The Miss Universe pageant is the Olympics of beauty pageants. The truly wonderful annual event pits ladies with some of the most amazing bodies in the world against each other in feats of athleticism like using water slides, walking down stairs in high heels while working a robe, and synchronized salutes. But it goes deeper than that: Contestants must display personal taste and style in the evening-gown competition — the only portion of the night they're not in pageant uniform. There's also the battle of the wits in which the top five contestants engage when answering their final questions — each girl only has one question to answer, and that answer better be good.
Mexico pulled ahead easily with her stunning good looks, sexy bikini body, tasteful evening gown, and express desire to teach Internet-using children family values. But there were so many other auxiliary winners! They include:
• Miss Venezuela, who opened the show in a mirrored bodysuit accessorized with one silver metal flapping wing.
• Eyeliner, which hasn't been seen in such abundance since Taylor Momsen turned into Xtina Aguilera.
• The houseboat the contestants took to check out the dam.
• Bret Michaels, who always said one sentence too many and, at the end of the show, essentially promised to drink enough to black all of it out.
• Niki Taylor, who judged, and was the best-looking person in the whole room from what we could see on television.
• The army of Cirque du Soleil Elvises forced to break-dance in the middle of the swimsuit round.
• The naked airport scanners, which got the vote of confidence from Miss Ukraine.
But there were also auxiliary losers, such as:
• Panties, which none of the contestants may have been wearing, judging by the mesmerizing absence of underwear lines.
• Hairspray, which was used in overabundance on too many upsetting half-ponytails.
• Bret Michaels's bandanna, which had not a sequin anywhere!
• Natalie Morales, for saying this: "[Miss Ireland] hopes to combine her modeling experience with a career in political journalism."
See those highlights and more in our video, which condenses the entire pageant to less than three minutes.
And see our tweets of last night's broadcast on The Cut's Twitter feed.
Related: Miss Mexico Named Miss Universe [Daily Intel]
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