Catching Up With Miss Universe

With the finale of the Miss Universe pageant just two days away, news has been pouring out of Sao Paulo. Not all of it has been good–you probably already know the story of Miss Colombia, who borrowed a leaf from Britney Spears and Sharon Stone–not, unfortunately, a fig leaf. We’ve noticed that pageant news is much easier to keep up with these days than it used to be. When we pioneered the coverage of pageants by serious political web sites some years ago, it was considered exotic if not scandalous. Now, however, news outlets of all sorts are tuned into the big international competitions. As it turned out, we were ahead of our time.

Thus, if you want to see photos from the preliminary swimsuit round that was held Thursday evening, you can go to the International Business Times for some of the highlights. Here is just one; Miss Australia, one of the favorites:

They have also held the preliminary evening gown competition, as well as the national costumes event. This year, even the evening gown competition was not without controversy, as Miss Australia’s gown was considered too risque. National costumes is one of the quirks of the Miss Universe contest. Most of the costumes are somewhat weird, and the event seems to be a test of the contestants’ ability to withstand embarrassment. Best case, they look like Las Vegas showgirls. Here, for example, is Miss Curacao, who appears to be either a bird or a plant, I’m not sure which:

The betting odds haven’t changed much, except that Miss China has moved into the number two spot in some rankings. Here she is:

As usual, my favorites aren’t necessarily rated highest by the oddsmakers. Like the very cute Miss Israel:

For some reason, Norway–my ancestral homeland–doesn’t have an entry in the pageant this year, but Miss Finland is a worthy substitute:

And let’s close, for now, with Miss Trinidad & Tobago:

More to come tomorrow, time permitting.

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