LAS VEGAS: Twenty-year-old Miss USA Olivia Culpo was crowned Miss Universe at the 61st Miss Universe Pageant held here on December 19. She was crowned by outgoing Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes of Angola. Beauty queens from over 90 countries took part in the contest.
Miss India 2012, Shilpa Singh was selected to be part of the final 16 contestants, but could not move up to the next stage after swimsuit round. Shilpa was originally the Miss India runner up but was selected to attend the Miss Universe contest after the originally selected Miss India was disqualified over age issues. Shilpa is a software engineer by profession and represented both the beauty and the brains at the contest.
A college student, Olivia Culpo is a self-described “cellist-nerd” and brought the Miss Universe crown back to the United States for the first time in more than a decade.
Culpo’s coronation ends a long losing spell for the U.S. in the competition co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC. An American had not won the right to be called Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997.
Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon, came in second, while Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, was placed third.
Culpo grew up with two professional musicians for parents and has played the cello alongside world-renowned classical musician Yo-Yo Ma. On her Miss Universe page, she said she hopes to pursue a career in film or television.
As Miss Universe, Culpo will receive an undisclosed salary, a wardrobe fit for a queen, a limitless supply of beauty products and a luxury apartment in New York City.
The Miss Universe pageant was back in Las Vegas this year after being held in Sao Paulo in 2011. It aired live on NBC and was streamed to more than 100 countries.
Organized by Donald Trump and NBC TV, Miss Universe Contest was an extravaganza glittered by star power, exquisite sets and expansive fashion sets. The contest was held over many days with contestants whittled down at each stage. On the day of main event, top 16 contestants were picked to participate in swim suit, evening gown and personality interview rounds. After the swim suit round, 10 beauties progressed to evening gown round. Judges picked 5 of them to compete in personality interviews.
The panel of 10 judges included Pablo Sandoval, Two-Time World Series Champion and MVP with the San Francisco Giants; Nigel Barker, Photographer and host of Oxygen’s new series The Face; Diego Boneta, Singer and Actor best known for starring role in “Rock of Ages” film; Scott Disick, TV Personality from the E! Network; Brad Goreski, Celebrity Stylist and Star of Bravo’s It’s a Brad, Brad World; Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Star of Iron Chef and Award-Winning Chef; Ximena Navarrete, Miss Universe 2010 and Face of L’Oreal; Claudia Jordan, TV & Radio Personality and competitor on the upcoming series All-Star Celebrity Apprentice; Kerri Walsh Jennings, three-time US Olympic Gold Medalist in Beach Volleyball; Lisa Vanderpump, Star on Bravo’s hit series The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and new series Vanderpump Rules.
First Runner-Up: Miss Universe Philippines, Janine Tugonon will assume the duties of Miss Universe 2012 if the titleholder for some reason cannot fulfill her responsibilities.
Second Runner-Up: Miss Universe Venezuela, Irene Sofiá Esser Quintero.
Rest of Top Five: Miss Universe Australia, Renae Ayris and Miss Universe Brazil, Gabriela Markus.
Rest of Top Ten: Miss Russia, Elizabeth Golonova; Miss Universe France, Marie Payet; Miss Universe Hungary, Agnes Konkoly; Miss Universe South Africa, Melinda Bam; and Miss Universe Mexico, Karina Gonzalez.
Rest of Top Sixteen: Miss Universe Turkey, Cagil Ozge Özkul; Miss Universe Peru, Nicole Faveron; Miss Universe Poland, Marcelina Zawadzka; Miss Universe Croatia, Elizabeta Burg; Miss Universe Kosovo, Diana Avdiu; and Miss Universe India, Shilpa Singh.
The India Post representatives attended Miss Universe rehearsals and Grand VIP Gala in honor of the contestants. Donald Trump met with Ritu Maheshwari and Priya Nayar from India Post.
Next year, the international competition of Miss Universe 2013 will take place in Panama.
India Post News Service