The Excitement Mounts

The finale of the Miss Universe pageant is tomorrow night. The tension has been building for some time now, and the betting field is wide open. The current odds are here; click to enlarge:

The favorites have bounced around some, but it’s mostly the same group: Miss Canada, Miss Colombia, Miss Australia, Switzerland, Bolivia, Mexico, Iceland. The biggest change has been the rise of Miss Australia, who has bounced back from a slight pre-pageant scandal. I suspect that the reason for her rise is the National Costumes competition which was held a couple of days ago. Generally, National Costumes are goofy in the extreme, and it’s hard to stand out in a positive way. Here, for example, is Miss Sweden:

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Miss Australia, Erin McNaught, was fortunate in this regard:

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The swimsuit preliminary might have helped too.

This commentator is one of several who consider Miss Australia the favorite:

Donald Trump’s Miss Universe extravaganza will be decided in Las Angeles on Sunday, and Aussie entrant Erin McNaught is our 8.00 equal favourite.

The Gold Coast beauty created her own storm before leaving our shores when some topless shots of her in a zoo [Ed.: This is in error. The photos appeared in an Australian rag called Zoo Weekly.] appeared, well before she won her Australian heat. The important thing for Erin is that the organisers have dismissed the photos as irrelevant, and Donald Trump has taken a shine to her.

Erin shares favouritism with Miss Colombia, Valerie Dominguez, who as it turns out is a first cousin of pop star Shakira. Most of the pageant critics have tipped Miss Canada (10.00) as the likely winner but seeing that no country has ever won back to back Miss Universe competitions, then she is a risk in our book.

The official Miss Universe site is now complete, and if you go here, you can use the drop-down menu on the left side to view individual contestants. Videos for the swimsuit and evening gown presentations are now up.

In thinking about the favorites, note that the shortest odds are on “the field”–everyone other than the favorites. An upset is likely this year, which means that my personal favorite, Miss Sri Lanka, still has a shot.

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