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Top 10 EPIC Miss Universe Fails

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Dale Anthony Cook
When trying to become recognized as the most beautiful person in the Universe, be warned, there is very little room for error. Welcome to Watchmojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Miss Universe fails. For this list, we’re focusing on the worst mishaps, failures, and controversies in the history of the Miss Universe beauty pageant.
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When trying to become recognized as the most beautiful person in the Universe, be warned, there is very little room for error. Welcome to Watchmojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Miss Universe fails.

For this list, we’re focusing on the worst mishaps, failures, and controversies in the history of the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

#10: Miss USA’s Transformers Costume


This is a cool outfit and everything, but seriously? In a round in which competitors are supposed to express the traditions and uniqueness of their motherland . . . Erin Brady decided dress up as a Transformer. This is not a comment on the craftsmanship that went into Miss USA 2013’s costume, by the way; it's just a suggestion that her choice may have missed the mark conceptually. Oh well, we guess you can't dress up as the Statue of Liberty every year. One thing's for sure, it was a bold choice from the land of the brave.

#9: Miss Puerto Rico Is Stripped of Her Crown


After storming to victory in the Miss Universe Puerto Rico section of the competition, Kristhielee Caride had a few contractual obligations to uphold before she continued on to Miss Universe. Specifically, she had to use a designated hair salon, and do the usual round of interviews, photo shoots, and public appearances. She drew the ire of pageant organizers however when she stuck with her own stylist, came across as uncomfortable and standoffish in one interview - admitting that she didn’t like the cameras - and failed to turn up for another. Caride was stripped of her crown and title, and although she took legal action, the court ruled against her.

#8: Miss USA Gets Booed in Mexico


Not for the first time in a Miss Universe competition, Miss USA got served up one heck of a hostile reception in Mexico. After narrowly beating home crowd favorite Miss Mexico into a 5th place finish during a segment of the 2007 competition, Miss USA Rachel Smith was roundly booed by the audience. Professional to the end, she smiled through the noise and answered her question intelligently, but it was pretty harsh to say the least. It was later reported that the Mexican audience was voicing their disapproval of US politics, rather than of the contestant. Either way, at least Rachel can now count herself as an esteemed member of the elite, Miss-USA-gets-booed-out-of-Mexico club.

#7: Miss Russia Is Dethroned


There’s a little confusion over the dethroning of 2002 winner Oxana Fedorova. Donald Trump said that she was fired for not performing promotional duties, while rumors circulated that Fedorova had gotten pregnant by a Russian mobster. However, Fedorova claimed that she’d chosen to move on after being demeaned on The Howard Stern Show, and blamed pageant organizers for failing to warn her about Stern’s sleazy interview style. After that debacle, she decided to put her law degree and career as a police officer front and center - so good for her.

#6: Miss Serbia & Montenegro Goes Full-Literal


Asked to partake in a fun little game of “would you rather”, this contestant just decides she would rather not. The question was simple enough: if you could be either fire or water which would you be and why? This is where the contestant usually thinks up a nice little metaphor and runs with it. Not Miss S&M Sanja Papic. Instead, she decided to remind all us crazy dreamers out there that being fire or water is not even in the realm of human possibility! Was she joking . . . or is she the most stubbornly scientific thinker to have ever walked the face of the earth? We‘ll probably never know.

#5: Miss USA 2018 Offends the Non-English Speaking World


In the modern day of smartphones and social media, very little escapes the public's attention, so you better watch your words when vying for Miss Universe. Unfortunately for the USA’s Sarah Rose Summers, she must have missed the memo. When a live stream of her making fun of Miss Vietnam and Miss Cambodia for their grasp of English went viral, she was left red-faced and apologetic. Maybe it was more ignorant than malicious, but it was definitely condescending. Let’s hope the episode was an eye opener for her, because, after all, it's Miss Universe, not Miss English.

#4: Miss Venezuela Makes Absolutely No Sense


We’ve all gotten tongue-tied once or twice in our lives, and remaining perfectly articulate in front of thousands of excited people is no easy task, but hey, whoever said becoming Miss Universe was easy? It certainly wasn’t easy for Miss Venezuela Irene Esser. After being asked what law she would change, she fired off a confusing monologue about the constitution and surfing . . . or something. There was probably a little lost in translation, as she was speaking in her second language; or maybe she misunderstood the question and was creating a law for a bold new universe entirely. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t impressed.

#3: Miss USA Falls Two Years Running


Whoever said: “lightning won’t strike twice” clearly wasn’t watching the 2007 and 2008 Miss Universe competitions. Now, it's coincidental enough that two American entrants, Rachel Smith and Crystle Stewart, both hit the deck while performing at the pageant, but for this to happen in consecutive years, and in the exact same segment of the competition, well that’s just freaky. After Crystle followed Rachel's lead and took a tumble during the evening gown section, the rest of the world must have been wondering if gravity works differently in the States. At least Miss USA 2009 was safe in the knowledge that lightning never strikes THRICE.

#2: Miss Venezuela Is Body-Shamed by Donald Trump


Considered one of the best contestants to ever grace the Miss Universe stage, Alicia Machado had delighted the crowd on her way to victory in the 1996 edition of Miss U. However, in the months afterward, she put on weight, much to the displeasure of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump thought it was appropriate to call out Miss Venezuela in public, referring to her as an “eating machine” in one interview, and allegedly “Miss Piggy” on other occasions. After becoming a US citizen, Alicia stuck it to Trump by becoming a vocal advocate of Hillary Clinton during the presidential election.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions:
Steve Harvey Mishears Name of Grandson
Miss Philippines 1999 Hits the Deck
Miss Venezuela 2009 Drops Her Crown
Miss Guyana 2012 Takes a Tumble
Miss Venezuela 2018 Blanks & Walks Away

#1: Steve Harvey Crowns the Wrong Contestant


Reliable TV funny man Steve Harvey seemed like a no-brainer when it came to selecting a host for the 2015 competition. He was doing great too, until he ruined the climax of the show by crowning the wrong contestant. The celebrations for the victory of Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez were already in flow when Steve sheepishly reemerged to announce his error: the real winner was actually Miss Philippines. Ouch! Weeks later, once the dust settled, he apologized profusely, and Gutierrez was able to laugh a little while also taking him to task. And Steve? He was awarded a new and improved contract. Not a bad deal for an epic fail.
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