The 2021 Miss Universe pageant will take place in the southern city of Eilat. The 70th edition of the awards is the first to be hosted by Israel and is the first pageant to be held in the Middle East since 2000.
The Port of Eilat was announced as the location of the grand finale on Wednesday, as the event will be broadcast live to around 600 million viewers across more than 170 countries. Representatives from 90 countries and 5 continents are expected to participate in the pageant, which will be hosted by American television presenter Steve Harvey.
The contest will feature a guest performance by Israeli singer Noa Kirel, who has won the MTV Europe Music Awards for best Israeli act every year since 2017, marking the first time in the competition’s history that a local singer will participate in the event. At 14 years old, Kirel unveiled her debut single “Medabrim” (“Talking”), which took off as a phenomenon in Israel and paved the way for her eventual superstardom.
“I’m so excited and honored to be performing at Miss Universe,” Kirel said about the opportunity to perform in front of over 5,000 live fans in her home country and hundreds of millions across the globe. “By believing in themselves and fearlessly chasing their dreams, these women from around the world live and breathe the values of the Miss Universe Organization, and I can’t wait to share this celebratory moment with all of them on this incredible global stage."
While talks originally had Costa Rica slated to host the awards, Israel was confirmed as the host country last July. Miss Universe President Paula M. Sugart felt good about the decision, saying "I know that the city of Eilat will provide a great space for our contestants to study and grow together."
Israel’s Tourism Minister Yoel Rezbozov celebrated the pageant’s arrival. "Despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus, we knew how to maintain the balance between health and economy, return tourism to Israel and create tourism anchors that will promote and present Israel to the world, as a vaccinated country that invites tourists,” he declared.
Eilat Mayor Eli Lankri shared the Tourism Minister’s sentiments, adding “To our delight, the hundreds of millions of viewers around the world who will watch the competition will also be able to enjoy through the screens the rare beauty of the city.”
“The choice of Eilat will continue to strengthen its position as a leading international tourist city."
The pageant will end with the current Miss Universe, Mexico’s Andrea Meza, crowning her successor, as is customary in Miss Universe pageants. Mesa, a former software engineer, defeated Miss Brazil in the 2020 pageant, which was held last May after pandemic-related delays.
This year's rendition will also debut the first Emirati contestant, as the UAE have yet to participate in the pageant. The inaugural Miss UAE will be crowned this November, and her participation in Israel is the latest in improved ties between Israel and the UAE.
Ticket sales for all events will begin on November 15th, 2021.