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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 30, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 05
Colombia crowned 63rd Miss Universe
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Colombia crowned 63rd Miss Universe

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Paulina Vega Dieppa bested 87 young women from around the world on January 25 to become Miss Universe, in a live televised event viewed by millions. The 5 foot 10 inch Business Administration student is just the second contestant from Colombia to capture the coveted pageant title, closing a 57-year gap since the country's first Miss Universe win, Luz Marina Zuluaga in 1958.

Miss USA Nia Sanchez was named 1st Runner-Up, while Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha, Miss Netherlands Yasmin Verheijen, and Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennel finished strongly as 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Runner-Up, respectively. Two early favorites and pageant superpowers, Venezuela (Migbelis Castellanos) and Philippines (Mary Jean Lastimosa), failed to advance from the Top 10 into the final 5.

Though domestically the show enjoyed its highest television ratings in five years, seen by 7.6 million households in America, it proved to be lackluster in content. The three-hour telecast featured uninspiring musical numbers by Nick Jonas, Prince Royal, and Gavin Degraw that coincided with various phases of the competition - swimsuit, evening gown, final look - but their songs, medleys, and choreography were a complete mismatch to each of these portions of the pageant. Jonas was noticeably disappointing, coming across as a Justin Timberlake copycat with amateur dance moves and sappy pop tunes. The show also included an overwhelming amount of promotional plugs for its sponsors, primarily the host city, Doral, and host hotel, the Trump National Doral Miami, which shares the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, Donald Trump.

Vega relocated immediately to New York on Monday morning and will spend most of 2015 traveling and doing charity work throughout the world, from helping raise money for hurricane victims to visiting orphanages in poverty-stricken countries. The outgoing Miss Universe, Gabriela Isler, was privileged with an introduction and personal blessing from Pope Francis during her reign.

Hundreds of Colombians filled the streets of Barranquilla, Vega's hometown, when she was crowned on Sunday night. Fireworks, cars honking, and people dancing inside neighborhood bars were part of the jubilant celebration following the pageant, considered to be just as popular as sports in some Latin American countries. TV actress Sophia Vergara ('Modern Family'), also a Barranquilla native, congratulated Vega via Twitter.

Due to Miss Universe skipping a year in 2014, there is expected to be another telecast and crowning for the 64th installment of the competition later in 2015. No word yet on the location for the event.

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