The 2019 Miss Universe pageant airs live on Fox and Telemundo on Sunday, December 8 at 7/6c. 90 women from around the world have already competed for the global title during preliminaries, but only the top 20 will get to compete during the televised event.
If you’re planning on watching the pageant, you may be confused about how the scoring works in order to pick who is most deserving of the title of Miss Universe 2019. With so many beautiful, smart, and accomplished contestants and only one crown, how can a panel of only 7 judges possibly decide who to pick?
Here’s what you need to know about the scoring criteria for the 2019 Miss Universe competition, and how it all works:
The Top 20 Are Determined Based on Preliminary Scores & Compete Again in the Televised Pageant
The preliminary competition is what MissUniverse.com calls “the driving force in selecting the Semifinalists.” It includes preliminary interviews (which help the judges form their first impressions of the contestants), the swimsuit/athletic wear, and evening gown. The Top 20 Semifinalists with the highest averaged scores chosen from this preliminary round are the ones competing on national television for the crown and title of Miss Universe – you will see them chosen at the beginning of the finals show.
Once the Top 20 are chosen, all 20 will get to deliver an opening statement. Based on those statements, the judges will cut the semifinalists in half, naming a Top 10.
The Top 10 will then get to walk again in a swimsuit or athletic wear. Before another round of cuts is made, the Top 10 will then present their evening wear during another walk down the runway and across the stage; although the evening gowns were chosen by the women themselves to reflect their personal style, judging for this portion is based not on the gown design itself, but on the woman’s confidence wearing it.
After evening wear, the Top 6 will be announced. Each woman in the Top 6 will answer a Final Question from the judges at random, to test her ability to articulate herself on the spot and in front of an audience on various social, cultural, and political topics.
The Judges Switch to a Forced Ranking System to Determine the Winner From the Top 3
The final 3 are chosen based on an average of scores, but after that point, the scoring system changes in order to crown Miss Univer 2019 and determine the runners up.
Each woman in the Top 3 gets to have what the Miss Universe organization refers to as “final looks,” so that each judge has one more opportunity to determine her pick for Miss Universe. According to Valerie Hayes, this final look includes one last question that all 3 women must answer in order to make more direct comparisons. Then, instead of scoring the women on their answers, the judges each follow a forced ranking system to pick their First, Second, and Third place choices. Each judge will fill out a ballot and put a “1” next to their Miss Universe pick and a “2” for their preference in runner-up.
Each of those ranks is assigned a point value which means that ultimately, Miss Universe is the woman with the highest score after being ranked by each judge. The second-highest score will be the First Runner-Up, and so on.