It is time to start previewing the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. The contestants have gathered in Las Vegas and the competition is under way. The finale will be on Sunday, December 20, and will be broadcast on Fox.
This year’s competition could have had an interesting tie-in with the 2016 presidential campaign, as Donald Trump has co-owned the pageant with NBC for some years. However, in the initial burst of publicity surrounding Trump’s anti-illegal immigration position, NBC canceled its plan to air the Miss USA pageant, which is part of the Miss Universe package. That led Trump to buy out NBC and then sell Miss Universe to WME/IMG for an undisclosed sum. Thus, for better or worse, there will be no Trump angle to this year’s contest.
Preliminary betting odds are beginning to emerge, but they don’t mean much at this stage. Probably more significant are commentaries on the contestants on sites like Missosology. Putting those sources together, a few candidates appear to be among the early favorites.
One is Miss India, Urbashi Rautela, a Bollywood veteran at age 21:
I should perhaps add that the Miss Universe rules do not prohibit surgical enhancement.
Miss Indonesia, Anindya Putri, is another highly-rated contestant–ranked first, in fact, by Missosology:
The Miss Universe site tells us that Miss Putri “loves to sing despite having a terrible voice.” Until this year, that would not have been a problem: under the Trump regime, there was no talent competition in Miss Universe. This year, under new management, an optional talent competition is being introduced. It remains to be seen whether not having a talent, beyond the obvious, will turn out to be a significant drawback.
Miss Vietnam, Pham Huong, is another early favorite. I can see why. This photo is not an official pageant picture; rather, it is from a Vietnamese web site. I think Miss Huong (or is it Miss Pham?) may be an underwear model in real life:
So far, these contestants are all from Asia. A sign of the times, I guess–cultural appropriation at its finest. For a change of pace, here is Miss Sweden, Paulina Brodd, whose mother was a top ten Miss Universe finisher. For a while, beauty pageants were out of favor in Europe. But like boxing, pageantry has made a big comeback on that continent:
There are many more fine contestants, but it would hardly be a preview without at least one from Latin America, the world’s foremost hotbed of pageantry. While Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico are perennial favorites, an early favorite of mine is Miss Dominican Republic, Clarissa Molina. Miss Molina writes that she experienced culture shock when she moved from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey, without speaking a word of English. One can sympathize. But she adds: “I know how to handle a Glock 19 firearm.”
Here is a thought: how about if Steve gets Miss Molina to pose for the final photo of The Week In Pictures? I will use my influence with the pageant to see if I can make it happen!