Friday, 15 June, 2007

Miss Universe 2007

Result - Placements Miss Universe 2007 : Riyo Mori (Japan)
Age: 20 - Height: 1.74 m

Statistics for Japan 1952-2006
Winners: 1
Finalists: 16
Best Placement: WINNER
(Akiko Kojima, 1957)
Last time it placed: 2006

Japanese model Riyo Mori was crowned Miss Universe 2007 at a global beauty contest, defeating 77 other candidates from around the world. Dressed in a black, red and purple Japanese-style gown, Riyo Mori nervously grabbed the hands of first runner-up, Natalia Guimaraes of Brazil, just before the winner was announced. Then she threw her hands up and covered her mouth, overcome with emotion.

But she gathered herself together enough to catch the diamond-and-pearl-studded headpiece valued at $250,000 as it slipped off her head when Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera of Puerto Rico crowned her. Mori immediately placed it back on her head.

“I’m really happy, I cannot believe it yet,” said Mori, whose ambition is to open an international dance school in Tokyo. As winner of the Miss Universe contest, Mori is given an apartment in New York which she may use for one year, an undisclosed salary, a complete wardrobe including a luxury watch and a scholarship for two years of film study in New York. She will also travel the world for a year on behalf of charities and pageant sponsors.

Miss Universe 2007, the 56th Miss Universe pageant, was won by Riyo Mori of Japan. It took place on 28 May 2007 at the National Auditorium in Mexico City, Mexico. 77 delegates competed for the title, previously held by Puerto Rico's Zuleyka Rivera.

The pageant was held almost two months prior to when it was held in 2006, although the event had generally been staged between late May and early June since 2001. Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera reigned for little more than ten months, one of the shortest in the history of the title. Contestants began to arrive in Mexico on 30 April 2007 and were to be involved in a number of appearances and events prior to the final competition.

This is the fourth time Mexico has been the host country and the second time Mexico City the host city of the Miss Universe pageant. Mexico first hosted the pageant in Acapulco in 1978. Miss Universe 1989 was then staged in Cancun and Miss Universe 1993 was held in Mexico City.

The pageant was co-hosted by Mario Lopez and Vanessa Minnillo, both first-time hosts of the Miss Universe pageant. Minnillo, an Entertainment Tonight correspondent and former Miss Teen USA 1998, previously hosted the Miss Teen USA 2004 pageant. Lopez hosted the Miss Teen USA 1998 pageant (won by Minnillo) and also co-hosted Miss Teen USA 2003.

As Zuleyka Rivera was crowning Riyo Mori with the official Mikimoto crown, it slipped from her grasp and nearly fell to the floor. Mori was able to catch the crown, which is made of diamonds and pearls and is valued at over $250,000.

Areas of competition -
Prior to the final telecast, all contestants competed in swimsuit and evening gown during the preliminary competition. They also participated in interviews with the judges.

During the final competition, the top fifteen contestants (based on their preliminary scores) competed in the swimsuit competition, and the top ten competed in evening gown. The final five contestants participated in a final round of on-stage interviews, before the runners-up were announced and the new Miss Universe named.
This was the first year since 2002 that the judges' average scores were shown on television.

The runners-up were -

  • First runner up was Natalia Guimaraes, 22, from Brazil.
  • The second runner-up was Ly Jonaitis, 21, from Venezuela.
  • Ningning Zhang from China, 20, won the Miss Congeniality award, while Anna.
  • Theresa Licaros, 22, from the Philippines, was chosen Miss Photogenic.
  • Luck ran out for India’s Puja Gupta who made it to the top 10, but was shown the door by the jury in the top 5 round.

The following contestants placed in the top ten and competed in both swimsuit and evening gown (in order of placement): Flaviana Matata (Tanzania), Micaela Reis (Angola), Rosa Maria Ojeda (Mexico), Puja Gupta (India), Xiomara Blandino (Nicaragua)

The following contestants placed in the top fifteen and competed in the swimsuit competition (in order of placement): 11th place: Tjasa Kokalj (Slovenia), Lucie Hadasová (Czech Republic), Zaklina Sojic (Denmark), Farung Yuthithum (Thailand), Lyudmila Bikmullina (Ukraine)

Special Awards -

  • Congeniality: Ningning Zhang (China)
  • Photogenic: Anna Theresa Licaros (Philippines)
  • For the first time since its inception, no Best National Costume Award was awarded.

Historical significance -

  • Japan won the pageant for the first time since Akiko Kojima won Japan's first Miss Universe title in 1959.
  • Slovenia and Tanzania placed for the first time. This was the first year that Tanzania participated in the pageant.
  • Countries that made the semi-finals after a long period without placement were: Czech Republic (last placed in 2003), Nicaragua (1977), Korea (1988), and Angola (2003).
  • Denmark placed for the second consecutive year; this was their first pair of consecutive placements since the 1960s. Prior to 2006, no Danish contestant had placed since 1967.
  • Philippines won the Miss Photogenic award for the seventh time (it has won this award three years in a row since 2005).
  • China won the Miss Congeniality award for the first time.

Judges -
The following celebrities judged the final competition. Martel was added as a judge the day prior to the final competition.

  • James Kyson Lee - actor on Heroes
  • Lindsay Clubine - Deal or No Deal briefcase model
  • Tony Romo - Dallas Cowboys quarterback
  • Dave Navarro - rock star
  • Michelle Kwan - World and Olympic figure skating champion
  • Mauricio Islas - Mexican actor
  • Marc Bouwer - fashion designer
  • Nina Garcia - Project Runway judge and Elle magazine fashion director
  • Dayanara Torres - Miss Universe 1993
  • Christiane Martel - Mexican actress and Miss Universe 1953

Delegates -

  1. Albania - Sadina Alla
  2. Angola - Micaela Reis
  3. Antigua & Barbuda - Stephanie Winter
  4. Argentina - Daniela Stucan
  5. Aruba - Carolina Raven
  6. Australia - Kimberley Busteed
  7. Bahamas - Trinere Lynes
  8. Barbados - Jewel Garner
  9. Belgium - Annelien Coorevits
  10. Belize - Maria Jeffery
  11. Bolivia - Jessica Jordan Burton
  12. Brazil - Natália Guimarães
  13. Bulgaria - Gergana Kochanova
  14. Canada - Inga Skaya
  15. China - Ningning Zhang
  16. Colombia - Eileen Roca
  17. Costa Rica - Veronica Gonzalez
  18. Croatia - Jelena Maros
  19. Curacao - Naemi Monte
  20. Cyprus - Polyvia Achilleos
  21. Czech Republic - Lucie Hadasová
  22. Denmark - Zaklina Sojic
  23. Dominican Republic - Massiel Taveras
  24. Ecuador - Lugina Cabezas
  25. Egypt - Ehsan Hatem
  26. El Salvador - Lisette Rodriguez
  27. Estonia - Viktoria Azovskaja
  28. Finland - Noora Hautakangas
  29. France - Rachel Legrain-Trapani
  30. Georgia - Ana Giorgelashvili
  31. Germany - Angelina Glass
  32. Greece - Doukissa Nomikou
  33. Guatemala - Alida Boer
  34. Guyana - Meleesea Payne
  35. Honduras - Wendy Salgado
  36. Hungary - Ildiko Bona
  37. India - Puja Gupta
  38. Indonesia - Agni Pratistha Kuswardono
  39. Israel - Sharon Kenett
  40. Italy - Valentina Massi
  41. Jamaica - Zahra Redwood
  42. Japan - Riyo Mori
  43. Kazakhstan - Gauhar Rakhmetalieva
  44. Korea - Lee Ha-nui (Honey)
  45. Lebanon - Nadine Njeim
  46. Malaysia - Adelaine Chin
  47. Mauritius - Sandra Faro
  48. Mexico - Rosa Maria Ojeda
  49. Montenegro - Snezana Buskovic
  50. New Zealand - Laural Barrett
  51. Nicaragua - Xiomara Blandino
  52. Nigeria - Ebinabo Potts-Johnson
  53. Norway - Kirby Ann Basken
  54. Panama - Sorangel Matos Arce
  55. Paraguay - María José Maldonado
  56. Peru - Jimena Elías Roca
  57. Philippines - Anna Theresa Licaros
  58. Poland - Dorota Gawron
  59. Puerto Rico - Uma Blasini
  60. Russia - Tatiana Kotova
  61. Serbia - Teodora Marcic
  62. Singapore - Jessica Tan
  63. Slovak Republic - Lucia Senášiová
  64. Slovenia - Tjasa Kokalj
  65. South Africa - Megan Coleman
  66. Spain - Natalia Zabala Arroyo
  67. St. Lucia - Yoanna Henry
  68. Switzerland - Christa Rigozzi
  69. Tanzania - Flaviana Matata
  70. Thailand - Farung Yuthithum
  71. Turks & Caicos - Saneita Been
  72. Ukraine - Lyudmila Bikmullina
  73. Uruguay - Giannina Silva
  74. USA - Rachel Smith
  75. US Virgin Islands - Renata Christian
  76. Venezuela - Ly Jonaitis
  77. Zambia - Rosemary Chileshe