Miss Universe 2013 live blog: Olivia Culpo passes on her crown
All times below are Eastern.
9:00 - And so it begins. The introductions kick off with a performance from a renowned Russian ballet company. Because nothing says," Meet our ladies!" like watching other people dance.
9:03 - Ah, here they are. Each contestant introduces herself and her country, while footage of her posing in her extremely insane national costume plays beside her. Seriously, these costumes are insane.
9:05 - Five minutes in, and we're still on the "G" countries. This first hour is just going to be introductions, isn't it?
9:08 - Miss Nicaragua's costume had to have been seriously heavy. Also, the cheering for Miss Philippines? Someone's an in-house favorite.
9:10 - Can we pause for a moment and asks ourselves, "Why is Miss USA dressed as Optimus Prime?" No, seriously, why?
9:13 - Viewers in the USA can play along at home. Sorry, rest of the world. Just twiddle your thumbs or something.
9:17 - It's time for the first cut. Only 16 women will be moving on, based on preliminary competitions. Those women are: Costa Rica, Ukraine, China (the Chinese Angelina Jolie, apparently), Ecuador, Great Britain, Indonesia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic (who's delivered a baby), Puerto Rico, Spain, USA, Nicaragua, Switzerland, India, Brazil and Philippines (who won the fan vote).
9:24 - She didn't move on, but props to Miss Bulgaria for working that camera hard every time it came her way. Work it, girl.
9:25 - Before jumping to commercial, we're treated to a video package of the contestants taking on Russia (which, really, was just one long commercial itself). Weirdest place they visited? A mall called Vegas, where they painted dolls. Because of course.
9:30 - Oh, good. It's the Chi commercial you never knew you wanted.
9:31 - Time to meet the judges: Chef Nobu, Tara Lipinski, Italo Fontanta (founder of U-BOAT watches), supermodel Anne V, Philip Kirkorov (Russian pop star), Carol Alt, Farouk Shami (founder of Chi), and Steven Tyler. So, random celebs and the show's sponsors. Neat.
9:33 - Olivia Culpo, reigning champion, has arrived to introduce the national costume preliminary competition. (Cut to the obligatory shot of Donald Trump in the audience!) The top five were: 5. Japan, 4. Indonesia, 3. Russia, 2. Trinidad & Tobago, and 1. Nicaragua. That weight was worth it, it seems.
9:35 - Before we cut to commercial, Mel. B gets to plug her new song. Good for her.
9:40 - Bring on the swimsuits! Before the Top 16 strut their stuff, the eliminated 60 get some time to shine while Panic! At The Disco perform their latest single. Anyone remember when Panic! At The Disco was relevant? Me either.
9:42 - Costa Rica comes first, where we learn she used to have her own motorcycle. Next, Ukraine, who wants to be an actor.
9:43 - Indonesia is the first woman not to be in a red bikini. She's also the only woman.
9:45 - Oh, it's the one Panic! At The Disco song people will actually know -- in 3 of the 190 countries watching.
9:46 - Puerto Rico knows sign language and learned Russian before coming to the country. That's seriously impressive. More impressive than Ukraine's "I want to be an actor" fact.
9:47 - USA gets a black bikini, as does India. How is this decided? The distribution is far too uneven to seem fair.
9:50 - Commercial break thought: Based on the crowd's response every time she walks on stage, if Philippines doesn't win, there might be a riot in Moscow.
9:55 - Another cut! Time to reveal the Top 10. The ladies moving on are: Spain, Philippines (riot averted -- for now), Great Britain, India ("Seize this moment, it's all yours!"), Brazil, USA, Ukraine, Ecuador, Venezuela and, lastly, Dominican Republic.
9:59 - Real stories time. Spain loves singing and painting, India wants to climb Mount Everest, Brazil used to dance for the elderly, USA works with Habitat for Humanity, all of them have the cheesy pose down pat.
10:06 - Time for the evening wear competition. Mel. B is giving the finalists a run for their money with that gown of hers.
10:07 - International recording artist EMIN will be the soundtrack for this eleganza, while the eliminated ladies get to strut their stuff one last time.
10:09 - Spain is up first in a gown that she chose because "she loves to be the belle of the ball." It's classy and understated and she rocks it.
10:10 - Philippines enters to a massive roar in a yellow gown, while Great Britain follows in a Jessica Rabbit-eqsue red number. India's gown seems just a touch too long. It doesn't look as if it should kick up as she walks the way it does.
10:11 - Brazil's is standard pageant fare, but she gets points for opting for a sleeker silhouette.
10:12 - Dance break!
10:13 - USA's red number was chosen to be "unforgettable," but it doesn't stand out as much as others in the competition. Could this be her undoing?
10:14 - Ecuador looks great in mint, but the cut and adornments are way too basic. Venezuela co-designed her dress, which is the first to have sleeves. She looks stunning.
10:17 - Yamamay has made a million dollar swimsuit, which means they get a commercial. Olivia models the white one-piece, which is covered in emerald, rubies and diamonds. For its price tag, the suit seems remarkably tacky. Imagine those tan lines!
10:24 - Time for the next round of cuts. Before we can get to the final round, 10 must become 5. The Top 5 are: Ecuador, Brazil, Spain, Philippines (again, no riot yet -- that crowd reaction!) and, lastly, Venezuela. Adios, America.
10:26 - For the first time ever, the five finalists will be asked their final question immediately after, rather than getting a commercial break to collect themselves. Seems a little cruel, but makes for great TV.
10:27 - Ecuador is first up. She's using a translator and selects Judge #4, Philip Kirkorov. His question for her is: What would happen to the world if we could no longer use the internet? Her answer: "Thank you very much for the question. I believe the computers themselves, as with most technology these days, has its advantages and its disadvantages. One of those disadvantages is that we're no longer as close with our families." She then uses the moment to advise teenagers to only use computers positively. So, she doesn't answer the question, at all.
10:29 - Brazil selects Carol Alt. Her question: What is your opinion on places that do not allow women to do things like travel abroad, vote or drive cars? Her answer: "Good evening everybody. In my opinion, we as women achieved our independence through time. Unfortunately nowadays, we still have problems with our indepence as women...We are capable of everything." It's an odd answer, but her interpreter also seems to have issues repeating what she's said.
10:31 - Spain up next. She selects Anne V. Her question: What is the most significant thing we can do to help elect more women to political offices around the world? Her answer: "I believe that in order to select a good woman, she must select the good qualities to go a good job." Then she basically just rattles off some qualities.
10:32 - Philippines selects "Lara" Lipinski, as Mel. B calls her. The question: What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their jobs around the world? She advocates an investment in education, coming off as the most assured so far. The crowd goes wild. I'm afraid about what will happen if she doesn't win.
10:33 - Venezuela is last. She selects Steven Tyler. The question: What is your biggest fear and how do you plan to overcome it? Her answer: "I believe that one may have a lot of fears...I believe we should overcome all of our fears and this in turn would make us much stronger. And thusly, we can become stronger persons as soon as we overcome our fears...we can face any challenge." So, basically, her biggest fear is saying what her biggest fear is.
10:40 - It's time for the judge's last look. The Top 5 return, still in their evening wear, to remind the judges of all they have to offer, beauty-wise, before the final vote is cast.
10:42 - The final votes are being counted as we head into a commercial break. Philippines seemed to have come out on top with the final question, but Venezuela is just a clear winner in that gown. But which will come out on top? With Steven Tyler part of the decision, who knows?
10:46 - And we're back. Of course, we can't learn the results yet. Steven Tyler has to take the stage with a song he's dedicating to the women. What song is that? Aerosmith's "Dream On." Can he still hit that high scream? Sort of. Does he look insane? Of course.
10:50 - Olivia takes the stage for her final walk as Miss Universe. She thanks Nick Jonas, though not by name. It's a sweet moment.
10:51 - And if you thought we were getting the results now, silly you. Another commercial break!
10:55 - It's the time we've been waiting for: The acknowledgement of the "big man on campus," Donald Trump! I kid: the results! Fourth runner up: Brazil. Third runner up: Philippines. (Uh oh, riots in Russia tonight, methinks) Second runner up: Ecuador.
10:57 - It's all down to this, the final two: Venezuela and Spain. And our winner is Miss Venezuela, Gabriela Isler! She gets her crown, but doesn't get to speak as the show immediately ends, three minutes early. Odd.
Well, there you have it, folks. Miss Venezuela is the new Miss Universe. Was she your choice for winner? Or should the crown have gone to someone else?