9th place – Ximena Navarrete, Mexico
(Our judges are: Greg Borowski, Willian Prendiz de Jurado, Edwin Toledo (Times of Beauty), Ricardo Guiraldes (Chilean Charm), Julio Rodriguez (Belleza Venezolana), Alberto Dubal (Miss Memorabilia), Jimmy Harris (Beauty School), Pepe Medel, Jean-Marie Vandecasteele, Andre Sleigh, Rose Foulger, Luis Trujillo. From GB, Ed Dominguez, Henrique Fontes, and Chris Kuntz)
The 59th edition of Miss Universe happened at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on August 23. It was hosted by Bret Michaels and Natalie Morales. It was the 3rd time Las Vegas hosted the pageant, after no country showed interest in hosting the pageant.
During the almost three weeks contestants spent in Las Vegas, they enjoyed a diversity of activities, which included selling lemonade on a Vegas sidewalk wearing bikinis and high heels, a fashion show on a sushi bar, or yet, a chicken wings eating contest (won by Miss Philippines!).
Two women were expected to be hand-in-hand in the end of the worldwide telecast, and fight for the Miss Universe crown: Ireland’s Rozanna Purcell and Mexico’s Ximena Navarrete. Other favorites were Miss Philippines, Venus Raj, Miss Russia, Irina Antonenko, and Miss Jamaica, Yendi Phillips. Miss Jamaica had also been a Miss World favorite in 2007, and on that occasion finished the competition as a semi-finalist.
There were also those who wondered if Venezuela’s Marelisa Gibson would be able to win a third consecutive Miss Universe crown, and 7th overall, for her country.
Special awards were given to Miss Australia, Jesinta Campbell, voted by fellow contestants as Miss Congeniality, and Miss Thailand, Fonthip Watcharatrakul, who won two trophies: Miss Photogenic and Best National Costume.
The final telecast, watched by over 600 million people in 81 countries, kicked off with the candidates introducing themselves in national costumes, and dancing to the sound of “Commander” by Kelly Rowland featuring David Guetta.
Soon after that, the Top 15 were announced, and they were:
Puerto Rico, Ukraine, Mexico, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, France, Australia, Jamaica, Russia, Albania, Colombia, Guatemala, Czech Republic, and Philippines.
When Miss Philippines was called, her fanatics went crazy in the crowd, and a video of Filipino fans celebrating back home, probably a reflection of what happened throughout the whole country, was watched by over 3 million people on You Tube! (Watch it here). Pageant-crazy Philippines was back in Miss Universe’s Top 15 after 11 long years!
The surprises among the 15 were Australia, Guatemala (good ones), Colombia, and Czech Republic. Guatemala made the cut for the first time in 26 years.
Favorites from USA (out of the top 15 for the first time since 2002), Korea (best ranked Asian beauty in Miss World 2010), Japan, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago, and Thailand were left behind.
The candidates paraded in swimsuits, and 5 of them said good-bye to the competition: Czech Republic, France, Colombia, Belgium, and one of the heavy favorites, Miss Russia. The other 10 went on to compete in their evening gowns.
After the evening gown competition, it was hard to explain the elimination of the favorite for the crown, Miss Ireland, and of Miss Albania, the best surprise of the night, who many thought could have taken it all (she was elected Miss Grand Slam by GB in 2010).
The 5 finalists were Mexico, Jamaica, Philippines, Australia, and Ukraine. The fresh beauty from Australia, the very spontaneous Jesinta Campbell, was the most pleasant surprise of the 2010 edition, but at that point, it looked like Mexico had it in the bag!
Miss Philippines, criticized for her final answer, was the 4th runner-up; the very elegant Miss Ukraine was the 3rd runner-up; the lovely Miss Australia was the 2nd runner-up; Miss Jamaica finished as 1st runner-up; and Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, confirmed her favoritism and walked away with the Miss Universe crown and sash! It was Mexico’s 2nd title.
During her reign, still not over, Navarrete became the official face of L’Oreal Paris. She has traveled to a variety of countries, including Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, China, Brazil, Thailand, Guatemala, Chile, among others. A video showing her disappointment when visiting India, caused some discomfort among pageant fans, especially the Indian ones.
She will crown her successor on September 12, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
JIMENA NAVARRETE, MISS UNIVERSE 2010
MOST BEAUTIFUL MISS UNIVERSE FROM NORTH & CENTRAL AMERICA
(Still competing: 1953, 1961, 1978, 1989, 2000, 2002-Oxana, 2004, 2008)