Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza, has won the Miss Universe pageant. The 22-year-old stunner beats runners-up from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Russia and Mexico to clinch the diamond-studded golden crown.
Miss Universe 2008: Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza
1st Runner Up: Taliana Vargas (Colombia)
2nd Runner Up: Marianne Cruz Gonzalez (Dominican Republic)
3rd Runner Up: Vera Krasova (Russia)
4th Runner Up: Elisa Najera (Mexico)
Top five stunners
After the stunning top ten hopefuls sashayed the ramp, the judges announced the top five as: Dayana Mendoza (Venezuela), Elisa Najera (Mexico), Marianne Cruz Gonzalez (Dominican Republic), Taliana Vargas (Colombia) and Vera Krasova (Russia)
Best National Costume Award goes to Miss Thailand.
Miss Congeniality is Miss El Salvador
Miss USA trips on stage
For the second year in a row, Miss USA has fallen down during the evening gown competition at the Miss Universe competition. It was a nightmare come true for Miss USA Crystle Stewart, a Texan, who tripped on the train of her bejeweled evening gown as she made her entrance.
During the 2007 Miss Universe contest in Mexico City, Miss USA Rachel Smith also tumbled during the evening gown competition and became an unintended star on YouTube, where the video was shown over and over again.
Top ten contestants announced
The finalists walked across the stage in bikinis for the swimsuit competition and the excitement was spectacular when the top 10 contestants were announced.
The top ten finalists are: Dayana Mendoza (Venezuela), Zana Krasniqi (Kosovo), Elisa Najera (Mexico), Laura Dundovic (Australia), Marianne Cruz Gonzalez (Dominican Republic), Claudia Ferraris (Italy), Taliana Vargas (Colombia), Vera Krasova (Russia), Crystle Stewart (USA) and Claudia Moro (Spain).
After narrowing to 10 contestants, the show will move to evening gowns, with the smiling hopefuls walking across the stage to music. From there, five contestants will be eliminated, and the judges will choose the winner from the five remaining.
15 semi-finalists announced
The field is reduced to 15 semi-finalists, including: Dayana Mendoza (Venezuela), Zana Krasniqi (Kosovo), Elisa Najera (Mexico), Lam Thuy Nguyen (Vietnam), Tansey Coetzee (South Africa), Laura Dundovic (Australia), Hiroko Mima (Japan), Marianne Cruz Gonzalez (Dominican Republic), Claudia Ferraris (Italy), Taliana Vargas (Colombia), Vera Krasova (Russia), Jazmin Dammak (Hungary), Eliska Buckova (Czech Republic), Crystle Stewart (USA) and Claudia Moro (Spain).
The 80 contestants gathered in the seaside city of Nha Trang, Vietnam, vying to succeed reigning Miss Universe Riyo Mori of Japan.
Miss Universe 2008: Curtain raiser!
Gates of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam have opened, and hundreds rather thousands of people are thronging the venue while millions across the world have already tuned in to their TV sets to watch eighty of the world’s most beautiful women battle it out for the hot spot – the Miss Universe 2008 crown.
The show is hosted by Jerry Springer as well as former Spice Girl Mel B. The judges panel comprises of Donald Trump Jr., (executive vice president of the Trump Organization); Roberto Cavalli (fashion designer and entrepreneur); Nadine Velazquez (international cover girl); Jennifer Hawkins (television presenter and Miss Universe 2004); Louis Licari (celebrity colorist and “Today Show” ambush makeover expert) and John Nguyen (vice chairman of Hoan Cau, LTD Investment and Construction).
Actress Eesha Koppikhar has also been selected as one of the judges at Miss Universe 2008! And apparently, she’s the first Bollywood actress to judge this particular contest.
Confirming the news from Hong Kong, where she was to board a flight to Vietnam where the contest is taking place, she said, “It all happened at the last minute. I’m so excited! I have an international agent who mailed my details and they thought I was qualified to judge the show. I’m sure I’m going to have a rocking time!”
Apart from the beauties sashaying down the ramp, the pageant promises a power-packed performance by sensational pop star Lady GaGa on her hit number ‘Just Dance’. The thud has rocked several venues around the world and is expected to bring the same excitement to Vietnam.
In a few hours, Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori will hand over the exquisite crown to her successor. The Top 15 finalists will be judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown, and interview during the broadcast. Also, the winner for Best National Costume, as decided by online votes, will be announced.