Miss Colombia, Paulina Vega, won the Miss Universe pageant tonight. No surprise there; she has been the betting favorite for the last few days. Miss USA, Nia Sanchez, finished second.
In general, tonight’s Miss Universe finale followed form. The 15 semifinalists were announced early: Colombia, Italy, India, France, USA, Indonesia, Venezuela, Spain, Philippines, Argentina, Jamaica, Ukraine, Brazil, Netherlands and Australia. Not a lot of upsets there. None of my favorites–Miss Gabon, Miss Israel and Miss Puerto Rico–made the last 15. Miss Puerto Rico, Gabriela Berrios, did win Most Photogenic, however. Here she is with her trophy:
What do you think are the chances we can persuade her to do an interview on the Power Line Show? I think it’s worth a shot.
The show went through all of the national costumes–an excursion into the bizarre–along with swimsuit and evening gown competitions. Ultimately, the group of 88 was winnowed down to five: Misses USA, Netherlands, Ukraine, Jamaica and Colombia.
The five finalists:
There were some upsets here: leading contenders like Venezuela, India and Spain were gone, while Netherlands, Ukraine and Jamaica were relative upstarts. Of those three, I liked Netherlands and Ukraine.
The competition came down to the questions, as usual. They provided some drama. Each of the final five competitors got a question from one of the judges. The first was directed to Miss USA by boxer Manny Pacquaio: If you had 30 seconds to give a message to global terrorists, what would it be? This was a hanging curve from a sympathetic pitcher, and Miss USA, Ana Sanchez, whiffed, gurgling some nonsense about spreading a message of hope and love and peace.
The other questions and answers in the first round were unremarkable.
The last stage was a question submitted via Facebook, which was asked to each of the five finalists: What is your country’s greatest contribution to the world?
The first contestant to respond was Miss USA, and once again she stumbled. Rather than mentioning, say, WWII, or America’s role in preserving the peace for the last 70 years, she mumbled some platitudes about how the U.S. has a wonderful influence in the world. With one exception, the other contestants’ answers were not noteworthy. But the question was posed to Miss Ukraine, whose country, as she spoke, is being invaded by Russian troops. Miss Ukraine rose to the occasion. She said that right now, Ukraine’s most important contribution is to direct our energies to support our army and our people. Good for her. She immediately became my favorite.
But it wasn’t to be. This is a beauty pageant, after all. The final five were as follows: Miss Colombia, Miss USA, Miss Ukraine, Miss Netherlands and Miss Jamaica. Here is Miss Colombia after receiving her crown:
Still, while the final results were not quite as I would have wished, the Miss Universe pageant has cemented its place as the only first-class, traditional, world-wide beauty pageant. We look forward to next year!