The Miss Universe 2017 pageant took place Sunday, November 26, in Las Vegas. Ninety-two women from around the world competed for the crown, but only one could take it home.
The night had its fair share of jokes from host Steve Harvey about his 2015 Miss Universe winner snafu. There were also plenty of women trying to slip the word “universe” into every sentence possible, whether it fit or not. And if nothing else, at least the three-hour broadcast allowed us to brush up on our geography. Here’s how it all went down.
Contestants were separated into three geographical categories: The Americas, Europe, and Africa and Asia-Pacific. Four women from each of those categories plus four wild card choices made up the Top 16: Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Great Britain, Colombia, USA, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Venezuela, Jamaica and China.
The Top 16 participated in the swimsuit competition, and from there, the judges and voters at home narrowed the group down to 10. Those finalists were Venezuela, USA, Philippines, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Thailand and Jamaica.
During the evening gown competition, in which the Top 10 walked the stage in jaw-dropping dresses in a range of brilliant hues, Fergie performed her song “A Little Work.” The Top 5, selected after the evening gown portion, were South Africa, Venezuela, Thailand, Jamaica and Colombia.
The Top 5 were then put to the test with the final question. This gave the women opportunities to voice their opinions on everything from terrorism to social media to sexual harassment. Advancing to the Top 3 were Jamaica, Colombia and South Africa.
The three remaining contestants answered a question about the quality they’re proudest of and how they’d utilize it as Miss Universe. The final look featured an empowering performance from Rachel Platten, singing “Broken Glass” as the Top 3 walked across the stage one last time before the winner was crowned.
So, who won Miss Universe 2017? Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters! Miss Colombia Laura Gonzalez was the runner-up and Jamaica’s Davina Bennett came in third.
Nel-Peters was a favorite throughout the night — she described how she survived a carjacking by fighting back against her attacker and used that terrifying experience to help other women, and spoke out about issues such as equal pay.
Congratulations, Miss Universe!