Miami, Jan 13. With several Latin American candidates among the favorites, a new owner and a few months behind schedule, the Miss Universe pageant will choose its 2022 queen this Saturday in New Orleans (southern US) in a ceremony that will be broadcast in Spanish by Telemundo.
The contestants already completed their parades in evening dress, national costume and swimsuit during a preliminary ceremony that was broadcast on YouTube on Wednesday.
Although the score they received has not been made public, the jury has already decided who the semifinalists are, which this year will be 16 and not 20 as it was in the past.
Among the favorites are the representatives of Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand and Australia.
The successor to Harnaaz Sandhu, the representative of India who was the winner of Miss Universe in 2021, will emerge from the 16 semifinalists.
The difference in the number of finalists was not well received by the participants, since these finalists are the ones that can be shown to the general public.
That’s not the only change instituted by the pageant’s new owner, Thai transgender billionaire Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, who runs a media distribution emporium.
This year the titles of Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic return and a finalist will be chosen by popular vote through the Miss Universe.com website.
The new Miss Universe will wear for the first time a new crown named Force for Good, it has 993 precious stones, with a base made of diamonds and the highest part has a 45.14-carat sapphire .
Valued at 5.3 million dollars (it is the most expensive Miss Universe crown in history), it was made by the Mouawad firm of Lebanese businessman Fred Mouawad, noted as the eighth richest diamond owner in the world.
The model and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo and the American host Jeannie Mai will be the hosts of the gala, which will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the city of New Orleans.
The rapper and Hip-Hop singer Big Freedia, the band Big Sam’s Funky Nation, the violinist Amanda Shaw, the group Tank and The Bangas and the singer Yolanda Adams will be in charge of the musical part of the ceremony to choose Miss Universe 2022 .
Big Freedia is also part of the jury, completed by Cuban journalist and presenter Myrka Dellanos, Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete, from Mexico, Roku company executive Sweta Patel, Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam, actress and journalist Emily Austin and the CEO and founder of O Skin Med Spa Olivia Quido.
Although this Miss Universe gala takes place in 2023, the winner will hold the title of Miss Universe 2022, as the contest was postponed so as not to compete with the World Cup in Qatar.
That does not mean, however, that the title winner will be the Miss Universe with the shortest reign in history. That distinction will continue to be held by the Mexican Andrea Meza, who in 2021 only had it for seven months. EFE