Miss Universe 2012 The Finals Recap: The Gowns, The Hairspray and Miss Venezuela's "Miss South Carolina Teen USA Moment"...
Crowning Moment: Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo becomes the new Miss Universe as last year's Miss Universe, Leila Lopes of Angola is putting the crown on. Leila--by the way--is the longest running Miss Universe in history (one year and 3 months!)
This past Wednesday night, at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Theater Las Vegas, a new Miss Universe was crowned. Miss USA 20-year old Boston University sophomore Olivia Culpo (I have a feeling she isn't going back to finish her studies...for now!) beat out 88 other beautiful women and won the most coveted International Beauty Pageant title.
Universal Close-Up: Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo of the USA
As you know, I love to cover beauty pageants--especially all the international ones--here on my blog concentrating on my "Gowns Recap & Reviews", naturally. My point--as a Fashion Designer and Pageant Lover--is to also try to inject a bit of Hollywood's Red Carpet vibe in terms of my critiques and suggestions into the typical "Pageant Betty Gown" world. I wish there was more of the former than the latter, especially since it's the "Hollywood Industry" who eventually ends up being the "final judges", as opposed to "Pageant World" people.
Pageant Queens: Miss USA Olivia Culpo gets crowned by Miss Universe 20111 Leila Lopes, and receives her flowers from Miss Teen USA 2012 Logan West
Brook Lee, Miss Universe 1997
Brook Lee in NIKOLAKI Collection: Miss Universe 1997 Brook Lee with Nick Verreos at a Miss Universe 2011 Telemundo Viewing Party at the W Hollywood (above photo).
Olivia Culpo also broke a 15-year streak of Miss USA not winning a Miss Universe title. Miss USA had not won a Miss Universe title since the gorgeous Brook Lee--originally from Hawaii--had won the title and was crowned Miss Universe 1997. Brook is a friend--and a NIKOLAKI muse--so to me, she will always be the eternal Miss Universe from the Good Ol' USA!
Now...let's discuss this year's Miss Universe 2012 Finals, the winner, the finalists, and yes, THEIR EVENING GOWNS:
The Final Two: (left to right) Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon and Miss USA Olivia Culpo hold hands as Olivia learns her fate
As I said, I went to the Miss Universe 2012 Pageant in Las Vegas. So I saw it all LIVE, from the theater. The pageant began at 5pm PST and ended at 7pm. It was an "interesting" show, to say the least, beginning with Donald Trump as Santa and the 89 contestants onstage introducing themselves. There were slight audio hiccups where several of those first countries' announcements were missed and silence (someone must have been fired for that). I felt bad for those girls since this was "their moment", as they say.
Three of the Best: (left to right) Miss Australia Renae Ayris, Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon and Miss Venezuela Irene Esser
Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon (left), and Miss Venezuela Irene Esser (right) ham it up at the end of Train's (Pat Monahan, the lead singer is the middle of the photo above) performance during the Miss Universe 2012 Finals Evening Gown Competition
Then, the top 16 Semi Finalists were announced--15 were picked by a separate panel of Preliminary Judges plus the "Miss Universe Organization" had their "two cents" of who should be there--and one by the fans. There were lots of surprises as to who made the Semi Finalist list (Poland, Hungary) and the omissions (Puerto Rico, Bahamas).
Top Five: (left to right) Miss Brazil Gabriela Markus, Miss USA Olivia Culpo, Miss Australia Renae Ayris, Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon, and Miss Venezuela Irene Esser
But lots of the Pageant Fan Favorites were there, including Venezuela, South Africa, Philippines, Brazil, Australia, USA. The swimsuit portion followed with those 16 ladies, then they were cut to ten. Evening gowns came next and then, the Top Five and finally the announcements of the Fourth, Third, Second, First Runner Ups and the Winner. In two hours, it was all done!
Before I get started on my "Nick Evening Gown Recap", here were the three "special" Miss Universe winners:
Miss Congeniality: Miss Guatemala Laura Godoy
Miss Photogenic: Miss Kosovo Diana Avdiu...who wore the (almost) same gown as the new Miss USA--Olivia Culpo's First Runner Up at the Miss USA 2012 Pageant...
The gorgeous Nana Meriwether
Best National Costume: Miss China Ji Dan Xu
Incidentally, she was MY PICK for Best National Costume! Hello!!
The Top Ten Evening Gowns--From Least Favorite to Best:
Plunging Cha-Cha's: Olivia Culpo Miss USA--during the Miss Universe 2012 Evening Gown Competition
Plunging necklines work with flat-chested ladies. Not, with boobies such as Olivia's. During the LIVE telecast, one could see the bra/under-structure she was wearing (which is a BIG no-no). I remember turning to my seat mate (David) and saying "Oh Dear!". Seriously. But, in the end, it didn't matter, since she won the crown. Fashion Schmashion. A not-so-good gown can equal a Miss Universe crown, I guess.
Preliminary Gown Post, I thought this was good, but, I have now come to my (better) Fashion Senses after seeing it LIVE and in-person on stage.
The Zuhair Murad Spring 2011 Couture Collection (above)
what she wore to the Preliminaries. Her gown was designed by Venezuelan Pageant Gown designer Gionni Straccia. I loved the color, the delicate yet very expensive looking Swarovski crystal detail. The gown celebrated the Christmas season and was still giving "Pageant COUTURE"! If there was any critique, I felt that it was a teeny-bit too short. But besides this, it was my favorite evening gown of the Top Ten in this year's Miss Universe 2012 Pageant.
Co-Host Giuliana Rancic gives the "Ooooh GURL, You Messed Up" look as Miss Venezuela Irene Esser gives an incomprehensible answer at Wednesday night's Miss Universe 2012 Pageant
"If you could make a new law, what would it be? And explain why."
Irene, Miss Venezuela, answered:
"I think that any leys [Spanish for "laws"] there are in Constitution or in life, are already made. I think that we should have ... uh ... a straight way to go ... in our similar, or, eh, in ... in our life has it this. For example, I am a surfer and I think that the ... the best wave that I can take is the wave that I wait for it. So ... please ... do our only ... eh ... law, that we can do. Thank you, Vegas."
I think we all get what the beautiful Irene was trying to say there...OK, maybe not...but she sure looked pretty saying it. My post-Miss Universe advice: she should have answered in Spanish. But I fear that her pageant handlers had pressured her to do it in English (bad advice...obviously)...
Click Below to watch the head-scratching Miss Venezuela Final Question-and-Answer Moment:
***Next Up: My "Las Vegas/Miss Universe 2012" Photo Album Blog Recap!