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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

Miss Universe 2014 Review: Norway - Serbia

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

Norway: Elise Dalby **

Elise has a very interesting look but I think it's a look that's better suited for a catwalk than a beauty pageant. She is super tall, so she stands out. Her swimsuit performance was much better than her gown performance.

Panama: Yomatzy Hazlewood *

Yomatzy has overcome many hardships in her life to reach this point. She should be congratulated for making her dreams come true!

Paraguay: Sally Jara **

I liked her when she won her national pageant and had my eyes on her when she arrived. She looked really strong when she got there. Then came the preliminaries and WHAT ON EARTH was that gown? That's pretty much messing up your own chances. It's a pity because her swimsuit performance was great.

Peru: Jimena Espinoza ***

Miss Peru was never on my radar until the preliminaries. She was really impressive that night and I loved her in gown and swimsuit. Now I won't be surprised to see her name called out on Sunday night.

Philippines: Mary Jean Lastimosa ******

The Philippines is long overdue for a crown and this might be the year they get it. I am  not her biggest fan - I much preferred Venus, Shamcey, and Janine. However, you can't deny that Mary Jean will be fighting for the crown. She's worked hard and transformed herself (with a "bit" of help) into a formidable competitor. The MUO needs to keep their loyal fan base in the Philippines happy. Will MJ take it all tomorrow night? I will be happy for my Filipino friends, but I won't be jumping for joy! I want a Megan Young type of beauty to win the crown for them.

Poland: Marcela Chmielowska **

Marcela was quite solid during the entire competition. I just don't think she was that spectacular. But in the year where there are so many hits and misses, at least that's a great achievement. I do think she has a gorgeous face.

Portugal: Patricia Da Silva *

Portugal was actually a nice surprise. She was totally better than I expected. Will that be enough? I doubt it!

Puerto Rico: Gabriela Berrios ***

Never count Puerto Rico out, but I must say that they have been on a downward spiral. Where are the stunners of yesteryear? Gabriela did a solid job during the preliminaries and she did give it her all. I enjoyed her gown performance.

Russia: Yulia Alipova ****

There are times when I think Yulia is absolutely stunning, like in the preliminary competition. But then other times, I just find her beauty a bit harsh and plastic. She also doesn't exactly radiate warmth, so I am not really that impressed... but Russia has been loyal to the MUO, so she could be up there.

Serbia: Andjelka Tomasevic *****

Andjelka is one of the most gorgeous girls in this year's pagant and I have been a fan for a long time. I knew she would make an impact, and she did... then came the preliminaries. I expected so much more from her, so I was left disappointed. It almost looked like she thought this was another rehearsal. Still, based on beauty alone, she should be up there.

Photos: www.missuniverse.com

 

63rd Miss Universe Review: Lebanon - Nigeria

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

Lebanon: Saly Greige **

Miss Lebanon got some major press attention due to the now infamous selfie that Miss Israel posted of them together. This was met with outrage in her country and the Lebanese beauty claimed Miss Israel photobombed her. Could this help her make the cut? She's a beautiful girl and had two solid performances during the preliminaries, but she wasn't spectacular.

Lithuania: Patricija Belousova ***

Patricija has one of the most gorgeous faces of the pageant and I'd say she  has the most beautiful eyes of all the contestants. It's a pity that she's one of the shortest girls there, because just in terms of facial beauty, she would have been able to go very far.

Malaysia: Sabrina Beneett ***

Sabrina was the last delegate to arrive in Miami and had to do all her photoshoots in a single day. She was a lovely surprise during the preliminaries and I especially enjoyed her swimsuit performance. The Asian delegates are quite strong, so I wonder if there will be a spot for her. If she does make it, it will be a well deserved placement.

Mauritius: Pallavi Gungaram *

Pallavi is one of the better delegates I've seen from this country. Facially I find her very beautiful but I didn't care for her evening gown during the preliminaries.

Mexico: Josselyn Garciglia ******

I have always liked Josselyn and thought she had what it takes to do well in this competition. Well, she did not disappoint and I have been very impressed by her so far. I loved her during the preliminaries. She was absolutely amazing in gown and her swimsuit performance was also good, although I wasn't totally crazy about her hairstyle. Watch out for Mexico - they must just take it all again!

Myanmar: Sharr Htut Eaindra ** 

The Asians are strong this year. Myanmar's Sharr made a good impression in the preliminaries, but she was outshined by several other delegates.

Netherlands: Yasmin Verheijen ****

I adore this girl. Yasmin's sultry exotic beauty makes her stand out. She has a curvy figure and legs that go on forever. Some fans feel she is not in the best shape, but I appreciate her look. She also gave to solid performances. Can they make it this year? I hope so!

New Zealand: Rachel Millns *

New Zealand is one of those countries whose sash does not carry much weight. I must say that Rachel is better than I anticipated, but I doubt that it will be enough to survive the first cut.

Nicaragua: Marline Barberena *

I thought Marline was quite lackluster during the preliminaries, so I'd be very surprised to see the cut. I have seen better from Nicaragua.

Nigeria: Queen Celestine *

I love this girl's name, but that's about it. I believe she was one of the weaker contestants during the preliminaries. When are we ever going to see another Agbani?

Photos: www.missuniverse.com