Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, walks on stage during a performance by Australian singer Timomatic, during the Miss Universe pageant.–Photo by AP

LAS VEGAS: A 20-year-old beauty queen who plays the cello and is a breast cancer advocate was crowned Miss Universe, the eighth time an American has won the pageant where the world's most beautiful women parade in bikinis and ball gowns.

Olivia Culpo, 20, a brunette from Rhode Island, was chosen by a 10-judge panel from 89 contestants representing countries ranging from India to Kosovo and Britain.

Culpo, wearing a red, long-sleeved dress for her final look, was the eighth winner from the United States in the contest's 60-year history, and the first Miss USA to take the title since 1997.

Miss Philippines, 23-year-old Janine Tugonon, was the runner-up and Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, came third after the top five answered brief questions posed by the judges.

Culpo takes the place of last year's winner Leila Lopes, who was the first ever Miss Universe from Angola.

Miss Guatemala, Laura Godoy, was chosen Miss Congeniality after the two-hour pageant that featured live performances by US pop group Train and Nigerian-born Australian singer and dancer Timomatic.

Contestants must be aged between 18 and 27, unmarried and with no children.

The contest was broadcast live on US television from the Planet Hollywood hotel and seen by an estimated 1 billion viewers on TV and online in 190 countries, organizers said.

Culpo will travel the world for the next year representing the Miss Universe Organization and a charity of her choice.

After reaching the top five, Culpo was asked to name one thing she would never do again. “Picking on my siblings growing up,” she replied.

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Comments (3)

xx
December 20, 2012 2:42 pm
Akoi - so bitter! your ms india is so dumb and india nowadays dont even place in beauty contest at all. xx
Jagdish
December 20, 2012 2:40 pm
"where the world’s most beautiful women parade in bikinis and ball gowns." I don't see anything any wrong in it.To see the complete body you need a women to wear bikini you can't judge a women with all her body covered with clothes.
Akoi
December 20, 2012 8:52 am
India was in semifinal, top 16. This girl shippa singh was not the original to represent but urvashi rautela who was dethroned as her age was 21 days less to participate in Miss Universe, else she would have won or would have been 1st runner up.
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