The 20-year-old beauty is the 8th American to win the pageant; India fails to enter top 10
A 20-year-old beauty queen who plays the cello and is a breast cancer advocate was crowned Miss Universe on Wednesday, 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.
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.
The 23-year-old Bihar-born girl entered the top 16 of the Miss Universe competition being held at Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip, but failed to enter the top 10 slot.
Miss Guatemala, Laura Godoy, was chosen Miss Congeniality after the two-hour pageant that featured live performances by U.S. pop group Train and Nigerian-born Australian singer and dancer Timomatic.
The contest was broadcast live on U.S. television from the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino in Las Vegas 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.
The contest, owned jointly by businessman Donald Trump and the NBC network, held a moment of silence for the 20 children and six staff gunned down at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14.