The pageant at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip had three competitions: swimsuit, evening gowns and interview question. The contestants were whittled to 16 after the show’s opening fashion show number. The top 16 were picked by preliminary judges through competitions and interviews during the week before the telecast.
The contestants were later narrowed down to a field of 10 and then five before Culpo was named Miss USA.
Pop band Cobra Starship performed as the beauty queens modeled their string bikinis. Singer Akon danced with the top five during the evening gown competition.
Culpo had one of the more modest dresses of the contest, with many of the beauty queens wearing revealing gowns with bare backs, high slits and sheer fabric. In contrast, Culpo’s flowing gown covered her legs and back while revealing some cleavage.
The judge’s panel included Chef Cat Cora, TV personality Arsenio Hall, singer Joe Jonas and reality TV star Rob Kardashian. Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic stepped in to host. Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella crowned Culpo her successor at the end of the night.
The first-ever transgender contestant to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant made it to the penultimate round before losing her bid to win the title last month. She was initially denied entry to Canada’s pageant because she was not born female. Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, subsequently overruled that decision.
Miss Universe publicity director Brenda Mendoza has said transgender competitors are now welcome at all of its pageants around the world.
The competition is not affiliated with the Miss America pageant.
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