Miss Universe opens online voting poll ahead of pageant to be held in Israel

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The organizers of the 70th Miss Universe competition have officially opened the online voting poll which has headshots of each participating country’s representative, including biographies, while some nations, such as the United Arab Emirates, have been left with a blank space.

The online voting platform asks fans to pick their favorites so they can move on to the semi-finals where they’ll compete in a live show to be broadcast from Israel on December 12, 2021.

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Israeli singing sensation Noa Kirel is set to open the show which will be held in the Middle East for the first time.

“I’m so excited and honored to be performing at Miss Universe,” said Kirel, who will perform at the global beauty pageant in the Israeli city of Eilat.

“By believing in themselves and fearlessly chasing their dreams, these women from around the world live and breathe the values of the Miss Universe Organization, and I can’t wait to share this celebratory moment with all of them on this incredible global stage.”

UAE, Morocco at Miss Universe

This year’s competition is also set to feature two other contestants from the region: Miss Universe United Arab Emirates and Miss Universe Morocco.

This will mark the first time that a delegate from the United Arab Emirates has competed in the competition, although organizers behind the first-ever Miss Universe UAE canceled a planned coronation night for the inaugural beauty contest earlier this month.

Emirati models Marwa Al Hashemi, Ameera Alawadhi and Reem Birdette are among the finalists at the first Miss Universe UAE pageant. Photo: Miss Universe UAE
Emirati models Marwa Al Hashemi, Ameera Alawadhi and Reem Birdette are among the finalists at the first Miss Universe UAE pageant. Photo: Miss Universe UAE

The event, which was supposed to be held on Sunday, November 7, was called off “due to time constraints,” according to a statement posted by organizers on their Instagram story.

No updates were posted on the organization’s dedicated Twitter page and a new date has not been announced.

The names of 30 UAE finalists, which would have included people of all nationalities living in the UAE, were to be announced ahead of the historic coronation night.

Organizers have not responded to requests from Al Arabiya English for an update on the Miss Universe UAE competition or its participation in the Miss Universe final.

Additionally, Miss Universe Morocco returns to the competition for the first time in over four decades.

In a statement posted on the Miss Universe website, Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov welcomed the countdown to the Miss Universe competition.

“Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic placed in our path, we knew how to maintain the balance between health and the economy, to bring tourism back to Israel,” he said.

“We needed to create tourism anchors that will promote and present Israel to the world as a vaccination nation that invites tourists to visit. The Miss Universe pageant is without doubt an important and significant anchor of this plan.”

The organization also unveiled details for the competition’s venue, a state-of-the-art, bespoke arena.

The custom “Universe Arena,” which was imported from Portugal, rises to a height of 16.5 meters and has the capacity to hold over 70 tons of equipment.

The building is treated to accommodate television filming and contains a stage and approximately 5,000 seats.

Senior members of the Miss Universe Organization were in Israel throughout October to tour the country and attend planning meetings.

They met with Mayor of Eilat, Eli Lankri, and closely supervised the infrastructure and construction work of the Miss Universe complex.

“The choice of Eilat will continue to strengthen its position as a leading international tourist city,” said Lankri. “Hundreds of millions of spectators around the globe will be able to enjoy the rare beauty of the city of Eilat and its spectacular sites.”

The contestants will arrive in Israel ahead of the competition to explore all the host country has to offer, beginning in Jerusalem and ending their trip in Eilat, where the competition will take place.

The pageant, in addition to celebrating the past 70 years of championing strong women and their platforms, will also shine a spotlight on the issue of global warming as part of a green agenda that corresponds with the values of the host country.

Using the Miss Universe platform, the December 12 production will highlight both the contestants of the past and the social and global issues they faced in their time, and the fact that climate change is on the world agenda for the next generation of women.

The broadcast will aim to raise awareness amongst the hundreds of millions of spectators, with the hopes of inspiring action in contestants’ community.

Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said: “As a company that has the distinct advantage of bringing a global spotlight to world issues, I look forward to showcasing both how our contestants can make a difference in their communities and around the world.”

She continued, “I know that the city of Eilat will provide a great space for our contestants to learn and grow together.”

Miss South Africa controversy

The competition in Israel has not been without its controversy.

South Africa’s government is urging its national pageant winner to boycott this year’s Miss Universe contest due to its location in Israel.

Government officials said they would not support the decision by Lalela Mswane, the winner of the country’s beauty contest, and the organizers of the national pageant to participate in the contest in Israel.

The officials cited Israel’s “atrocities against Palestinians” as the reason for their disavowal of the competition, according to The Times of Israel.

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, also called on organizers of South Africa’s pageant to discourage Mswane from participating in the contest in Israel.

Read more:

Miss Universe UAE coronation night canceled until further notice

Who will be crowned the first Miss Universe UAE? Finalists are announced

At Miss Universe pageant, Myanmar’s contestant pleads ‘our people are dying’

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