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Glory, gowns, goofy questions: 6 things you missed from the Miss Universe pageant

Paulina Vega is Miss Universe
TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP - Getty Images

Now we know: Miss Colombia, Paulina Vega, is the most beautiful woman in the entire universe!

Vega was crowned Sunday night after beating out first runner-up Miss USA Nia Sanchez and 88 other contestants from around the world in the 63rd Annual Miss Universe Pageant. The event, held in Doral, Fla., was hosted by Thomas Roberts and TODAY's Natalie Morales and kicked off on Wednesday with a completely wacky preliminary show in which contestants wore amazing costumes inspired by their home countries.

On January 25, 88 contestants from around the world will compete for the coveted crown. Take a look at the contenders dressed up in dramatic outfits inspired by their home countries

But for those who "miss-ed" the big event Sunday night, here's six other amazing (if not nearly as off-the-wall) moments that made the glitz and the glam worth watching:

1. Contestants could save the world!
It's a little unfair to give someone a few seconds to do what politicians can't with all the time in the world, but as always the Miss Universe contestants were often asked to dig deep and do things like send a message to the terrorists. When asked to do that, Miss USA said this:

"I know, as Miss USA, I can always spread a message of hope and love and peace, and I would do my very best to spread that message to them and everyone else in the world."

Hard to disagree, though it doesn't seem like it'll change foreign policy.

2. Summing it all up
During the big winnowing-down (knocking out 73 contestants to get to the Final 15), a video highlighted the best qualities and accomplishments of each candidate, while boiling them down into a catch phrase. That meant Miss USA was the "Tae Kwon Do Kid," 3rd runner-up Yasmin Verheijen (Miss Netherlands) was "The Urban Explorer" and the night's winner was ... "Beach Family." Well, if you had to be summed up in 5 words or less, how would you fare?

3. Hot Florida vacation spot: Doral!
For those of you who aren't super-familiar with Doral, a city of 45,000 just north of Miami, it's high time to rectify that. For not only was the show all about the beauty of the ladies, it was also about the beauty of, well, Doral. During the show the town got a lot of hype (though it's still being built up in many areas) and real estate mogul/Miss Universe franchise owner Donald Trump put in an appearance to tell us how awesome the place is.

Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha got a chance to get serious about politics in her country during the show.TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Today

4. Fans save the day
Sure, there was that awkward save the world question and answer session with the ladies, but fortunately there was the new addition of the Fan Question, which led to this submitted question: "What is the greatest contribution of your country to the entire world?" And that led to some great answers — in which the women talked about political strife (2nd runner-up Diana Harkusha, Miss Ukraine) and cultural tolerance (Miss Netherlands) and the way her people have survived tough times (Miss Colombia).

Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell wore what might have been the most stunning of the gowns.Today

5. The gowns
It's hard to watch Miss Universe in January, when so many of us are fighting the post-holiday bulge. These women were just stunning in their sparkling, satiny, svelte evening wear, curls tumbling over one shoulder artfully and smiles set on stun. One true knockout: Kaci Fennell (Miss Jamaica), whose backless, form-fitting red gown was as edgy as her oh-so-short pixie haircut. (She was the 4th runner-up, and post-show #MissJamaicaShouldHaveWon began trending on Twitter.)

The busiest participant of all at the Miss Universe Pageant: Co- host Natalie Morales!Today

6. Natalie Morales, who is our Miss Universe every year
Did anyone have a better time than Morales? Based solely on her social media, we think not!



She retweeted the image below, in which Gabriela Berrios (Miss Puerto Rico) popped into the shot. Well, Berrios was awarded Miss Photogenic after all!



Stay beautiful, and see you next year!

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