According to an interview with the Miss Universe choreographer, the owner of the pageant Donald Trump plays a bigger role in choosing the girls than you think.

Michael Schwandt tells how Trump lines up all the contestants before the competition and hand picks six of the finalists, before any judging takes place.

"At all the shows, he pops in the day before the telecast and we line up all the girls in alphabetical order behind microphones. And they say their name, age and country. Then we line them up in alphabetical order in one single file line across the stage. And he basically walks by and has an assistant that takes notes on all the girls. And it's just kind of common knowledge that he picks six of the top fifteen single-handedly. So, the other nine of the top fifteen are judged in a preliminary show the week before and picked by those judges, but he picks six of the top fifteen."

So, he's orchestrating at least a portion of the results? Right. And, his reason for doing so, as he told me and he's told the girls before, is that he left it all up to preliminary judging in the past and some of the most beautiful women, in his opinion, were not in the top fifteen and he was kind of upset about that. And he decided that he would pick a certain number and let the judges pick a certain number.

Trump's personal judging round is not mentioned in the pageant rules:-

HOW ARE THE SEMI-FINALISTS CHOSEN? In 1997, a dual-paneled judging system was introduced, One panel judges the preliminary rounds; the other panel judges the live telecast. All contestants are judged in three areas of preliminary competition which are not always televised due to time constraints: 1. Interviews - Judges spend time with each delegate to learn about her successes, goals and ambitions. 2. Swimsuit Competition - Each delegate wears one of a variety of swimsuit styles provided by a sponsor. 3. Evening Gown Competition - Each delegate wears a gown she has chosen for herself. All scores are tallied in each of the three categories. The contestants with the highest aggregate scores are named the semi-finalists. The competition is narrowed twice more to produce the winner.

Source: The Huffington Post