Three days before the pageant, preliminary judges selected last Thursday night the Top 15 candidates for the 2010 Miss Universe beauty contest now being held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
But the semifinalists will be announced during the televised show on Monday night Aug. 22 (Tuesday morning Aug. 23, in the Philippines).
The seven preliminary judges ranked the 83 contestants based on evening gown, and swimsuit, during a two-hour presentation at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Reports said that Miss Philippines Maria Venus Raj, 22, got the loudest cheers from the audience, who were mostly Filipinos. Also cheered were beauties from Haiti, Canada, Australia, USA, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
The last time the Philippines entered the semi-finals circle was in 1999 when Miriam Quiambao was first-runner up in the beauty pageant held in Trinidad and Tobago.
If the preliminary results will be based on the online popularity survey sponsored by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), aside from Raj, the Top 15 will consist of Miss Venezuela Marelisa Gibson, Miss Bolivia Claudia Arce Lemaitre, Miss Jamaica Yendi Philips, Miss Guatemala Jessica Scheel, Miss Thailand Fonthip Watcharatrakul, Miss Indonesia Qory Sandioriva, Miss Peru Guiliana Zevallos, Miss Mexico Jimena Navarette, Miss Colombia Natalia Navarro, Miss Russia Irina Antonenko, Miss Puerto Rico Mariana Paola Vicente, Miss Brazil Deborah Lyra, Miss Trinidad and Tobago LaToya Woods, and Miss Haiti Sarodj Bertin.
But organizers said that the online popularity survey will have no bearing on the preliminaries and the finals.
Billionaire Donald J. Trump, owner of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), has vowed fair judging in the contest.
A statement issued by Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, read: "As disclosed at the top of each broadcast, members of the Miss Universe Organization play a role in the selection of the Top 15 semi-finalists. In the 2009 Miss Universe competition, a preliminary panel of judges selected nine of the Top 15 and members of the Miss Universe Organization, including owner Donald J. Trump, selected the remaining six;
"A separate panel of judges, introduced live at the Finals telecast, is solely responsible for the selection of the Top 10, Top 5 and the ultimate winner of the pageant. This system has been in place since 2005 and has always been fully disclosed to the contestants, their directors, the judges and the viewing audience;
"The procedure is overseen by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young and NBC Program Standards and Compliance. To in any way call into question the integrity of the judging process or suggest the pageant is somehow orchestrated or 'rigged' is utterly false and misleading."
"When I bought Miss Universe 12 years ago, it was a sick puppy. Now the Miss Universe contest is seen in over 180 countries around the world and the ratings are through the roof and that's because of the beautiful women," said Trump. "I'm not changing a thing!"
This year's preliminary judges are president of Farouk Systems Inc. Basim Shami, publicist and TV personality BJ Coleman, finance official Carlos Bremer, Corinne Nicolas of the Trump Model Management, talent producer Louis Burgdorf, entertainment correspondent Natalie Rotman, and Sadoux Kim, of "The Apprentice" franchise.
Reposted From Manila Bulletin