A Return to Pageantry

Readers who have discovered us only recently may not be aware that, from time to time, we have covered beauty pageants. The best ones, in my opinion, are Miss World and Miss Universe. Examples of our Miss World coverage are here and here. Sample Miss Universe coverage is here, and this is where I live-blogged the finale in 2004, which turned out to be an inspired idea.

The time has come to put aside the serious issues of the day and return, for a moment, to pageant coverage. The moment is opportune, since the Miss Universe 2006 competition is finally heating up. The final event will be in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 23. But the official Miss Universe site is lagging; it still shows last year’s winner, Canada’s Natalie Glebova, and you have to navigate pretty skillfully to find photos and interviews of this year’s contestants. The current photos are being assembled rather slowly. Only a little over half are in place, and the contest is but two weeks away.

The publicity machine has started up, however, with the assembling of the contestants in Los Angeles, which began this week. Yahoo News Photos has collected lots of pictures; this one is of Miss New Zealand by the pool:

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While the official site is still under construction, there are a number of unofficial sites with interesting Miss Universe coverage. Some are gossip sites, like this one. What sort of gossip, you ask? Well, like Miss Australia, Erin McNaught, a bartender in a surfer bar and a dead ringer for the Miss Australia who won the contest two years ago, who turned out to have posed for some nude photos. (This happens every year.) There were demands that she step down, but she ignored the controversy and is now in Los Angeles.

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Some are unofficial fan sites, like–I think–this one, which has lots of photos of the contestants as they arrived in L.A. Such as this shot of Miss Puerto Rico, who, according to a blog-style rumor site, was accompanied by two young men whom she described as “personal travel assistants”:

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Based on the limited time I’ve spent in Puerto Rico, the island contains a remarkable number of young women who look just about like that.

People bet on beauty pageants. I haven’t yet seen a site that has wagering going on Miss Universe, but I’m sure some will spring up over the next few days. In the meantime, Missology is running a poll. The current leader is Miss Dominican Republic; personally, I prefer Miss Colombia:

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Well, that’s enough for the moment. We’ll return to the pageant over the days to come, as the tension continues to mount.

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