Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, won the Miss Universe contest tonight in Las Vegas. No surprise there, but there were upsets along the way. Miss USA didn’t make the top 15, which is somewhat unusual for the home country’s candidate. That eliminated any suspense over whether she would fall down during the evening gown competition. Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela and Haiti didn’t make the top 15, either.
Some would say that the swimsuit competition is the best fifteen minutes in television. Tonight I thought Miss Puerto Rico, Miss Mexico, Miss South Africa, Miss Australia and Miss Albania–another upset–stood out.
During the evening gown competition, the screen showed a little personal information about the top ten contestants. Miss Albania listed her interests as “astrology and yoga.” Miss Mexico said “boat rides and nature.” Miss Australia, whom I liked for her girl next door persona (she was also voted Miss Congeniality) identified volleyball, running and Australian rules football. Here she is during the swimsuit presentation show a few days ago:
They narrowed the field to five, apparently, on the basis of height. Everyone under 5′ 9″ was eliminated. Then they did the question round. The final five were Mexico, Australia, Ukraine, Philippines, and–in what I thought was a major surprise–Jamaica. Four of the contestants did well; surprisingly, however, Miss Mexico does not speak English. If she were a less overwhelming contestant, I suspect that could have cost her the title.
Miss Jamaica was asked about capital punishment; she said that she opposes it because only God should take a life. Some in the audience were churlish enough to boo her answer. Miss Ukraine was asked about full-body scanners in airports–a bit of titillation, I guess, but she comes from a no-nonsense part of the world and said that if they enhance security, she is all for them. Miss Australia was asked about government efforts to restrict forms of religious dress (i.e., the burka or hijab). She lit up at the question because it was something that has been on her mind; to see why, go here and watch the video “Swimsuits For Freedom,” in which she is briefly interviewed. She said that governments shouldn’t tell people what to wear.
Miss Philippines, who never did much for me, blew off her question, waved to the crowd, and said “hello, Las Vegas” or something. Ending, I think, her chances. In the end, Miss Mexico won, followed by Jamaica and Australia. Here she is in the traditional, getting-crowned shot:
And here she is during the swimsuit competition:
In the end, it was a solid pageant with a worthy winner, but not an especially memorable one. On the other hand, it beat the heck out of watching the Twins get shut out by the Rangers, whose pitchers took a no-hitter into the ninth inning.
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