Sunday, September 11, 2011

Miss Universe 2011: The final days... A review by The Times of Beauty

We are near the finish line. The 89 delegates of Miss Universe 2011 had a once in a lifetime experience but all good things must come to an end. Soon we will know the winner of the 60th Miss Universe pageant, the delegates will say farewell and this edition becomes part of history. These final days are always a mix of feelings. After one year covering the national pageants everything ends fast and the cycle begins once again. No matter the outcome, the only sure thing is that all delegates represented their countries with pride and that is an unique opportunity. They are all privileged.

A LOOK BACK...

Tomorrow is the grand day for the 89 contestants for Miss Universe 2011. With a record breaking number of contestants, the pageant celebrates its 60th edition in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In a rather underwhelming array of pre-pageant activities, the contestants enjoyed three week of events in the metropolitan region of the city. From learning samba to cook local specialties, the organizing committee offered a glimpse of the culture of the city but also organized several pointless events which certainly took a toll in the prestige of the event. The Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi served as the official home of Miss Universe 2011.


The contestants enjoyed performances at the Teatro Abril where they saw Mamma Mia! and at the Sala Sao Paulo where they listened to the songs of a popular local choir. The girls learned about local cooking at the Atelier Gourmand, sewing techniques at the Escola de Moda, and samba dancing at three places: Sociedade Rosas de Ouro, Meninos do Morumbi and the Escola Vila Maria. Official welcoming activities were held at the Prefecture of Sao Paulo, the Military Police of Sao Paulo and at the Palacio dos Banderaintes. In the former, they enjoyed a banquet hosted by the government of the state.

The contestants also visited the Jockey Club to watch horse races, the Autodromo de Interlagos to watch car races, the Pacaembu Stadium and the Museu do Futebol where they observed Brazilian soccer memorabilia. The girls also went biking at the Parque do Ibirapuera and golfing to the Club de Campo. The Casa Grande hotel in Guaruja hosted the delegates where they enjoyed the Enseada beach for a day.
Every night, the delegates went to party at different nightclubs in Sao Paulo. They went to Club Dequinta, The Society Club, Buddha Bar and the Royal Club. They also went to dine at the prestigious Arola Vintetres restaurant at the Tivoli hotel.


The girls also took part in charity activities at the Casa do Zezinho and Aliança Misericordia. Other activites included visits to Villa Country, Mercado Municipal Paulistano, Rede Banderaintes and Beco do Batman. A fashion show was held at The Week International, the most prestigious LGBT club in Brazil.


As every year scandals rocked the pageant. This year Miss China appeared on a picture with a judge from the preliminary competition and after complains from the national directors he was replaced. Miss Colombia had a small accident and showed a little more than it is allowed. On the other hand, Miss Brazil showed a lot more than allowed, lied about it and caused an immense scandal in her country that became a nightmare for her.

The finals are scheduled for September 12 at the Credicard Hall. The telecast judges are Hélio Castroneves, Connie Chung, Isabeli Fontana, Vivica A. Fox, Adrienne Maloof-Nassif, Lea Salonga, Farouk Shami, Amelia Vega and Italo Zanzi.

PRELIMINARY COMPETITION REVIEW

The contestants participated in the Preliminary Competition held on September 8 at the Credicard Hall. You can read our review by clicking the banner below.


IN THE SPOTLIGHT v.5 - Miss Universe 2011

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This is our final version of In the Spotlight for Miss Universe 2011. After considering the preliminary performances and other factors, we came up with these 25 delegates.


China delivered a mesmerizing performance in the preliminaries. We believe she is the frontrunner of the competition but her interview skills can jeopardize her winning chances. She is closely followed by Malaysia. In Miss Universe 2009 and 2010, two Miss World 2007 semifinalists ended as first runners-up. Will Malaysia continue the streak or she will end up winning everything? We hope for the former.


Puerto Rico delivered the best evening gown performance of the night and was also great in swimsuit. She should be up there and will be entirely deserving. Greece was another girl that impressed with her amazing figure and catwalk skills. If this is a fair pageant, Greece should go far. United States came to Sao Paulo as the frontrunner. Even though she is still a strong contender, her performance in the preliminaries was somewhat underwhelming. Her figure is troublesome for many and that can ruin her chances.

Next are France and Philippines. It is baffling that these two girls that looked quite normal in their respective national pageants came to Sao Paulo and became absolute sensations. Both of them are the surprises of the pageant for their impeccable performances during the entire pageant. France and Philippines are set to place for the second year in a row and we are incredibly happy about it.

 
Ukraine has one of the most beautiful faces of the pageant. Her white gown and excellent figure should secure her a spot in the finals. She might repeat the feat of last year's delegate. Venezuela shined in the preliminaries with a mesmerizing evening gown performance. Her face is not her strongest attribute, but despite this she is set to bring back her country to the semifinals again. Australia came in with United States as the favorites of the pageant. Overall, her looks thoughout the pageant were underwhelming. Her performance during the preliminaries was good enough to place in the semifinals. We miss that stunning Scherri that we saw in the finals of Miss Universe Australia earlier this year though.

Netherlands is by far more photogenic than telegenic. Her performance was decent but we don't feel her placement is a shoo-in. She could miss the cut although we hope that is not the case. Kosovo's performance in the evening gown competition was rather disappointing but she redeemed herself in the swimsuit competition with one of the best performances. We believe she is strong enough to place.

Paraguay was great in both categories, despite this we don't feel completely sure that she will place. In a fair pageant, she would easily be up there. Angola delivered a great performance in the evening gown category but something was missing: the spark, attitude and energy that is needed to stand above the rest. She could miss the cut. Costa Rica was incredible in swimsuit but her evening gown choice was a mishap. We hope to see her bringing her country back into the semifinals and if she can go all the way up to the Top 10 we will be more than happy.

Top 5 placements for Brazil and Panama?

Brazil should be there for obvious reasons despite her lackluster performance in the preliminaries. Brazil can even go all the way up to the Top 5. If Miss Universe was not in Brazil, Aruba would be our sixteenth choice. We fear Aruba could end up as another Shermain Jeremy who was amazing in 2004 and did not place. She is gourgeous, vivacious and certainly made her country proud. We will be elated if Gillain Berry places in the semifinals.

This is one year that a Top 20 would be great. There are so many gorgeous delegates for such an exclusive group that it is very difficult to choose. Mexico sent another great delegate to the pageant. She did very well in swimsuit and evening gown. Same goes to Peru and Chile that looked stunning. These three along with Panama are our alternates. Panama is undeniably beautiful, but her performance in the preliminaries was not what we expected despite having one of the best gowns of the night. We feel that Panama is a potential spoiler that can go all the way to the Top 5.

We recognize Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, Colombia and Nicaragua who did very well in the preliminaries. We would be very happy if any of them place in the semifinals. Will Colombia's controversy help her to reach the Top 16 as an MUO pick? Another interesting question: Will Turkey's decision of sending their overall winner to Miss Universe be rewarded by selecting Melisa Asli Pamuk as an MUO pick?

What is going to happen? No one knows of course. If I were a judge I would consider any of these 25 girls worthy of a semifinal spot. It would be amazing if what we want to happen actually happens, but that is never the case. With the introduction of the Miss Universe Organization picks in 2005, the unpredictability of the contest have increased and sometimes the performances at the preliminary competition are not enough to determine who is winning the title. There will be surprises, but we hope they are pleasant ones and not a 2008 all over again.

THE dress


The importance of en evening gown on the contestant chances sometimes is underrated with the excuse of "it is not the design, it is how the delegate carries it". Let's face it, a mediocre design can ruin the contestant's chances no matter how great she carries her gown. The evening gown should be the delegate's best friend and strongest ally. Well... maybe the second because the first should be your nerves because they can screw you up pretty easily. The dress should serve as a perfect complement to the contestant. It should help her beauty shine even more. These girls in our opinion featured the best designs:

Puerto Rico, Egypt, Angola

Chile, Venezuela, Aruba

Israel, Malaysia, Panama

Peru, Philippines, Ukraine


The Times of Beauty wishes all the 89 delegates and national directors of Miss Universe 2011 the best of luck and success in their next endeavors. You all did your countries proud. We also hope that you enjoyed our coverage for Miss Universe 2011 throughout the past year and we thank you for your continuous support.
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