As Miss Universe 2018, Miss Philippines Catriona Gray adds yet another jewel to her country’s crown
Exotic Bangkok, Thailand welcomed ninety-four of the most beautiful, confident, poised, and dedicated women from around the world to compete for the title of Miss Universe 2018. World renowned for its pristine tropical beaches, magnificent ancient ruins, ornate royal palaces, and Buddhist temples, this jewel of Southeast Asia provided the perfect hospitality and backdrop to the most coveted crown in the universe. And what a perfect setting it was.
From the opening production featuring traditional Thai drummers and dancers accompanying platinum recording artist Ne-Yo, this would be a show unlike any other in its production and elegance. From the great hall of the Impact Arena and hosted by Miss Universe staple Steve Harvey, replete in his custom bejeweled suit with ninety-four stones representing the ninety-four countries in the competition, the show quickly amped up the energy of the live and world-wide televised audience with the introduction of the Miss Universe delegates.
The Miss Universe Selection Committee would have the unenviable task of choosing the twenty semi-finalists who would compete for the illustrious title. And if you were wondering, the finalists would be chosen from three main regions: the Americas (5), Europe (5), and Africa & Asia Pacific (5), with the remaining five finalists chosen as wild card delegates from one of the three competitive regions.
The first group representing Africa & Asia Pacific welcomed Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green, Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, Miss Nepal Manita Devkota, Miss Vietnam H’Hen Nie, and Miss Thailand Sophida Kanchanarin. Following from Europe were Miss Poland Magdalena Swat, Miss Belgium Zoë Brunet, Miss Great Britain Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, Miss Hungary Enikő Kecskés, and Miss Ireland Grainne Gallanagh. Representing the Americas were Miss Curacao Akisha Albert, Miss Costa Rica Natalia Carvajal, Miss Canada Marta Stepien, Miss Puerto Rico Kiara Ortega, and Miss Jamaica Emily Maddison. Lastly, as the pressure built, the wild card finalists of Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers, Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutiérrez, Miss Indonesia Sonia Citra, Miss Brazil Mayra Dias, and Miss Australia Francesca Hung were welcomed to the stage as the twenty representatives began their journey to the crown of Miss Universe 2018.
The first competition to narrow the field was the new Opening Statement which allowed each delegate to present a personal message to her worldwide audience. This powerful Opening Statement would produce the top 10 contestants of Misses South Africa, Vietnam, Venezuela, Philippines, Costa Rica, Curacao, Nepal, Canada, Thailand, and Puerto Rico.
But before the next phases of competition would commence, the always spectacular and sometimes over-the-top National Costume winner was announced as Miss Laos On-anong Homsombath in a glittering gold and ingeniously designed costume that gave the illusion that she was one of three individuals. It was a “wow” moment, especially for the first year that Laos was represented in the competition.
The exciting and up-tempo Swimwear Competition was next and showcased the top ten in their commitment to a healthy lifestyle. They proudly took to the stage amidst a thunderous round of approving applause and shouts of encouragement. Next up was the Evening Gown Competition, the last opportunity for these stunning ladies to make a lasting impression on the Selection Committee.
Following the final stage presentations of the evening, all that remained was the announcement of the top five. This group consisted of Miss Puerto Rico, Miss Vietnam, Miss Philippines, Miss South Africa, and Miss Venezuela, who would field a final question as posed from one of her finalist sister delegates, winnowing the field to a final three. The final three contestants would answer the Final Word question, with each contestant hoping her ability to quickly think-on-her-feet would catapult her to the crown.
Finally, the evening’s competitions were complete, and the Selection Committee had made its decision as to whom would wear the crown of Miss Universe 2018. Second runner-up was Miss Venezuela and First runner-up was Miss South Africa. And for the fourth time in history, the crowd roared its approval as Miss Philippines Catriona Gray would be forever revered as Miss Universe 2018.
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