Miss Universe Organization
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 | 8:58 a.m.
It’s been a whirlwind of daily 10-hour rehearsals, glamour sessions and shooting TV segments for the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant contestants who are headquartered at Planet Hollywood. They’ve been around-the-clock busy since their Dec. 2 arrivals, and it all leads up to Dec. 19’s global telecast on NBC and Telemundo.
It will be sent via satellite to more than 100 countries with an expected audience of 1 billion -- extraordinary promotion for Las Vegas. The 89 contestants have been busy rehearsing dance routines and pageant walk presentations while shuttling between convention rooms at Bally’s and Planet Hollywood.
They’ve juggled modeling sessions for their Kooey Australian swimwear shot on location at Caesars Palace and on a green video screen so that telecast producers can superimpose any background they wish. They’ve also modeled their formal evening gowns and Chinese Laundry footwear.
The glamour girls have shot promotional segments all over town: at Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris and at the new Linq under construction alongside the Flamingo.
They dined at Robert Earl’s Buca di Beppo east of the Strip. The pageant princesses from the European Common market -- Italy, Spain, France and England -- re-created the Italian movie poster with Sophia Loren looking down on them trying to wrangle the pasta.
Miss Universe can toot its own horn because there are nine musicians among the competitors. Miss USA Olivia Culpo amazes with her cello skills (once performing with Yo-Yo Ma) and eight others strut to their own musical beat:
Miss Chile Ana Luisa Konig plays violin and guitar; Miss China Ji Dan Xu has played piano since she was 3 and won national competitions; Miss Korea Sung-hye Lee has won awards for her violin and cello performances; Miss Puerto Rico Bodine Koehler has been a pianist and music composer since 12; and Miss Russia Elizaveta Golovanova graduated with a piano degree. Additionally, Miss Czech Republic Tereza Chlebovska, Miss Cyprus Ioanna Yiannakou and Miss France Marie Payet are accomplished singers.
The first and only preliminary pageant competition is Thursday, with the national costume presentations Friday. The two-hour NBC and Telemundo broadcast is Wednesday, Dec. 19, from PH Live at Planet Hollywood starting at 5 p.m. PT for East Coast prime time.
What began in 1952 as a swimsuit competition in Long Beach, Calif., has been transformed into an international annual tradition with hundreds of young beauties vying to become part of Miss Universe history. The pageant, along with Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, is owned by Donald Trump.
Bravo’s Andy Cohen and E! Entertainment’s Giuliana Rancic host, with 2011 Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup as fashion correspondent and entertainment from Train in the swimsuit competition. Reigning Miss Universe Leila Lopes of Angola crowns her successor at the end of the telecast.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.