The countdown to the 56th Miss Universe pageant has already begun. The event that would see 77 contestants vying for the prestigious Miss Universe title would be held at the National Auditorium in Mexico City this time.
Interestingly, Miss Universe pageant will see a host of historical changes, which may come as a surprise for many. For the first time in the history of Miss Universe, the reigning Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera would be holding the title for a little over 10 months. It is one of the shortest time any Miss Universe has held the title.
There is a major change in the participating countries also this time. While last year, in Los Angeles, 86 nations' representatives showed up, this year only 77 delegates would be competing. It has been observed that the number of participant countries in Miss Universe has dropped in the last few years.
The pageant will also miss out on some of the countries that have been participating since many years. For the first time in 16 years, Trinidad and Tobago will not be represented at the Miss Universe pageant.
Missing countries @ Miss Universe
Cayman Islands, Chile, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Namibia, Netherlands, Northern Marianas, St. Martin, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey and United Kingdom will not compete in Miss Universe 2007.
Since Iceland, Namibia, Netherlands, Northern Marianas, Turkey have their dates set, their delegates will be sent to Miss Universe 2008.
Trinidad and Tobago will not send a delegate for the first time in sixteen years, due to a lack of financial support. Kenisha Thom, who represented Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 appealed to the government and businesses to support the pageant, to no avail.
Aruni Rajapakse was expected to represent Sri Lanka in the pageant and was listed as a delegate on the Miss Universe website. On May 5, her name was removed from the website, and it appears she will not compete in the pageant. Sri Lanka will compete in Miss Universe next year.
Tanzania will attend the Miss Universe pageant for the first time. Following Montenegrin independence in 2006, Serbia and Montenegro will compete separately in Miss Universe for the first time.
Honduras which last competed in 2002, Barbados, Belize, Curacao, and Italy that last competed in 2005 are back this year.
For the first time in the history of Femina Miss India Contest, the official winner will represent the India in Miss World 2007 contest, while the 1st runner-up will compete at Miss Universe.
As of 2006, the winner of Miss Israel competes in Miss World while the first runner-up goes to Miss Universe.
Each contestant from more than 80 countries around the world will be judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview as they vie for the coveted title of Miss Universe 2007.