Tonight, the 60th Annual Miss Universe pageant comes to you live from Sao Paulo, Brazil, boasting contestants from 89 countries worldwide who will be judged in a swimsuit competition, an evening gown competition, and, most importantly, an interview.
Standing between the lovely contestants and the crown are a host of celebrity judges, including newswoman Connie Chung, actress Vivica Fox ("Kill Bill Vol. 1"), reality television star Adrienne Maloof ("The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"), fashion designer (and the only Dominican woman to ever win the Miss Universe title) Amelia Vega, beauty product mogul Farouk Shami, Tony Award-winning singer and actress Lea Salonga, deputy secretary general of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association of Football) Italo Zanzi, Brazilian-born Victoria's Secret model Isabelli Fontana, and Indy Car racer Helio Castroneves.
Produced by Donald Trump, the Miss Universe pageant has weathered some minor early controversies (Miss Australia Scherri-lee Biggs was chastised for wearing a see-through gown and, of course, there was Miss Colombia Catalina Robayo's "underwear-gate"), but promises to be nothing short of glamorous as it gets underway live at 9 PM ET tonight on NBC.
This marks the first time that show has ever come to Brazil. According to fan votes (recorded through the Miss Universe official site), Shamcey Supsup, who is representing the Philippines, is the fan-favorite #1 with just over 2 million votes. The second and third spots are held by Miss Venezuela, Vanessa Goncalves, and Miss Mexico, Karin Ontiveros.
If Ontiveros were to win, she would make it two in a row for Mexico - the current Miss Universe is fellow countrywoman Ximena Navarrete. The United States' hopes rest with New Jersey native and 2011 Miss USA pageant winner Alyssa Campanella.
Miss Universe 2011 airs live tonight at 9 PM ET on NBC (it will be simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo)