Andrea Meza, the former Miss Universe from Mexico, was crowned her successor in Eilat, an Israeli resort town on the Red Sea. To accommodate primetime in the U.S., the pageant took place in the middle of night and ended at 5 a.m. local (10 p.m. EDT).
Sandhu stated that she felt "overwhelmed" because it has been 21 years since India won Miss Universe crown. It's happening now.
Traditional displays of swimwear, national costumes and interview questions were all part of the pageant. The top 10 wore full-length, intricately adorned gowns in gold, silver, or bronze. Beatrice Luigi Gomez, Philippines, wore an asymmetrical-cut dress with one sleeves that highlighted a new tattoo that she said "celebrates" her womanhood.
The contest attracted attention for many other reasons in recent weeks.
To protest Israel's treatment Palestinians, a grassroots boycott had been called by the Palestinians.
Only Malaysia, a country that is a majority Muslim and has close ties with the Palestinians, sent a representative. This was due to the global COVID-19 situation. South Africa's government strongly supports the Palestinian cause and withdrew its support for her participation. Meza, however, urged contestants not to engage in politics at the pageant. She stated that the event was intended to bring together women of different backgrounds. She told The Associated Press that "when you're in there, you forget about politics, religion, and your background."
Sara Salansky from the Israeli Tourism Ministry said that the country was chosen to host the contest because of Israel's coronavirus vaccination program.
Last-minute problems caused by the arrival of the Omicron variant meant that Israel had to close its borders to foreign visitors late last month.
The majority of Miss Universe contestants had been in the country long before the new regulations were implemented. However, those who arrived after the new regulations were implemented received special permission to enter.
All contestants were tested for coronavirus at least once every 48 hours, and they had to adhere to strict mask rules.
Clemence Botino from France, a contestant in the France-Israeli sex contest, was found to be positive for COVID-19 despite all precautions. She was released from quarantine after 10 days and is now allowed to return to the competition.
The pandemic that struck in May caused the delay of last year's pageant. Meza was then crowned in May.
Steve Harvey, a U.S. television personality hosted Sunday's contest. The organizers estimated that the pageant would reach 600 million viewers through the FOX network, which is available in 172 countries.