Miss Universe 2016: What is the Preliminary Competition?

In the Olympics, an athlete must first survive the qualifying rounds in order to get the chance to perform in the all-important finals. The agony of defeat for many athletes is failing to qualify after years of training, hard work, and discipline. In the Miss Universe pageant, candidates must compete in the all-important Preliminary Competition – it’s the make or break moment for these women.

According to the Miss Universe website, the preliminaries consist of 3 days of interviews, plus a swimsuit and evening gown presentation. These determine the semi-finalists who will compete in the Swimwear, Evening Gown, Final Question, and Final Look segments on Coronation Night.

For the 65th Miss Universe, all 86 candidates will compete in the preliminary Swimwear and Evening Gown segments on Thursday, January 26, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The scores from the night and the ladies’ interviews will determine the Top 12.

The preliminaries will be livestreamed on the official Miss Universe website, their app, and on their Facebook page.

It will be hosted by Pia Wurtzbach and Derek Ramsay.

Joining the hosts are the preliminary judges:

  • Dayanara Torres – former UNICEF ambassador, former Miss Universe from Puerto Rico, author, model, actress
  • Cynthia Bailey – former model and founder of The Bailey Agency (a modeling/fashion school dedicated to helping young women achieve their dreams), current cast member on Real Housewives of Atlanta
  • Rob Goldstone – former journalist, publicist, and international marketing director
  • Fred Nelson – president and executive producer of the People’s Choice Awards, the annual live broadcast celebrating fan favorites in movies, music, and TV
  • Francine LeFrak – social entrepreneur, women’s empowerment activist, and founder of Same Sky (an initiative that provides training and employment to HIV+ female survivors of the Rwandan genocide)
  • Riyo Mori – Japanese actress, dancer, model, and beauty queen who was crowned Miss Universe 2007

At this point, it doesn’t matter how many selfies they have taken with fans, likes they have on Instagram, hours they spent at the gym, suitcases they brought, and cakes they haven’t eaten. The prelims will ultimately determine the fate of the candidates.

After a couple of weeks of grueling schedules that left candidates no time to work out, endless luncheons and dinner parties, lack of sleep, homesickness, and having to smile 24/7, candidates must set aside all issues and be at their peak.

To the candidates who have been enjoying fan favorite and social media darling status, use this to boost your confidence during the preliminaries and show the judges why everyone loves you. To the candidates who have been feeling neglected because local fans haven’t been fawning over you like they do with other countries, remember that your countrymen are rooting for you. Remember those who believe in you and most importantly, believe in yourself.

The Preliminary Competition is that pivotal moment where the candidates need to give it their all and beat the other 85 candidates. In reality, a candidate really just needs to outshine 74 other delegates to make it into the Top 12.

Will the frontrunners perform as well as expected? Or will the dark horses shine brightly on the MIss Universe stage? Let’s see what happens tonight!


This article originally appeared in Rappler.
All photos courtesy of Rappler unless otherwise indicated.

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