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Miss Universe airs tonight. Can Miss USA win for the first time in 14 years?

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Alyssa Campanella
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.com

Of course, we all know that the Miss Universe pageant is completely mislabeled, since it’s impossible for us to know whether the 89 women competing really are the most beautiful (inside and out, remember! Inside and out!) in the universe. I’ve heard, after all, the Queen of Venus is quite the looker. So let’s call the pageant, which airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, what we really should: Miss Donald Trump’s Universe.

Over the past week, talk about the pageant has focused on Miss Colombia, Catalina Robayo, who was reprimanded by the show’s organizers (and, likely, heralded by its owner) for allegedly not wearing panties under her miniskirts. But since the pretty ladies here in America mastered that skill years ago — and the scandal has likely turned Robayo into a frontrunner, since there’s no such thing as bad publicity when it comes to pageants — I’m wondering why the good ol’ U.S.A. has had such a terrible track record when it comes to Miss Universe. Since the pageant’s creation in 1952, the U.S. has only won six times, the most recent winner being Brook Lee in 1997. To put that in perspective, the U.S. has been the most victorious country in seven Summer Olympics since 1952 — and that competition only takes place once every four years. That last fact also makes it impossible to blame this when asking: Why hasn’t the U.S. won Miss Universe in 14 years?

Of course, we could easily point to unfortunate (yet hilarious) pratfalls during the competition. But it could also be the fact that the U.S. simply just does not care as much about pretty ladies who strut in bikinis. Why should we, when we could watch pretty ladies strutting in bikinis — with plot! — in shows like Hawaii Five-0 and 90210? And it’s much more difficult for the pageant to rally for a contestant when the country itself doesn’t care to rally. Wouldn’t our chances be better if we could boast this kind of enthusiasm for our beauteous representative?

But what do you think, PopWatchers? Why hasn’t the U.S. won a Miss Donald Trump’s Universe pageant since 1997? And does this year’s U.S. representative, Alyssa Campanella (pictured) have a chance at the crown?

Update: Miss Angola won. Behold the 10 most awkward utterances during the 2011 Miss Universe swimsuit competition!

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