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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Miss Earth 2009 Post Analysis

The beauty pageant that concerns about environmental awareness, Miss Earth 2009 culminated last Sunday, November 22 with Larissa Ramos of Brazil taking home the crown as the new Miss Earth. But even after the pageant has ended, the air of cynicism and discontent kept chilling me to what has transpired over the three weeks of tireless fun and frolic of delegates yet so mediocre and substandard running of a pageant. I expect much out of the pageant considered as one of the biggest glamorous pageant in the planet but instead turns out to be the biggest flop. There are hits and misses that I found disorienting – a slap in one’s face. Here’s the detail of what I observe during the finals night.
The night started with the sexy, chic introduction of the 80 gorgeous competing ladies clad in swimsuit splashing the waves of the beautiful paradise island of Boracay. They introduce themselves wearing their national costumes with the backdrop of idyllic images of the island paradise. Then the ladies wearing a two-piece with a velvet piece of garment draped over their body running from the outside towards the stage, while the audience confused looking at them. The ladies seems excited and agitating with moves and actions of their own anticipating of who will make the cut. Then came the presenters/hosts for that night’s event. They seem relaxed, friendly but look like they are well-rehearsed and composed.
Announcement of judges left me numbed for awhile to see if they are noteworthy & would give incredible scoring and something keeps asking me if they are the same judges as the preliminaries (in my own opinion the preliminary judging is clouded in mystery & controversy because there is no formal preliminary competition of ladies in swimsuit, evening gown & interview where everybody can watch either on television or on the web and have a scoring displayed so the audience including the experts will have an overview and have their own preferences – except their personality where they will be judged on different occasions & situations so as to justify the top 16 semifinalists) and also to pick out only the strongest contenders for the crown. I was dumbstruck to find out the judges were mostly Filipinos either businessman or politician whose pageant & fashion expertise is questionable and not validated, the rest are beauty queens and a hotel owner who I can only perceive as judging based on their sashes and performance on Miss Earth. The country’s tourism is promoted before the commercial ads – places where the ladies visited which should be given emphasis and utmost importance since the pageant is all about nature and wildlife. After commercials, top 16 were revealed and again I was surprised of who made the cut. Surprising delegates who were not either a favorite or interesting and fierce competitive ladies and does not exude charm & exotic looks but who made the cut were Brazil, Thailand, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Singapore, Martinique, India & Paraguay. Brazil may have the exotic looks but a serious and prestigious pageant such as Miss Universe would ignore and snub her considering some other ladies would fare better than her. Thailand has very strong physical features that deserve no better than a big pageant but no less than a local community pageant and her catwalk skills plus uneven body figure would be too boorish to be considered. Northern Ireland is not savvy and not even a pageant patty lady in serious contention but her sunny disposition and pleasant demeanor help her shoo-in the finals. I have seen gorgeous, fierce Amazonas from South Africa competing in various pageants but not Miss Earth. They sent mediocre and lousy ladies to compete at the pageant and Chanel Grantham is no exception. She doesn’t seem like competing but just enjoy the pageant has to offer. Singapore ‘s participation in several pageant is a friendly gesture in warm support of the event and rarely made the cut due to kind of ladies being sent for competition but was surprised to watch their representative the less attractive Valerie Lim made the lousy 16 semifinalists maybe a friendly consolation to a small country faithfully participating in the pageant, or maybe just maybe they saw Miss Universe 1987 where less known but deserving delegates made the cute unlike Miss Earth where the undeserving made it - but actually for some pundits, one of the bottom lists. Martinique has a good standing and performance at the pageant and to be fair with Pascal Nelide, Martinique representative this year, she is competitive and working her way to make the cut but it seems that other fierce ladies should’ve easily outrank her in the top 16. India is considered as one of the beauty pageant powerhouses that always made a placement in major beauty pageants except Miss International, but this year Miss India’s Shriya Kishore didn’t show exuberance, brilliance, sparkling and seductive appearance and her lack of blazing aura and flare would’ve automatically cost her placement. Have the accommodating Miss Earth judges based their criteria on her sash? Paraguay seldom send competitive delegate to beauty pageant (the last one is Lourdes Arevalos, semifinalist in Miss Universe 2006) and Gabriela Rejala is no exception. She doesn’t have the glow and sparkle and her voluptuous figure and awkward presence would’ve dislodge her from serious contention.
The announcement of semifinalists doesn’t elicit excitement and prestige because the ladies are in a hurry going to their posts as they were announced with just a split second glimpse of their beauty. The top 16 went on to compete for swimsuit and evening gown and the top 8 highest combined score will move closer to the crown. At first, I saw some desperate and sorely painful to the eye gowns of a few ladies but comes the finals I saw some trendy and fabulous gown though their catwalk skills are still a so-so. Stunners for me that night were Spain, Poland and Venezuela though all throughout the pageant I felt that the latter doesn’t feel like competing and she doesn’t look fresh and amiable. Miss Philippines’ gown has a striking resemblance to ketchup gown of Stefania Fernandez perceiving that this kind of gown would be a standout. The top eight ladies went on to compete for a simple yet sensible message based on the images they saw. Introduced by Miss Earth in its early years and once again integrated in the competition, this is a unique approach and also a trendsetting alternative to a final question that will determine the eventual winner. Each of the eight finalists were shown different images from different places on the planet based on a certain environmental issue or problem and they were only given thirty (30) seconds to deliver a message based on what they saw. This is one of the most controversial part of the show watching the host intercepting the ladies in their speeches to tell them that their time is up as no bell is available to ring the end of their 30-second message. The host bet themselves to shame and insult by the jeering, uncontrolled rowdy mobs, by just perspiring and heart beating rapidly until the end the competition. It seems more like of a circus show than a formal beauty pageant competition as the audience behavior is focused for awhile in the camera. Most of the delegates gave astounding and persuasive answers except Venezuela who delivered a scripted message right before the images were revealed and again stick to her notes after watching them. For me, it would technically deny her a placement. Some ladies gave an unsubstantiated answer since they are still building up their message when their time is through. But somehow they are much knowledgeable, sensible, aware and eloquent compared to vague and dumb top five in Miss Universe 2009. After all the drama, upsets and rising controversy, the results were revealed. Runners-up were announced and most people expect that there will be a back-to-back victory for the Philippines after Sandra Seifert delivered a warm and calling message to unite and provide solution to the critical environmental problems or issues that we are facing affecting the planet Earth and the people instead she eventually ended as 1st runner-up to Brazil’s Larissa Ramos who won Miss Earth 2009. I observe that Miss Universe 2009 is way prettier and sexy than the T-Rex Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez. I also observe that when Miss Universe pick up a less than pretty lady as winner, Miss Earth also do the same. I don’t know why Miss Earth don’t have a mind of their own. After the winner is proclaimed, there is no symbolic first walk for the reigning queen that should’ve been done to give a moment and fame to the winner but unfortunately everything is done in haste that only a pictorial of top four is done and right after that the candidates goes giggling over the winner and the crowd is uncontrollably mingling with the delegates with some taking some pictures with the delegates wearing their sashes and pushing each other on stage. Mind you, no press conference thereafter. There is no crowd control, no manners around and everything is chaotic. What a mess!
The pageant started, conducted and ended hastily without much buzz and hype due to tacky conduct of the pageant. There is a lack of coordination between the organizers and its partners, officials to conduct a fabulous, well-organized pageant and run a glamorous show and flaws were exposed during the conduct of the pageant. The TV network that helped organize the event for years will have its reputation put on the line for lack of efforts and expertise in staging a magnificent show. Some pundits even recommend transferring the beauty pageant to a rival large TV network that’s known for world class and stunning production and entertainment. The quality of ladies competing, their costumes and evening gown indicates and describe the reputation and the quality of the pageant. Reform, transformation and creative, open-minded approach to the pageant would spell the difference and would regain the attention of the pundits. For now we will give the benefit of the doubt to Miss Earth Foundation and who knows what will happen. Congratulations to the winners and may you have a fruitful and powerful year of reign to influence others in defending Mother Earth!
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