Puerto Rican actress is Miss Universe 2006

Also finishing in the top five were second runner-up Lauriane Gillieron of Switzerland, third runner-up Lourdes Arevalos of Paraguay, and fourth runner-up Tara Conner of the United States.

The field of 86 was actually narrowed to 20 last week during preliminary judging in the contest's swimsuit, evening gown and interview categories, but finalists weren't announced until Sunday's show was under way, allowing all 86 to be introduced to the television audience.

At the opening of the ceremony, several of the contestants sported costumes featuring colorful native dress, including feathers, sequins, fur, massive headpieces and, in the case of Miss Japan, a Samurai sword.

Lia Andrea Ramos of Philippines was chosen most photogenic in an online vote by the public. Angela Asare of Ghana won the congeniality award in a vote by all 86 contestants. Chibana, who carried the impressive looking Samurai sword, won the award for best national costume.

The pageant began with the top 20 finalists' names being announced early in the show.

Then their scores were discarded and competition began again, with the field gradually narrowed throughout the night.

As soon as the final 20 had been selected, they immediately strutted across the stage in skimpy two-piece bikinis for the swimsuit competition.

After being narrowed to the final 10, the competition moved to evening gowns, with the smiling contestants walking across the stage to music provided by Grigolo.

The winner travels the world for a year on behalf of charities and pageant sponsors.

Natalie Glebova of Canada was to crown her successor at the end of the two-hour telecast with a diamond-and-pearl-studded headpiece valued at $250,000 (euro197,000).

The celebrity judging panel included actor James Lesure of "Las Vegas''; "Desperate Housewives'' creator Marc Cherry; actress Bridgette Wilson Sampras; Sean Yazbeck, newest winner of "The Apprentice''; former Dallas Cowboys star Emmitt Smith; anchor Maria Celeste Arraras of Telemundo's "Al Rojo Vivo''; Claudia Jordan, briefcase model on "Deal or No Deal''; fashion photographer Patrick McMullan, and 2003 Miss Universe Amelia Vega.