Venezuela wins Miss Earth 2013

Venezuela's Alyz Henrich, 22, was crowned Miss Earth 2013 at the pageant held Saturday, December 7, at Versailles Palace in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines. In the above photo, Henrich (flashing the victory sign) is flanked by her court (left to right): Korea's Catharina Choi (Miss Earth Fire 2013), Austria's Katia Wagner (Miss Earth Air 2013), and Thailand's Punika Kulsoontornrut (Miss Earth Water 2013).
Advancing to top 8 were Kristal Silva (Mexico), Angelee de los Reyes (Philippines), Aleksandra Szczęsna (Poland), and Andjelka Tomasevic (Serbia). 
Completing the top 16 were Natalia Lermanda (Chile), Lisa Xiang (China), Sophie Garenaux (France), Virginie Dorza (Mauritius), Ashanti Mbanga (South Africa), Cristina Martinez (Spain), Ezgi Avci (Turkey), and Nicolle Velez (USA). 
Henrich's victory marks the second time Venezuela won the prestigious title (Alexandra Braun won in 2005). The pageant is significant because of its mission to promote environmental awareness to the world. In her Miss Earth profile, Henrich advocates clean water. Henrich's victory also secures Venezuela's position as the most prolific producer of pageant winners; last November 9th, Henrich's compatriot, Maria Gabriela Isler, was crowned Miss Universe 2013 in Moscow.  
Alyz Henrich

The Miss Earth 2013 pageant was live streamed and was broadcast in Venezuela via Venevision for the first time. It was also shown on Star World, ABS-CBN, Velvet,  nd The Filipino Channel. If you missed the show, you can watch it on YouTube
I did see the live stream but the connection during the first half an hour was bad as it froze several times. Miss South Sudan's video introduction did not even pop up. Entertainer David Pomeranz was a total schnoozefest and was completely out of his element. The co-host Oli Pettigrew at one point mistakenly called the pageant "Miss World" but quickly corrected himself. The jury included Lorraine Schuck, executive Vice-President of Carousel Productions which runs the pageant.

The Spanish-speaking interpreter was an improvement from past ones, and even though he might have botched Miss Venezuela's answer, the judges looked past this discrepancy and awarded her the crown anyway. It was painful to watch Miss Poland stammer in English, but blame the organizers for not having provided a Polish-speaking interpreter.

The pageant took place at Versailles Palace; no, not the Versailles Palace outside of Paris, France - but a mixed commercial and residential development located south of Metro Manila. It is probably the worst venue from a production perspective; the pool in the middle prevented cameramen from getting decent angles of the contestants positioned in the balcony or on the staircases. Fortunately, none of the girls slipped and fell into the pool, because it certainly would have made the headlines. Oh, well, congratulations to Miss Venezuela and to her court! And to Carousel, please pick a better and more decent venue next year - perhaps outside the Philippines - and get rid of Pettigrew and Pomeranz!
Versailles Palace - Filipino style
by Rafa Delfin

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