Filipino beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach is back to the Miss Universe competition this time as a judge as Iris Mittenaere of France is set to crown her successor. She was one of the six judges during the Miss Universe 2017 grand coronation night on Nov. 26, Sunday, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Steve Harvey was back as the host of the beauty pageant. After the announcement of the Top 16 quarter-finalists, he briefly interviewed the judges.
Wurtzbach’s fellow Filipino Rachel Peters was one of the Top 16 quarter-finalists. She was not one of the candidates selected from the candidates from Africa and Asia Pacific but she made it to the wildcard.
When it was Wurtzbach’s turn, the Miss Universe 2015 titleholder said it was harder to be a judge than to be Miss Universe. In 2015, Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez, who was the first runner-up, as the winner instead of Wurtzbach.
Miss Universe 2015 was not the only former titleholder in the panel of judges. Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam also served as a judge both in the preliminaries and in the final telecast.
Like Fitzwilliam, Fox Sports 1 host and reporter Megan Olivi was also a judge both in the preliminaries and in the final telecast. The other four judges in the preliminaries were IMG Models scout Isabelle Lindblom, Slay Models founder and director Cecilio Asuncion, IDT Telecom CEO, president and co-chairman Bill Pereira and TAO restaurant group marketing director Morgan Dean.
Joining Wurtzbach, Fitzwilliam and Olivi in the panel of judges during the final telecast were Ross Matthews, Lele Pons and Manuel. Joining Harvey as a co-host was Manuel’s fellow former “America’s Next Top Model” host Ashley Graham.
Wurtzbach was not the first Filipino to serve as a judge at Miss Universe. Lea Salonga and Manny Pacquiao have also played the same role in the past.