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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Armand du Plessis wins Mr. South Africa 2015


25 year old Armand du Plessis was named Mr. South Africa 2015 in Gauteng last night. He might represent South Africa at the next Mr. World Pageant should it be held during his reign. The first runner-up was Morne Marais and the second runner-up was Sibusiso Sibanda.

Well done, Armand! Happy for you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Miss Universe 2014 Finally Starts Her Reign

After a long wait which carried over into a new year, Miss Universe 2014, Colombia's Paulina Vega finally started her reign yesterday. The new Miss Universe will now move to New York City where she will live with the pageant's first runner-up, reigning Miss USA, Nia Sanchez. Donald Trump also made an important announcement: Miss Universe will move from Telemundo to Univision. Apparently it will still be shown on NBC. It has not yet been announced if the 2015 edition will actually take place in 2015 or 2016, or even if a year will just be skipped. The pageant was a ratings winner in the United States, securing its highest ratings since 2006.
 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Miss Colombia wins Miss Universe 2014


Miss Colombia, 22 year old Paulina Vega, beat 87 other delegates to be crowned the 63rd Miss Universe on Sunday night in Miami. The 1.75m beauty became the firm favorite after her sizzling performance during the preliminary competition last Wednesday. She will now move to New York City where she will be working for Donald Trump's Miss Universe Organization. This is only the second time ever that Colombia has won the pageant. The country came very close in recent years, finishing second in 1992, 1993, 1994, and 2008 but they had to wait more than 56 years for this triumph.

The first runner-up was home favorite, Miss USA, Nia Sanchez from Las Vegas, Nevada. She will assume the title should the new Miss Universe be unable to fulfill her reign. Miss Ukraine, Diana Harkusha finished in third place. The third runner-up was Miss Netherlands, Yasmine Verheijen, and the fourth runner-up was Miss Jamaica, Kaci Fennell. Fennell, with her unconventional (for beauty pageant) pixie cut, became the favorite of the crowd on the night of the final and they voiced their disapproval by booing when she was the first of the top 5 to be eliminated.

The top 10 were completed by the delegates from Argentina, Australia, the Philippines, Spain, and Doral favorite, Miss Venezuela. The delegates from Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, and Italy survived the first cut to become part of the top 15 before being eliminated after the swimsuit round.

Miss Puerto Rico, Gabriela Berrios, was named Miss Photogenic and Miss Nigeria, Queen Celestine, was named Miss Congeniality. The winner of the Best National Costume award was Miss Indonesia, Elvira Devinamira.

I love the winner and the top 5. Any of them would have made a great Miss Universe. I think Colombia's victory is well deserved and it's nice to see them finally win the crown again after such a long wait!

Photos courtesy of AFP and Reuters

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Miss Universe 2014: FINAL Stairway to the Crown

New Miss Universe Crown Unveiled


The Miss Universe Organization has formed a partnership with DIC (Diamonds International Corporation) and they have become the official jewelry sponsor of the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA Pageant. With that comes new crowns and earlier this week, the new Miss Universe crown was officially unveiled. The crown is valued at an estimated US$300,000 and the silhouette is a homage to the skyline of New York City where the winner will live during her reign. Who will be the first woman to wear this crown?


What a monstrosity! It took this cheap looking piece of "art" to let me appreciate the Diamond Nexus fruit bowl that I hated.

63rd Miss Universe Review: Thailand - Venezuela

The 63rd Miss Universe will be crowned on January 25 in Miami, Florida. 88 young women from all over the world are competing to become the next Miss Universe. The new winner will be crowned by outgoing title holder, Maria Gabriela Isler from Venezuela, with a brand new crown sponsored by DIC. The Miss Universe Organization seems to have hit hard times as they were unable to stage a pageant in 2014. Initially, it was announced that this edition will be Miss Universe 2014 but no one is really sure if there will be another pageant later in the year. The organizers have been tightlipped about this and so far all that is known is that this is the 63rd Miss Universe with no year being mentioned.

There were some protests when it was announced that the Doral government had to spend more than US$2 million to host the pageant. Later they released a statement saying that the funds will not come from the tax payers' pockets but from corporate sponsors instead. The contestants stayed in Miss Universe owner Donald Trump's Doral Gholf Estate and Hotel for the majority of the their time in Doral. The city, which has a large Venezuelan community and is also nicknamed Doralzuela, did not even have a venue large enough to accommodate the finals, so the nearby Florida International University Arena was chosen to host the final. The arena is a far cry from the luxurious venues of the past. Of course, the pageant has not been without controversy. Miss Israel's selfie with Miss Lebanon hit headlines around the world with the Lebanese beauty claiming that the Israeli delegate "photobombed" her. Technically the two countries are still at war.

After a long wait, we will have a new Miss Universe on Sunday. Despite complaints by fans that the quality of the events this year were an all time low, they are just relieved that the pageant will finally take place. Now on to the stars of this year's show, the 88 delegates. After following the pageant for the last couple of weeks, here are our thoughts:

****** Could be the next Miss Universe
***** Potential top 5 finalist, but will probably not win
**** Could go as far as the top 10
*** Could survive the first cut to make the top 15
** Likely to miss the cut
* Highly likely to miss the cut

Thailand: Pimbongkod Chankaew ***

Pimbongkod is tall and striking. She didn't stand out that much during the competition, but she gave two very solid performances during the preliminaries. Will that be enough to secure a spot in the top 15?

Trinidad and Tobago: Jevon King ***

Trinidad and Tobago usually sends girls of a high caliber and Jevon is no exception. She is tall, beautiful, and in great shape. She was very solid during the preliminaries, so I will not be surprised to see her up there.

Turkey: Dilan Cicek *

Dilan is on the same level as the girl who made it two years ago. But this time around, I don't see another surprise placement for Turkey.

Turks and Caicos: Shanice Williams ***

Shanice is the best delegate from her islands in decades and has a good shot at making the top 15. Will there be a spot for a weaker sash in a pageant where sash factor really matters? It would be refreshing to see her make the cut.

Ukraine: Diana Harkusha *****

Diana had to step in when the stunning girl who won last year resigned. At first I just categorized her as one of the pretty but bland blondes. However, I took that back when I saw her during the preliminaries and now I think she might go all the way to the top 5. She's gorgeous!

Uruguay: Johana Riva **

Some of her professional shots, like her glamshot, were amazing. She did a commendable job during the preliminaries, but there are stronger contenders from her region.

USA: Nia Sanchez ******

Nia has looked absolutely stunning from the day she arrived in Miami. She proved to us why she won Miss USA in the first place. She is a seasoned competitor and it showed during the preliminaries. She was on fire during both rounds of competition. The USA is in line to win their 9th Miss Universe crown.

Venezuela: Migbelis Castellanos *****

Migbelis has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons throughout her reign. There were constant reports about her weight gain and, yes, compared to other Misses Venezuela, she has a fuller figure? But come one, look at that face. She is gorgeous and she seems to have an amazing personality. I think she could still be one of the top 5 finalists.

Photos: www.missuniverse.com

Miss Universe 2014 Review: Singapore - Tanzania

The 63rd Miss Universe will be crowned on January 25 in Miami, Florida. 88 young women from all over the world are competing to become the next Miss Universe. The new winner will be crowned by outgoing title holder, Maria Gabriela Isler from Venezuela, with a brand new crown sponsored by DIC. The Miss Universe Organization seems to have hit hard times as they were unable to stage a pageant in 2014. Initially, it was announced that this edition will be Miss Universe 2014 but no one is really sure if there will be another pageant later in the year. The organizers have been tightlipped about this and so far all that is known is that this is the 63rd Miss Universe with no year being mentioned.

There were some protests when it was announced that the Doral government had to spend more than US$2 million to host the pageant. Later they released a statement saying that the funds will not come from the tax payers' pockets but from corporate sponsors instead. The contestants stayed in Miss Universe owner Donald Trump's Doral Gholf Estate and Hotel for the majority of the their time in Doral. The city, which has a large Venezuelan community and is also nicknamed Doralzuela, did not even have a venue large enough to accommodate the finals, so the nearby Florida International University Arena was chosen to host the final. The arena is a far cry from the luxurious venues of the past. Of course, the pageant has not been without controversy. Miss Israel's selfie with Miss Lebanon hit headlines around the world with the Lebanese beauty claiming that the Israeli delegate "photobombed" her. Technically the two countries are still at war.

After a long wait, we will have a new Miss Universe on Sunday. Despite complaints by fans that the quality of the events this year were an all time low, they are just relieved that the pageant will finally take place. Now on to the stars of this year's show, the 88 delegates. After following the pageant for the last couple of weeks, here are our thoughts:

****** Could be the next Miss Universe
***** Potential top 5 finalist, but will probably not win
**** Could go as far as the top 10
*** Could survive the first cut to make the top 15
** Likely to miss the cut
* Highly likely to miss the cut

Singapore: Rathi Menon ***

Rathi is the best Miss Singapore in years. I believe last time Singapore got so much buzz was in 2009. It's really also fantastic to see a different look coming from Singapore. Rathi was styled and trained by the legendary Ines Ligron... and yes, it showed. She had a killer wardrobe and lots of moves on stage. Will her unconventional beauty be appreciated by the Miss Universe judges?

Slovak Republic: Silvia Prochadzkova ****

I think Silvia is absolutely gorgeous. She is tall, sexy, and she commands attention. I was slightly underwhelmed by her preliminary performances, so it will be hit or miss for her. Still hoping to see her survive the first cut.

Slovenia: Urska Bracko *

Urska is unfortunately, for me, one of the weakest links this year. I  hope she had a great experience, but I don't see her making the cut.

South Africa: Ziphozakhe Zokufa ***

Zipho had to step in at the last minute when she had to take over the Miss South Africa title when Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World in December. She literally had almost no time to prepare and I am amazed by how well she has done. She really embraced the experience and seemed to enjoy her time there. She's a true African queen and I love her voice and accent. I really enjoyed her swimsuit performance and she was elegant in evening gown. I just wish they gave her a better evening gown instead of that white sheet. It's a pity that when Werner Wessels isn't involved, the gowns are usually atrocious. Still I love Zipho and I think she could make it.

Spain: Desiree Cordero ******

Last year they came so close to winning the title, and many fans believe that they will go one step further. Desiree is a stunner and she has competed very strongly. She was amazing in swimsuit and gown, so don't be surprised to see her win the pageant on Sunday.

Sri Lanka: Avanti Page *

Avanti seems like a nice girl but stronger girls from her country have failed to make the cut in recent years.

St. Lucia: Roxanne Didier-Nicholas **

Even though I feel Roxanne is stronger than the typical delegate from her island, I don't see her making the cut. She was better in gown than swimsuit for me, probably because I think she is way too thin.

Sweden: Camilla Hansson **

Camilla kind of got lost in the crowd for me during the competition, but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised during the preliminaries. She gave a credible performance during the evening gown road, and her swimsuit performance was quite good.

Switzerland: Zhoe Metthez *

This is the first year for Switzerland under new directorship and Zhoe was handpicked to represent Switzerland at the pageant. I hope their director puts on a show next year and finds a gorgeous Swiss beauty. Zhoe is striking but I don't think we will see Switzerland in the top 15 this year.

Tanzania: Nale Boniface **

Nale was actually the first runner-up to Miss Universe Tanzania and represented her country at Miss Earth 2014. She had to step in when the winner got injured. She did a good job, but I doubt that she will make it.

Photos: www.missuniverse.com