Friday, July 11, 2008

Miss Universe 2008: Vietnam is ready for the final showdown

In the 1960s, when Miss America came to Vietnam to cheer the American GIs, protest started in the country initiated by anti-war group and feminist group. Now, after more than forty years, things have changed a lot. Vietnam is now one of the fastest growing economies of Asia and to showcase their spirit and economic growth, the country that once staged protest against beauty pageant has embraced it. Yes, Vietnam is the official host of Miss Universe 2008.

Watched in more than 170 countries, Miss Universe is one of most popular beauty pageants around the world. Paula Shugart, President, Miss Universe Organization, said that it really put Vietnam front and center. It puts Vietnam on a world stage. The final show of Miss Universe will be held at the newly built Crown Convention Center in the Diamond Bay Resort. The resort is close to Cam Ranh Bay, which was once a US Naval base.

This year, 80 contestants have participated in the pageant. For weeks they are preparing for the show. Ever since they came to Vietnam, they are facing a tight schedule. They visited major cities and World Heritage-listed tourist sites such as island-scape of Halong Bay and the ancient port city of Hoi An.

Last year, Japanese contestant Riyo Mori caused a major upset winning the crown. This year the competition is very intense. Already, the judges have chose 15 semi-finalists. Let’s see who is the lucky winner this time.

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