1. Ne-yo's opening number.
This year’s Miss Universe host country, no doubt, pulled out all the stops for their opening number. Thailand showcased its country’s culture in a stunning production, beautifully incorporating their traditional dance with Ne-yo’s Nights Like These, eliciting a flavorful mix between the traditional and the modern, while all the contestants sashayed down the stage for the first time.
2. Steve Harvey’s suit jacket.
Steve Harvey came out looking dapper in a sparkling, leather lapelled velvet suit jacket, and while his blinding crystals definitely brought on the wow factor, the real clincher lay inside his blazer. Decorated in the lining of the four-time Miss Universe judge’s jacket are all the names of the countries competing in the pageant, advocating for love and equality all around.
3. The anticipation as Catriona Gray enters the top 20.
Everyone watched in anticipation as Steve Harvey called out the five girls from Asia Pacific and Africa that would make it to the top 20. Thankfully our nervous hearts didn’t have to wait long as our bet Catriona Gray was the second to be called. After a chorus of overwhelming cheers from the crowd, she undeniably charmed the audience and pumped up the Filipinos even more after answering Steve Harvey’s preliminary question, saying that if she had to compose a song about her Miss Universe journey it would would be titled Raise Your Flag as thanks for the unwavering support she’s gotten from the Filipinos so far. She then went on to sweep the entire competition an hour later, becoming Miss Universe 2018.
4. Carson Kressley co-hosts the pageant.
We couldn’t control our excitement when we found out that the eccentric Carson Kressley would be co-hosting this year’s Miss Universe. The iconic television personality served as the competition’s fashion expert, bringing on both the sass and the much needed sartorial commentary.
5. Ms. Spain as the first transwoman to enter Ms. Universe
While Ms. Spain unfortunately didn’t advance into the top 20, Angela Ponce has nothing to be disappointed about, breaking ground as the first transwoman to be part of Miss Universe. She even got her own moment as she was given the chance to walk down the stage solo, not only waving her sash for her country but for every transgender in the world dreaming of the day they can unapologetically be themselves without hate or prejudice. The 22-year-old’s history making feat definitely serves as a game-changer, giving representation to the LGBT community and opening up the historically all cisgender pageant to more transgender women. Because, yes, a transgender woman is a woman, too!
6. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters steps out in a suit
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters stepped out in a power suit and we're absolutely here for it! The reigning Miss Universe took to the stage with the title in her name for the last time, donning a white suit embellished with floral appliqués, and flared trousers.
7. Catriona wears her winning ear cuff for the second time.
While Catriona made noise for her Binibining Plipinas 2018 win, what caught everyone's attention were her self-designed Three Stars and and The Sun ear cuff. She re-wore the Philippine flag-inspired accessory once more to complement her winning red evening gown.
8. The catchy modern soundtrack.
We absolutely loved the contemporary bangers that played throughout the competition, from French Montana's hip-hop bop No Stylist, the sugary sweet I Like Me Better by Lauv, to Maroon 5's Girls Like You, and of course that captivating all-female orchestra version of Ne-yo's Miss Independent.
9. The winning bouquet inspired by Thai mythology.
Catriona's winning Miss Universe bouquet holds a deep meaning for country host Thailand. The white and purple bouqet was inspired by the Thai myth of the Great Naga or the Serpent King, symbolizing greatness, abundance, and faith. "[The] bouquet’s base imitates the motion of Naga patterned by using hand sewed cream color fabric with genuine pearl garnishing," the florist's Instagram post explains.
10. Miss Canada steals the show in Michael Cinco.
Miss Canada swept away everyone's heart in a breathtaking Michael Cinco couture gown. The Filipino designer crafted a body-hugging, floor-length crystallized gown for Marta Stepien, tastefully showing off her enviable physique.
11. Catriona Gray's crowning moment.
Of course, what's a highlights list without the main course? We all watched with bated breath as Steve Harvey announced Miss Universe 2018, and we can imagine the entire country erupted in thunderous celebration as our own Catriona Gray was finally crowned as this year's winner, besting Ms. Venezuela and Ms. South Africa to become the fourth Filipina to bag the title.
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