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The panel of 10 judges included singer Cee Lo Green, “Iron Chef” star Masaharu Morimoto and Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants.

Asked on the red carpet whether he found playing in the World Series or judging the beauty pageant to be more difficult, Sandoval said both were hard.

Sharply dressed women and men, including a large contingent from South America, held banners and cheered on their favorite contestants.

The pageant started as a local revue in Long Beach, Calif., organized by Catalina Swimwear. It is not affiliated with the Miss America pageant and unlike that contest, does not include a talent section.

Contestants in the pageant cannot have been married or have children. They must be younger than 27 and older than 18 by Feb. 1 of the competition year.

As Miss Universe, Culpo will receive an undisclosed salary, a wardrobe fit for a queen, a limitless supply of beauty products, and a luxury apartment in New York City.