Miss Universe: Finale In Sight

The finale of the Miss Universe pageant will be broadcast live from Mandalay Bay on NBC tomorrow night. The betting odds have pretty well shaped up, although the favorites vary a little depending on which betting site you check. This site has Miss Philippines as the favorite; she has been close to the top from the beginning, but I’m a little skeptical. Here she is:
Philippines1098.jpg
Miss Mexico, second on that site, is one of the favorites everywhere. If I were betting, I would probably bet on her. We noted here the rather silly controversy in Australia over the “outlandish” national costume that Miss Australia was required to wear. The Aussies apparently overlooked the fact that pageant “national costumes” are generally goofy. Still, Miss Mexico looks terrific under just about any circumstances:
MissMexicoCostume55.jpg
Miss Ireland has been shooting up in the odds; she is even first on one betting site. This is the best photo I’ve seen of her:
Ireland2090.jpg
Colombia and France are also high in the rankings; they are pictured below, with Miss France on the right:
Colombia7100.jpg France3330.jpg
Miss USA, whom we pictured here, is getting some betting respect, as the home country contestant generally does. I like Miss Australia a lot–she has a nice girl-next-door look–but she isn’t especially high in the rankings:
Australia3001.jpg
And I really don’t understand why Miss Sweden is not among the favorites. She looks sort of like Marilyn Monroe, only better:
Sweden6600.jpg
There is lots more at the pageant site. However, while there are a lot of photos and videos, there is very little personal information about the contestants. No text of interviews, for example, which can often be entertaining. The only interviews are via video, and they are rather silly as contestants are asked to do things like imitate a car starting. This puts third-world contestants, who tend to be serious-minded, at a disadvantage. Here, selected at random, is the interview of Miss Ireland:

If you like that kind of thing, you could spend a lot of time watching them. For a shorter reminder of what beauty pageants are mostly about, see Swimsuits and Body Paint. Unlike the video that we posted here–Swimsuits for Freedom–it has absolutely no political or social significance.
PAUL adds: I’m rooting for Miss. Colombia partly on merit but mostly because my wife and I had such a great time there in February. They take beauty pageants seriously in Colombia. In one of the main squares in Cartagena, we saw a series of bricks commemorating each Miss Colombia dating back at least 50 years.

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