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Miss Australia Tegan Martin, Miss Netherlands Yasmin Verheijen, Miss Brazil Melissa Gurgel, Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha, and Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell onstage during The 63rd Annual Miss Universe Pageant on January 25, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

Okay, so we all heard about the drama leading up to the Miss Universe pageant, right? How Miss Israel posted a picture to her Instagram posed happily with Miss Lebanon (and Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan, neither of whom really has a beleaguered Semitic-language speaking dog in this fight), and everyone was like, “OMG! Israel and Lebanon, together, smiling, with weird Barbie-doll boobs and waists! Maybe the Miss Universe pageant is more than an excuse for Donald Trump to contractually grope scantily-clad 21-year-olds who don’t speak English but are not technically prostitutes! Maybe peace in the Middle East is possible after all!”

Well, our naïve hopes that a seemingly intractable conflict could be solved through a friendly exchange of tips on applying false eyelashes and hair care techniques were foiled when Miss Lebanon (whether as mandated by the Lebanese Miss Universe Board of Directors, if such a thing exists, or of her own volition, we’ll never really know) posted her response to the photo, claiming that Miss Israel, that pushy, pushy Jew, had shoved her way into a perfectly civilized Judenrein conversation they were having about sushi and the work of Zeljko Ivanek and photo-bombed her, just to make her look bad to her friends! Miss Lebanon may be forced by custom to share a stage with Miss Illegal-Zionist-Entity, but she would never, ever, ever have willingly posed for an actual photograph with her! The nerve!

Naturally, with such a feud brewing, I couldn’t help but tune into the pageant for the very first time, just to see if anything crazy happened. What if Miss Lebanon got a question about the situation in the Middle East? Or Miss Israel got one about Islamic terrorism? Or what if one of them fell flat on her face because other one tripped her? What would they do?

The answer is nothing! Because nothing happened, at least with regard to the feuding two, who didn’t even make it into the top 15, the round in which you prance around the stage in various outfits before finally answering a few insipid questions in 30 seconds or less. (There is no talent competition in the Miss Universe pageant. I repeat: There is no talent competition in the Miss Universe pageant. The Donald doesn’t like his women to overshadow his own, ahem, beneficent talents.)

But why didn’t anyone tell me that the Miss Universe pageant is completely awesome? It begins with the best part: a parade of the contestants in their so-called “National Costumes,” which is literally the greatest thing I’ve ever seen; it’s as if the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland had been reimagined by a horny pubescent boy. We’re talking sexy Beefeater (Great Britain), sexy Samurai (Japan), sexy Resplendent Quetzal (Guatemala, and my personal favorite, it was a genuinely gorgeous costume), sexy Ice Hockey Scoreboard (Canada, naturellement) and sexy Machu Picchu (Peru; picture a giant pre-Columbian stone fortress with no pants on. Seriously.)

Then there’s the propensity of the hosts, Natalie Morales from the Today Show and some other guy, to refer to the contestants only by their country names, as in: “There’s nothing like a plunge neckline, and nobody does it like the Netherlands.” And who could forget the inspired choice of having heavily accented judges (Lisa Vanderpump, Manny Pacquiao, some other Spanish-speaking guy I had never heard of as he is neither the star of my favorite reality show nor my husband’s favorite boxer) directly ask questions to the contestants. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand you,” said Miss Jamaica sternly to the Spanish-speaking guy, sounding like Caroline, the woman who took care of my bubbe in the difficult final months. “You’ll have to repeat yourself more clearly, please.” I adored, naturally, the answer of Miss Ukraine, who to a question about whether she would get rid of the swimsuit competition if she could, replied: “It depend on situations, but me, I feels comfortable in everythings.” It must have been music to the Donald’s ears.

But back to the subject at hand, perhaps we should look to Miss USA, who answered Manny Pacquiao’s virtually unintelligible question about how she would deal—in 30 seconds or less, remember—with “global terrorists.” “Miss Universe has a platform to spread a message of love, peace, and understanding,” she said piously. “I would tell them that.” Great. Let’s send her over to Miss Lebanon. If she can deal with that, she’s more than a match for ISIS.

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Related: Israel’s Bold New Queen





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