The wait is over! The world, the universe rather, is all hyped up as we find out who will be the successor to Queen Pia.
After two decades, the Philippines will take the center stage once again for Miss Universe as the host venue for the 65th edition. This is the third time the Philippines will be hosting the contest, widely considered as the most prestigious among beauty pageants.
When and where?
Reigning Queen Pia Wurtzbach will pass the crown to her successor on January 30, 2017 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. The program will begin from 8AM to 11AM PHT, and will be aired live on local broadcast stations: ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5.
Tickets for the grand coronation don’t come cheap, as the prices range from Php 8,000 up to Php 50,000. Only 200 VIP tickets were sold, as Wanda Teo, secretary of the Department of Tourism, explained that the rest were reserved for the families and friends of the candidates. And unlike other events, there are no reservations as once the tickets are booked, they have to be paid right away.
Throwback: A love affair with beauty pageantry
It’s no secret that Filipinos are avid fans of beauty pageants throughout the decades. As proof, the hefty price tag for this year’s Miss Universe is no deterrent and tickets for the event are already sold out.
The first Filipina crowned as Miss Universe is none other than Gloria Diaz, who won the contest in 1969 in Miami, Florida. The late U.S. President Richard Nixon even declared in his speech during his visit in the country, “The United States conquered the moon but the Philippines has conquered the Universe.”
WATCH: Gloria Diaz
This win was followed in 1973. When Margie Moran became the second Filipina to claim the crown of Miss Universe, the contest was held in the country the following year. The Cultural Center of the Philippines was the chosen venue for Miss Universe when the country hosted it for the first time in 1974. The next time the Philippines hosted the prestigious pageant was another two decades later in 1994, which was held in the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
WATCH: Throwback to Miss Universe 1994
Following Pia Wurtzbach’s win, history repeats itself as the Philippines is the host for Miss Universe again for the third time.
How is the next beauty queen chosen?
There will be three days of preliminary competitions in the lead up to coronation day to pick the top 12 candidates. On Jan. 30, the top 12 will move on to the swimsuit show, and the top 9 will get to the next stage based on the average scores of the judges and fan voting. The top 9 will move on to the evening gown presentation where only the top 6 contestants can advance to the most highly-anticipated portion in the pageant—the Final Question.
Only the top 3 contestants will move on to the last segment, the Final Look. The judges and viewers will rank the last three standing based on overall performance and the candidate who will come out on top will be the next reigning Miss Universe.
Who has the final say?
Seven judges make up the judging panel for this year’s edition. Four out of seven are former Miss Universe titleholders, namely—Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori and Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes. The other three are TV star and model Cynthia Bailey, fashion magazine editor Mickey Boardman and award-winning producer Francine Le Frak.
Two of the judges are no stranger to our tropical shores, with Sushmita Sen and Dayanara Torres. Sushmita was the first Indian to win the crown in Miss Universe 1994, which the Philippines hosted. Dayanara Torres was an active presence in showbiz back in the late 90s and she even had a love team with Aga Muhlach.
What are our chances for winning?
Only Venezuela so far has achieved a back-to-back win during 2008 and 2009 in the entire history of Miss Universe. As for the chances of a host country winning, candidates of host countries have won the title seven times. The USA won six of their titles as host, apart from Puerto Rico’s Denise Quiñones having won the crown in 2001.
What we do know is that the Philippine sash carries some serious weight among Miss Universe contestants in the recent years and all the more so since Pia’s coronation.
Since 2010, the Philippines has consistently placed in the semifinals. Starting with Venus Raj as the 4th Runner-up in 2010, followed by Shamcey Supsup as 3rd in 2011, next is Janine Tugonon as 1st in 2012 then Ariella Arida at 3rd in 2013 and then we have MJ Lastimosa as one of the top 10 candidates in 2014.
Pia Wurtzbach’s win in 2015 was the culmination of a long running streak. Can Maxine Medina, our Miss Universe contestant for this year, replicate the feat?
Fingers crossed for Maxine for a historic back-to-back win. (Safeya Fajardo)