Good morning Philippines and good evening New York! Amiciness went on a vacation leave today but not to travel. I skipped the office to live blog the 65th Miss Universe live from SM MOA Arena, Manila, Philippines (*channels inner Ariella Arida*). I spent the night watching Miss Universe specials of Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho to Gandang Pinay (hosted by Miriam Quiambao). HAHA! Needless to say, I’m all pumped up to know who will be the next Miss Universe. Good luck to all 86 beautiful ladies!
Word has it that instead of 12 semi-finalists, 13 ladies will be chosen to move on to the next round. The 13th finalist would be candidate with the most number of Twitter and app votes, which totaled to 213 million votes world wide as of yesterday. I’m not an expert in pageants but here are my personal faves. *update* I just noticed that many of them are from asian countries. HAHA. Go Asia!
Amiciness’ Personal Faves (in no particular order):
Thailand Colombia Brazil Philippines
- Sierra Leone
- Myanmar – I hope she also wins Best National Costume! (EDIT: She did!)
(EDIT: I only got 5 right. Sad.)
You can still vote using the Miss Universe app and by tweeting using #MissUniverse and a contestant specific hashtag.
The 65th Miss Universe Starts Now!
The show starts with a “short film” starring Steve Harvey and Boyz II Men planning Steve’s escape plan back to the US. Haha. In case an incident similar to last year’s happens again. Then, we see all the contestants in a cleverly edited video explaining their purpose and why they want to be Miss Universe. Nice!
Flo Rida starts the show with his hit “In the Ayer” (I don’t know the other songs haha) while one by one by one the ladies walk in their opening number outfits. Their opening dresses are noticeably not matching and identical. Go for diversity! <3 AND the girls are not personally introducing themselves :(. Flo Rida wasn’t given the memo that this is Miss Universe 2016. Can’t blame him, though.
Host Steve Harvey is introduced and the crowd is going wild. Steve says that he is indeed the same guy from last year. The man who made a mistake but moved forward. The crowd is giving me goosies.
Steve introduces supermodel Ashley Graham, our backstage host and of course, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. We see Pia’s journey as Miss U. The video is quite short. Pia is so beautiful in her first outfit, a hot pink dress straight out of a Cream Silk commercial. Pia thanks Steve for making her the most popular Miss Universe. And in return, Steve thanks Pia for making him the most popular Miss U host. HAHA.
Now it’s time to see the Miss U journey of our 86 contestants starting from their arrival. I said it before and I’ll say it again, kudos to this year’s documentations committee. HAHA. It’s like a reality show. Again, the video is shorter than expected. Oh well.
I love the next video where the girls pose and elegantly frolic in their home countries. <3 <3 <3.
We see the candidates face the judges in the sit-down interviews and preliminary competition. It reminds me of American Idol and America’s Next Top Model. NERVE-RACKING.
- Steve Harvey
- Ashley Graham
- Cynthia Bailey – Actress, model, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, also judged the prelims
- Mickey Boardman – Editorial director for Paper magazine
- Francine LeFrak – Theatrical, television, and film producer, also judged the prelims
- Leila Lopes – Miss Universe 2011 (Angola)
- Sushmita Sen – Miss Universe 1994 (India)
- Dayanara Torres – Miss Universe 1993 (Puerto Rico), also judged the prelims
Top 13 Results
- Kenya (Mary Esther Were)
- She is surprised (and we are also surprised) that Steve is interviewing her. Kenya is the first candidate from her country to land in the top 13.
- Indonesia (Kezia Warouw)
- She is 6 feet tall and she considers it as a “gift from God.”
- USA (Deshauna Barber)
- She is currently serving in the military.
- Mexico (Kristal Silva)
- She tripped in a pageant three years ago and, luckily, she rose up and is now a semi-finalist.
- Peru (Valeria Piazza)
- She was involved in a car accident last October but she made Miss Universe her motivation to get better.
- Panama (Keity Drennan)
- She was raised by a single mom.
- Colombia (Andrea Tovar)
- Steve and Miss Colombia hugged as a symbol of peace. HAHA. Steve asks: “How do people in Colombia feel about Steve Harvey?” She answers: “Wanna know the truth? A lot of people hate you but you know I love you…”
- Philippines (Maxine Medina)
- THIS IS IT! Maxine’s aunt a former Binibining Pilipinas Universe (1990) told her to just be confident and be herself.
- Canada (Siera Berchell)
- She runs in marathon. Trivia overload.
- Brazil (Raissa Santana)
- She is the second black woman to represent her country in 30 years.
- France (Iris Mittenaere)
- I missed her trivia. HAHA.
- Haiti (Raquel Pelissier)
- She is surprised. She is part of a research group that aims to cure blindness.
- Online Voting Winner: Thailand (Chalita Suansane)
- Her 17 bags were from a lovely sponsor in Thailand.
Thailand won in the online voting, which granted her an automatic spot alongside the preliminary Top 12. Now, the Top 13 is complete!
So many unexpected (at least to me) reps will move to the next round. #Diversity Hala, ngayon lang nag-sink-in… WALANG VENEZUELA. 🙁
Pia is touring Ashley around the Philippines. First stop: Chocolate Hills in Bohol. Pia and Ashley observed a tarsier in its natural habitat. Again, the video is cut short and transitions to Maxine teaching her co-candidates how to eat balut (duck egg).
The Top 13 candidates chose their own swimsuit, which best fit their body type. They come out on stage in groups of 3, in the same order as the top 13 announcement. The swimsuit trivia was just too much, I think. 😀
We see the girls’ trip to Baguio and Vigan where they had a motorcade and a fashion show, respectively. The crowd is WILD. Who wouldn’t be?
- Her mom was battling lung cancer. She passed away three months after she won Miss USA. Her winning moment in Miss USA is just WOW.
- Chalita comes from a poor family.
- Iris likes to cook and she is currently studying dentistry. She was inspired by her dentist.
- She values her family so much. Three years ago, she lost the national title but here she is now!
- Kenya is a clear favorite tonight.
- Her advocacy and passion is to help children through education.
- She is a law student. Her family lost their house in a fire. She started joining red cross to volunteer in various projects.
- She has a degree in optometry. She wants the world to know that Haitian women are strong and resilient.
- The crowd is going CRAZY!!! Maxine chose interior design as a profession because she loves creating space. She is confident that she can be Miss Universe.
Sad for Brazil and Indonesia. On a happier note, National Costume is next! BONGGA!
Best National Costume
Myanmar (Htet Htet Htun) wins the Best in National Costume award.
Wohoo!!!! Her costume weighs approximately 40 kgs. (If I heard it correctly). AMAZING!
…so that’s how you pronounce Ferrero Rocher. Char! After the break, we see some of the girls taking selfies. The pageant also features some of the mothers of the contestants. Loved this part. It’s like a Dove commercial. #EssenceofBeingAWoman
- Her dress was once worn by the queen of Thailand.
- Her gown took five months to make.
- She competed in 7 different pageants before arriving in Manila.
- If ever she wins, she’ll be eighth to win in a red gown.
- She is also wearing a red gown. HAHA
OMG! I spot Venus Raj behind backstage host Ashley! Leila Lopes will have to wait for the Q and A to know who is the most complete girl. Sushmita says: Mahal kita Philippines! *I cry* I love Sushmita! So classy.
Nigeria and her girls talk about social media bashing. This pageant is so relevant! I guess this is one thing the girls have in common.
Question & Answer (Q&A)
Colombia, Thailand and Haiti will be using an interpreter. (Philippines also used an interpreter to translate the question, but answered in English.)
Q: “What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?”
Philippines: “In the last 10 years of being in the world is that I saw all the people bringing in one event like this in Miss Universe. It’s something big to us that we are one. As one nation, we are all together.”
Q: “What are you most excited about and what most concerns you when it comes to the presidency of Donald Trump?”
Kenya: “Politics. Okay, let me just start again. Donald Trump having been elected as president of the United States may not have been the choice of many people living in the United States because of the divided support system for the outgoing president, Barrack Obama, who has supporting an upcoming woman president, who was supposed to be a woman president, Hilary Clinton. So many people oppose his position but I feel that once he took up his position he was able to unify the entire nation.”
Q: “Name a current or past world leader that you admire and why.”
Thailand: “Mabuhay Philippines. For me, that would be the King of Thailand. His majesty has been working tirelessly on behalf of the Thai people since I was born. For all the Thai people, his majesty has been like a father to us. Salamat po!”
Q: “Given today’s worldwide refugee crisis do countries have an obligation to accept refugees or do they have the right to close their borders?”
France: “So the country should have the right to open or close their borders. So if throughout the world people can choose have the borders opened or closed, in Europe we have open borders. In France, we want to have the most globalization that we can. We want to have the biggest exchange of people that we can. Maybe someday that will change but now we have open borders. So having open borders will allow us to travel more to the world and to find out more what’s out there in the world. Thank you very much.”
Q: “If you were able to participate in the women’s march on January 21st, what would you have been marching for?”
Haiti: “Hello everybody. One of the women I admire Eleanor Roosevelt because she fought so much for human rights and I feel like that’s what we need in the world. We are just one a hundred thousand years ago six species of human lived in the world. Now, we are just one and we all need each other. We need to respect each other. ”
Haiti KNOWS her biology! 😮
Q: “Why do you believe that violence is so prevalent in today’s society and what can we do about it?”
Colombia: “Good evening. Well, I come from a country that has violence and that’s my reference point. And although there are presidents who don’t get along with others, we work together to be able to unite. Campaigns, respect and inclusivity. To be able to have a social transformation, we should educate our children. Thank you”.
Final Question & Answer (Q&A)
The girls are answering the same final question. Colombia and France are using interpreters.
Q: “Name something over the course of your life that you failed at and tell as what you learned from that experience.”
Colombia: “I think that many times one makes mistakes for many things. During moments when you may not accept someone due to their differences, do not accept them due to their sexual preferences. And to not be capable of accepting their error. I think any of those experience gives you the opportunity to have the strength, value and principles.”
France: “I have failed several times in my life. I thought I had failed my first year in medical school because my name wasn’t on the passing list. So, the very same day I went to buy a new set of medical books to keep on studying. I think when you fail, you need to stand up and keep going, we are all able to do so. If I don’t win tonight, I will still keep on smiling tomorrow because I am proud to be part of the 3 finalist. I’ve learnt a lot from my failures and happily, I did end up passing my first year of medical school.” (I’m using a different [read: more correct] translation than the one given by the interpreter. Seriously, that interpreter went from her saying “studying medicine” to him talking about “model casting.”)
Haiti: “About seven years ago, I survived the earthquake. I feel I was failing myself because I was not living my dreams. I was living day by day in that earthquake. It was a bad event but I chose to be a very positive person and I learned a great lesson from it! Because if I’m here today, it’s because I am living my dreams. Thank you.”
OMG! Boyz II Men is singing “On Bended Knee”!!!! Why is Ate Reg not in the production??? Colombia is tearing up. I love her! She seems humble. France goes on stage next. And Haiti is last. I really hope she wins!
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach’s Final Walk
Pia is wearing a Michael Cinco gown. She looks stunning! “The title is a dream come true but the work continues!” Nasaan ang korona? I miss the time when the previous Miss Universe wore the crown during her final walk.
2nd Runner-up: Colombia – Andrea Tovar
Pia gives Steve a pair of reading glasses before he announces the winner. HAHAHA!!!
1st Runner-up: Haiti – Raquel Pelissier
Miss Universe 2016: France – Iris Mittenaere
France’ Iris Mittenaere takes her first walk as Miss Universe 2016. Good morning/ goodnight everyone! Thank you for tuning in to Amiciness’ 65th Miss Universe Live Blog. I’m off to work now! HAHA!
What did you think of the results? Did your bets get in? Did Maxine’s interpreter help her in the Q and A? I think the Philippines did a wonderful job in hosting the event. Did you?