Over 70 candidates enter ‘bubble’ for 69th Miss Universe Competition

Published May 7, 2021, 4:00 AM

by Robert Requintina

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi

After one year of delay due to the pandemic, the 69th Miss Universe Competition goes into full swing as 74 candidates began to enter the”bubble”at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Florida on May 6-7.

For the safety of the candidates and guests, gala events for the candidates have been scrapped during the 10-day stint at the popular hotel, with most of the activities focused on rehearsals, photo and video shoots, and pre-pageant events.

Wearing face masks and face shields, the candidates blew kisses to photographers as they checked-in at the hotel. Tickets to competitions have also been sold out with limited audience.

Seminole Hard Rock’s Safe + Sound protocols follows similar guidelines as enacted successfully during the 2020 MISS USA Competition, produced in Memphis, Tennessee in November.

These policies included mask usage, social distancing, quarantining upon arrival and rigorous testing, as well as a working group with others following the same restrictions, in coordination with health officials.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Miss Universe Organization in putting on an innovative event under unique circumstances that will lean heavily on our industry-leading Safe+Sound protocols to prioritize the well-being of all event participants,” said Keith Sheldon, President of Entertainment for Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming.

Sheldion added: “While safety will be at the forefront, we also look forward to showcasing the Hard Rock brand and all that our flagship Guitar Hotel property has to offer to audiences around the globe.”

Comprised of specially trained team members, the Safe+Sound team is responsible for both the safety of our guests and team members as well as the cleanliness and sanitation of all Seminole Gaming properties, pageant organizers said.

“Safe+Sound Security team members will be responsible for all temperature checks, monitoring entrances/exits, reminding guests and team members of physical distancing requirements, managing line queuing, and distributing PPE as well as ensuring that everyone is following the required PPE protocols.

The Safe+Sound Clean Team will have the sole function to clean and sanitize high traffic touch point areas throughout the property and dispose of all used PPE. They will be clearly visible with a bright yellow uniform stating “Clean Team.”

They will assist all departments in maintaining the property duly sanitized with the appropriate chemicals which may include electrostatic and UV equipment, organizers also said.

“We have spent months planning and preparing safety precautions to develop this edition of MISS UNIVERSE—one that will be memorable, special and totally innovative,” said Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization. “I look forward to seeing this work come to fruition and crowning a new Miss Universe.”

The three-hour event will feature women representing dozens of countries competing in multiple categories, including personal statement, swimsuit, evening gown and interview, ending with Zozibini Tunzi, who will be the longest-ever reigning Miss Universe, crowning her successor.

“I always knew that my reign as Miss Universe would be unlike any other,” said Tunzi. “While it was nothing like what I had imagined my year to be, this year has opened doors for me I could never have imagined. I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect virtually with people all over the world and elevate the causes I care most about.”

Actor-television host Mario Lopez and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo return as hosts of the 69th Miss Universe Competition.

The finals of 69th Miss Universe Competition will air from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood on Sunday, May 16, 2021 (May 17 in Manila). The competition will broadcast live around the world from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.