Lea Salonga as one of the Judges in Miss Universe

One of the Filipinos Pride, a Tony and Oliver Award-winning theater actress, the Disney legend and the Broadway star Ms. Lea Salonga has been chosen by the Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart and NBC Universal head Donald J. Trump to be one of the seven telecast judges of the 2011 Miss Universe pageant. This will be held in at the Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil this September 12, 2011 as the preliminary judges selected the top 15 semi-finalist for the pageant’s night.

Lea Salonga is the fifth Filipino to become a judge in the 60-year history of the world’s most prestigious beauty pageant. The most recent Filipino judge for the Miss Universe beauty pageant was Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation Chairman Don Emilio T. Yap when the contest was held in Manila in 1994. India’s Sushmita Sen won the beauty pageant. The first Filipino judge for the contest was the late Gen. Carlos P. Romulo when the Miss Universe contest was held for the first time in Manila in 1974. The late Amparo Munoz of Spain won the contest, only to give up her crown later. Fashion designer Josie Natori became the second Filipino judge in 1989; and later singer-actress Kuh Ledesma in 1991.

Miss Universe 2011, the 60th anniversary of the Miss Universe pageant. Ximena Navarrete of Mexico will crown her successor. Contestants from 89 countries and territories are participating in this year´s pageant, surpassing the previous record of 86 contestants in 2006.

Joining our very own Lea Salonga in judging the 89 delegates of Miss Universe 2011, are the following: Adrienne Maloof, from Bravo’s hit series “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2003. Connie Chung, U.S. broadcast legend. Helios Castroneves, three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. Isabeli Fontana, Brazilian supermodel and Vivica Fox, actress & television producer.

Andy Cohen of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens: Live” and Natalie Morales of NBC’s “Today” will be hosting the event. Live performances will come from Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Bebel Gilberto and Brazilian native pop singer Claudia Leitte.

Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup and the 88 other contestants were judged based on personal interview, evening gown, and swimsuit. The personal interviews were conducted for two days, ahead of the preliminary competitions on swimsuit and evening gown. A total of 16 semifinalists are expected to be announced in the finals. Telecast judges will then choose the Top 8 and Top 4 contestants.

The live coverage of the 2011 Miss Universe beauty pageant will be shown on ABS-CBN on September 13 in the morning.

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