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Date Posted: 12:04:31 01/16/17 Mon
86 girls arrived in the Philippines. This equals the 4th largest turnout with 2006 and 2013.
Here are the years with the most contestants:
2011, 2012 - 89 contestants
2014 - 88 contestants
2006, 2013, 2016 - 86 contestants
1999 - 84 contestants
2009, 2010 - 83 contestants
I have to say that I am a bit disappointed with this number. Not that it is particularly low but there will have been over 13 months between the last two Miss Universes and this was the first full year under IMG.
This is the list of countries comparing to last year (80 contestants).
Debuts: Sierra Leone
Withdrawals: El Salvador, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Lebanon, Montenegro, Serbia
Returns: Barbados, Belize, Guam, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malta, Namibia, Romania, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, US Virgin Islands
My understanding is that there are brand new franchises for Barbados, Belize, Iceland, Malta, Romania and Switzerland. I believe US Virgin Islands also have a new franchisee, though I am not 99% sure. Other countries do participate irregularly. Out of new franchises: Barbados, Belize, Iceland and Malta had national pageants. Romania, Switzerland and US Virgin Islands were appointed.
There are many runner-ups (mostly 1st runner-ups), many replacements or even local winners from national pageants from last year or past. Korea and Mauritius replaced girls that were earlier designated by previous franchise owners. Bolivia and Puerto Rico inherited crowns after original winners were stripped off their titles.
This is only the 3rd time ever that Greece is not competing at Miss Universe. They did not compete at Miss World 2016 either. The organization Star Hellas has not organized pageants in past years, but they were appointing girls to international pageants. El Salvador last did not compete in 1981! Though from the website/social media, the pageant still exists. Serbia last did not compete in 1997 (as Yugoslavia). The pageant exists. Apparently the franchisee is the same person for Miss Montenegro. We do not know if they decided to skip a year or gave up on MU altogether. Lebanon's pageant changed owner, though the winner competed at Miss World. Ghana and Ireland did not organize a pageant this year, but both franchises should be back next year. Gabon withdrew only after 4 years, no national pageant was held. I am afraid this is one country that may withdraw for good.
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