|Date 14 July 2008|
Entertainment Lady Gaga
|Presenters Jerry Springer, Mel B|
|Venue Crown Convention Center, Nha Trang, Vietnam|
Broadcaster NBC, Telemundo (international)VTV (official broadcaster)
Miss Universe 2008, the 57th Miss Universe pageant, was held on 14 July 2008 at the Crown Convention Center in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela was crowned by Riyo Mori of Japan at the event's conclusion. Eighty contestants competed in this year which was broadcast and distributed globally via NBC in English and Telemundo in Spanish to TV outlets in more than 180 countries. The pageant was watched by a live audience of 7,500 and nearly a billion television viewers worldwide.
This is the first major US-based television production to take place in Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War. This is also the first time that the Miss Universe pageant was broadcast in 1080i High-definition. This pageant was held in a contemporary Communist state for the first time as well.
The final presentation show was on 8 July, the dress rehearsal on 13 July, and the live telecast on 14 July. Most activities were held successively in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Hanoi, Danang, Hoi An, Ha Long and finally Nha Trang.
Jerry Springer, tabloid talk show host and host of NBC's America's Got Talent, and Melanie Brown, a.k.a. "Scary Spice", member of the UK pop group Spice Girls and host of TLC's The Singing Office, presented this year's competition.
For Miss Universe 2008 a new crown was unveiled. The 18k white and yellow gold crown was designed by CAO Fine Jewelry in association with Rosalina Lydster specifically for the event. With over 1,000 precious stones, including 44 carats (8.8 g) of diamonds, the crown has a value of $120,000 (USD). The crown will only be awarded as part of the contest this year, the original Mikimoto design was to be awarded again next year but Diamond Nexus Labs designed the crown instead.
Miss USA falls again
Miss USA, Crystle Stewart, slipped and fell down the stairs during the evening gown competition. This was the second year in a row that a Miss USA delegate fell during evening gown. This is also the first time in pageant history a contestant fell down during the evening gown competition in two consecutive pageants, from the same country, or from any country. Miss USA 2007, Rachel Smith, fell during Miss Universe 2007 in Mexico, and received boos after she made the top five contestants. After Stewart fell, she encouraged the audience to applaud by clapping her hands. She was eliminated after the evening gown competition, finishing in eighth place.
Dayana Mendoza received a prize package which included cash, a one-year contract as Miss Universe, world travel, a rent-free, prestigious New York City apartment, a gift bag stuffed with free designer shoes, dresses, and beauty products, and a stipend for a 2-year course at the New York Film Academy. Mendoza spent her year-long reign traveling the world to lecture on humanitarian issues and promote education regarding HIV/AIDS, the official platform of the Miss Universe Organization.