin pop and ballads of the decade.

His charisma and star quality, but also his approachability, made Jencarlos’ popularity explode in the music industry, something he had already been doing acting in telenovelas and movies. Jencarlos has continued working nonstop, both acting and singing, and given his impressive career and professionalism, he was chosen to be the new judge for “Nuestra Belleza Latina.” He sat down with Latin Times to talk his new job, upcoming projects and the ideal of a Latina beauty queen.

Jencarlos, congratulations on this new gig, how do you feel being named the third judge in “Nuestra Belleza Latina?”

“I’m so excited about this project. I’m the kind of person that likes to do unexpected things as long as they make sense, and this made all the sense in the world. I’ve been preparing in acting and singing my whole life, and all of the sudden I get this call and they say, ‘Look, what do you think about being a judge on NBL? Because this gala will be very different, and we’re integrating music in the show, and some of the girls even aspire to be singers or actresses, and we need someone who has that experience and could guide the girls in that path,’ and I said ‘Of course! Let’s do it.’”

“I already finished recording my album. ‘Irreparable’ is in all the radio stations, it belongs to the people now. My new album comes out in May/June, around the time ‘Nuestra Belleza’ will be wrapping up, then I start preparing my tour, and I’ll go on tour by the end of the year, and with all that, timing was perfect. So when God sends you everything so tailored up for you, you gotta take it! I think it’s going to be a very interesting challenge.”

What do you think your strategy will be as a judge?

“It’s been very fun to read the messages the people have been sending. They say that I’ll be the good one, that Osmel will be the bad guy, and honestly, I think people will be surprised. I plan on being very direct, be myself. People think they’ll see some sort of character on that chair. They’ll see me. The same way I am every day, Jencarlos Canela. The musician, the singer, the friend, the neighbor, the man, that’s who’s going to be sitting there. Only when I act is that I become someone else. But other than that, who you see on a stage and who you will see in Nuestra Belleza, it’s me.”

“I’m someone who takes very seriously what I do. When I’m doing my work, I prepare. I’ve been working all my life, years and years of studying, learning, becoming who I am, and the girl who thinks that just because she’s physically beautiful, for having a nice body or face, will make it, I will take it upon myself to let her know she’s completely wrong.”

What qualities does a “Nuestra Belleza Latina” need to have?

“We’re talking about representing the Latina beauty, and Latina women in general are much more than just a pretty face. They’re smart, they’re prepared, they’re talented, have charisma, humility, and that’s what I’m going to look for in a girl, and that’s the path I’ll guide her to. In the end, it’s the viewers’ choice.”

How’s the chemistry between you and the other judges, Lupita Jones and Osmel Sousa?

“I have so much respect and admiration for Lupita and Osmel. We can disagree on some things, and there’s no doubt we will, but that’s why we’re civilized human beings, and this relationship between the three of us is based on respect and mutual admiration. And when a relationship is based on that, anything that could happen will just be a mild disagreement and a different way of seeing things. But that’s why we’re there. Each one of us has their opinion, their way of thinking, and we never forget the viewers are the ones with the ultimate call. They will decide who they believe in and who to vote for. But I do believe the chemistry between the judges will be great. I respect them way too much.”