Angola takes the 2011 Miss Universe crown in Brazil

Miss Angola’s victory in Miss Universe 2011 has been approved by most people around the planet, which is a good thing. Always among the favorites to be one of the finalists, Leila Lopes of Angola, was not a “front-runner”, perhaps because of her reserved personality, which was reflected in an elegant, although never much enthusiastic stage projection. But Leila shinned when she had to shine, and completely deserved to win the crown. It’s fantastic to see someone naturally beautiful, real, and BLACK, being crowned Miss Universe. Leila is Africa’s 4th Miss Universe. She’s Angola’s 1st, and the 3rd Portuguese speaking woman to walk away with the Miss U sash and crown. Well done.

GB pre-pageant comment on Miss Angola: “Angola is stunning, but lacks energy on stage” – group: strong candidates.

Going over GB’s pre-pageant final review, our website was very accurate in its predictions: out of the 16 semi-finalists, 5 came from “The ones to beat” group; 8 came from the “strong candidates” group; and 3 came from the “fair possibilities” group. 100% right.

The big let down of the night, was the early exclusion of Misses Greece, and mostly Malaysia. Deborah Henry was one of the favorites in every single pageant website or blog. The woman has done everything right, and certainly deserved to be up there.

But what happened? Some possible explanations:

- Even if the preliminary judges did not pick Miss Malaysia, why didn’t the MUO? The answer could be a declared war against Miss World. Deborah participated in Miss World 2007 and was a semi-finalist, when many believed she deserved better. Another Miss World contestants who was a favorite in São Paulo, and will go back home empty-handed, is Miss Trinidad & Tobago, Gabrielle Walcott. She was Miss World’s 2nd runner-up in Miss World 2008.

- Politics. Islam is the state religion, and unfortunately, the few predominantly Muslim countries that participate in Miss Universe have been historically discriminated against, especially in recent history. Lebanon’s victory in 1971 was an exception. Look at the poor performance of Egypt, even Lebanon, Malaysia and Turkey. They all do much better in Miss World and other pageants. In addition, the government of Malaysia has been making some nasty remarks about the U.S.. It could explain it, although if the case, it would be very sad nowadays…

- Backstage Trouble. We never know what goes on on the pageant’s backstage, unless we are there! Maybe Miss Malaysia did something that pissed the MU organizers, which might have cost her spot among the finalists. Deborah doesn’t look like the type of girl who would cause trouble, but we never know.

Other than that, what could explain the elimination of a beautiful and classy woman who has done everything correctly since the beginning? How will the Malaysia license holder feel motivated to continue on with her work after this?

Others highly missed in the Top 15 were Misses Nicaragua, Spain, and Aruba.

The top 16

As we predicted, Miss USA did not pass the swimsuit competition. Unfortunately she is indeed way too thin, and did not stand out as she did in Miss USA. Miss Venezuela had the body, but as we also mentioned, her face looked old, her hair did not look natural at all, and the woman never truly smiled. Lack of confidence or arrogance? We don’t know, but she was not up to the high standard we are used to get from Venezuela. Misses Puerto Rico and Kosovo looked great and could have advanced, instead of Panama and Brazil. Miss Colombia once again showed lots of va-va-voom on stage, but reached as far as she could. Miss Netherlands has a beautiful face and put her country back among Miss U semi-finalists after 19 years, but also went as far as she could (her legs were too thin).

The Top 10

Miss Portugal was a delightful surprise. Finally, after 59 years, it had a Miss Universe semi-finalist. As a matter of fact, all Portuguese speaking competing nations landed in the top 10, a first in Miss Universe’s history. Misses Australia and France looked radiant and magnificent all night long. Both could have been finalists if Brazil had not been competing at home. Costa Rica also stopped for the reason we predicted: a very bad gown choice. Panama was the big “surprise” of the night. Fans scored her below 3 points, which shows that she was not expected to reach that far. But as we had previously said: Miss Universe is expected to be held in Panama in just a couple of years, reason of enough weight to be among the finalists.

The Top 5

Miss Ukraine was compared to a young Brook Shields and looked absolutely amazing, deserving her 2nd place. Miss Philippines was also perfect all night long, and her answer was possibly the best. Should have been at least 2nd runner-up, and could have won the title. Miss China‘s chances were ruined by her interpreter, who did a very poor job translating for her. By the way, what was that question, Isabeli?

Miss Brazil as the only woman from the Americas placing in the top 5 was a clear stretch. The woman is beautiful and has clear qualities, but France, Australia, Costa Rica, or Malaysia, should have taken her place. More to the point of arguing about her merits as a contestants and hometown girl, one question remains for the MUO: will it then accept women who have posed naked or semi-naked from here on? Perhaps it should make it clear, otherwise it shows to the world the Miss Universe clearly breaks its own rules when it comes to its highest interests (the millions of dollars invested by Band in this production).

The winner, as we’ve mentioned above, totally deserved her victory. No questions about that.

The Production

- The hosts, Natalie Morales and Andy Cohen, did an excellent job. There was chemistry among them, and they’ve made no mistakes. Just perfect, one of the best in recent years.

- The stage was OK, but below what we expect from Miss Universe. Brazilian elements were poorly explored and it looked more like a Miss Brazil (Universe) stage, than a Miss Universe stage. Miss Supranational, a pageant that is just 3 years old, for example, presented a way superior stage production this year.

- There were grotesque errors regarding camera work. When a certain candidate was introducing herself, the camera was focusing someone else. Perhaps the last time Miss Universe showed such primary mistakes was back in 1980, in South Korea.

- The musical attractions, if not absolutely outstanding, were good enough. MUO could have explored the Brazilian carnival more than it did. Brazil has the world’s greatest carnival, and it was not reflected on yesterday’s production.

- A city pays between US$ 10 and 15 million to get world-wide projection, and gets promotion on photos and short videos which were not very clear or informative? In terms of promoting the host city and country, MUO has done way better in the past. What was the deal with Brasília, by the way? The contestants didn’t even visit it.

- Aside from some very shocking surprises, such as the early elimination of Miss Malaysia, overall, results made sense, and got approval from the general public.

- The local crowd behaved well, and did not boo Miss Brazil or any other contestants. However, it was surprising to see Miss Angola getting more support from the locals than the Brazilian candidate!

We wish Leila Lopes a great year ahead! She will certainly be a superb Miss Universe, one that came to break patterns. Let’s hope we won’t have to wait a decade more to see another black, Asian, or “non-white” winner. Pageants should evolve with times, and it includes accepting all types of beauty.