Miss Venezuela Wins the Miss Universe Pageant

Latin America has become increasingly dominant in the world of pageantry, a trend that continued tonight as four of the five Miss Universe finalists were from Venezuela, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. The fifth, in a surprise, was Miss Russia.

Miss Venezuela, the favorite, won; this was about the only respect in which the finale was not a bit odd. The NBC broadcast featured non-stop plugs for “America’s Got Talent;” I assume the irony of having a show with that name hosted by Jerry Springer is unintentional. The pageant took place in Vietnam, and Vietnam travelogs were interspersed with the live action. For any viewer of a certain age the effect was jarring. I can only imagine what a Vietnam vet would make of it.

Weirdest of all, for the second year in a row Miss USA fell down. Just as in 2007, the slip came at the beginning of the evening gown competition:

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It’s hard to say what the odds against that would be. For what it’s worth, the Vietnamese audience, unlike last year’s crowd in Mexico, did not respond with any anti-American sentiment.

Here is Miss Venezuela just after she won the crown:

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By the end, I was rooting for her. She was the only contestant whose answer to the question posed by one of the judges was remotely witty, she made the sign of the cross while waiting for the winner to be announced, and she had to overcome being saddled with the strangest of all of the “national costumes:”

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Miss Dominican Republic, in contrast, got to wear a baseball uniform:

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The “national costume” of the United States, for no obvious reason, was a snowflake.

Miss Venezuela was a worthy winner, but I don’t think this year’s Miss Universe competition will go down as one of the classics of the genre.

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