A 20-year-old dancer from Japan who wants to open an international dance school, was crowned as Miss Universe 2007.
Riyo Mori nervously grabbed the hands of first runner-up Natalia Guimaraes of Brazil just before the winner was announced.
She trembled in awe as the diamond-and-pearl-studded crown was placed on her head.
Miss USA Rachel Smith, whose chances may have been dimmed when she slipped and fell to the floor during the evening gown competition, was the contest's fourth runner-up. Also finishing in the top five were second runner-up Ly Jonaitis of Venezuela and third runner-up Honey Lee of Korea.
The winner travels the world for a year on behalf of charities and pageant sponsors.
Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza of Puerto Rico crowned her successor at the end of the two-hour telecast with the headpiece valued at $US250,000 ($305,000).
Meanwhile, Australia's Miss Universe entrant Kimberley Busteed and her controversial surf life-saving costume were a bust.
The blonde 18-year-old from Queensland had an early night at the pageant as she failed to make the first cut.
In the first half hour of the show, when the top 15 list was announced, Busteed was not among them.
Busteed, from Gladstone, appeared on stage in her red one-piece swimsuit and life-saver cap in the national costume section at the top of the show, but it did not impress the judges.
Her quick trip was identical to Australia's Miss Universe entrant last year, Erin McNaught, who was one of the favourites heading into the competition, but she was also booted in the first round.
Jennifer Hawkins set the bar high for Australia's entrants after winning the Miss Universe crown in 2004.
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