The Philippine Daily Inquirer is asking the question that Pinoy beauty pageant fans want to ask: "How true is the talk we've heard that William Morris Endeavor/IMG, which owns the Miss Universe franchise, has cancelled [the] plan [of setting the pageant in the Philippines]?"
The rumor is that WME/IMG "cited political instability, security concerns and the Philippines not paying the hosting fee yet as the reasons for the cancellation."
Moreover, there are allegations that the co-CEO and owner of WME/IMG, Ari Emanuel, who happens to be Jewish, was "offended by President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial remarks mentioning Hitler."
For the record, though, Department of Tourism chief Wanda Teo has denied the cancellation rumors. In an October 5 article in the Philippine Star, she was quoted as saying, "I'd like to assure you that Miss Universe, the contest, will be here [in January] definitely."
Meanwhile, reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said she is "keeping her fingers crossed" that the pageant pushes through in the country.
In light of this rumor, WME/IMG cancelled its upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event—UFC Fight Night 97—which was already set in Manila on October 15. This is because, as MMA Fighting revealed, main card fighter BJ Penn "pulled out of the fight on Wednesday, October 5, citing a rib injury." They were not able to find a replacement to fight his opponent Ricardo Lamas.
Perhaps people think the same thing will happen to the Miss Universe pageant. But as far as we know, beauty queens never pull out even if they're injured.
Kidding aside, the only thing we can do now is wait for updates. Fortunately, this is the kind of stress that beauty pageant fans are more or less equipped to handle. We experience the same pins-and-needles feeling when they announce the pageant's winners.
It'll be heartbreaking if we miss the chance to host Miss U—but it won't be the end of the world. As Miss Wurtzbach herself will tell you, there's always a next time.