THE RESULTS (Aug. 24, 2010)

Ximena and Yendi reactTalk about coming full circle! Mexico repeats its first win in the city of Las Vegas! Mexico now has its second Miss Universe crown and both crowns were won in Las Vegas (Lupita Jones in 1991 and now Ximena Navarrete in 2010). And what an interesting year this turned out to be. Jamaica placed 2nd in the preliminaries of 1991 with Kimberly Mais but she finished with a top 6 placement and now Jamaica's Yendi Philipps ended up placing 2nd in the actual competition for 2010! Also Yendi was 1st runner up in the Miss World 2007 Beach Beauty competition which was won by Dominican Republic's Ada De La Cruz who was also 1st runner up at last year's Miss Universe! Weirdly enough both Ada and Yendi were the 3rd delegates of my honorable mentions lists of their respective years! Talk about matches! What makes me really upset though is that my prediction, the perfectly heavenly beauty of Irina Antonenko of Russia finished in 11th place and was so close to advancing. I think that letting go of Irina was a total loss for the Miss Universe organization. Now, I'm starting to wonder if Russia can ever win Miss Universe again due to the notable dethronement of their first winner Oxana Fedorova in 2002. The 3 Miss Universe organization titleholders all represented states or countries starting with "M". Miss USA is "M"ichigan, Miss Teen USA is "M"aryland and now Miss Universe is "M"exico! For the 5th time in Miss Universe history, Miss USA failed to place amongst the semifinalists. Rima Fakih now joins Shauntay Hinton (2002), Kimberly Pressler (1999), Barbara Peterson (1976) and Leona Gage (1957) as the only Miss USAs not to place at Miss Universe but it's even more shocking because USA was the host country!! Another disturbing shock was the exclusion of Venezuela!! Many wondered if Venezuela could do the impossible and get 3 winners in a row after already becoming the first country to win 2 Miss Universe crowns in a row last year but alas, it was not to be for Marelisa Gibson. Since 1991, Venezuela has made the top 6 every year at Miss Universe except the years when they were excluded entirely which were 2004, 2006 and now 2010. Like USA and Venezuela, India was also a powerhouse in the 90s but for a third year in a row, India failed to place but that wasn't a surprise this year. In terms of my predictions, I got 9 of the 15 semifinalists and 2 honorable mentions (Jamaica and Colombia). The 4 that I didn't include were Ukraine, Guatemala, France and Belgium. Ukraine and France were suspected by some people. Guatemala to a lesser extent but very few people I think saw Belgium as being a potential semifinalist. The 6 of my picks that didn't place were Venezuela, Canada, Slovak Republic, USA, Romania and Haiti. I thought Romania and Haiti would be the surprises or political picks but it turns out all the countries in the top 15 this year did place before. So I will post my final thoughts on August 30th.



Winner=Mexico-Ximena Navarrete

Winner=Russia-Irina Antonenko*

1st Runner Up=Jamaica-Yendi Philipps

1st Runner Up=Philippines-Venus Raj*

2nd Runner Up=Australia-Jesinta Campbell

2nd Runner Up=Mexico-Ximena Navarrete*

3rd Runner Up=Ukraine-Anna Poslavska

3rd Runner Up=Ireland-Rozanna Purcell*

4th Runner Up=Philippines-Venus Raj

4th Runner Up=Venezuela-Marelisa Gibson



6. Albania-Angela Martini

Canada-Elena Semikina

7. Ireland-Rozanna Purcell

Puerto Rico-Mariana Vicente*

8. South Africa-Nicole Flint

Slovak Republic-Anna Amenova

9. Guatemala-Jessica Scheel

Czech Republic-Jitka Valkova*

10. Puerto Rico-Mariana Vicente

USA-Rima Fakih



11. Russia-Irina Antonenko

Australia-Jesinta Campbell*

12. Colombia-Natalia Navarro

South Africa-Nicole Flint*

13. France-Malika Menard

Albania-Angela Martini*

14. Belgium-Cilou Annys

Romania-Oana Paveluc

15. Czech Republic-Jitka valkova

Haiti-Sarodj Bertin


ALTERNATES:Uruguay, Switzerland, Japan, Ecuador, Trinidad & Tobago


HONORABLE MENTIONS:Sweden, New Zealand, Jamaica*, Colombia*, Dominican Republic


* = made actual top 15

THE PREDICTIONS (Aug. 21, 2010)
Oh my God, was this hard! Narrowing it down to 15 is just nearly impossible this year and I've changed my list so many times! Many of the delegates in my alternates and honorable mentions were once in my top 15 list and even some others that will be mentioned afterwards. This proves how unbelievably intense this year's competition is. However, for me, the winner has always been clear so that means there is a lot of room for surprises, maybe even more so than usual!! So here it goes, my final predictions for Miss Universe 2010.


Winner=Russia-Irina Antonenko

I absolutely adore Irina! For those of you who have been reading my prethoughts, this pick should come as no surprise. This girl is just too good to be true! She's perfect! She has an incredibly beautiful face, a phenomenal body and I have been simply captivated by her and think she would be a Miss Universe for the ages. Go Irina!

1st Runner Up=Philippines-Venus Raj

Goddess on a mountain top! Oh yes, Venus lives up to her name and demonstrated that during preliminaries. She has very superb presentation skills, a great body and gown and with the support of her people cheering her on, she is expected to make a very strong showing.

2nd Runner Up=Mexico-Ximena Navarrete

We know she will have the crowd support and we all remember that Mexico won its only Miss Universe crown in Las Vegas. Apart from that, Ximena has been strong from the beginning. A compelling face and the body and gown to carry her far in the competition.

3rd Runner Up=Ireland-Rozanna Purcell

Rozanna is a heavy favorite amongst other pageant fans. Earlier, I just had her as a top 10 placement but other people seem so convinced of her that I bumped her into my top 5. It would be nice to see Ireland in the running and maybe I'm giving into the hype a little bit here but I can see her doing well.

4th Runner Up=Venezuela-Marelisa Gibson

Did you notice how she's wearing a blue gown? It's likely a subliminal sign that Osmel Sousa wants the Venezuelan threepeat! You see the 3 colors of the Venezuelan flag are yellow, red and blue. Dayana Mendoza won in a yellow gown, Stefania Fernandez won in a red gown and now here we have Marelisa in a blue gown! Can it happen?? It will be excitement to the finish and Marelisa has loads of charm, a great body and this gown is also divine as is to be expected of the Venezuelans. The top 5 is normally where Venezuela belongs so let's see what happens!


Canada-Elena Semikina

Elena has been somewhat of a polarizing delegate. Some love her and others don't. It's true that she competed at Miss International and didn't place then but I just couldn't bring myself to leave her out of my list just looking at this phenomenal body and her performance in the preliminaries was really good. At 6'1", she is the tallest delegate which means long legs! Her interview skills may not be tremendously powerful but she has the overall look of a contender so I had to keep her in my list.

Puerto Rico-Mariana Vicente

I actually wanted to put her in my top 5 but I settled on placing her here. She's just a lovely, cute girl and I really like her styling. People have mixed reviews of her hair and gown but I love them. She has real charm and spirit and I hope she does well.

Slovak Republic-Anna Amenova

Yes, it's true I grouped her with Puerto Rico because many people think the two could pass as sisters from different parts of the world! Anna is also very lovely and I would like her to do very well. Everything about her has pleased me and I think it's time for Slovak Republic to place.

Czech Republic-Jitka Valkova

I adore mi amor. Such a heavenly face on Jitka and a great body to match! Yes, I think she's a contender. Would it be so wrong of me to put both Slovak and Czech Republic in the top 10 in the same year?? It's interesting to note that these two countries that used to form Czechoslovakia have never placed together! Slovak Republic has only placed once in 1994 but Czech Republic has placed several times, just not in 1994. What's going to happen here??

USA-Rima Fakih

Just how many gowns does Rima have?? She had at least 3 at Miss USA and I've seen 2 already at Universe! I wonder if another change is in store for finals night! Of course, Rima is the host delegate so she'll likely be in the mix.


Australia-Jesinta Campbell

Jesinta is just so summery, warm and charming. She just has such a pleasant demeanor about her that you just can't help but like her. She has a great overall look and I was pleased with her performance.

South Africa-Nicole Flint

Well, we need to have some African representation, don't we? And Nicole is it. She is the strongest of the African contingent. Her performance was decent as was her close-up video as strong interview skills are normally expected of South African delegates. Other people seem to like her as well. She has a certain serenity about her. I like that she chose a purple gown. I think it suits her well.

Albania-Angela Martini

Many people are taking notice of Albania. She has a great figure and gown and her close-up was interesting as well.

Romania-Oana Paveluc

I know this one is a bit of a gamble but in recent years, there seems to be a country that is making it's debut in the semifinals and I'm trying to eye out surprise delegates and Oana could be one of them because she actually is quite naturally beautiful so I'm thinking she may be noticed.

Haiti-Sarodj Bertin

Haiti's got a story this year. Not only with the recent destructive earthquake in Haiti but also her mother's murder. I find Sarodj to be very likeable and I think she just may get in there.


Uruguay-Stephany Ortega

This gown is reminding me of a combination of Miss Spain 2001's gown and Kosovo 2008's gown and even though, it's drawing mixed reviews, somehow I can see this making the telecast. But at the same time, I don't know who to take out!! Her body's decent so she's a possibility.

Switzerland-Linda Fah

I like Linda a lot actually and I would be very happy if she did make it but others don't seem to be taking notice of her. Maybe her body could be a bit better but I like her face and the blonde hair. She seemed very nice in her close-up as well.

Japan-Maiko Itai

Many have called her the second coming of Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007. She does have a great body. In her close-up video, she seemed a little subdued though and this gown is interesting. It almost has a bedsheet pattern to it but she worked it well. We'll see how she does.

Ecuador-Lady Mina

I really actually love this girl's face. She is about as fit as she can be but her frame might be deemed too tiny and she didn't have much pizzazz in her close-up so I can see her being cut.

Trinidad & Tobago-LaToya Woods

Other people seem to really like her but this is one that I don't quite get. She's fit and classy, yes but I don't see an outstanding beauty when I look at her. I've debated whether or not to include her and I decided in the end to place her here. She was one that was willing to pose topless so perhaps she will be rewarded for that?


Sweden-Michaela Savic

This girl was once in my top 5 but she's been looking somewhat sloppy in her presentation. She does seem to have a seductive air about her and they may go for that but her close up was just okay also so I guess she may be out.

New Zealand-Ria van Dyke

Some people seem to really like her but I can see her being cut. Her face is a bit unusual and I think her legs aren't quite long enough but her hair and styling are good.

Jamaica-Yendi Philipps

Yes, I know she placed 2nd to Ada De La Cruz (1st runner up at Miss Universe 2009) in the Miss World 2007 Beach Beauty competition but I'm not quite seeing it with this one either. I see a toned waist but big thighs but other people seem to like her so we'll see how she does.

Colombia-Natalia Navarro

This one also has a bit of an unusual body type. Small waist but thick legs and her eyebrows look a little too low to me.

Dominican Republic-Eva Arias

I was expecting her to be a bit more impactful or overbearing during preliminaries but she toned it down. Like I mentioned earlier, she seems more telegenic than photogenic after watching her close-up but I think the judges will see her as perhaps more masculine in appearance and take her out.

There are many more actually that I think could make it for one reason or another and there's probably a few surprises that I haven't caught. Kosovo actually looked pretty good. Croatia has a decent body and overall look and she was in my list at one time but she fizzled. Poland could be one of those surprises and I was thinking of putting her in my list somewhere but then I saw her swimsuit still and decided against it but still it's possible. I took notice of Brazil during preliminaries but her legs look a smidge on the thick sides and not many other people seem to have her in their lists. Greece was featured a lot in some of those pre-show clips prior to the preliminaries. Does that mean something?? I don't think she quite has the look of a semifinalist but again, there is lots of room for surprises. Peru didn't wear her gimmicky gown for preliminaries but she has been noticed so she's a maybe. Some people seem to really like Ukraine but I don't really care for her.

So there we have it! Another year! Another list! And of course, we shall watch it all unfold live on August 23 on NBC in Las Vegas!
Until then!


Preliminaries are coming up on August 19 at 7 pm PDT and can be viewed at and the finals are on August 23 so soon my final predictions will be posted but I'm going to do a quick run through of some thoughts I have of each delegate. These judgments are based on what I have seen so far through the photos on and some impressions from other pageant related boards and websites.

Albania Australia 1. Albania - I'm really liking her. She's currently among my top 15. She appears to be strong in facial beauty and swimsuit and this gown is heavenly.

2. Angola - I don't see it happening for Angola this year. Her Fadil glamshot was on the odd side, almost as if she was saying, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"

3. Argentina - Earlier, I had considered her but her body particularly the hips aren't particularly up to standard.

4. Aruba - Well in 1996 (the last time Miss Universe was in Las Vegas), Aruba earned a 1st runner up but don't be looking for this year's delegate to make the semifinals.

5. Australia - She was one of the 6 delegates invited to participate in early press interviews and her national costume got some press attention as well so she is one to watch. She appears to be fizzling on many people but she is one that I'm questioning if she will either be in or out of my list either as a top 15 delegate or an alternate.

6. Bahamas - I don't quite think she's quite strong enough to become Bahamas' first semifinalist but she has potential to be a surprise because I've heard good things about her.

7. Belgium - Probably not. She could do it but she would be a surprise given that her gown isn't that great and body is just okay.

8. Bolivia - I think they'll pass on her. Again, her flared gown shot like last year's Bolivian delegate looked nice but it might just be an act of desperation.

9. Botswana - It's nice to see Botswana back. Their first participant in Miss Universe 1999 of course won the title but they haven't placed since then and I'm not expecting this year's delegate too either.

10. Brazil - I think they might pass on her. She looks decent but she isn't making many lists and she's currently not in mine either.

11. British Virgin Islands - She has a pretty face but she lacks the height which is normally the case for British Virgin Islands.

12. Canada - I'm tossing and turning on my country's delegate. She is the tallest contestant this year but her look isn't as consistent so I'm questioning whether to put her in my top 15 or as an alternate. I'm going to wait until preliminaries to decide.

China Czech Republic 13. China - Okay. Really China?? Really??? You are the most populated country in the world and you are sending THIS to Miss Universe? This girl looks like she hasn't hit puberty yet! Very disappointing.

14. Colombia - This one I'm really struggling with. Something about her face just doesn't quite look right but her body and gown are good. I just don't know what to do with her. I think she may be among my alternates.

15. Costa Rica - She's not one to watch.

16. Croatia - She's in my list currently as I'm actually quite impressed with her. Face, body and gown are all looking very good so keep an eye on her. Croatia also did make a surprise entry last year so maybe this year's girl will continue the trend.

17. Curacao - She's okay but not making enough of an impact to me. I think they will pass on her.

18. Cyprus - Maybe. I'm not so sure about the face but I like what I've seen of the gown and the body is also quite decent so it might happen.

19. Czech Republic - I really love this girl. She has a lovely face and body and the gown is an eyecatcher. She is among my top 10 so far.

20. Denmark - She has a decent face but I'm not quite seeing it in terms of body and gown so she's also a big maybe.

21. Dominican Republic - Hmmm... This one's a real headscratcher for me. She's definitely more telegenic than photogenic but I just don't know what to do with her. Part of me says she's in after watching her close up and then I think she could also be taken out. She has a decent body as is to be expected from Dominican Republic delegates in recent years but currently she is bouncing in and out of my list.

22. Ecuador - Lady has a lovely face and I really want to give her a spot but I fear her body seems a little too tiny so she might be an honorable mention or just miss my list but we'll see if preliminaries will change that.

23. Egypt - She doesn't quite have the body but I appreciate that she's trying.

24. El Salvador - She's too short to make an impact so don't expect her to make it.

25. Finland - I don't see her doing much in this competition. Everything about her isn't quite there.

France Haiti 26. France - This one I don't quite get. Other people seem to love her so I think I might put her as an alternate but after watching her close up, she was way too quiet and came across as a bit shy and just not a contender to me so I'm not convinced. I just don't see it in the face. Her gown is nice though but I think that's about all I like of her. I'm waiting until preliminaries to decide what to do with her.

27. Georgia - I don't think so. I don't quite like her face but body and gown are an improvement from previous delegates from this country.

28. Germany - I don't expect this one to do much either.

29. Ghana - She has some nice headshots but I don't think she looks very sure of herself and her body isn't quite there either. I think she has the interview skills but it may not be enough.

30. Great Britain - I think she knows how to present but I don't think her overall look is quite there.

31. Greece - She also appears to know what she's doing but she's kind of in the middle for me.

32. Guam - No. They'll pass on her.

33. Guatemala - This one was apparently a replacement delegate for the girl who was originally supposed to go to Universe because the previous one broke her foot or something but I never expect much from Guatemala. She looks okay but doesn't have enough height to make an impact.

34. Guyana - I'm not expecting much from this year's delegate. Delegates from Guyana are usually in need of some serious training.

35. Haiti - Lots of things to consider here. She has an interesting story not only because she is representing a country that was severely devastated by a massive earthquake a few months ago but also because her mother who was preparing to participate in presidential elections was murdered so it's going to be hard to leave her out knowing these things but if she does make it, she will be a top 15 placement but not top 10.

36. Honduras - She looks okay but I don't see quite enough height or power in her so I don't think she'll make it.

IndiaIreland37. Hungary - She's decent. Of course, in recent years with Hungary you never can tell! I am considering her though but she probably won't be in my list.

38. India - Like I stated earlier, India has a new director who is Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994 but this year's delegate didn't have much time to prepare. I think India is out for a 3rd year in a row because I think this year's delegate just isn't that impressive but if for some odd reason she does make it, it will be because the Miss Universe Organization likes Sushmita and wants to encourage her as a new director.

39. Indonesia - Like most Indonesian delegates, she just does not have the body for this competition.

40. Ireland - She is one to watch. Ireland really seems to have stepped up its game and Rozanna was sent to Colombia for training. I currently have this girl among my top 10 in spite of her unusual swimsuit gown.

41. Israel - I don't see it happening. I'm just not convinced that she can do anything in this competition.

42. Italy - I think they'll pass on her. She looks okay sometimes and other times, I don't see it so she's not in my list currently.

43. Jamaica - She's a possibility. Face, body and gown are decent. I don't know if she can squeeze into the competition but I think I'm going to put her as an honorable mention.

44. Japan - Japanese delegates seem to have strong presentation skills in recent years and this year's delegate is also in my list but I'm not quite sure where to place her so I'll wait until preliminaries to determine for sure.

45. Kazakhstan - I think they'll pass on her. Nothing really stands out about her.

46. Korea - I don't see it happening this year for Korea.

47. Kosovo - Kosovo has been noticed in big ways since debuting in 2008 but I think this is their year to bow out because I don't see her making a lot of lists and she's currently not in mine.

48. Lebanon - Like in most years, Lebanon doesn't have the body or overall look for this competition.

49. Malaysia - This country could do with some training because I think the interest in the pageant is there but the investment in coaching for their delegates is necessary so this year's delegate also is not a contender.

50. Mauritius - This country is never among the major competitors and I don't expect that to change this year.

MexicoNew Zealand 51. Mexico - She is currently in my top 5. Everything about her is strong and I know she will have loud supporters but I wonder now if the supporters will help or hurt her. This may determine if she actually gets into the top 5 or not.

52. Netherlands - She has the potential to be a surprise so it could happen but I'm a little unsure right now. I'll wait until preliminaries.

53. New Zealand - I'm not so sure about this one either. Some people seem to really like her but to me, she's just okay not particularly outstanding. She might be among my honorable mentions or not in my list at all but I'll have my eye on her during preliminaries.

54. Nicaragua - I think she's had decent training but I can see her being passed on.

55. Nigeria - She's not a contender to me.

56. Norway - I don't see much potential in this delegate either.

57. Panama - I'm sure she's prepared but I'm just not seeing it in this girl.

58. Paraguay - She seems nice and I think she looks decent but I also think she won't make enough of an impact to place.

59. Peru - Hmmm... Her gown is a bit gimmicky to me. Sure it will get her noticed but I'm not terribly impressed with face or body but I will wait until preliminaries to determine what to do with her.

60. Philippines - I have her in my top 5 right now. I think she's a strong competitor. I know she has superb presentation skills and her body and gown should carry her far.

61. Poland - I think the Polish girls normally have potential but could do with some better training/coaching. This year's delegate is not in my list.

62. Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico is always one to watch and this year's delegate is no exception. I have her in my top 10 currently.

63. Romania - Well, I like her. I think she's a find. I wonder if the gown is a bit of a ruse but I still think she is good enough and it just might be time for Romania to place so she will be in my list somewhere but I'm just debating on whether to place her in my top 15 or as an alternate but I will definitely be watching her during preliminaries. I believe Romania participated for the first time at Miss Universe 1991 which was also the first time Miss Universe was held in Las Vegas so I think this placement would work on many levels.

RussiaSlovak Republic 64. Russia - PLEASE CROWN THIS MAGNIFICENTLY BEAUTIFUL WOMAN!!! It's no secret that I have adored Irina from the moment I first saw her picture and I think she was born to be Miss Universe. I'm sold on everything. She definitely has the face, the body, the gown and she also seems to have the charisma. Irina is easily my winner this year and I don't anything is going to change that. Go Irina!

65. Serbia - I'm not so sure about her. I think they will pass on her.

66. Singapore - Singapore is also not unusually in the running so I don't think this year's delegate will place.

67. Slovak Republic - She is also in my top 10 list currently. I'm impressed with her overall. Some people are comparing her to Puerto Rico saying that the two could pass as sisters.

68. Slovenia - I don't think she will place. I just don't see it happening.

69. South Africa - I'm unbelievably unsure about this one. She looks fair but South Africa normally excels in interview so she might be in my top 15 list currently but I'll wait until preliminaries to decide for sure.

70. Spain - Well her gown is divine and body is also looking good but I'm not sure about the face. This one is a serious question mark for me. Is she in or out?? I will wait until preliminaries to decide for her as well.

71. Sri Lanka - This one doesn't seem to be making any impact so they'll likely pass on her.

72. Sweden - I think Sweden might be in this year although she is fizzling a bit. I'm really liking what I see of her but I'm not exactly certain of how far she will go.

73. Switzerland - She does stand out so she could also be one to watch. I'm not quite sure about the body but she could be up there.

74. Tanzania - She doesn't have the body for this competition. I don't see it happening.

75. Thailand - She also doesn't have the body for this competition.

Trinidad & TobagoUSA & Venezuela 76. Trinidad & Tobago - She was one of the delegates who was willing to pose topless but I just don't consider her overall look to be strong enough but I'm sure she has the interview skills. She is not in my top 15 list right now but I know some others have her in their lists so we'll see what happens.

77. Turkey - She's not quite there but it looks like she's trying.

78. Ukraine - Maybe. Ukraine has become a country that you never can tell if she will be picked or not but I'm not terribly impressed with her so she's not in my list currently.

79. Uruguay - She's a decent girl and her gown is getting noticed but she will probably fizzle in comparison to the delegates around her.

80. USA - She will be in the competition because she is the host delegate but I think she will place as a top 10 finalist but go no higher.

81. US Virgin Islands - This country is usually never in the competition and I don't expect that to change this year.

82. Venezuela - I have her in my top 5 as it is normally where Venezuela belongs since we know that Venezuela has placed in the top 6 every year since 1991 except when they were excluded entirely in 2004 and 2006. What will happen with Marelisa? I don't think the threepeat will happen but it will be interesting to see where she actually ends up placing.

83. Zambia - She doesn't quite have the body so I'm not expecting them to place this year.

So those are some brief comments on each delegate but nothing is final until after preliminaries when everything could turn upside down. I will post final predictions a few days after carefully reviewing each delegate in the preliminaries.


The delegates have arrived in Las Vegas for Miss Universe 2010 so it's time to post some prethoughts!

Here we have pictured 6 delegates chosen to arrive early to do some press interviews with reigning Miss Universe, Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela in the middle.

The chosen 6 are Puerto Rico, Australia, Philippines, Colombia, Haiti and Mexico.

Rushin' to Crown a Russian

Irina Antonenko - Russia

Russia - Irina Antonenko Russia is sending a clear frontrunner for Miss Universe in the stunning natural beauty of Irina Antonenko. With that flawless face, Irina is currently my winner and I don't think much will change that! Also, Russia has good reason to anticipate a high placement at Miss Universe whenever the pageant is held in Las Vegas. In the two times that Miss Universe was previously held in Las Vegas (1991 and 1996), the Russian delegate finished in the top 4. In 1991, the first time Miss Universe was held in Las Vegas, Russia was a part of the U.S.S.R. and Yulia Lemigova represented that region of the world and was a story in herself during that year at Miss Universe. She began by refusing to say she was from the Soviet Union during the Parade of Nations and dared to say she was from Moscow, RUSSIA! This came as all the delegates sang, 'Let there be one world' demonstrating the need for unity amongst all nations of the world. Miss Universe is supposed to be an event where many nations can have delegates participate harmoniously and put their differences aside. There were rumors that this year Lebanon was refusing to participate in this year's pageant because an Israeli delegate was also present but both ladies are in the competition. There have been past instances in previous pageants where Miss Lebanon would participate in the pageant but would refuse to be next to Miss Israel or photographed with her. In 2001, the alphabetical order of the different regions was altered slightly during the preliminaries for this reason, yet during the final telecast, Miss Lebanon, Sandra Rizk was shown right after Miss Israel (semifinalist Ilanit Levi). Yulia Lemigova - Miss USSR 1991 Anyway, back to Yulia. She was the 6th delegate to be declared a top 10 semifinalist in 1991. As Dick Clark called Miss USSR as a semifinalist, Yulia smiled and stepped forward and proceeded to compete first in the swimsuit competition. During the trip take, Yulia talked of how she loved America and loves how Americans really show the emotions and everywhere she looks she sees soooo many beautiful men... I should add that Yulia is presently the lesbian trophy wife of tennis superstar Martina Navratilova! Hmmm... I guess she appreciates the beauty of the male form while wanting love of another kind! Yulia's interview at Miss Universe 1991 was definitely one to remember. Dick Clark focused on the fact that she knew no English whatsoever only a short time prior to her participation in the pageant to which Yulia responded with, "I love you?!?!" implying that was all she used to know in English. Dick Clark said, "No wonder you got along so well!" Everyone immediately fell madly in love with Yulia. And finally in the evening gown competition as the little sisters of Las Vegas presented flowers to their big sisters singing the memorable song "You Are My Star", Yulia adorably sniffed her rose and let out another beaming smile. Although she scored quite well throughout the night, it was Mexico's Lupita Jones who obtained the highest scores all evening. As Yulia was the last name to be announced in the top 6, she was asked in the round of judge's questions what the best advice was that she was ever given by her mother. "My mother never gave me not good advice." Yulia struggled to express herself in her broken English. "She told me I have to try, do... everything by myself otherwise I will be nothing! And I try to do this! And...d...d..." Yes, she tried!! Miss Netherlands 1991-Paulien Huizinga, Miss Universe 1991-Mexico's Lupita Jones, Miss USSR 1991-Yulia Lemigova And the judges recognized she tried and brought her into the top 3 alongside the leader Mexico's Lupita Jones and the comical character of Netherlands' Paulien Huizinga. Then it came down to the final question where Dick Clark asked all 3 of the final contestants what the biggest problem in their country was and what should be done about it. Yulia was up first and begged, "Can you please reword it for ME?!?!" Dick tried but Yulia fumbled her way through a response. "I hope all problem in my country is over... Everything is free. And people are happy and I am happy!" There were clearly some mumbles in the audience following the answer implying that many people thought Yulia definitely should have had an interpreter rather than have her struggle her way in English but it was too little too late. Yulia would not be rescued from the country she was representing and would finish in third place as Mexico's Lupita Jones was declared the winner that fateful night in 1991. 5 years later, Miss Universe would return to Las Vegas. The evening was electric that night in May 1996 and a now liberated Russia was being represented by Ilmira Shamsutdinova who came to us 'from Russia with love'! Oh, how I miss those intros!!! Bob Goen announced Ilmira as the 7th of 10 semifinalists that year. It began with the interviews as Ilmira was asked to describe her job as a shaping instructor. Through her translator, Ilmira said that it was a person who makes a woman look more beautiful than she really is. To which Bob Goen and the audience immediately burst out laughing. The problem was with the translation. I was told that instead of the word 'really,' the translator should have said 'already' (A shaping instructor makes a woman more beautiful than she ALREADY is...) Sigh... some of these interpreters. This turned what was supposed to be a sweet, sappy answer into a humorous comment! Ilmira Shamsutdinova, Miss Russia 1996 Ilmira obviously had this confused smile on her face wondering why the audience was laughing. Then Bob Goen asked Ilmira how he can lose 5 pounds really fast, then said to the interpreter, "Make that 8 pounds!" Ilmira said her answer in Russian, smiled and Bob Goen asked the interpreter, "What is she laughing at??" The interpreter stated, "I think you must first deny yourself of snacks!" "Nah! Thanks a lot!!" said Bob and Ilmira immediately turned the tables in her favor. Reminiscent of the previous time Miss Universe was held in Las Vegas, there was a clear leader throughout the entire night and in 1996, it was the legendary Alicia Machado of Venezuela. Even though, Ilmira did win the preliminary swimsuit competition, she placed 3rd in the finals swimsuit competition behind Venezuela and Aruba's Taryn Mansell who was 1st runner up. And then the evening gown competition came and Ilmira's black gown placed last of the 10 semifinalists so Ilmira's light was fading fast. Still, her previous scores were enough to pull her into the top 6. It was during the round of the judge's questions where Ilmira would be eliminated in 4th position. She was asked by Teri Ann Linn (a former Miss Hawaii USA and 4th runner up at Miss USA) if she would marry a man who would stay at home while she worked to support the family. Ilmira said that she wants a happy family and healthy children and of course, she would like a husband who would like to stay home. Clearly, this was a question that wouldn't translate well so Ilmira's answer wasn't strong enough to pull her into the top 3. In 2002, of course, Russia did win the crown with the stunning beauty of Oxana Fedorova only to lose her title a few months later. There has been debate about whether she was fired or if she quit. Oxana's excuses included having to complete her master's degree and she also didn't appreciate the comments Howard Stern was making when she appeared on his show. This caused Oxana to question what she was getting into. The Miss Universe organization said that Oxana was simply let go because she was unable to fulfill her duties. Some speculate that the appearance on the Howard Stern show made Oxana unwilling to complete her reign. This time around Irina Antonenko will represent Russia and she appears to be ready for the job. Like her Russian predecessors at Miss Universe, stunning Irina is expected to have a strong showing in Las Vegas and many are expecting her to take it all! Irina is truly a GREAT beauty and it would be a shame if that went unrecognized. Go Irina!

She's Your Venus! She's Your Fire! At Your Desire!!
How convenient for a possible Miss Universe contender to be named Venus!
Philippines - Venus Raj The story behind Philippines' Venus Maria Raj is an interesting one. Her father is Indian and mother is Filipina and she was born in the Middle East but her citizenship came into question shortly after she was crowned Miss Philippines and Venus was stripped of her title temporarily. But she was proven to be a citizen of the Philippines, and she was reinstated as Philippines' representative at Miss Universe and many are overjoyed at this choice because they recognize the potential of this Filipina diva. In 1998 and 1999, the original winners of the Miss Philippines-Universe titles Tisha Silang and Janelle Bautista were both dethroned when it was discovered that they were actually Canadian citizens. In 1999, this led to Miriam Quiambao's promotion to the Miss Philippines-Universe title and she went all the way to become first runner-up to Botswana's Mpule Kwelagobe that year at Miss Universe. The Philippines however has not placed since that time. Will Venus change that? In a big way?? Filipinos are known for being avid fans of the Miss Universe pageant especially since Gloria Diaz captured the first Miss Universe title for the Philippines in 1969 shortly before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Only 4 years later, Margarita Moran captured another Miss Universe crown for the Philippines in 1973 when the pageant was held for the first time outside of U.S. territory in Athens, Greece. Many eyes are focused on Venus with her strong presentation skills and she is expected to make a strong showing at Miss Universe this year.

A Repeat? A Repeat?? Or a Threepeat???
Mexico - Ximena NavarreteVenezuela - Marelisa Gibson As I mentioned earlier, Miss Universe was previously held in Las Vegas in 1991 and 1996 and the winners in these respective years were Mexico's Lupita Jones and Venezuela's Alicia Machado. These two nations are obviously hoping luck will strike again! Mexico is being represented by Ximena Navarrete who many people say bears a striking resemblance to Lupita Jones, now the national director for Mexico. Expect there to be very loud chants for Mexico this year during the pageant and possible boos for Miss USA. In 1996, Mexico's Vanessa Guzman had some very loud supporters but she would end the night in 5th position that year at Miss Universe. Can Ximena repeat history by giving Mexico another win in Las Vegas? And then there is another Latina who is always one to watch and that would be Miss Venezuela, Marelisa Gibson. In 1996, Venezuela's Alicia Machado won Miss Universe in Las Vegas and Venezuelans are hoping that there will not only be a repeat of that win but also a threepeat!! Venezuela became the first country to win Miss Universe two years in a row last year when Stefania Fernandez succeeded Dayana Mendoza but can it continue?? Will Marelisa Gibson do something even more unthinkable and capture the crown for Venezuela three years in a row??? Many are reminded of those exciting years when Texas captured the Miss USA crown five years in a row from 1985 to 1989. Is this the trend that's about to continue or will the buck stop here in Las Vegas?? Mexico and Venezuela are both definitely expected to have strong showings and will definitely add excitement to this year's competition. There have been unflattering pictures of Marelisa released when she was younger but she has definitely transformed into yet another Venezuelan class beauty.

Most Populated Countries... Most Disappointing
China - Wen TangIndia - Ushoshi Sengupta The top two most populated countries in the world, China and India are being represented at this year's Miss Universe pageant... but not well. China has placed once in the history of Miss Universe pageant which was in 2002 when Zhuo Ling placed as 2nd runner up and you would think that China would have learned from that experience but this year's delegate clearly does not have the body for this competition and I often wonder how a country that is as populated as China can't seem to find a suitable delegate given the large pool to choose from. India, the 2nd most populated country in the world also has fallen from grace and there was a different turn of events this year with the Miss India-Universe title. Previously, the franchise holder was the Femina Miss India pageant which would crown 3 titleholders. The top winner would go to Miss Universe, the 1st runner up would go to Miss World and the 2nd runner up would go to Miss Asia Pacific. Soon the 2nd runner up would go to Miss Earth as Miss Asia Pacific met its demise. In 2007 though, there was an interesting turn of events, the Femina franchise decided to change the order of winners making the top winner the one to go to Miss World and the runner up to go to Miss Universe. The decision prompted Miss India-Universe 2006, Neha Kapur to not crown her successor in protest. Puja Gupta was sent to Miss Universe 2007 and placed as a top 10 semifinalist but India missed the semifinals in 2008 and 2009 which was the first time since 1976 that India missed the semifinals two years in a row. India would not place until 1990 when Suzanne Sablok became a top 10 semifinalist. The 90s became a glory decade for India missing the semifinals only once in that decade (1991) and winning in 1994 and again in 2000. Femina lost the franchise altogether for 2010 and the franchise was then awarded to Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994. Sushmita would become the director of the new "I Am She" Miss India-Universe pageant. Unfortunately with only a few months until Miss Universe, Sushmita didn't have much time to advertise or get a good pool of contestants. The winner of the pageant was Ushoshi Sengupta, who had previously failed to even qualify for the Femina Miss India pageant. My personal judgment is that Ushoshi lacked the body and even the same level of English as previous Indian titleholders at Miss Universe. I think India may be out for a 3rd consecutive year.

Soon, I will make my final predictions probably after preliminaries and then post them prior to the pageant. Will anything change between now and then?? We'll just have to see in the days to come! The final event is Monday, August 23 on NBC!




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP