No Steve Harvey, but still a lot of controversy -- the new owner of Miss Universe has been accused of rigging the pageant for Miss USA ... despite some other clear favorites.
Anne Jakrajutatip -- who's the chief of JKN Global Group, which owns both Miss Universe and Miss USA -- is being called out by dissatisfied fans online, who feel like the fact that she literally controls both competitions is a little suspect ... not to mention where this was held.
For starters, Miss Universe was hosted in New Orleans -- airing on Roku -- and some claim the fix was in from the get-go to make sure R'Bonney Gabriel was crowned by the show's ending ... which did, in fact, happen. The runner-up was Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel.
Dudamel impressed throughout the broadcast, especially with her heartfelt answers on certain questions. Her outfits were also less ridiculed than the ones Gabriel wore, particularly in the costume category ... when she walked onstage with a WILD moon landing getup.
All this aside, many are pointing to what seems to be an obvious conflict of interest from Jakrajutatip and co. Her corporation bought Miss Universe this past fall for a reported $20 million, and with it came the rights to Miss USA ... which falls under the same umbrella.
Even before this pageant, there were already gripes about how Gabriel came to be Miss USA in the first place ... dating back to October, when JKN Global came onboard as the new shot-callers. Some have claimed there was favoritism afoot in that competition as well ... and there've even been suspensions in the top ranks as a result of investigations into it.
Of course, another curve ball here is the fact Jakrajutatip is transgender -- something that caught the attention of many when she delivered a powerful speech at one point in the broadcast ... where she said Miss Universe was now owned by women, for women.
Bottom line ... Miss Universe is still as dramatic as ever, with or without any faux pas.