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Logo of the Miss Universe pageant
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
|Key people||Donald Trump|
Miss Universe is an annual international beauty contest that is run by the Miss Universe Organization. Along with the Miss Earth and Miss World contests, Miss Universe is one of the three largest beauty pageants in the world in terms of the number of national-level competitions to participate in the world finals The contest was founded in 1952 by California clothing company Pacific Mills. The pageant became part of Kayser-Roth and then Gulf+Western Industries, before being acquired by Donald Trump in 1996. The pageant is broadcast on NBC, simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo and webcast on Xbox Live.
In 1998, Miss Universe changed its name from Miss Universe, Inc. to Miss Universe Organization and the headquarters moved from Los Angeles, California, to New York City that year. Donald Trump brought in a new team of professionals to the contest headed by its new CEO, Molly Miles, and president Maureen Reidy. The contest would use the slogan "Redefined for Today" for promotion of the pageants.
In 1998, the logo of Miss Universe – "the woman with stars" – was born, representing the beauty and responsibility of women around the Universe.
The first use of the title "Miss Universe" was as part of International Pageant of Pulchritude which began in 1926. These events, the first international contests, lasted until 1935 when the Great Depression and other events preceding World War II led to their demise. This pageant had no direct relationship with the modern event.
The winner of the later "Miss America 1951" pageant, Yolande Betbeze, refused to pose in a swimsuit from its major sponsor, Catalina Swimwear. As a result, the brand's manufacturer Pacific Mills withdrew from Miss America and set up the Miss USA and Miss Universe contests. The first Miss Universe Pageant was held in Long Beach, California in 1952. It was won by Armi Kuusela from Finland, who gave up her title (though not officially) to get married, shortly before her year was complete. Until 1958 the Miss Universe title (like Miss America) was post-dated, so at the time Ms. Kuusela's title was Miss Universe 1953.
The pageant was first televised in 1955. CBS began nationally broadcasting the combined Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants from 1960 and, separately, from 1965. In 2003 NBC took over the television rights.
Competition formats 
In the early years of the pageant the delegates who made the cut were announced after the preliminary competition. From 1965 to the present day the semi-finalists were not announced until the night of the main event. The semi-finalists once again competed in evening gown and swimsuit and a top five were announced. An interview portion was introduced in 1960 to decide the runners-up and winner.
From 1959 to 1964 there were slight format changes. From 1959 through 1963 there was no cut to reach the five finalists. The runners-up and winner were called from the assembled 15 semi-finalists.
In 1965 the pageant returned to the original format of a cut to five finalists, and remained so until 1989.
In 1969 a final question was posed to the last five contestants. The final question was an on-and-off feature of the pageant.
In 1990 it had taken root, and with every pageant since the final contestants have had to answer a final question.
In 1990 the pageant implemented major format changes in the competition itself. Instead of five finalists, the field was reduced from 10 semi-finalists to six. Each contestant then randomly selected a judge and answered the question posed by the judge. After that, the field was narrowed down further to a final three. In 1998, the number of finalists was reduced to five, although there still was a cut to a final three. This continued to 2001, where the final five format was re-instated.
In 2000 the interview portion of the semi-finals was quietly dropped and the contestants once again, as in the early days of the pageant, competed only in swimsuit and gowns.
In 2003 the Top 15 was again selected instead of the Top 10. Cuts were made to make the Top 10, and eventually the Top 5. The final question varied, each coming from the final delegates themselves and the current Miss Universe.
In 2006 twenty semi-finalists were announced, with these delegates competing in the swimsuit competition. The number of competing delegates was then cut to ten, with those delegates competing in the evening gown competition. After that round of competition, the final five were announced, with the finalists competing in the "final question" or interview round. At the end of competition the runners-up were announced and the winner crowned by the outgoing queen.
In 2007 the format changed slightly with the top 15 moving to the swimsuit competition; from there, 10 selected contestants moved on to the evening gown competition where half were eliminated. The final five were competing in the "final question". At the end of competition the runners-up were announced and the winner crowned by the outgoing queen.
In 2011, for the first time ever, one of the sixteen semifinalists was selected exclusively by fans via online voting.
The contest today 
The Miss Universe Organization, a New York–based partnership between NBC and Donald Trump, has run the contest since June 20, 2002. The current president is Paula Shugart. The Organization sells television rights to the pageant in other countries, and also produces the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA contests with the winner of Miss USA representing the USA in Miss Universe.
Contestant selection 
Each year, Miss Universe organizers receive bids from organizations who wish to select the Miss Universe contestant for a country. This allows competition between different pageants to hold a country's license, as happened for Miss Italy and Miss France for example, when the licenses for their respective traditional organizations were revoked (the usual Miss France competition returned in 2004).
Usually a country's candidate selection involves pageants in major cities, with the winners competing in a national pageant, but this does not always occur. For example, in 2000 Australia's national pageant was abolished as a relic of a bygone era, with Australian delegates instead chosen by a modeling agency. Such "castings" are generally discouraged by the Miss Universe Organization, which prefers national pageants that preserve an aura of respectability and competition. Despite being "cast", Miss Australia, Jennifer Hawkins, was chosen as Miss Universe 2004. Later that year, Australia resumed its national pageant and chose Michelle Guy as Miss Universe Australia 2005.
Some of the most successful national pageants in the last decade have been Venezuela, USA, Puerto Rico, France etc. which command consistently high interest and television ratings in their respective countries. Recent arrivals in the pageant include China (2002), Albania (2002), Vietnam (2004), Georgia (2004), Ethiopia (2004), Latvia (2005), Kazakhstan (2006), Tanzania (2007), Kosovo (2008), Gabon (2012) and Lithuania (2012); there have also been efforts to revive strong national pageants in South Africa, Canada, Spain, Japan; Latin America (especially Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil) among other regions. Prior powerhouses are Finland, Germany and Sweden. England is the most successful non-winning country with nine top-five positions.
The organization makes continual efforts to expand the pageant, but the participation of some countries such as Algeria has proven difficult due to cultural barriers to the swimsuit competition, while others such as Azerbaijan, Mozambique, Armenia and Nepal have balked at sending representatives due to the cost (in fact, of all the major international pageants, the franchise fee for Miss Universe is the most expensive). As of 2010, only four countries have been present at every Miss Universe since its inception in 1952: Canada, France, Germany, and the United States. Many European countries allow 17-year-old contestants to compete in their pageants, while Miss Universe's minimum age is 18, so national titleholders often have to be replaced by their runners-up. Miss Universe also prohibits transsexual applicants and age fabrication, but beginning in 2012, transgendered women will be allowed to compete.
Main pageant 
The main Miss Universe Pageant. as of this writing, is held over a two-week period in May and July. In the 1970s through the 1990s, the pageant was a month long. This allowed time for rehearsals, appearances, and the preliminary competition, with the winner being crowned by the previous year's titleholder during the final competition.
According to the organizers, the Miss Universe contest is more than a beauty pageant: women aspiring to become Miss Universe must be intelligent, well-mannered, and cultured. Often a candidate has lost because she did not have a good answer during the question responses rounds; although this section of competition has held less importance during recent pageants than it did in the twentieth century. Delegates also participate in swimsuit and evening gown competitions.
Currently, the final placement of the finalists is determined by a ranked vote, where each judge ranks each of the final three/five candidates, with the contestant posting the lowest cumulative score (thus often, but not necessarily always, the contestant with the most number one votes) becoming the winner. If there is a tie, the higher semifinal scores become decisive.
The winner is assigned a one-year contract with the Miss Universe Organization, going overseas to spread messages about the control of diseases, peace, and public awareness of AIDS. Since Donald Trump took over the pageant, the winner has been given the use of a Trump Tower apartment in New York City for use during her reign. If the winner, for any reason, cannot fulfill her duties as Miss Universe, the 1st runner-up takes over.
Aside from the main winner and her runners-up, special awards are also given to the winners of the best National Costume, Miss Photogenic, and Miss Congeniality. The Miss Congeniality award is chosen by the delegates themselves. In recent years, Miss Photogenic has been chosen by popular internet vote (the winner used to be chosen by media personnel covering the event).
Final judgment 
The competition for the Miss Universe title has seen many changes, although there have been several constants throughout its history. All the contestants compete in a preliminary round of judging (nowadays called the "Presentation Show") where the field is narrowed to a select number of semi-finalists. This number has fluctuated over the years. The very first Miss Universe pageant had ten semi-finalists. The next two years, the number of semi-finalists grew to 16. In 1955, the number dropped to a stable 15, which remained through 1970. In 1971, the number was reduced to 12. That number was further reduced to a mere 10 in 1984. This lasted until 2003, when the number of 15 was re-instated. In 2006, there were 20 semi-finalists, the highest number ever. In 2007, the Organization announced the Top 15 system would be back, which was also used in 2008 until 2010. In 2011, the system went through another change. Since then, are 16 semifinalists, 15 chosen by judges and one chosen by most popular by internet votes.
In the early years, the contestants were judged in swimsuit and evening gown only. In later years, the contestants also competed in a preliminary interview round in a one-on-one meeting with each individual judge.
The Miss Universe crown used from 2002–2007 was designed by Mikimoto, the official jewellery sponsor of the Miss Universe Organization, and depicted the phoenix rising, signifying status, power and beauty. The crown has 500 diamonds of almost 30 carats (6.0 g), 120 South Sea and Akoya pearls, ranging in size from 3 to 18 mm diameter and is valued at $250,000. The Crown was designed specifically for the pageant on Mikimoto Pearl Island in Japan with the Mikimoto crown and tiara being first used for Miss Universe 2002.
Since 2009, Diamond Nexus Labs has made the Miss Universe crown. The crown is set with 1,371 gemstones, weighing a total of 416.09 carats (83.22 g). It contains 544.31 grams of 14k and 18k white gold as well as platinum. The crown features synthetic rubies to represent Miss Universe's HIV/AIDS education and awareness platform. Diamond Nexus Labs is the first ever eco-friendly Official Jeweler of Miss Universe and was selected as part of NBC Universal's "Green is Universal" initiative.
Musical score 
2004 marked the first year for the Miss Universe pageant to use the Orenté musical score, the official Miss Universe soundtrack. The Orenté musical score is divided into eight sequences: the Orenté Introduction — the musical score played during the live telecast as the voice over begins the Miss Universe pageant, the Orenté Major — used for the cue after commercial and during the announcement of the newly crowned Miss Universe, the Orenté Elimination — used for the announcement of semi-finalists, the Orenté Fashion Presentation, the Orenté Interlude — used while showing the ten finalists, the Orenté Pregunta Final — used while the final five finalists answer the final question, the Orenté Final Look — used for the final look of the five finalists, and the Orenté Announcement — used while announcing the positions of the final five delegates. In 2008, a new Orenté Fashion Presentation was played during the Fadil Berisha swimsuit photoshoot, the 2008 version was now the called the Orenté Curtain Call, which was used as Melanie B and Jerry Springer called out the delegates just before they made the first cut, making the Orenté musical score divided into nine sequences.
Recent titleholders 
Winners gallery 
By number of wins 
|USA||8||1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997, 2012|
|Venezuela||6||1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008, 2009|
|Puerto Rico||5||1970, 1985, 1993, 2001, 2006|
|Sweden||3||1955, 1966, 1984|
|Trinidad & Tobago||1977, 1998|
|Russia||2002 (not official; dethroned)|
Top 15 countries by tally 
|Rank||Country/Territory||Miss Universe||1st Runner-up||2nd Runner-up||3rd Runner-up||4th Runner-up||Semifinalists||Total|
|13||Trinidad & Tobago||2||0||1||0||1||4||8|
See also 
- Washington Post: Trump and Rosie Argue Over Miss USA
- Miss Venezuela Stefania Fernandez is Miss Universe 2009
- Miss Universe crown eludes Africa 55 times
- Miss Universe Pageant Defends Credibility Amid Criticism Show is Degrading, Unprofessional
- Channel-i to telecast Miss Universe 2004 live!
- Foreman, Jonathan (January 18, 1999). "Mistress of the Universe". New York Post. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
- Suter, Bob (May 17, 2000). "Week on the web". Newsday. Retrieved 24 February 2011. "The official pageant site Miss Universe Redefined for Today."
- "Miss Venezuela Parades Online". PR Newswire. September 18, 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2010. "The Miss Venezuela broadcast, which on average captures a whopping 74% of the Venezuelan television market share for Venevision, will also be available to users on demand."
- Dillon, Nancy (10 April 2012). "Transgender contestants can compete in Miss Universe". Daily News (New York).
- The Miss Universe Mikimoto Crown
- Pageantopolis - Miss Universe
- Miss Universe - Past Titleholders
- "Unkissed Colombia girl is new Miss Universe". The Miami News. Associated Press. July 25, 1958. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Puerto Rico wins, faints". The Age (Melbourne). July 24, 2006. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- "Canada won the crown". El Universal. May 31, 2005. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- "Miss Venezuela, Stefania Fernandez, Crowned Miss Universe". redorbit.com. PR Newswire. August 23, 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- "RP bet fails to advance to Top 15 in Miss Universe 2007". Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 29, 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- "Puerto Rican beauty wins Miss Universe crown". Associated Press. May 12, 2001. Retrieved 10 November 2010. "In second place was Miss Greece, 22-year-old Evelina Papantoniou and in third place was Miss USA, 24-year-old Kandace Krueger. Miss Venezuela, 18-year-old Eva Ekvall was third runner-up and Miss India, 22-year-old Celina Jaitley was named fourth runner-up. The five semifinalists who were earlier eliminated in the pageant were Miss Spain, Eva Siso Casals; Miss Nigeria, Agbani Darego..."
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