I know what some of you are thinking--that the whole pageant was fixed, right? While it is true that there were some Puerto Rican judges on the panel, namely Dayanara Torres and Marc Anthony, even if they were not judges, Miss Puerto Rico still would have obtained the highest scores. But I think we all know what happened here was that the judges were swayed by the audience and of course, the judges didn't want to be booed like the judges in 1993. It wasn't necessarily about a fair competition, rather it was more of the making of a complete night for Puerto Rico. Heck, they got high profile celebrities like Ricky Martin to bring publicity to the pageant so why shouldn't they be rewarded, even if the rest of the world will always be suspicious? Miss Universe is known for having a very unequal distribution of judges. The judging panel is always dominated by Americans and some people suggest that a fair judging panel would consist of people whose countries aren't being represented such as Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, and other notable countries that didn't participate in this year's pageant. Then, the question is again raised whether or not they too would be swayed by the audience. But in any case, what's done is done and Denise will reign for the year. There will always be the question about the sash. If the audience and the judges didn't know she was Miss Puerto Rico, would she still have won? Based on the final question, she might not have but then that's a mystery that will go unsolved.

The night began as Ricky Martin exploded onto the stage in his native Puerto Rico singing his song "Loaded" and then he welcomed the hostesses, Elle MacPherson and Naomi Campbell. Interesting to note that Elle is a native of Australia and Naomi of Great Britain and of Moroccan descent, but none of these countries were represented in this year's pageant! It's almost as if Elle was Miss Australia and Naomi was Miss Great Britain! They did an okay job, certainly not the best because they always made it obvious that they were reading off a teleprompter and most of the time they were getting some things wrong. For example, "you have 35 questions (instead of seconds)" and the "recipicent" of the Hoya Crystal, etc. Todd Newton from E! did a very good job though. I liked his backstage commentaries and how he didn't make too many snide remarks. I'm glad that he interviewed the few former Miss Universes that attended the pageant for the 50th anniversary. They all looked wonderful. Of course, Lupita Jones attends every year since she runs Miss Mexico now. I was also glad to see all the former Puerto Rican Miss Universes, Anne Marie Pohtamo, Barbara Palacios, and Irene Saez, who was talking as if she was competing for Miss Universe all over again! I still wish they would have incorporated some special nostalgic segment to commemorate all the former Miss Universes, but I wasn't expecting that to happen since they didn't do it for Miss USA. Ah well, maybe there will be some people who will keep this in mind for the 75th Miss Universe pageant in 2026. La Ley was boring. They were certainly not of the same calibre of the rest of the celebrities that night. I would rather that they filled this time with a little nostalgic segment for the 50th anniversary.

Puerto Rico's pre-pageant coverage was excellent. The media really got involved. I was fortunate enough to watch the preliminaries and see Desiree Lowry (Miss Puerto Rico 95) interview all the delegates. The interviews really changed everything. I was impressed with Miss Northern Marianas and Miss Canada acting as translators for other delegates like Japan and Hungary. In terms of looks, I was impressed with Korea until I saw her interview with Desiree and then I was so disappointed. She gave short answers and obviously was uncomfortable in both English and Spanish.

And as every other year since the pageant fell under the ownership of Donald Trump, controversy has publicized the pageant every year. The main controversial figure, suspiciously enough, always makes the semifinals! This year, Miss France was the big story, rumors were started in a French website called L'Examineur that Elodie was born a man named Nicolas Lavanneur. Of course, it was not true but they certainly used this rumor to publicize the pageant! Other controversial figures included Miss Brazil, Juliana Borges, who had approximately 20 plastic surgeries and Miss Israel, Ilanit Levi, who also made the semifinals, and decided not to wear the bulletproof vest for her national costume.

As you can see, I got 6 out of 10 semifinalists, plus 1 alternate and 1 honorable mention. I should have known France was going to make it--the controversial figure always does! As for Israel and Russia, I would never have guessed. Israel's controversy may have helped her and the only thing I can think about for Russia is that she is the VP of a modeling agency. As for Colombia, she probably didn't interview too well but her gown was definitely among the best. Peru had an excellent body but I guess she didn't really stand out. Antigua & Barbuda was strong in all three categories so I don't know what happened with her and Canada probably was very strong in interview but not strong enough in the other competitions.



Winner=Puerto Rico-Denise Quinones August

Winner=Greece-Evelina Papantoniou *

1st RU=Greece-Evelina Papantoniou

1st RU=Colombia-Andrea Maria Noceti Gomez

2nd RU=USA-Kandace Krueger

2nd RU=Nigeria-Agbani Darego *

3rd RU=Venezuela-Eva Ekvall

3rd RU=Venezuela-Eva Ekvall *

4th RU=India-Celina Jaitley

4th RU=Peru-Viviana Rivasplata Aita



 6. Spain-Eva Siso Casals

India-Celina Jaitley *

 7. Nigeria-Agbani Darego

USA-Kandace Krueger *

 8. Israel-Ilanit Levi

Puerto Rico-Denise Quinones August *

 9. Russia-Oxana Kalandyrets

Antigua & Barbuda-Janil Lydia Therese Bird

 10. France-Elodie Gossuin

Canada-Cristina Yvonne Remond



Brazil, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Spain *



Dominican Republic, France *, Nicaragua, Philippines, Trinidad & Tobago

* = made actual top ten


The opening number was pretty good. It's always appropriate to start off with showing them in their national costumes. At least, we got to hear all their voices this year, even if it was just yelling the name of their country! This pageant was almost like travelling back to 1989 since the Parade of Nations was done the same way and they also decided to announce four runners up this year.

Afterwards followed the swimsuit competition with the little interludes in between some of the delegates. I loved the background videos, they really heightened the sex appeal of the competition by showing the delegates when they are doing some sensuous vamping. Spain was first and she looked great. Eva totally had the model look about her. It's interesting to note that she did not actually win Miss Spain but she was first runner up. The actual winner, Lorena Van Heerde was too young to compete in Miss Universe so she will go to Miss World. Venezuela followed. No surprises here, and they always have the body, the stance, and the walk. Eva had a fabulous form with nice long legs, big bust, and nice buttocks which the swimsuits really showed off. Next was Nigeria. Agbani was so classy. She carried off a similar look and aura much like a combination of Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Universe 98 and Yukta Mookhey, Miss World 99. She was tall and graceful and certainly deserved a high position but she wore a one-piece swimsuit and one-pieces just don't cut it these days. It makes you look as if you have something to hide. I knew this one-piece was going to hurt her and sure enough it did which was a shame. Israel was next and she certainly looked very sexy in her video but she just didn't work her legs enough but she did look very nice above the legs. As for Greece, I was very impressed with her and she was my prediction to win. You can see why she is a sought after model because she totally has that supermodel body and she has that walk with an attitude. Evelina was fabulous.

Next was India. I was so impressed with Celina. I thought her height was going to hurt her chances of making the top 5 but she is just too gorgeous. I loved her Jeannie hairstyle when she won the Femina Miss India competition and I'm glad she kept it because it looks so beautiful. I appreciated how she really worked her body and her stance was very nice. As for Russia, I didn't really care for her. She did have a similar face to Pavlina Baburkova, Miss Czech Republic 93 but she just wasn't a standout. Miss USA, Kandace Krueger, followed with her muscular body. Who could miss it? One thing that annoys me is that she always ties her hair back during competition but she looks so much better with it down. After her came the controversial figure, Miss France. The audience had a good chance to inspect whether or not she was a man and of course, we could see that she is all woman. But I didn't really care whether she was born a man or not, what I want to know is what happened to her right arm?? She was very careful not to move it the entire night. I think she may have injured it somehow. And finally, our Puerto Rican queen comes and shows off her nice abs and legs. I just want to point out that I thought she had a great similarity to Brenda Lopez, Miss Puerto Rico 99, who placed 8th at Miss Universe. In the back of my mind, I think this is what caused me to place her as a semifinalist in my predictions list. I knew that Denise was top 5 material but I thought that the judges were going to drop her off after the top 10, just like for Brenda Lopez, but I knew that if Denise made the top 5, it would be hard to deny her. And of course, they didn't deny her--they went with her!


I loved the evening gown competition with the upbeat music. It's more like a fashion show and fast-paced stuff will keep the audience interested. I have no idea what the song is called or who sings it though. First was Spain's white fitted gown with black feather designs all over it. A lot of people didn't like it but I thought that it had an interesting look. It was different and I appreciated that. Eva certainly wore it well. Next was Venezuela wearing the same gown that she wore when she won Miss Venezuela instead of that little disco number she wore in the preliminaries. That gown was very form fitting and showed off Eva's body nicely. Nigeria followed and again, she looked so classy and I think her scores should have shot up her because I could really feel a power when Agbani stepped on the stage. However, she wasn't really as flaunty as some of the other delegates. Agbani also has a gorgeous face so it's easy to see why she won the Face of Africa competition. Israel followed wearing a simple black gown which was nice and she did look good in it. When I was making my predictions, I realized that I forgot to put in someone who had a black gown. Little did I know that it was Israel, although I was thinking Italy. Ilanit worked it nicely. Greece followed and Evelina looked stunning. She just shined. I liked her walk and when she put her hands around her waist. India followed and Celina's gown wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I didn't realize that the bottom was made of see-through material until much later. In spite of her height, Celina fought with her high high heels and her modelling moves. Russia had such an ugly gown. I didn't like this half black and red gown at all. It didn't move nicely and that scarf was covering her up. It was not the wisest gown choice for Oxana. USA came next and Kandace wore the same silver gown she wore when she won Miss Texas! I found it odd that both Venezuela and USA decided to repeat gowns because I don't recall ever seeing that before. France followed in a nice flowing white gown but looking at Elodie's armpieces and the one arm not moving made me feel uncomfortable almost as if that armpiece had cut off her circulation in that arm. I hope that isn't what happened! Finally, Puerto Rico followed in a pleasant white gown with a very low neck line and a high slit in the center. She looked divine and I loved the smile she gave when they showed her scores.

Miss Universe 2001 SCORESHEET































Puerto Rico



On to the top 5 and the judge's questions. India was first and chose Marc Bouwer who asked her what motivates her. Celina tried to get a little philosophical and stated that "the biggest motivating force in life is...your inner self. I, me, myself, myself, myself...(anyone hear a Joyce Giraud??)." I think what Celina wanted to say was an internal passion or drive from within but she couldn't think of how to say it at that moment so she just went with her "inner self." She was then asked to describe her family and she said she came from a nuclear family, a loving and disciplined environment and some of her family members are in the army. What exactly is a nuclear family?? Well, Celina tried and the judges didn't score the judges questions for the first time, which I thought was rather unusual but we continued right on to Venezuela. She chose Marc Anthony. There's something about Marc Anthony's eyes that I don't really like, it looks like he gets major eye crispies in the morning. Anyway, Eva said that she would like to invite the Dalai Lama to a dinner party because she is a Buddhist like her father and she would like to talk about how he keeps such remarkable inner peace. He then asked her how a man would know that she is interested in him and she basically said just by the look. Eva spoke very clear English but her accent didn't sound like a dignified form of English, if that makes sense. She still sounded rather young which is true since she's only 18. She seemed rather confident that she would win this crown but I didn't think her answers were the greatest. Next was Puerto Rico who was asked by Tyson Beckford what the most important thing is to her. She simply said just to be the best self that she can be and display the love of God through her to others. She stated that the biggest misconception about beauty was that some people think that beauty is solely external but Denise said you must look deep in the soul of a person to find true beauty. Her answers were very nice and she handled it well and spoke naturally. Greece followed and Dayanara Torres asked her what the greatest day of her life was. After the translator translated the question, Evelina answered in English that she enjoyed helping victims of an "earthquake that hit Athens in 1899" (she meant 1999). Greece then answered that she tries not to be afraid of anything but just to be herself. And finally USA chose Kel Gleason of Survivor 2 who asked the predictable, "if you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?" Kandace said that she would bring a photo album to remember her family which is so important in her life and then she was asked what most people don't know about her country. Kandace stated that Americans like to welcome people, especially tourists.

After this, there was no cut to the final three. All the final five delegates got to answer the final question. I wonder what would have happened if they did this in Miss USA, and Missouri's Larissa Meek would have had a second chance to redeem herself after the judge's questions. Anyway, the final question was, "If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be and why?" A very provocative question. Interestingly enough, India was the only one who was able to think of something. She said there was a time was she was bedridden and very ill and as a result missed the most important years of her life and she would have changed that. The rest of the delegates gave the old, "Oh, I wouldn't change anything about my past because the past made me who I am today!" Puerto Rico paused briefly in trying to think of something but got her answer through. I liked Greece's answer because it sounded very genuine. USA brought up that there was a period of divorce in her family but that she still wouldn't change anything. I thought it was very inappropriate to make India 4th runner up seeing how she actually answered the question and was able to think of something quickly. It's interesting to note that the top 5 finished in the exact order that they were ranked for swimsuit and evening gown so it's as if the final questions didn't mean anything at all. Just like in 1989, there was no final question, there was just a cut to the final five and then the judges just chose who would be Miss Universe.

Lara Dutta, Miss Universe 2000, looked radiant as she said her farewell. Her farewell speech was so eloquent and she has such a way with words. "I stood with faith in my Maker a year ago, I stand with Him now." Also, she started to cry. Obviously, Lara was treated so highly during her reign as she deserved to be.

Finally, the night was made complete for Puerto Rico. As India, Venezuela, USA, and then Greece passed by, Miss Puerto Rico, Denise Quinones wore the Miss Universe crown and greeted her country. Puerto Rico now has 4 Miss Universe crowns. It's funny how pageants are so random. A whole variety of circumstances influence the outcome like one question, the venue, the audience cheers or boos, the judges, the time, among other things. We have seen this time and time again. Puerto Rico isn't actually even considered a country, rather it is a US Commonwealth. Did you also notice the 8-year chain of Puerto Rican wins? 1985, 1993, and now 2001. They also won in 1970. Does this mean something for 2009??? In any event, Denise is wearing the crown and she will do fine as Miss Universe.



Thanks to all of you who went on "a universe odyssey" in 2001. Here is a collage of the 77 delegates.