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Miss Universe 2016 – Review

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The most entertaining pageant in the universe started with a bang and ended even better. Top favourite of all, Miss France Iris Mittenaere won the crown and became only the second woman from her country to win the crown after Christiane Martel won Miss Universe 1953, breaking France’s 63-year title drought. Haiti gave a tough fight to Iris for the crown but in the end, Iris edge over her. Venezuela another huge favourite was missing from the top 13. It was the biggest shock of the night than other unexpected contestants making the cut. What possibly could be the reason of her exclusion?

The Miss Universe contest started a video of Steve Harvey making an escape plan in case he made another mistake again. Then the contestants were introduced on stage. Accompanying them on stage was an American singer, songwriter and rapper, Flo Rida, singing his songs like “In the ayer’’, “My house” and “Zillionaire”. This year production and choreography were unlike its previous edition. The contestants usually introduced themselves standing on stage in cocktail dress from sponsors. The contestants this year got to wear a dress of their own choice and were introduced as they walked. This shows variety of the dress but the choreography seemed more like a short fashion show. Contestants crying out their name and countries name sound more exciting. The sound track could have been better too.

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Once the introduction round was over, Steve Harvey joined the beautiful ladies on stage and the reigning queen Pia Wurtzbach joined him for a short moment. I just love the chemistry of both Pia and Steve. They both complement each other. Whenever they both shared the stage together, it was fun and entertaining.

The announcement of the top 13 followed with each contestant answering some personal questions from the host -Steve Harvey.

Kenya was the first finalist and the only from Africa to make the cut.
Steve, ”You know I cannot believe your story. You lost your parents at an early age and you had a near dead experience at 5. You become the first contestant in your country to ever become a Miss Universe contestants. How in the world the first one to reach the final 13 How in the world did you get here?”
Miss Kenya, “Well Steve I have a very strong and loving family. My sibling and I are lucky to have been left in the hands of our stepmother whose been a mentor and always encourage us to achieve our dreams without giving up that we should always pursue that which we love as long as you keep yourself,, hope alive. You will always make it and that is always gives meaning to life. To know that our days are numbered and time is short. So I live my life, I always live my life like it’s the last moment.”

Indonesia made it despite tripping during the preliminary round. She deserved her placement because she the best Indonesian representative so far and one of the strongest delegates in the contest.
Steve, “Being a woman in your country at 6 feet tall, that’s a foot taller than an average women in your country. What’s that been like for you?”
Miss Indonesia, “I feel I am so bless because I think it’s a gift from God. So I can help others.”

USA – the military girl was the fourth finalist.
Steve, “You are also in the military in the United State Army reserve. What it’s like for you to take off the fatig(military uniform) and put on this gown and outfits and start campaigning as Miss Universe?”
Miss USA, “Hopefully, as Miss Universe if I am privileged enough to be crown and as Miss USA, I have had the opportunities to just go around the world to show the diversity that we have, as a women, myself and the other 85 are so diverse. We represent so much from our country. I am incredibly excited, honoured and I feel humble to know that I represent the strong powerful women especially women that serve our country.”

Mexico’s attitude is the best. Love the way she ended her answer.
Steve, “I once heard that you actually tripped and failed during a pageant. What happened?”
Miss Mexico, “Yes, It was last three years ago in a catwalk and obviously I felt nervous and I think that I take advantage of that opportunity because there were judges, media and I say this is my opportunity to say I am here; I am Mexico and I take advantage of that and well, nothing happened!”
Steve, “That’s what I said after last year. “

Peru
Steve, “In October last year, you were involved in a car accident. It took over two hours to pry you out of the car. Tell us about that.”
Miss Peru, “I had a car accident last year. It was very painful. Many doctors told me that I couldn’t come to  Miss Universe but you know Miss Universe was my biggest motivation. So I started to go twice a day to a therapy to recover fast. So now I am here and I am more grateful than ever. This is the best moment of my life so far.”

Panama
Steve, “I understand that you and your sister were raised by a single mother. How has that prepared you in this competition?
Miss Panama, “Well, my mother told me and my sister like working hard, you can have everything you want and definitely give me the confidence and also the strength to pursue my dreams.”

Colombia – This has to be one of the best of the night.andrea-with-steve
Steve, “Congratulation!”
Miss Colombia, “Thank you so much. Don’t worry. Hug me.”
Steve, “Listen, I am gonna ask this for myself. How do people in Colombia feel about Steve Harvey?”
Miss Colombia, “You want to know the truth?”
Steve, “Do just lie to me.”
Miss Colombia, “Honestly, a lot of people hate you. But you know I love you but the most important is…. (she spoke in Spanish highlighting the importance of forgiveness and moving on.)
Steve, “Was that a death threat?”

Philippines
Steve, “Your aunt was actually a Miss Universe Philippines 1990. Did she gives you any advice about competing?”
Miss Philippines, “Of course, she just told me to be myself and to be more confidence since it’s gonna be here in the Philippines.”

Canada
Steve, “You recently ran your first marathon. I don’t believe in running that far. Do you think being an athlet gives you some edge over some of the contestants?”
Miss Canada, “Well, running a marathon along 42.2 km or 26 miles takes determination, perseverance, patience and a lot of stamina. And all those seem like actually what a Miss Universe need to have so….”

Brazil
Steve, “You are the first black woman from Brazil to represent the country in over 30 years. What does that mean to you?
Miss Brazil, “I am very proud to be an example to other girls like me.”

iris-and-steveFrance – another conversation that made us laugh and how fun is to watch both of them.
Steve, “We understand that you love to cook French food. What’s your specialty?”
Miss France, “Yes, I love to cook. My specialty is Beef bourguignon. This is beef slowly cooked with red wine. You should try. This is very good and amazing, really.
Steve, “I want to. Yes.”
Miss France, “I will invite you in Paris.”
Steve, “No I have a wife. I can’t come.”
Miss France, “But my Beef bourguignon is the best.
Steve, “My wife still won’t let me go and come. Thank you, France “

Haiti
Steve, “I understand that you’re part of a research team that’s working for a cure for blindness. Tell us a little bit more about that.”
Miss Haiti, “Yes, I am a part of a research project that consists of finding new alternative to cure blindness such as surgery. And our project has taught me not to take my eyes for granted and it’s because of your eyes that you’re watching this incredible show tonight and it’s because of your eyes you’ll be able to read who is the next Miss Universe.”

Thailand
Steve, “I understand that you brought 17 suitcases with you to the Philippines. What’s all in that suitcases?”
Miss Thailand, “That’s a good question. they are, of course, accessories from my lovely sponsors in Thailand.”

After the top 13 announcement, the first competition of the night was the swimsuit round. Finalists came in trio or two before each one of them walked on stage alone for the competition. The finalists got less duration to walk and the audience got less chance to see more of their catwalk. The previous editions where finalists came on stage individually instead of trio or couple were much better as it gave contestants more time to walk and fans got to see more of the actual competition. The song used for this section was “I took a pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner n The Chainsmokers – “Don’t Let Me Down” ft. Daya

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Kenya despite having a good body and facially beautiful, she lacked the punch that we usually see in Miss Universe swimsuit contest. Nevertheless, I was quite happy to see her in the top 13 and wanted her to go further. Indonesia is the strongest candidate from her country in recent years. She had everything going on for her to be the next Miss Universe. Her inclusion is much better than last year representative. When you’re in the military you are bound to be in good shape and have strong personality, that’s exactly Miss USAMexico is just like Miss World Mexico 2016. So vibrant and lively. While the three contestants were more calm and composed in the manners, she was energetic, cheerful and lively on stage. Peru followed bringing the same energy and excitement on stage. Panama’s catwalk was fierce and to look more fun, she tried playing with her sarong on stage. It was a balanced performance. Colombia was impactful. Love the support of the crowd despite what happened last year. Philippines though under pressure, she performed like there was nothing to worry about. It didn’t show on her face or manners. She was absolutely enjoying the attention. And she made it look so easy. Canada might not have the body of what one expect in a contest but her personality is one thing that makes her stood out. The confidence in which she owns her body is worth admiring. Brazil’s smile showed she was absolutely living in the moment. Her body was one of the best. The star of the night, France was next. Everything about her is perfection. From stage presence to energy to personality to star quality, it was France all the way. Haiti’s tall stature and well-toned body coupled with her strong personality and intelligence made her a shoo-in for the crown. Thailand just like last year representative Aniporn was one of my favourite for the title(the top 3). Though facially I prefer Aniporn but in terms of stage presence and catwalk, Chalita scored over her and the current top 13 finalists.

Looking at the swimsuit, it’s a nice to Miss Universe evolving just like Miss World. IMG since believe in “confidently beautiful” we can see many confident women making the cut irrespective of their shape and sizes. This will help Miss Universe in a long run. Some hardliners might not still be sold on this changes, but this changes only prove how Miss Universe org. is trying to breakaway away from stereotyping of pageants or women’s body.

From top 13 now it was top 9. USA, Thailand, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Philippines, Colombia, France and Kenya were the ones who made it further. The 9 finalists were to compete for evening gown round. Kiiara’s “Gold” soundtrack was used for this round.

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USA was the first one to start this round. She came in a sexy red sequin gown. While this gown was much better than her preliminary gown I still think that the gown she wore at Miss USA final was perfect and that gown image still comes to my mind when I see her in a different gown. Thailand was up next. While every contestant want to look the best in their ultra-glamorous Haute Couture gown, Thailand came in a simple black sequined gown with a layer of fabric over her sleeve that bared her midriff. This show how modern gown can get inspiration from traditional dress. The way she carried the gown and walk showing the right attitude on stage, this was a projection of perfection. The simplicity of the gown yet so classy and royal made it so outstanding. This gown was the best for me. I wish last year representative Aniporn had worn something similar. France followed in a shimmering gown that featured silver and gold sequins on a nude tulle base with long sleeves. The work of sequins on the gown that looks like a cross section and floral arts was a masterpiece. And she looks absolutely stunning! Mexico wore a silver beaded gown with a high slit up her right thigh. The silver gown heavily applique at the hem might be kind of common these days in pageant, but Mexico wore it like she owned the gown and it was hers only. Kenya choose to wear a different gown in the final night. She came in a well fitted red mermaid gown. The cuts on both sides of the gown made her look so tall and show off her fit body. Colombia’s gown was very much suited for her skin stone. And it complimented her overall personality. The gold sequined gown giving us a nude illusion highlighted her skin tone even better. Not sure whether this is inspired from marine life because those multi layered flares look like a coral reef. If it is so, I love how inspiration and creativity can go hand in hand. Canada wore a fitted mermaid gown. Though I love the wide dramatic godet panels at the bottom, the upper part of the gown didn’t highlighted anything about her personality. Haiti’s upper part gown was a reminder of last year Ariadna’s gown while the lower portion of the gown was different. The cross section beads on the bottom gave a different meaning to the gown. Haiti has such a strong feature and personality that she looks just amazing in the gown. The last to finish this section was the host country Philippines. Her gown was heavily beaded in silver crystal-covered bodice and a red skirt. The contrasting colours of shiny elements and bright red just complimented each other.  Her aura fills the stage. It came from enjoying the moment.

The top 6 announcement followed. Haiti, Philippines, Colombia, France, Thailand and Kenya were the lucky one to make the cut. They had to face Question and answer round before moving to the final 3 finalists.

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Miss Philippines, Maxine Medina:
What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?
Mexine: The last 10 years of being here in the world is that I saw all the people being in one event like this in Miss Universe, and it’s something big to us that we are one, as one nation, we are all together.

Miss Kenya, Mary Esther:
Arguably, no US president has had an active first 10 days in office. What are you most excited about, and what most concerns you when it comes to the presidency of Donald Trump?
Esther: Politics…let me just start again. Donald Trump, having been elected as president of the United States may not have been the choice of many people living in the United States because of the divided support system for the outgoing president Barack Obama, who was supporting an upcoming woman president, who was supposed to be a woman president, Hillary Clinton. So so many people oppose his position, but I feel that once he took up his position, he was able to unify the entire nation.

Miss Thailand, Chalita Namtan Suansane: 
Name a curent or past world leader whom you admire and why?
Chalita: Mabuhay, Philippines! For me that would be the king of Thailand. His Majesty has been working tirelessly on behalf of the Thai people ever since I was born. For all the Thai people, His Majesty has been like a father to us. Thank you very much.

Miss France, Iris Mittenaere:
Given today’s worldwide refugee crisis, do countries have an obligation to accept refugees, or do they have a right to close their borders?
Iris: The country should have the right to open or close their borders. Throughout the world, people can choose to have the borders open or closed. In Europe we have open borders. In France we want to have the most globalization that we can, we want to have the biggest exchange of people that we can. Maybe someday that will change, but now we have open borders. Having open borders allows us to travel more through the world, and to find out more about what’s out there in the world.

Miss Haiti, Raquel Pelissier:
On January 21, an estimated 4.8 million people marched worldwide for human rights, women’s rights, and other issues. If you were able to participate, what would you have been marching for?
Raquel: One of the women I admire in the world is Eleanor Roosevelt because she fought so much for human rights and I feel like that’s what we need in the world. We are just one. A hundred thousand years ago, 6 species of human lived in the world. Now we are just one. And we all need each other, and we need to respect each other.

Miss Colombia, Andrea Tovar:
Why do we believe violence is so prevalent in today’s society and what can we do about it?
Andrea: I come from a country that does have violence and this is my reference point. And although there are presidents who don’t get along with others, we work together to be able to unite. Campaigns, respect, and inclusivity to be able to have a social transformation that will educate our children.

France like her predecessor last year, gave a smart answer and that was so realistic. It wasn’t fare for Kenya to get a question that doesn’t apply to her country even though Trump might still be a debatable subject. Thailand answer was honest and can resonate with her emotional answer. I really thought it was a great answer because it reflects her country sentiments and patriotism. It was much better than taking some random world leader just to make a point. Haiti as expected won our hearts through her wits and knowledge. Philippines wanted her answer to be relevant to Miss Universe but that wasn’t enough. It might have been a straight from the heart answer but hosting a Miss Universe bringing diverse women together is the most significant thing to happen in the last ten years, atleast in terms of the world or the universe rather. J

Soon the top 3 finalists were announced who all will face the last question and answer round. The 3 had to answer the same question: “Name something over the course of your life that you failed at, and tell us what you learned from that experience.” All 3 used an interpreter.

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Miss Colombia: I think that many times, one makes mistakes for many things. During moments when you may not accept someone due to their differences, to not accept them due to their sexual preferences, and to not be capable of accepting their error. I think any of those experiences gives you the opportunity to have strength and value and principles.

Miss France: I’ve failed several times in my life, so I thought that I failed the first time that I went out on a casting, because my name wasn’t on the list. The very next day, I found that I was in a new book. So I think that when you fail, you have to be elevated, you have to try again, and keep going. If tonight, I’m not one of the winners, I will still have the great honor of being one of the 3 finalists, so I think that I have failed before, but I think this is a great first opportunity.

Miss Haiti: About 7 years ago, I survived the earthquake. I feel I was failing myself because I was not living my dreams, I was living day by day in that earthquake, it was a bad event, but I choose to be a very positive person and learn a great lesson from it. Because if I am here today, it’s because I am living my dreams.

Colombia, France and Haiti gave their final walk before one of them being crowned Miss Universe. To give them company, Boyz II Men performed a special number for each one of them. They serenaded Colombia singing “On bended Knees” from their album. For France they sang “Tonight is your night”. Just love the way France reciprocated the feelings. And this song was definitely for her as she was the one who clearly stood out throughout the competition. Lastly, Haiti had “End of the Road” from the group as her final walk.

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At this point of time, Colombia was clearly losing the momentum. She looked nervous and frightened while Haiti and France were clearly the standouts. Haiti who never had been on my favourite list was the one actually to come in the way of France to win the crown. Like in 1994, history might be repeated again. The 2nd runner-up was Colombia. And then France was declared as the new Miss Universe. And Steve got it right this time.

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About the Contest:

While I believe the introduction round, swimsuit and gown competition were done in a hurried manner giving less time to actual competition, the show as whole was excellent. This edition is one of the best editions of Miss Universe. The pre-pageant activities were the best in recent years. As can be seen from videos, the contestants are definitely enjoying the warmth and love of the Filipinos. How lovely it would be to enjoy the attention of fans and at the same be the fans that were cheering and supporting the delegates wherever they go. This is something I truly love about Philippines. Their love for pageants and their immense support and love for the delegates. Even after the host delegate couldn’t advance to the top 3, the crowd move on and the way they were rooting for each top 3 finalist, this shows how a pageant is conducted and how this year Miss Universe is the best!

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Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of Philippines crowned Miss Universe 2015 (Complete Review)

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The night ended with a horrible mistake and I ended up drinking more green tea than I could and watched my fav actor’s movies – My Fair Lady, Charade and Mr Smith Goes to Philadelphia just to stay awake. Here in India, it aired early in the morning. So I didn’t want to miss out on Miss Universe which started with great fanfare and got me hook to it. This year, it was so exciting to follow Miss Universe. Partly because Miss World was happening at the same time and Miss World didn’t do much to publicize their events. Miss Universe had us all excited. The Glamour Photo shoots, their activities, the girl’s interview for some channels etc., made us loved Miss Universe more than ever. It also was the battle of the Latinas and Asians. Who would have thought there would be an incident that ended with a mistake that will be one of the most awkward moments of Miss Universe history. I was a little happy because Donald Trump was no longer a part of Miss Universe. Though no one can deny he did a fabulous job as the owner of the contest. This year Miss Universe will be the kind of one of those “I want to forget, but I can’t” moments.

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Some of the contestants in the opening number.

The live telecast of Miss Universe started with a pre-recorded event of the beautiful contestants in their larger than life national costumes with a background score of “Lean on” by major Lazer and DJ snake and “Beautiful now” by Zedd.  The costumes were so colourful and vibrant. I always look forward to this opening show. It’s always nice to see world cultures in one platform. There’s so much to learn from others cultures. While contestants said their names and Country names, the background host told us a little about them. Personally, Thailand’s was my favourite to win Best in national costume award. Austria’s costume was also my other favourite. Their costumes speak volume of their countries. It shows the legacy of their day to day life. It’s unique and refreshingly different and very relevant too. Miss Thailand costume described the lifeline of her country which helps the livelihood of many people which in turn helps the economy of the country along with the tourism industry. Miss Austria costumes is a tribute the Austrian pop singer and drag Queen – Conchita Wurst who won Eurovision Song contest in 2014. For me, Miss Austria costume depicts the tolerance of her country towards people irrespective of their gender, race, religion etc. It also depicts how much they value “Equality” in their society. Thankfully, Miss Thailand won this award.

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One of the most memorable moments of the night. Ana Halozan, Miss Universe Slovenia 2015, who was unable to compete in the live telecast after an injury, was honored on stage.

The 80 contestants took the stage in a beautifully choreographed dance number. I just love those white cocktail dresses. Some girls were shining like a star. The glitters on the dress made them looked even better and they shined more. The hosts of the Night – Steve Harvey and Roselyn Sanchez were such a mismatch. I couldn’t get the joke of Steve Harvey most of the time. I would be lying if I say I didn’t laugh at some of his humour. But I just couldn’t connect with him. Roselyn was better and it was nice to see her backstage speaking with some of the contestants. She, at times, resembles Sandra Bullock.  The judges included Emmitt Smith – Former Dallas Cowboys player and Dancing with the Stars winner, Niecy Nash – comedian, model, producer, and actress in Scream Queens. Olivia Culpo – Miss Universe 2012 from USA and Perez Hilton – blogger, columnist and television personality. The number of judges was a departure from previous editions of the contests where there were usually more than 4 judges sometimes 10 judges. I wish there were more judges and that too, a diverse one.

The top 15 announcement had some serious upsets for major favourites. Brazil and Australia were the first two to be called. Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Philippines, France and USA completed the first 7 finalists. So far good finalists. Then it was break time. Don’t really like breaks when you’re waiting with bated breath for your favourites to be called in and then some break spoil the mood. After the break, the girl who really did well in the prelims Curacao was called for the top 15.  Belgium followed.  Japan, Venezuela, South Africa, Colombia, Mexico and finally Thailand joined the rest of the top 15 finalists. After the break when it was time for the rest of the top 15 to be called on stage, every time I was literally hoping it would be Vietnam, India, Colombia, Thailand, Tanzania, Kosovo, Venezuela. It was a major upset for India, Vietnam, Kosovo, Peru, Georgia, Paraguay and Chile. They had done really well in the prelims and were in everyone’s top list. India, Vietnam, Tanzania and Kosovo exclusion was hard to believe. This brought me back to Miss Universe 2008 where many favourites were excluded. South Africa was the only one from Africa who made it to the list. I believe that Africa is always under-represented in beauty pageants. I would really love to see them making it big in beauty pageants. Sometimes I feel like they are being given a spot just to have some representation from the continent. I know it’s a beauty contest and beauty is subjective. But will they be ever judged the way they see beauty in their eyes?

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The top 15 competed for the swimsuit round and Charlie Puth performed a song he sang with Meghan Trainor – Marvin Gaye, live on stage playing the Piano. This year is amazing in terms of music background scores being used in pageants. I love them all. The song in this round is such a happy feeling kind of song. It makes you smile everytime you listen to it or see the video. Brazil was the first one and she was spectacular just like she was at Miss Brazil. She had little time to prepare for the contest but she really did great. Australia followed. The beautiful leggy woman with her toned abs was great out there. Indonesia was sweet and had a stage presence but her body was not really up to the mark compared to Brazil and Australia who had performed really well. Next was Dominican Republic. What a performance. Tall, charming and well-toned body, she was awesome and sexy when she did that ‘turn around’ while walking on stage. So far she was the best. Next was the crowd favourite Philippines. She nailed this round with her bouncy walked and her happy face was pleasing. She was so fierce. I was quite impressed and she did so much better than her prelims. France followed with a decent performance. She had the body and the charm but she lack that spunk which the rest of the girls had. It was time for the hometown girl USA to take the stage. I love everything about this woman. She looked gorgeous. Her smile is enough to make me go weak on my knees. Such a warm smile she had, she made this competition so easy. Curacao followed. She was a surprised in the preliminary contest. She was outstanding. She is so charming. It’s sad she wasn’t like her preliminary contest. But she did well and her performance was worth watching. Belgium – tall and good body, she wasn’t shining like others. She lacked that punch while walking on stage especially in swimsuit round. Japan was next. Many thought she was in because of her story. I actually like her. Her exotic face is her appeal. She was walking as if she wanted to look fierce. It was a mixed performance for me. Not too good, not too bad. The powerhouse Venezuela followed with a remarkable performance. What a body! One of the best bodies of the night, she knows how to strut so beautifully. South Africa followed and she gave a decent performance but wasn’t quite exceptional. Her body was pretty good for a swimsuit competition. While everyone thought it was a battle between the Latinas and Asians, South Africa stood out for me. Being the only African in the top 15, she came and did her job so calmly without sounding too over-confident. I would have really loved to see her in top 10. Colombia – I just can’t stop looking at her. The best body of the night with such an enticing walked.  The way she sways and looks at the camera, she owns the stage like a true diva. Her moves and walk were so sexy. Mexico has such a sexy eye and fierce looks but her body and walk were a drawback for her. She looked stiff and didn’t impress. And ending the swimsuit round was one of my personal favourite Thailand. Exceptionally beautiful, she was so calm and graceful.  Everything about her is perfect. Her statuesque beauty and stunning face attract your attention whenever you see her. Those who really did well, in my opinion, were Colombia, Philippines, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Thailand and USA. They walked on stage and swayed matching up to the rhythm of the song “Marvin Gaye.” They were exceptional and gave a performance like those of Victoria Secret Angels. What an absolute treat to watch them!

Next up was the evening competition round where the lucky top 10 will get to show their grace, style and gown. The top 10 were Misses USA, Colombia, Japan, Thailand, Australia, Dominican Republic, France, Curacao, Philippines and Venezuela. Brazil’s exclusion surprising. I thought she deserved to be there in the top 10. I wanted to see South Africa too.

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The evening gown round started with The Band Perry performing a very positive and uplifting energetic number – Live Forever. USA opened the competition. She looked effortlessly beautiful in a deep cut white gown. Again, her smile brought out the positive attitude of her. Just looking at her makes you so positive. She looks like a Barbie coming to life. Her warm and kind personality reminds me of former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey. The Off-shoulder cape gown looked so royal on her and she looked majestic. Colombia was next; she had the best gown. I just love the fitted silver beaded on a pink strapless gown of hers. It shows her perfect figure and complemented her beauty. And she knows how to make it even more, beautiful. She has got the poise and grace. She was breathtaking. Japan followed. She didn’t work out the gown well. The deep cut golden gown and slit in the gown would have been good if she was fierce and moved with a killer look. But she was slow and lacked the energy to do that. Former Miss Universe, Riyo Mori comes to mind when I talked about being fierce. She had one of the best walked and performance in the evening gown round. Thailand came in a white cape gown. She was wearing the same gown she wore in a preliminary contest. I wish she had changed the gown. Nevertheless, she looked regal and striking. She was so calm and composed too. I expected her to make the top 5. Australia was in a full sleeve sheer gown with golden beaded linings. She almost tripped. She looked so careful afterwards but it was her grace and poise that saved her. I like her performance here than the preliminary contest one. Dominican Republic shined like a star in a white long gown. It was simple yet very classy. She made the gown look so beautiful. Love the way she swirled the gown and looked at the camera, it added some drama to her performance. It was fantastic. France looked hot in a red number. The slit in the gown made it looked more appealing. The way she walked in that red gown, she was elegantly and stylishly fashionable with an attitude. Curacao also wore a red gown which was full sleeve. She walked so beautifully, especially when looked from behind, the train in the gown moved like a beautiful mermaid. But she gave too much of an expression. Philippines also changed her gown. I thought the red gown was better and she looked royal in that dress. In this blue strapless gown, she looked more like a classy modern woman. She also tripped but that blush in her face was so sweet. The back side of the gown was amazing. It was like it can be worn from both sides. Venezuela was last and she was terrific. That beautiful spin she did before moving further to the stage was so pleasing. In a white intricately beaded gown, she looked ravishing and dazzling. In this round, USA, France, Colombia, Venezuela, Philippines and Dominican Republic were the best for me.

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The top 5 announcement: I had USA, Philippines, Thailand, Venezuela and Colombia as my finalists with a possible entry of France and Dominican Republic as one of the finalists. The top 5 were USA, Philippines, Australia, France and Colombia. How I wish Thailand was in the list. France was the only one who wasn’t in my favourite list. Personally, I wanted Colombia or Thailand to win with Philippines or USA as the other runners up. The top 5 had to face a question and answer round. Here are their questions and answers.

Philippines
Earlier this year there was a controversy in the Philippines about the United States operating military parade in your country. Do you think the United State should have a military presence in your country?

I think that the United States and Philippines always share and have a good relationship with each other. We were colonised by the Americans and we have their culture in our traditions even up to this days and I think that we are very welcoming with Americans and I don’t see any problem with that at all.

France
Having experienced terrorism first hand yourself what is the best way for the government to combat this rising threat?

In my opinion to fight terrorism, first we have to know where the problems are coming from, we have to listen to these people who are committing these attacks so we have to find the problem at its heart and for us French, we have to learn to be happy, to live and to be among ourselves.

Australia
Australia is taking its first step toward legalising marijuana. Do you think it’s a good idea and why?

This topic has its positive and negative and quite debated. I believe that in certain circumstances legalising marijuana does have its benefits and it has found to be really amazing in treating cancer and really really help those who are very very sick. In that circumstance, I definitely do think we should but the government should definitely weigh both options.

Colombia.
Drug abuse continues to be one of the world’s most serious social problems. What do you think is the best way to handle this problem?

The ideas that I have to eradicate this problem that unfortunately affecting our world is in our home is to intensify education for these problems because they continue to be large problem for the world.  

USA
Few issues in the United States are more polarised than gun issues. The argument really heats up after major tragedic events such as San Bernardino and Sand Hook. What’s your position on gun control?

This is incredibly a difficult issue that the United State has constantly battling and weighing our options. I think that incredibly important that all individuals have the right to protect themselves and feel safe, but I also think that sometime we need to look at the safety of a whole more than our personal safety. So I think we need a stronger regulation specifically I think that we need to pay attention.

This year questions and answers bring out the intelligence and knowledge of the contestants. And they did so well especially, Philippines, USA and Australia. The questions were so political and controversial. All the contestants chose to answer diplomatically and gave politically correct answer. I think to take one side and to answer in just 30 seconds wouldn’t be enough to validate your point. So we got to see how smart they were. Philippines might be colonized by the Americans before but today if both are in a good relation, so irrespective of the situation it brings, I guess, if two countries are willing to do it then it should which Pia Alonzo summed it up perfectly since relation between two countries is more of people’s to people’s relation. USA was so fun to watch. Olivia is so cheerful all the time. Such a beautiful woman she is. She was spontaneous and intelligent. Just love the way she ended by saying “Pay Attention” when the time was up for her. It was so delightful. Miss Colombia spoke in Spanish. More than her answer being translated, it was the language she spoke which fascinated me though I don’t understand a single word. Thanks to the translator who did it so brilliantly, unlike other pageants. My only wish was that she shouldn’t have interrupted and instead let her finished and translates it once Ariadna gave her nod. France who had competed before in Miss World was first in the interview.  Flora wasn’t the way I thought out to be when she gave her answer. I mean she spoke the truth and there was nothing diplomatic about her answer. Honestly, I like her answer but I am not sure the judges didn’t want to hear the truth. Australia had a marijuana topic. I seriously won’t be able to answer that. Like she said it has been quite debated. It wasn’t fair on part of the audience who booed her when she said it should be legalised in certain circumstances. She was strong and she finished her answer without showing any nerve under pressure. She was great.

The top 3: Even after hearing Colombia answer I wanted her to win. Favourites remain your favourites specifically your personal favourite. With Thailand out of the competition, I was rooting for her. But somewhere in my mind I had these feeling that she won’t win since question and answer were given more weightage now than the previous years and the fan votes would decide the winner too. So the top 3 were Misses USA, Philippines and Colombia. Perfect top 3. All my favourites were in top 3. They had to face another question; this time was a common question.

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Why should you be the next miss universe?

USA
I think that I should be the next Miss Universe because I think that I am so passionate and so driven. It is my goal to inspire people from around the world to believe in themselves and to be themselves and to follow their wildest dreams no matter what those dreams are. I want to work to bring equality for men and women and it is time to step up women empowerment and I want to empower woman from all over the world.

Colombia
I am confident that I should be the third Miss Universe for my country Colombia because I have all the good and the attribute that a Latin women have. I am a woman who is full of feelings and have attributes that a woman should have in Colombia and the Miss Universe should have all of that for herself.

Philippines
To be a Miss Universe is full of honour and responsibility. If I were to be the next Miss Universe, I will use my voice to influence the youth and I will bring awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant for my country which is the Philippines. I want to show the world the universe rather that I am confident and beautiful with a heart.

The top 3 finalists took a final walk with Seal performance on the centre of the stage. What a fabulous performance. How I wish that was the actual evening gown round.

When I heard the question, “Why should you be the next Miss Universe?” I thought it was so Miss World and wondered if Miss World had just landed in Las Vegas. USA was so fun to watch. She always makes you smile with her amiable personality. So full of life and her answer speaks for herself. Her spontaneous quality is something I love about her. She has achieved so much in life so when she said she wanted to work for equality of women and men, I knew she meant what she said looking at where she come from. Colombia was all about being the Latina woman she was. She conveyed a strong message about how confident and strong she was. I could see that in her personality. Philiippines was a bit nervous and it seems like she had prepared her answer well in case she was asked this question. It might sound rehearsed but she delivered and it was a lot better than Colombia. I wonder why she didn’t speak in German. I read some months back if she made it to the top 5 she should speak in German so that she can answer better. I am more than happy she used English to answer. Who knows a translator might end up spoiling her answer. We all know some answers when translated, never give you the real one. I love her soft voice.

I was sure that Philippines would be winning, I would have accepted it anyway, she being one of my favourites and looking at her performances, she was worth becoming Miss Universe but somewhere in my mind I still wanted Colombia to win. I thought USA and Philippines would be the last two standing. Then Miss USA was announced as 2nd runner-up. It was a nerve-wracking moment for everyone. Steve Harvey announced Miss Universe is Miss Colombia. Excited and happy for Colombia, I was about to switch off, then the moment you would never want to see happened. Steve came up to announce his mistake and the actual winner was Miss Philippines. Thought it was a joke since Steve himself was a comedian. But as it turned out to be true, both the candidates froze for a while. The look Philippines had was so surreal. Miss USA had to explain it to her. Then she came forward but still looked surprised. While Miss Colombia stood there not knowing what to do, Miss Philippines looked on to her. The look and the expression on Pia’s face were incredibly unbelievable.  She knew she was the winner, she was happy and we could see it from her face; she was sensible enough to not show it off loud knowing what just happened and she wouldn’t want to go up to her 1st runner-up and take the crown. It would look bad on her part and add more humiliation for Colombia who already had the final walk as a winner. That’s when Paulina Vega came to the rescue, held them both in their hands and took the crown from Ariadna and placed it on to the actual winner Pia. Pualina was so gracious and showed the right attitude to ease the tension. It was comforting to see her when she gave Ariadna a rub on her back to console her and took her away from the stage. Ariadna controlled her emotions and gave a smile while Pia was being crowned as the rightful Miss Universe. It was gracious of her to stand up there and acknowledge the crowning moment.  Just because of one mistake, Ariadna had to return the crown after enjoying her final walk and while Pia lost the real moment of being crowned and the joy and pride that comes with it when waving in front of the audience and thousands of people watching the live telecast. Steve Harvey did a mistake but it takes a lot of courage to come up and accept his blunders and told the world about it.Ariadna will be my Miss Universe in my heart and as she was called as Miss Universe, it was rightfully called so. She will be Miss Universe for many. There is grace in accepting defeat but it is more gracious when you have to give back the crown that wasn’t yours and accept it with humility.

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As for Pia, though she might not be called as Miss Universe first, she has already proven why she should be the next Miss Universe in the competition through her mannerism, personality, intelligence and poise. She might not have been my ultimate favourite for the title, but she won the title fair and square. The soft-spoken and calm woman she is, she has won many hearts than ever. The way she handled herself after the incident deserves an applaud. The Video in which she tried to approach to make amends with Ariadna was touching indeed. Despite all these unwanted incidents, she stayed calm and composed, remain true to herself i.e. humble, gracious, polite and courteous. I have great admiration for Filipino beauty queens and my admiration and respect for Pia has gone up tremendously after this incident. This is what makes her a true beauty queen! A beauty queen not just of the heart but of the soul as well. Congratulation Pia! Looking forward to your journey as Miss Universe doing great things for people and the society we live in.

Pictures Credit: Miss Universe Facebook page

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