Miss World 2021 finals moved to 2022, but will stay in Puerto Rico

This is the second year the annual beauty pageant has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic

Miss World contestants at the welcoming ceremony for the candidates of Miss World 2021 in Puerto Rico. EPA
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Miss World Toni-Ann Singh's reign as the longest title-holder in history has been extended following the delay of the annual beauty pageant for the second year.

Singh, who is Miss Jamaica World 2019, was crowned Miss World in 2019 but held on to her title after the event was cancelled in 2020 owing to the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, organisers announced the 2021 pageant will also be moved to March, after several Covid-19 infections were detected during the preliminary rounds at the pageant in Puerto Rico.

"The Miss World Organisation is pleased to announce March 16, 2022, as the rescheduled date for the Miss World 2021 global telecast and its 70th-anniversary finale live from the Puerto Rico Coliseum Jose Miguel Agrelot," organisers said. "We are so excited that we are staying in Puerto Rico to crown the new Miss World.”

Contestants from 98 countries had been camped at the US territory for four weeks, taking part in interviews and competitions ahead of the December 16 finals. But a day before coronation night, Puerto Rican health authorities confirmed 17 people involved with the pageant had tested positive for Covid-19.

While the Miss World Organisation didn't specify how many of the contestants were among those who tested positive, Puerto Rican daily Primera Hora said there were about seven "isolated" candidates with possible coronavirus infections.

The news eventually led to the cancellation of the finale last week, with organisers saying the event would be held "within the next 90 days".

"After meeting with the virologists and medical experts hired to oversee the Miss World 2021 event and discussing with the Puerto Rico Health Department, the decision has been made by the organisers of the event to postpone the globally broadcast finale," the Miss World Organisation announced via social media.

"As of yesterday, additional safety measures were implemented in the best interest of the contestants, production team and spectators, understanding the event increased risks on the stage and in the dressing room. However, after additional positive cases were confirmed this morning after consulting with health officials and experts, the postponement decision was made."

Last month at the Miss Universe pageant, Miss France Clemence Botino was forced to quarantine for 10 days after she tested positive upon her arrival in Israel. Botino, who made it to the finals in Eilat on December 12, addressed the issue on stage.

“We are living [through] an international crisis. We have to handle it, now the situation made me stronger,” she told the audience.

Participants at Miss World 2021 included Khadija Omar, Somalia's first hijabi candidate as well as representatives from Iraq, Tunisia and Turkey.

All tickets purchased for the December 16 event will be honoured in March, the Miss World Organisation said, with refunds options also available.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of the people here. Contestants from around the globe will return to the Isle of Enchantment to compete for the coveted Miss World crown in March," said Julia Morley, president of Miss World Ltd.

"The pre-recorded content that has been taped throughout Puerto Rico during the past four weeks will be broadcast internationally during the finale.“

Scroll through the gallery below for pictures from the Miss World 2019 pageant:

Updated: February 01, 2022, 8:51 AM