Wednesday, December 23, 2015



Las Vegas, Nevada – December 20, 2015 – In front of a global audience, Miss Universe Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe 2015 at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The telecast aired live on FOX for the first time ever.
     Miss Universe Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is a Filipino-German actress and model. Pia was born in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. Pia finished her secondary education with the ABS-CBN Distance Learning Center and studied culinary arts at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in Metro Manila, Philippines. Pia is currently a stylist and writer for the lifestyle section of a leading newspaper in her country.
     Emmy Award winner Steve Harvey hosted the three-hour event with live reporting from Roselyn Sanchez. Grammy Award-winning, multi-Platinum singer and songwriter SEAL, Grammy Award-winning sibling trio The Band Perry, and Golden Globe and Grammy Award-nominated Charlie Puth took the MISS UNIVERSE® stage as performances throughout the night.
     Emmy Award nominee Niecy Nash, Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, football legend Emmitt Smith, and celebrity entertainment mogul Perez Hilton made up the judging panel. Additionally, for the first time ever, fans worldwide had a say in who was crowned MISS UNIVERSE®. With a virtual seat at the judging table, fans were able to vote on each category to help decide who walked away Miss Universe 2015.
     Throughout the MISS UNIVERSE® telecast, contestants representing 80 countries competed in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The telecast concluded with Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega from Colombia crowning her successor.

Final Results:
First Runner-Up: Miss Universe Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez.
Second Runner-Up: Miss USA, Olivia Jordan.
Top Three: Miss USA, Olivia Jordan; Miss Universe Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez; Miss Universe Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
Top Five: Miss Universe France, Flora Coquerel; Miss Universe Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez; Miss Universe Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach; Miss Universe Australia, Monika Radulovic; and Miss USA, Olivia Jordan.
Top Ten: Miss USA, Olivia Jordan; Miss Universe Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez; Miss Universe Japan, Ariana Miyamoto; Miss Universe Thailand, Aniporn Chalermburanawong; Miss Universe Australia, Monika Radulovic; Miss Universe Dominican Republic, Clarissa Molina; Miss Universe France, Flora Coquerel; Miss Universe Curaçao, Kanisha Sluis; Miss Universe Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach; and Miss Universe Venezuela, Mariana Jimenez.
Top Fifteen: Miss USA, Olivia Jordan; Miss Universe Brazil, Marthina Brandt; Miss Universe Australia, Monika Radulovic; Miss Universe Indonesia, Anindya Kusuma Putri; Miss Universe Dominican Republic, Clarissa Molina; Miss Universe Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach; Miss Universe France, Flora Coquerel; Miss Universe Curaçao, Kanisha Sluis; Miss Universe Belgium, Annelies Törös; Miss Universe Japan, Ariana Miyamoto; Miss Universe Venezuela, Mariana Jimenez; Miss Universe Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez; Miss Universe Mexico, Wendy Esparza; Miss Universe South Africa, Refilwe Mthimunye; and Miss Universe Thailand, Aniporn Chalermburanawong.

     As previously announced, WME | IMG wholly acquired The Miss Universe Organization in September 2015. Prior to the acquisition, IMG had produced a number of shows for The Miss Universe Organization and did so with this year’s MISS UNIVERSE® telecast.

SOURCE: Miss Universe Organization


Okay... that was nice. But the press release totally ignored the unexpected ending witnessed by billions of viewers around the world... 

 Miss France and Miss Australia were eliminated after the Top 5 question round, USA, Colombia, and Philippines celebrate their Top 3 placements:



Immediately after the Top 3 Final Question round, the official results were announced: Miss USA was declared 2nd runner-up, which left Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines as the last two women standing:


Finally, host Steve Harvey declares Miss Colombia as Miss Universe 2015 and Miss Philippines as 1st runner-up. Miss Philippines joins Miss USA to the rear of the stage:

Picture: APSource:AP

Miss Colombia doing her victory wave, unknown of the controversy that was about to happen:

Picture: Getty

Miss Colombia was already blowing kisses when host Steve Harvey awkwardly interrupted to say, "I have to apologize. The first runner-up is Colombia. Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines."


A shocked Miss Philippines (with Miss USA behind) could not believe 
what she just heard:



 Host Steve Harvey shows the card revealing the official results, putting USA as 2nd runner-up, Colombia as 1st runner-up, and Philippines as Miss Universe:

Picture: APSource:AP

A close-up of the card :

Picture: SuppliedSource:Twitter


“It was my fault,” Harvey stammered as a confused audience held its breath.
“Please don’t hold it against the ladies,”  he added.

Outgoing queen Paulina Vega was instructed to take away the crown 
from her compatriot (who looks bewildered)... 
Picture: APSource:AP
... and places it on Miss Philippines' head. A distressed Miss Colombia on the verge of tears:

(Picture: GettySource: AFP)


WATCH THE VIDEO OF MISS PHILIPPINES' AWKWARD CROWNING MOMENT
 

Several contestants rushed to congratulate Miss Philippines, while most rushed to console Miss Colombia:

Picture: GettySource:AFP


Miss Colombia was visibly upset while being consoled by some of the contestants :

Picture: APSource:AP



Less than hour after the telecast ended, the Miss Universe Organization posted the following apology on its website:




So here's what I really think of the telecast...

     First off, I was pissed that FOX did not start the live telecast at 7 PM (EST) as it was supposed to be. There was a football game still going on, and the football ignoramus that I am, I wasn't sure when it would end. Meanwhile, the live streaming started on time and I was viewing it on my laptop in my living room, but the reception was grainy and it kept freezing! Members of the Critical Beauty Facebook Fan Page were already posting real time updates, while here I was pulling my hair and gnashing my teeth because of the interrupted telecast due to some stupid football game and the inferior quality of the live stream which eventually froze permanently on me! Ha! What have I done to deserve this fiasco?

     Anyway, I had missed the opening where all 80 candidates introduced themselves in their national costumes. No big deal, as I can watch it later once the show becomes available on YouTube. I caught the part just when host Steve Harvey was getting ready to announce the top 15 semifinalists. 


     A few days earlier, I had posted my top 15 on my Facebook page which included (in random order) USA, Colombia, Australia, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Italy, Peru, Russia, Myanmar, Venezuela, Paraguay. I got 8 out of 15 correctly (my worst prediction so far since 2002! lol).  


Bad stuff: 

- The ungodly pace of the Spanish-speaking interpreter for Miss Colombia who seemed irritated every time the interpreter cut her off.

- The Band Perry and Charlie Puth: nondescript entertainers. 

- The elimination of the Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic awards. Why? Could it be that none of the girls was worthy of either title?  And since an optional talent segment had been added, it would have been nice to present a Miss Talent award to the best performer. Otherwise, the talent segment was nothing more than a filler.

- Steve Harvey's major, major gaffe of announcing the wrong winner, which robbed Miss Philippines of a real crowning moment. I read later that he missed the end of the rehearsals and "did not practice announcing the winner." 

- The Global Fan Vote because it prevented many fans watching a delayed telecast from voting on real time, not to mention that the voting site crashed once or twice.

- The 3-hour format was just tedious and sometimes dragging. If Miss Universe wants to change for the better, it needs to stop imitating Miss World's über-long telecasts. 

- A shortage of judges. Why only four celebrity judges? And they were all Americans. It's supposed to be an international competition. Budget issues? I don't even what to know. Ugh!

- The inclusion of Miss Mexico Wendy Esparza in the top 15. What was she doing there? The girl gave an average performance during the prelims and she had gained weight. I would have chosen another favorite of mine, Miss Paraguay Myriam Arevalos who blew me away!


Good stuff: 

- The introduction of a second question which gave the finalists another opportunity to be heard. The question was "Why do you want to be Miss Universe?"

- The variety of swimsuits: I usually prefer to see the girls wearing identical swimsuits, but since the new owners (IMG) took over, they wanted to promote the idea that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Good enough!

- The four celebrity judges: Look how cool they all are!


From Olivia Culpo's Twitter
From Niecy Nash's Twitter

- Judge Perez Hilton for his bluntness. Okay, I have to be honest. I never did like Perez Hilton since he judged Miss USA 2009 which sparked the same-sex marriage controversy, which led to Perez's incessant bashing of Miss California USA Carrie Prejean which eventually led to her downfall. If you don't know what I am talking about, you can read all about it here.  When backstage commentator Roselyn Sanchez asked Perez the difference between Miss USA and Miss Universe, the eccentric blogger celebrity responded, "First, a lot more people are watching Miss Universe, and second, Donald Trump no longer owns the pageant." Applause from the audience! Perez had to say something to gain attention, and he succeeded, though I am sure he had done Trump a huge favor by giving the businessman millionaire more free publicity which helps him maintain his lead in the polls! Bite that, Perez! lol 

- Steve Harvey, despite his blunder, proved to be a very entertaining, dynamic and charismatic host. There was not a moment when he did not engage the audience. And did I say that he is also a sharp dresser?

- The inclusion of Miss Curaçao Kanisha Sluis in the top 15! Even though I did not have Kanisha in my personal top 15 list, I am delighted that she won the first Miss Universe CB Facebook contest based on the most number of likes! 



- British entertainer Seal serenading the top 3 finalists during the last look segment. If I am not mistaken, Seal is the biggest entertainer ever invited to perform in the history of the pageant. Lady Gaga performed during the swimsuit competition in 2008, but she was not yet a "megastar" back then. Let's hope that IMG will invite more A-list musical celebrities in the future. Meanwhile, I love, love, LOVE the giant screen in the background projecting the glam head shot of each finalist: the pics could have come out from Vogue or Vanity Fair magazine. Watch the video:



- A new ownership also means bringing in new elements such as the top five questions which were relevant to the current situation or history of the finalist's country. Gone are questions picked out of a bowl, and questions asked directly by the judges. Even though the top three finalists were given the same question ("Why should you be Miss Universe?"), they were each given one minute to answer, which is a substantial amount of time to elaborate their response, and in the case of Miss Colombia - enough time for her answer to be translated to English. I also love the idea of Miss Universe pageant trivia being zipped through the bottom of the screen:


- The fans! Without them, there wouldn't be a show and the auditorium would be quiet as a library:





Great stuff:

- A sweet tribute to Miss Slovenia Ana Halozan who appeared on stage following a seizure that left the right side of her face paralyzed. A week before the finals, fans were wondering why her profile was removed from the MUO website. Did she withdraw? Did she get involved in a fight with another girl? What? Then when news came out that she had a seizure,  the doctor recommended that she quit the competition to get a much needed rest. But instead of returning home, she decided to stay to support the other girls.



- Versatile camera angles that captured many interesting scenarios, be it an aerial shot that made the venue look three times bigger, or an arc shot where the camera rotated around the stage in circular motion, thus giving the impression that it was a fashion/awards show instead of a traditional beauty pageant.

- For me, the best gowns of the evening belonged to Miss USA Olivia Jordan and Miss Thailand Aniporn Chalermburanawong.  Both women wore dresses that could pass up as bridal gowns accentuated with a cape. Olivia looked radiantly serene when she sashayed on the stage, and Aniporn had fierce written all over her in a striking low-cut silvery white gown enhanced with fabulous hand jewelry. 




- The crowning fiasco generated perhaps the most publicity for the Miss Universe pageant, as evidenced by the explosion of comments on social media and on television. It also made Steve Harvey, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach and Ariadna Gutiérrez-Arévalo instant household names. People who have never heard of Miss Universe are now following its various official social media accounts. Just a day after the fiasco, its Facebook page received over 400,000 likes! As I write this review four days after Pia's coronation, social media is still buzzing with stuff related to the crowning fiasco. The popular quote, "There is no such thing as bad publicity", seems to hold true for Miss Universe! 


By Rafa Delfin, 12/24/2015

(***As I mentioned above, I still have to see the complete show as soon as it is available on YouTube or Google Plus. So as soon as I have finished watching the full show, I will post additional comments, so come back soon!




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