Miss Universe 2008
1st Runner Up Taliana Vargas (Colombia)
Date: July 14, 2008
Presenters: Jerry Springer, Melanie Brown
Entertainment: Lady GaGa
Venue: Crown Convention Center, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Broadcaster: NBC, Telemundo, VTV
Winner: Dayana Mendoza
Miss Universe 2008, the 57th Miss Universe beauty pageant, was held at the Crown Convention Center (Diamond Bay Resort) in Nha Trang, Vietnam on July 14, 2008. Dayana Mendoza, Miss Venezuela, was crowned Miss Universe 2008 by outgoing titleholder Riyo Mori of Japan.
Eighty contestants competed in the event which was broadcasted and distributed globally via NBC in English and Telemundo in Spanish to TV outlets in more than 180 countries. The pageant was watched by a live audience of 7,500 and nearly a billion television viewers worldwide.
This is the first major USA-based television production to take place in Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War. This is also the first time that the Miss Universe pageant was broadcast in 1080i High-definition. And this pageant was held in a contemporary Communist state for the first time.
The final presentation show was on July 8, the dress rehearsal on July 13 and the live telecast on July 14. Most activities were held successively in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Sai Gon), Ha Noi, Da Nang, Hoi An, Ha Long and finally Nha Trang.
Jerry Springer, tabloid talk show host and host of NBC's America's Got Talent, and Melanie Brown, a.k.a. "Scary Spice", member of the UK pop group Spice Girls and host of TLC's The Singing Office, presented this year's competition. Lady GaGa, 22 year-old performer and songwriter, performed her single Just Dance.
Areas of Competition
Crown Convention Center, Nha Trang.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 (based upon individual swimsuit scores) competed in evening gown. The final five contestants (based upon individual score from evening gown) participated in a final round of on-stage interviews, before the runners-up were announced and the new Miss Universe named.
This was the second year since 2002 that the judges' average scores were shown on television.
Results.Miss Universe 2008: Dayana Mendoza (Venezuela)
The runners-up were:
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)
The following contestants placed in the top ten and competed in both swimsuit and evening gown (in order of placement): Zana Krasniqi (Kosovo), Claudia Moro (Spain), Crystle Stewart (USA), Claudia Ferraris (Italy), Laura Dundovic (Australia)
The following contestants placed in the top fifteen and competed in the swimsuit competition (in order of placement): Eliška Bučková (Czech Republic), Jázmin Dammak (Hungary), Tanzey Coetzee (South Africa), Hiroko Mima (Japan), Nguyễn Thùy Lâm (Vietnam)
Miss Congeniality: Rebeca Moreno (El Salvador)
Best National Costume: Gavintra Photijak (Thailand)
For the first time since the award's inception, no Miss Photogenic Award was given.
Final Competition Scores
Swimsuit Evening Gown
Venezuela 9.327 9.697
Colombia 9.433 9.829
Dominican Republic 8.983 9.036
Russia 8.414 8.471
Mexico 9.071 9.429
Kosovo 8.120 8.264
Spain 9.150 8.200
USA 9.207 8.050
Italy 7.671 7.729
Australia 7.814 7.557
Czech Republic 7.386
South Africa 7.133
This is the first time Venezuela won Miss Universe since Alicia Machado won Miss Universe 1996. This is the fifth time Venezuela has won the title.
Venezuela (1979, 1981, 1986, 1996, 2008) now ties with Puerto Rico (1970, 1985, 1993, 2001, 2006) for the second-most titleholders in Miss Universe history. Miss USA still holds the record with seven (1954, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1997).
Since the pageant's inception in 1952, more than half of the contestants (29 total) who have won came from the Americas.
Dominican Republic equaled the finish of Renata Sone in 2005, the highest finish of a contestant from the Dominican Republic since Amelia Vega won in 2003.
Russia had the strongest finish (third runner-up) since Oxana Fedorova won in 2002, before she was later dethroned.
Australia had the strongest finish (tenth) since Jennifer Hawkins won in 2004.
This is the third year in a row that Japan made the Top 15 contestants.
Contestants from Kosovo and Vietnam made the first cut of contestants for the first time in pageant history.
Vietnam's selection past the first cut became the 45th time in pageant history the host country has its contestant make the first cut.
Mexico placed for the fifth consecutive year.
Czech Republic, Venezuela & Japan were also called out for the finals last year.
Hungary, Colombia and Russia last placed in 2006 while South Africa and Dominican Republic last made the cut in 2005.
Countries that got called out to the semi-finals after a long period without placement were: Italy (11 years), Spain (7 years) and Australia (4 years).
It was the first time since 2001 where the number of European delegates surpassed that from the Americas in the semifinals, with 6 contestants from the old continent and 5 from the Americas.
Thailand won the Best National Costume award for the fourth time.
El Salvador won the Miss Congeniality award for the second time.
Roberto Cavalli - Renowned fashion designer
Joseph Cinque - President of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences
Jennifer Hawkins - Miss Universe 2004
Ishaa Koppikar - Bollywood actress
Louis Licari - Celebrity Hairstylist
Nguyen Cong Khe - Editor-in-Chief of Vietnamese newspaper Thanh Nien
Taryn Rose - Footwear designer
Donald Trump, Jr. - Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization; eldest son of Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump
Nadine Velazquez - actress on NBC's My Name Is Earl
Mika, "Love Today" — background music used for the Opening and Presentation of National Costumes
Lady GaGa, "Just Dance" — performed live during the Swimsuit Competition
Robin Thicke, "Magic" from the album Something Else — background music used during the Evening Gown Competition
Albania - Matilda Mecini
Angola - Lesliana Pereira
Antigua and Barbuda - Athina James
Argentina - Silvana Belli
Aruba - Tracey Nicolaas
Australia - Laura Dundovic
Bahamas - Sacha Scott
Belgium - Alizée Poulicek
Bolivia - Katherine David Céspedes
Brazil - Natália Anderle
Canada - Samantha Tajik
Cayman Islands - Rebecca Parchment
China - Ziya Wei
Colombia - Taliana Vargas
Costa Rica - María Teresa Rodríguez
Croatia - Snježana Lončarević
Curaçao - Jenyfeer Mercelina
Cyprus - Dimitra Sergiou
Czech Republic - Eliška Bučková
Denmark - Marie-Sten Knudsen
Dominican Republic - Marianne Cruz Gonzalez
Ecuador - Doménica Saporitti
Egypt - Yara Naoum
El Salvador - Rebeca Moreno
Estonia - Julia Kovaljova
Finland - Satu Tuomisto
France - Laura Tanguy
Georgia - Gvantsa Daraselia
Germany - Madina Taher
Ghana - Yvette Nsiah
Greece - Dionissia Koukiou
Guam - Siera Robertson
Guatemala - Jennifer Chiong
Honduras - Diana Barrasa
Hungary - Jázmin Dammak
India - Simran Kaur Mundi
Indonesia - Putri Raemawasti
Ireland - Lynn Kelly
Israel - Shunit Faragi
Italy - Claudia Ferraris
Jamaica - April Jackson
Japan - Hiroko Mima
Kazakhstan - Alfina Nassyrova
Korea - Sun Lee
Kosovo - Zana Krasniqi
Malaysia - Levy Li
Mauritius - Marie-Anne Olivia
Mexico - Elisa Nájera
Montenegro - Daša Živković
Netherlands - Charlotte Labee
New Zealand - Samantha Powell
Nicaragua - Thelma Rodríguez
Nigeria - Stephanie Oforka
Norway - Mariann Birkedal
Panama - Carolina Dementiev
Paraguay - Giannina Rufinelli
Peru - Karol Castillo
Philippines - Jennifer Barrientos
Poland - Barbara Tatara
Puerto Rico - Ingrid Rivera
Russia - Vera Krasova
Serbia - Bojana Borić
Singapore - Shenise Wong
Slovakia - Sandra Manáková
Slovenia - Anamarija Avbelj
South Africa - Tansey Coetzee
Spain - Claudia Moro
Sri Lanka - Aruni Rajapaksha
Switzerland - Amanda Ammann
Tanzania - Amanda Ole Sulul
Thailand - Gavintra Photijak
Trinidad and Tobago - Anya Ayoung-Chee
Turkey - Sinem Sülün
Turks & Caicos - Angelica Lightbourne
UK - Lisa Lazarus
Ukraine - Eleonora Masalab
Uruguay - Paula Díaz
USA - Crystle Stewart
Venezuela - Dayana Mendoza
Vietnam - Nguyễn Thùy Lâm
Kosovo sent its first ever delegate Zana Krasniqi.
Barbados, Belize, Bulgaria, Guyana, Lebanon, Saint Lucia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Zambia competed in 2007 but not at Miss Universe 2008.
Returning states and territories
Guam last competed in 2000.
Netherlands and Vietnam last competed in 2005.
Cayman Islands, Ghana, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey and UK last competed in 2006.
For Miss Universe 2008 a new crown was unveiled. The 18k white and yellow gold crown was designed by CAO Fine Jewelry specifically for the event. With over 1,000 pecious stones, including 44 carats of diamonds, the crown has a value of $120,000 (USD). The design of the crown is highly symbolic. Vietnam is symbolized in the yellow gold, representative of the country's healthy economy, and in the crane, with represents the spirit and culture of Vietnam. Other colors stand for inspiration and feeling, while the depicted heart is meant to reflect faith, hope and unity. The curving patterns of the stones are a tribute to every country, reflecting growth. The crown will only be awarded as part of the contest this year, with the original Mikimoto design being awarded again next year.
Dayana Mendoza receives a prize package which includes cash, a one-year contract promoting Miss Universe, world travel, a rent-free, prestigious New York City apartment, a gift bag stuffed with free designer shoes, dresses and beauty products, a $100,000 USD stipend for a 2-year course at the New York Film Academy and free access to famous fashion houses and beauty parlors. Mendoza will spend her year-long reign traveling the world to lecture on humanitarian issues and promote education regarding HIV/AIDS, the official platform of the Miss Universe Organization.
Miss USA falls again
Miss USA, Crystle Stewart, slipped and fell down the stairs during the Evening Gown competition. This was the second year in a row that a Miss USA delegate fell during Evening Gown. This is also the first time in pageant history a contestant fell down during the Evening Gown competition in two consecutive pageants, from the same country, or from any country. Miss USA 2007, Rachel Smith, fell during Miss Universe 2007 in Mexico, and received boos after she made the Top Five contestants. After Stewart fell, she encouraged the audience to applaud by clapping her hands. She was eliminated after the Evening Gown Competition, finishing in eighth place.
Miss Pays de Loire, Laura Tanguy, will represent France. She was second runner up in the Miss France competition, but the winner, Valérie Bègue, was banned after suggestive photos of her appeared in the media shortly after she was crowned.
The first runner-up, Miss New Caledonia Vahinerii Requillart, decided to not compete in Miss Universe because she wants to continue studying.
The winner of Miss Russia 2007 Ksenia Sukhinova was supposed to represent Russia, but due to her studies was replaced by her 2nd runner-up Vera Krasova.
Claudia Moro, was appointed as representative of her country instead of winning the title. Patricia Yurena Rodriguez, who originally was crowned Miss Spain, was disqualified because she did not meet the minimum age requirement by the time asked by the Miss Universe Organization.
Daša Živković (Montenegro) placed 3rd Runner-up at the Miss Tourism Queen International 2008 pageant.
In February 2008, Miss Universe organization president Paula Shugart announced that a Miss Kosovo would compete in Miss Universe 2008 in Vietnam. Montenegro and Serbia had already announced that they would boycott the pageant if Kosovo participates. As Vietnam and Kosovo do not have diplomatic relations, the Vietnam government considered disallowing such participation since it opposes Kosovo's independence. In the end, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro competed without incident. Kosovo's Zana Krasniqi made it to the finals, finishing sixth place.
Ingrid Marie Rivera, Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2008 was 2nd Runner-up at Miss World 2005. She was previously Miss Global Queen 2003.
Shenise Wong, Miss Singapore Universe 2008, was previously competed in Miss Asia-Pacific 1999, Miss International 2002, and Miss World 2005.
Marianne Cruz, Miss Dominican Republic 2008 is the reigning Miss Continente Americano 2007.
Sacha Scott (Bahamas) is the daughter of Miss Bahamas 1982, Christina Thompson-Scott, who competed in Miss Universe 1983
Dayana Mendoza, Miss Venezuela 2007 was a finalist at the Elite Model Look International 2001, in Nice, France.
Samantha Tajik, Miss Universe Canada 2008 currently holds the International Model Of The Year 2007 title and was 2nd runner-up in Miss Global Beauty Queen 2007.
Barbara Tatara (Miss Poland) previously competed at Miss Earth 2007 but did not place.
Aruni Madusha Rajapakse (Miss Sri Lanka) placed as a Semi-Finalist at Miss International 2007.
Rebecca Parchment (Miss Cayman Islands) previously competed at Miss World 2007 but did not place.
Tansey Coetzee (South Africa), Alizée Poulicek (Belgium), Laura Tanguy (France), Alfina Nassyrova (Kazakhstan) and Olivia Carey (Mauritius) will compete in Miss World 2008
Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela, Miss Universe 2008
Victory in Vietnam
Miss Venezuela, Dayana Mendoza, was crowned Miss Universe 2008 on July 13, 2008, in Nha Trang, Vietnam. The first runner-up was Taliana Vargas of Colombia. The second runner-up was Marianne Cruz Gonzalez of the Dominican Republic, and the third runner-up was Vera Krasova of Russia. The fourth runner-up was Elisa Najera of Mexico.
Others among the top 10 were Claudia Ferraris of Italy, Zana Krasniqi of Kosovo, Crystle Stewart of the USA, Claudia Moro of Spain and Laura Dundovic of Australia. Others among the Top 15 were Lam Thuy Nguyen of Vietnam, Tansey Coetzee of South Africa, Hiroko Mima of Japan, Elisa Buckova of the Czech Republic and Jazmin Dammak of Hungary.
Miss Congeniality, chosen by the contestants, was Rebeca Moreno of El Salvador. The winner of the award for Best Costume was Gavintra Photijak of Thailand.
The makeup of the Top 5 was fairly conventional, with all the top 5 coming from countries that had won the crown previously. And the two top finishers came from the South American neighbors that arguably have the most vibrant beauty pageant
cultures on Earth.
The site of the pageant was one that would have seemed improbable only a decade
earlier. The largest of the American-based pageant systems held its finals in Vietnam,the country still widely known for having successfully resisted American control in the 1960s and '70s. Vietnam, like some other major Asian nations, has gone in two decades from hostility toward pageants to a fervent embrace.
Americans are likely to remember the pageant because for the second year in a row,
Miss USA stumbled and fell onstage. Just as in 2007, the American representative recovered herself with admirable grace.
One echo of international tensions that remain today was the presence of Zana Krasniqi, Miss Kosovo. It declared its independence from Serbia in early 2008 under the sponsorship of the United States and much of western Europe, and over the strong objections of a number of other countries. Vietnam does not recognize Kosovo, and Ms. Krasniqi initially had visa problems as she sought to attend the pageant. She eventually competed and made the top 10, but was referred to by Vietnamese officials as Miss Kosovo-Serbia.
The biggest break with pageant tradition was probably the farewell walk by Miss Universe 2007, Riyo Mori of Japan. Instead of wearing an evening gown, she was clad in what some observers called a "cleavage tuxedo." The Rising Sun never rose more dramatically.