First of all, I have to say that I was beyond impressed with the layout of the pageant! I particularly loved the Christmas-y theme.
I loved seeing Andy Cohen and Guiliana Rancic back on the stage. I hope they would continue as hosts for a few more years. Guiliana’s wardrobe this year, especially the ball evening gown, was a huge improvement in comparison to last year!
I knew that Miss Universe stored some surprises for us. But I was surprised that some of the favorites and heavily talked about were left behind such as Paraguay, Ecuador, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, Malaysia, and Guatemala. I also noticed that the Netherlands, Panama, Columbia, China, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Irelands, Nicaragua, Norway, Ukraine, and Curacao were gorgeous and could easily place in the top 16. I was, however, really disappointed not seeing Paraguay, Finland, and Puerto Rico in the top 16.
But I was so happy that Hungary placed in the top 16. I think she’s gorgeous. She reminds me of Michelle Leonardo, Miss New Jersey USA 2012. I would also love to see Greece, Guam, Guyana, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Sweden up because they haven’t been placed in the top 16 for a long time. Most of them never had a chance to make to the semi-finalist round. But who knows, someday, they would.
I couldn’t believe my own eyes that this year, Latina girls really dominated Miss Universe. I often see a few of them as strong contestants, but this year, almost all of them were strong, especially Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
I was also happy to see Croatia placed in the top 16, but I was really disappointed with her hair style. I have been watching her closely for the last few weeks and she was one of my favorites to be in the top 5, but after seeing her hair style and presence, I knew she would not go far.
I am also in love with South Africa, Melinda Bam. She, in fact, reminded me of Miss Texas USA, Brittany Booker. I just couldn’t keep my eyes off her the whole time.
As they announced the top 16, I was really surprised to see Peru, Russia, Turkey, and India. India was a huge surprise for me. I loved to see Poland up there because Poland is stunning and last time Poland was placed in the top 16 was in 1989! Turkey was in 1990! Congratulations!
As for the evening gowns, there was not even one dress in the top 10 that I did not like! However, a few got my attention. I was truly mesmerized by Venezuela’s as well as Brazil’s. Venezuela often has the reputation of being futuristic, daring, and unique. That was, indeed the case when Irene wore the stunning emerald green dress! When I saw Brazil’s dress, my jaw dropped. The dress made her waist look so tiny! It’s one of the most impeccable dresses I have ever seen. The more I looked at Miss USA, the more I liked it because her dress made her stand out. She is also one smart strategist. I also admired South Africa’s dress; it had a wonderful combination of gold and silver. It matched her blonde hair very well and complimented her skin. I also loved Hungary’s dress, with the ruffles at the bottom, but I think it would have looked more amazing had it been in a different colour. I wasn’t too fond of Miss Philippines’ dress, but her pony tail made it look amazing. I preferred Miss Philippines 2010’s dress. Mexico and Russia dresses were similar and I loved it, but there were some people who said it wasn’t the best. Russia wore the same dress as Alyssa Campanella when she walked at the Mercedes Fashion Show.
Basically, the girls were telling us to be true to ourselves. All of them answered well for the final question portion of the pageant. However, Venezuela’s answer wasn’t clear at first, but I reviewed her answer a few times to better understand her answer. I believe she was trying to compare laws to waves because like waves, laws will have challenges down the road before they are overcome or minimized. If it was the Olympics, I would have given Miss USA 10+ because she nailed the question. I knew her strong interview skills and presence helped her to get into the top 5. If it wasn’t for Venezuela’s unclear answer, I believe that it would have been USA and Venezuela at the end. Venezuela, in fact, owned the stage throughout the night with such confidence, elegance, and poise.
I loved the moment when USA and Australia were announced as two of the top 5, Miss USA supported Miss Australia as she stood for her final question. They were roommates at the pageant and cheered one another as they competed for the crown.
After seeing Olivia Culpo’s final walk for the judges to see at Miss USA 2012, I knew she would win. She came to Miss Universe 2012 and walked the way she did at Miss USA 2012.
I was fortunate to meet Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011 last June at Miss USA. She is very sweet and stunning in person. I loved her final walk dress. That dress reminds me in some way of Haley Holloway, Miss West Virginia Teen USA 2013’s dress. When I saw Leila walking in that dress, I thought I was seeing Haley Holloway on the stage winning the title as Miss Teen USA or Miss USA or Miss Universe someday. I have no doubt that she will go on and win one of these titles or even all of them.
A couple of other interesting notes:
Leila Lopes was the first Angolan to win the title as Miss Universe 2011 and had the longest reign as Miss Universe in the history of the pageant.
The Philippines made in the top 5 for the fifth consecutive year as a 3rd, 4th and 1st runner up. Brazil also made in the top 5 for the 2nd time in a row. Australia placed in the top 16 for 5 years in a row. Brazil, USA, and Kosovo made in the top 16 last year and again this year.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Brazil, Kosovo, the Philippines, and Australia would, one day, win the Miss Universe title. I have noticed that Kosovo is getting stronger and getting more recognization. The Philippines is getting better each year, as long as they continue to pick the right girls to compete for Miss Universe; the s same goes for Australia. Australia has consistently sent strong contenders to the pageant, one of whom- Jennifer Hawkins- won the Miss Universe title in 2004. Since then, people have always wondered who they would send to the pageant and whether or not they would win the title. I loved Miss Australia 2009 to 2012.
The more I got to know the girls, the more I adored Hungary because she is a triathlon with a killer body. Brazil also wants to study food engineering, so she can make food safer in developed countries. Venezuela’s family owns a cocoa factory! Never underestimate girls like Turkey because she is studying economics, what a brilliant girl! When they announced the top 10, they had a video of girls telling a little bit about themselves, which I wished they show before the preliminaries so we could know a little more about them and feel more connected with them.
Miss USA 1997 Brooke Lee won in Miami and now Olivia Culpo, Miss USA 2012 won in Las Vegas after 15 years. Both girls won Miss Universe titles in their host country.
Miss Universe had 1 billion people representing 190 countries watching the pageant on December 19, 2012. 89 beautiful ladies represented their countries well. You guys are truly winners, especially with 1 billion people watching you! Congratulations, Olivia Culpo, as Miss Universe 2012 and Nana Meriwether as Miss USA 2012!
Lastly, I would like to share this quote with you from a dear friend of mine whom I could proudly say is a member of my pageant family, “height is NO longer an issue, and that was made clear this year!” Up to now, Miss Universe was often won by tall girls. But the selection of Olivia Culpo changed all of that.