Congratulations are in order for the new Miss Universe, Gabriela Isler of Venezuela, who beat out 85 other international beauties Saturday night at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, wearing a shimmering silver dress.
While it’s another year of bleached perma-smiles, bizarro-glam costumery that make an ’80s Cher look modest, and suspiciously impressive résumés, for all the glitter and iridescent excess of Miss Venezuela’s finale dress, the event itself seemed a little lackluster this year. Maybe it was the absence of wonderfully cheeky host Andy Cohen paired with the pure cheesiness of Giuliana Rancic? Or perhaps it was the lack of cringe-worthy fashion dialogue from usual suspect and style commentator Jeannie Mai? Or maybe my crazy-meter broke from the VMAs and Kanye rants and that Emmy musical number? Well, thankfully, it’s not completely broken, because there were still plenty of silly sights to spare. Behold, my picks for the 10 eye-popping Miss Universe 2013 moments:
1. A Nick Jonas shout-out. At least she didn’t pull a Hillary Swank. Did Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo thank her JoBro boyfriend during her parting speech? After thanking her family, friends, and the Donald, she said she couldn’t wait to start a new chapter with a “very special person who puts a smile on my face every day.”
2. Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful; hate them because they’re … superheroes? Apparently beauty queens save lives too. Instead of baton-twirling, flame-throwing extracurricular taglines, Miss Dominican Republic “helped deliver a baby when she was 17” and Miss Switzerland “once pulled a drowning girl out of a pool.” C’mon, let’s feel inadequate together!
3. Angelina Jolie was a contestant! Well, sorta. Jin Ye, Miss China, was dubbed the Chinese Angelina Jolie. Do you see the resemblance? But where’s the vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood? Or the brood of diverse, aesthetically pleasing children?
4. Nostalgia watch: Tara Lipinski as a judge. Or “Lara Lipinski” as Mel B. mispronounced the retired figure skater’s name. What girl didn’t grow up wanting Olympic figure-skating gold when the tiny Tara won the 1998 Winter Olympics? Holy crap, she’s 31. Winter pipe dreams never die!
5. Judge Philip Kirkorov’s makeup routine. Apparently Kirkorov is a megastar in Russia, but I had never heard of this singer prior to the pageant. Sure the gals probably spend hours perfecting their pouts, but I’m dying to know how Kirkorov manages his bloated Dave Navarro/Jafar getup on the regular.
6. Weirdest beauty trick. Make an omelette and moisturize your face at the same time! Miss Nicaragua shared with commentator Jeannie Mai her egg-white tip: “Putting them on your face will help diminish lines and make your skin radiant.” Salmonella risks are so yesterday!
7. Judge Steven Tyler’s question and Miss Venezuela’s worrisome answer. In the ever-crucial Q&A portion, which has dastardly morphed from a test of the contestants’ fluency on world issues to a test of who best can evade answering the actual question, Steven Tyler asked: “What is your biggest fear and how do you plan to overcome it?” To which Miss V responded, “I believe we should overcome all of our fears and this in turn will make us all much stronger. and thusly we can become stronger persons.” Now while I would have answered, becoming Steven Tyler’s face (and spiders), it appears either Miss Venezuela decided to go the extreme diplomatic route, or she fears absolutely nothing and thusly has no heart. Also, see below Steven Tyler singing “Dream On” and auditioning for the new Beetlejuice:
8. Who nicked all the hair gel and Preparation H from backstage? The soles of Brendon Urie’s shoes. The bare-faced Panic! at the Disco singer slip-slided his way across the Crocus City Hall stage performing “Miss Jackson” and “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” a throwback tune to make your aging pop-punk self feel old. (Apologies for the shoddy video below.)
9. The crowning moment. A clearly shell-shocked Miss Venezuela, her brain probably a gummy mess from news of her win, or perhaps from the hairspray fumes and heavy burden of Venezuelan pride riding on her shoulders, didn’t get her perfect royal moment. Exiting Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo accidentally dropped it on her! The horror, the horror! Eh, I think the scarier moment came right after, when she was swarmed by 85 hungry, undead beauty-queen losers.
10. The most heartwarming moment. Despite the current natural disaster tragedy looming over her home country, Miss Philippines, Ariella Arida, made a brave and elegant showing, cracking the top 16 via a fan vote and eventually earning third runner-up. For a country that’s going through so much right now, though it’s not any consolation for the massive loss of life caused by Typhoon Haiyan, any good news is needed.
What did you think, PopWatchers? Did Miss Venezuela deserve to win?