3

Soothing Summer: That’s So ’80s

Despite writing and editing for a few hours today, I went from 60 pages to…61 pages. Phooey.

Anyhoo, as I was walking home from the office in the rain, the song “Dancing on the Ceiling” started playing on my iPhone, and I couldn’t help but smile and recall one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time, the incredibly derpy opening to the 1988 Miss Universe Pageant.

Watch it here:

For some reason, it tickles me to watch these delightful vintage videos of women with awful hairdos dancing to corny music in useless costumes, and this one takes the cake. Skip to 2:00 for the fun to start, with a ribbon dance.

Here are my highlights:

2:20 – The producers decided to have some ladies sing a line in their native languages. Why they picked Miss France, I have no idea. She looks so bored.

2:45 – They used to have professional dancers for a reason. Most of these ladies look incredibly awkward, except Miss Scotland, who is totally on point. I’m surprised she didn’t place in the competition.

3:13 – Parade of Nations, beginning with Miss Argentina.

4:04 – And the Miss Air Pollution award goes to Erika Paoli, Miss Costa Rica. Just look at that hair height. Jeez.

4:45 – Poor Miss Honduras. She’s a little on the roly-poly side.

4:52 – Complete with a dissonant chord in the music, we get Nauseated Miss Iceland, who looks like she’s either possessed or about to puke, or both. Ironically, her roommate Miss Norway made it to the interview rounds and said that Miss Iceland was a fun roommate. Maybe they got drunk together.

5:58 – Miss Portugal is clearly on some kind of helium.

6:05 – The host delegate, Miss Republic of China, gets a few extra seconds for applause, which she uses to give the camera the “better give me the crown or I’ll kill you” eyes.

And finally, 8:43, where we get to experience Out-Of-Sync Miss Sri Lanka. Seriously, she can’t even wave her hands in the air correctly. You had one job, Miss Sri Lanka.

Also, if you look in the background at the flags, one of them is the flag of Gambia, a country which didn’t participate this year.

I don’t know why, but it makes me laugh. If you liked this post, check out my post from 3 years ago on Awkward Miss Estonia et. al.

Good night everybody.

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7

Miss Universe 2014-ish: My Semi-Serious Top 16

As most of the world knows, tonight will be finals of Miss Universe, the somewhat-annual beauty pageant/exercise in banality/secret passion of mine, brought to you by Donald “Can He Even Put All These Countries on a World Map?” Trump and hosted by Thomas “Last Year’s Model” Roberts and Natalie “Catering to the Telemundo Market” Morales, with musical guest Nick “Mr. Olivia Culpo” Jonas, Prince “I Will Sing In Spanish and I May or May Not Be Royalty” Royce, and Gavin “I’m Still Relevant” McGraw, live from Doral “We’re Not A Regular Miami Suburb, We’re a Cool Miami Suburb”, Florida, USA. And after that much-too-long sentence, let me clarify: yes, it is outdated, but it’s not harming anyone; and the banality I’m referring to is the ratings-grabbing, not-too-meaningful swimsuit competition, a segment that Miss Universe’s red-headed stepsister pageant Miss World decided was no longer necessary starting this year (I mean, seriously, it’s three hours, would it kill them to put in a talent competition?)

Last year, I made a fake awards ceremony, but this year, since a) I don’t care as much and b) I’m on the couch in a t-shirt and workout pants and it’s 4:38 PM here in Wisconsin (granted, it’s a Sunday), here are my picks for the top sixteen. I will probably only get maybe one or two of these predictions correct, but it will be kind of fun to see if my magical powers of prediction work.

I have broken them down into three categories.

The first five: They’ll Get A Placement Even If They Decide to Stay in their Hotel Rooms and Watch Netflix.

1.  USA (Nia Sanchez): Host country + it’s Miss Universe. No one will be surprised.

2. Venezuela (Migbelis Castellanos): She’s actually quite pretty and could be another back-to-back, but honestly, I think everyone’s tired of Venezuela always winning, especially in 3 out of the last 5 years. But she’s Miss Venezuela; she could be an alien who breathes fire and she’d still be called.

3. Philippines (Mary Jean Lastimosa): Because after Christianity, Miss Universe is the second-largest religion in the Philippines and 2/3 of the viewing audience would shut off their televisions if she got shut out. Plus, Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao is a judge this year.

4. Czech Republic (Gabriela Frankova): The brand new Miss Universe crown is designed by a Czech firm, so it’s almost a given that they’ll get a hat tip.

5. Puerto Rico (Gabriela Berrios): PR is quite close to Florida, geographically, so I’m sure that tons of Puerto Ricans will be in the audience and will leave if Gabriela remains on the stage after all have been called.

The next five: Girls Who Are Kinda Pretty, Come From a Populous Country, and Will Probably Not Get into the Top Ten.

6. Colombia (Paulina Vega): She’s apparently been getting a lot of attention, and apparently is a front runner, although I don’t see it.

7. Spain (Desiree Cordero): Miss Spain will fill the European quota, plus she’s actually quite good-looking.

8. India (Noyonita Lodh): Also comes from a country of rabid pageant fans, plus fills the South Asia quota.

9. South Africa (Ziphozakhe Zokufa): Will fill the Africa quota. Also, has an awesome name that I can’t wait to see everyone attempt to pronounce.

10. Thailand (Pimbongkod Chankaew): Also from a rabid-fan country (see above, Miss India) and has another awesome, unpronounceable name (see above, Miss South Africa). Probably will win the fan vote.

The final six (I get an extra one for myself because I do what I want): Girls/Countries Who I’d Like To See Place but Will Probably Not.

11. Jamaica (Kaci Fennell): Stands somewhat of a chance with a very unique, fashion-model look, and seems like a smart gal.

12. Gabon (Maggaly Nguema): Competed in several pageants already, including Miss World 2014, where she got noticed. Also, very pretty.

13. Germany (Josefin Donat): I’m liking her Jennifer Paige hairstyle. She seems like a rebel, the type of person who would take every opportunity to backhandedly stick it to Trump, so thumbs up for that.

14. Nigeria (Queen Celestine): Not a chance, but I watched this 15-second clip of her singing “Cups” on YouTube with Misses Turkey and South Africa and she has a great voice. I’d buy her album.

15. Ghana (Abena Appiah): No real reason other than her hair, which is gigantic. I bet it’s full of secrets. Either that, or snacks.

16. Israel (Doron Matalon): Mostly just because she’s Miss Israel. She has also managed to get the Trump some serious media attention this year with the Miss Lebanon selfie scandal, so that might earn her some points. Then again, last year’s Miss Israel hung out with Obama before the pageant and that got her nothing, so you never know.

Okay, now to get off the couch and actually do something with my life. Kindly leave your comments of who you think will win below, or, like most of the rest of the world, read about it tomorrow on Wikipedia.

7

Presenting Miss Universe 2014 (?), or Miss Universe’s Presents

Every year

Sometimes, the Miss Universe Pageant occurs to crown the most beautiful woman in the world according to Mr. Donald Trump. Because Trump couldn’t get his shit together, this week, the third week of January 2015, is the 2014 edition of the pageant. It is happening in exotic Doral, Florida, USA because the venue in Kiruna, Sweden melted, and the second choice, a theatre in southern Cameroon is closed for ceiling repairs. Among the exciting things the 88 girls have been doing are playing golf, painting a wall, and swimming around in a small hotel pool. I wish I had made that last sentence up.

Although I am neither for nor against beauty pageants, some of the activities they do, when taken out of context, look utterly pointless. For example, they did a gift auction, where each contestant brought some piece of crap from her home country, put it on a table, and hope someone buys it so they can fit some more hotel washcloths and half-used mini-shampoo/conditioners in that hole in their luggage. Recently, the pageants have been around Christmas, so at least the auction seemed semi-genuine; now that it’s in mid-January, it’s like “here’s something that someone gave my mom that she wanted out of the house,” or “here’s something I bought at the terminal just before I got on the plane.”

Now, you can see what kinds of souvenirs you can get when you visit Spain or China or Guam. I’ve taken the liberty of ranking each of the 88 gifts from worst to best so you don’t have to.With that said, if you want to follow along, there is a website where you can see them posing next to the gifts they brought.

 

88. Miss Bahamas didn’t even show up, so she gets a 0 for effort.

87. Miss Argentina apparently just brought herself, because she’s fabulous.

86. Miss British Virgin Islands also brought herself, because she is just too cool for all this.

85. Miss Venezuela brought her game face and her head, on which to place the Miss Universe crown.

84. I have no idea what Miss Georgia brought. She looks like she doesn’t either.

83. Miss Albania brought a tissue from a recent nosebleed…or so she says.

82. Miss Aruba brought a fancy Swiss watch. Some assembly required.

81. Miss Singapore brought a box of stuff she found in her gardening shed.

80. Miss Ecuador brought a blob of something golden.

79. Miss Indonesia brought a seashell…maybe?

78. Miss Panama either brought a rusty nail or a mummified finger. 

77. Miss Netherlands cut something from a newspaper and put it in a frame. What, no windmills?

76. Miss Brazil brought a fire alarm.

75. Miss Sri Lanka brought one of those boxes to small to put anything in.

74. Miss Slovenia brought a paperweight.

73. Miss Czech Republic brought her car keys.

72. Miss Croatia brought a tie.

71. Miss Nicaragua brought tie pins.

70. Miss Chile brought a hat.

69. Miss Sweden brought a snow globe.

68. Miss Finland brought a coffee mug.

67. Miss Korea brought an extra pair of shoes.

66. Miss Spain brought a Lonely Planet she bought in the airport in Madrid.

65. Miss Italy brought the book she read on the plane.

64. Miss Lithuania brought the menu from her country’s fanciest restaurant.

63. Miss Ukraine brought her high school yearbook.

62. Miss Guam brought a basket of papier-mache flowers.

61. Miss Norway brought my garage door opener. Thanks for costing me $100 for a replacement, Miss Norway.

60. Miss Portugal brought a sculpture of a basket or something.

59. Miss Turks and Caicos brought a sculpture from her hotel room’s patio.

58. Miss Jamaica brought a Usain Bolt workout DVD and something sparkly – nope, wait that’s the girl standing behind her.

57. Miss Peru brought her childhood troll doll.

56. Miss Slovak Republic brought a play set with a strange black arm-shaped tree.

55. Miss Nigeria brought a wooden sculpture of some guy killing a chicken.

54. Miss Tanzania brought a taller sculpture just to spite Miss Nigeria.

53. Miss Israel brought a coffee table book she stole from her grandmother’s nursing home in Fort Lauderdale.

52. Miss Puerto Rico brought a lace shawl she stole from Miss Israel’s grandmother.

51. Miss Saint Lucia brought a framed photograph of that face everyone thought they saw on the moon that turned out to be some rocks.

50. Miss Trinidad and Tobago brought a framed mouse pad.

49. Miss Mauritius brought a painting she made at one of those “paint-it-yourself” places.

48. Miss Dominican Republic brought a painting that will scare young children.

47. Miss India brought another painting that will scare young children, and looks like aliens from a distance.

46. Miss Angola brought a painting you’ll have to cover with a sheet when hosting your six-year-old’s birthday party.

45. Miss Gabon brought a painting from the Phoebe Buffay Collection.

44. Miss Serbia brought a painting that looks just the right size to hide an iPad in.

43. Miss Kosovo brought some monochromatic prints of Mother Teresa that would look fantastic at Black Hole Coffee House in Houston opposite the Lindsay Lohan ones they currently have.

42. Miss Colombia brought a necklace she made all by herself at summer camp.

41. Miss Egypt apparently went to summer camp with Colombia.

40. Miss El Salvador brought either a lovely little plate or a giant Christmas ornament that will break in your luggage.

39. Miss Mexico brought either a huge clutch or the menu from the hotel’s restaurant.

38. Miss France brought either an expensive scarf or the lint from her dryer.

37. Miss Bulgaria brought some traditional dolls that may or may not double as feather dusters.

36. Miss Kenya also brought dolls, but they look suspiciously like Barbies.

35. Miss Poland brought dolls that are also folk dance trophies.

34. Miss Ireland spent most of her money on that fancy plastic wrapping for her basket.

33. Miss Uruguay brought the magic rose from Beauty and the Beast.

32. Miss Hungary brought some pink ceramic bunnies that will look right at home on your dusty knick-knack shelf.

31. Miss Costa Rica brought a pink purse. I’m hoping that it has a Target gift card in it or something. Keep your eye on that one.

30. Miss Lebanon also brought a purse, but it’s shinier.

29. Miss Malaysia also brought a purse, but with a jeweled clasp.

28. Miss China’s overbearing grandmother couldn’t make it, so she brought her remains instead. Miss China is a heat-seeking revenge machine.

27. Miss Greece brought a sculpture of a wreath that doubles as an earring rack.

26. Miss Russia brought ceramic boots that double as vases.

25. Miss Haiti brought a drum that you know is going to leave glitter all over your house once your cat decides to play with it.

24. Miss New Zealand brought a pin depicting The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

23. Miss Philippines brought some pretty pearls that will suck if it turns out they’re plastic.

22. Miss Turkey brought the world’s biggest earrings, except she lost one.

21. Miss Australia actually brought a decent looking necklace that does not look like it came out of a gumball machine.

20. Miss Great Britain also brought a piece of silver jewelry. Boring.

19. Miss USA brought some pieces of gold jewelry. Also boring.

18. Miss Kazakhstan brought a fierce silver necklace that will kick the crap out of Australia and Great Britain’s silver necklaces.

17. Miss Belgium bought a necklace as well. Disappointingly, no diamonds.

16. Miss Switzerland brought a Swiss watch. Surprising!

15. Miss Bolivia actually brought a decent-looking piece of abstract art that is going to be a pain to jam in the backseat of your Camry.

14. Miss Guyana went shopping with Miss Bolivia but at least got an interesting frame for it.

13. Miss Guatemala brought a cigar box with a random picture on it.

12. Miss South Africa brought a nice photo of Nelson Mandela and what looks to be his nail file.

11. Miss Canada took things waaaay too seriously and brought a hockey jersey full of autographs, presumably of hockey players, or of whoever she passed it around to on the plane from Toronto.

TOP TEN BEST GIFTS

10. Miss Ghana’s gift isn’t too bad – some wooden candlestick, a finger bowl, something that might be a piggy bank – but I’m more interested in her dress which is apparently made entirely from Chupa Chups wrappers.

9. Miss Paraguay brought a tiny chocolate cake. Yum!

8. Miss Thailand brought a bowl of soup. At least I hope there’s some soup in there.

7. Miss Japan brought a silk handkerchief, presumably unused.

6. Miss Myanmar brought a table runner that’s going to be a bitch to clean.

5. Miss Austria brought an adorable traditional dress for your baby daughter and a DVD of The Sound of Music to watch until she starts singing “Do-Re-Mi” every time you get in the car, in which case you can burn it.

4. Miss Germany brought a cute cuckoo clock that your grandfather will comment on every time he comes over for dinner, and then launch into a long story everyone’s already heard.

3. Miss Ethiopia brought some kind of beautiful musical instrument. There’s nothing funny about that; that’s kind of a nice little conversation piece. A+, Miss Ethiopia.

2. Miss Honduras obviously took a page from the winner’s book and brought a lovely crystal decanter and two glasses.

AND THE WINNER IS…

1. Miss Curacao, who brought some rum from her island. She should get an automatic Top 10 spot just for that.

3

Awkward Miss Estonia, American Girls Losing the Fight Against Gravity, and Friends

First, bienvenue and merhaba to my first visitors from France and Turkey, respectively.

Second, I promise this will be my last post about beauty pageants for awhile. I swear.

With that said…

One of the things that I enjoy about watching a beauty pageant is its spontaneity, and with Miss Universe, it’s even funnier, since it’s on a global stage. Horrid talents amuse me, and some of the most defining pop culture moments of the year happen in beauty pageants, from wretched talents, awful final question answers (Miss Teen South Carolina and Miss Utah being special moments of complete WTF), and of course, everyone’s favorite, falling over.

Walking is probably the easiest thing in the world for most people to do, yet somehow some of these young women can’t even do that. Well, they can, but sometimes gravity is just not their friend. And when it happens twice, even funnier. Let’s revisit Miss Universe in 2007 and 2008, shall we?

In 2007, Miss USA Rachel Smith had made it to the evening gown round in Las Vegas, and while Sean Paul played in the background, she tripped and fell on her rear end halfway down the runway. An audible “ohhh” erupted from the American audience as she fell, but she gamely got right back up and continued walking as if nothing happened. She even made it to the next round over girls that stayed on two feet, which some people were up in arms about. Then, in 2008, Miss USA Crystle Stewart walked onto the Miss Universe stage in Vietnam in her evening gown and made history by falling again, and this time not even as gracefully as her predecessor. In some ways, this was even worse: Stewart had barely made it onto the stage with her feet when she met it with her bottom. As she got up and walked it off, she actually clapped for herself to keep the audience energy up and maybe help them forget the last five seconds (Note to Crystle Stewart – it didn’t. Nice try. Still love ya though homegirl). Something was clearly wrong as she tripped a little and almost fell a second time while turning to walk down some steps, and you can see her grasping at her dress, which was clearly the problem here.

Unfortunate? Of course. Statistically probable? Almost nil. Hilarious? YES.

And then, there’s my favorite beauty pageant contestant of all time. She didn’t place and she didn’t do anything particularly spectacular, but she won my heart.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Kirke Klemmer, AKA Awkward Miss Estonia.

https://i1.wp.com/www2.vietbao.vn/images/vi55/the-gioi-giai-tri/55117917-loandt227MissEstonia.jpg

Derp.

First of all, your name is Kirke Klemmer. There are three “k”s in your name, which is one more than kohmakas, or the Estonian word for “awkward.” Your first name is kind of like Kirk, so for some reason I picture Kirk Cameron, who is an absolute nut. Your last name is Klemmer, which is just funny, and when combined with your first name, is extremely funny to say out loud. When I put your name into Google Translate, it comes up as Norwegian for “church clamps,” which is a completely random phrase that is also funny.

Second of all, you’re from Estonia. The most random country in the world. I can’t think of a single famous person from Estonia. When I think of Estonia, all I can imagine is you and a country full of people like you, frolicking around the countryside without a care in the world. And all of you have funny somewhat Nordic or Russian-sounding names.

Third, look at you here. You are pretty and have a nice smile, but something else is going on behind those eyes. That something just might be nothing, but that’s all right with me. If you took some lithium to survive the evening , I don’t blame you. In fact, you should have received some sort of award for being making it through without falling asleep or interrupting the telecast with what was probably an epic acid trip. Your hair is styled in devil-may-care curls that make me want to say “yodel-ay-hee-hoo.” Your dress is something else. It is the color of puke. And the fabric makes it look like a rug, right down to the fringe at the bottom. It looks like something one might wear in the North – with a jacket, of course – with a kind of woolly texture.”Puke, “Woolly” and “Miss Universe” are not things that go together.

The glory starts at 2:50, when we see her for the first time. She’s the one dancing awkwardly in the yellow skirt, spinning in circles. She has an expression on her face that says, “I have no clue what I’m doing but my body is just moving around and I’m smiling like they told me to.” Then, about eight seconds later, we actually get to meet her. She’s playing with her skirt, staring off into space, and turns to face the camera at the last moment. In a monotone that sounds like she’s so strung out she might start guffawing at any given moment, she says “Kirke Klemmer, 22, Estonia” and lifts her hands to the world as if saying “I present you with my imaginary unicorn, which is ironically how I’m getting home tonight.” Also, honorable mention for looking particularly out of it: Miss Slovenia. At 8:19, she returns to the screen, bobbing around and making derpily perky Miss Czech Republic look somewhat normal in comparison. 8:21 is her shining moment, where she is seen in the background, blithely doing what looks to be the hokey-pokey in her own little bubble by a column, completely lost in her own little world. She appears again about ten seconds later next to Miss Chile, playing with her skirt and looking nowhere in particular. Sadly, that’s the last we see of her all night, but she was fun while she lasted. I can imagine her wandering around backstage, licking walls or asking people where her lollipop went.

I did a quick Google search for her and I couldn’t find much, but according to a casting website, she got a degree in acting in 2013 from Tallinn University and is doing something in London. She has a Facebook but it doesn’t have much on it but a current picture of her with another girl looking incredibly derpy in black. I’d add her as a friend, but that would be weird since I don’t actually know her. If anyone reading this does know her, tell her to contact me because she just looks like a barrel of fun. Maybe if I type Estonia a few more times, I’ll get a visitor from there. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia.

And that’s my tribute to Kirke Klemmer, Awkward Miss Estonia, briefly featured while possibly stoned on the Miss Universe stage in 2006, possibly stoned right now, and awkwardly dancing through my heart.

Estonia.

0

Miss Universe 2013 Missed the Boat

That’s right, you heard it from me. I watched the whole thing twice; once live from Russia online, and part of the NBC telecast. Overall, it was not the best thing I’ve ever seen. I thought that the presentation was just fair, the talent was mediocre, and some of the placements were completely wacko, in addition to some of the other production shenanigans. But there was some good and interesting television as well.

First off, before I go into too much detail, congratulations to Maria Gabriela Isler of Venezuela for the win. I wrote in my previous post that I liked you, and that even if it meant another win for Venezuela, she’s clearly a good choice. Apparently, the entire nation of the Philippines was going NUTS over Miss Philippines, Ariella Arida, who got waaaay further than she should have, in my opinion. The ratings probably skyrocketed for NBC, so I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if those politics kept her going. But back to the point – Good going, Ven, you did your country proud and you seem pretty cool.

  • The opening was delightful in comparison to previous years. The national costumes were featured (yay!) and it wasn’t so much, “Hi! I’m Miss Angola! Bye!” – they got to step up to the microphone and say their full names and hometowns. Seriously, it’s the least you could do for girls who flew all the way from the Caribbean to stand on the stage. When Philippines got up to speak, you couldn’t even hear her.
  • Announcement to the Philippines/Vietnam: not distasteful in the least. But why not go out and just say, “hey, here’s Miss Philippines, if we put her on your screen for ten minutes solid and then put her away, will you be quiet?”
  • Top 16: No Africa, no Oceania, and worst of all, no Israel. They finally pick a girl of winner caliber and she stayed put. Oh well, at least she’s still Miss Israel. Also, Poland was forgotten about, as well as new girls Myanmar and Azerbaijan. Homegirl Russia also missed the cut, which is pretty rare on home turf. Obvious ins were USA, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Brazil. Pleased to see Switzerland, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Ukraine, and Dominican Republic. Not too surprised about Spain, India and Indonesia. Great Britain hasn’t placed in awhile, so that was good for her, but Costa Rica and China? I was cringing at those two. Kinda knew the online voters pushed Philippines through.
  • Swimsuits? Not the most flattering nor tasteful this year.
  • Evening gowns were uneventful, no major trips or falls.
  • Ecuador’s reaction to being in the top 5 was kind of striking. She really didn’t expect it – no one did – but she actually managed to give Ecuador it’s highest ever placement by just making the top 5, so I imagine people down there are happy for her.
  • Final questions? Completely asinine, with abysmal answers. This had no impact on anything.
  • Philippines’ reaction to being eliminated was interesting – kind of a half-smile/half-frown thing, letting her guard down for a minute.
  • Final moment was HILARIOUS. I don’t quite know what happened up there, but it seemed like a case from the movie Miss Congeniality when no one can hear or think. The camera went to Spain, then to Venezuela, and they were just kind of standing there talking about goodness knows what, and then Spain was whisked away and the crown and sash came forward for Venezuela and instead of an ugly cry she did the exact opposite and did a full-on bug-eyed crazy scream that actually made me think of her as an awesome human being for having a normal reaction and not knowing how the heck to deal with it.
  • The crowning moment of the night? The crown, which kept falling off Venezuela’s head, so much so that she just gave up and took it off at one point. Props to her for the quick reflexes to catch it before it crashed into a million pieces. My theory? Maybe her hair wasn’t sprayed too much and there wasn’t anything for it to latch onto.
  • What happened to Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic? Did anyone else notice that any mention of that was completely excised?
  • Also, the credits coming on too early sucked – she was literally crowned with the words “DONALD TRUMP” on her forehead in big white letters. Irony, or just bad planning?
  • Oh, and the whole million dollar swimsuit thing? What was that about? I thought it looked pretty horrible even on Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo, and she was covering it up with a fur stole the whole time. So what it’s an expensive swimsuit – it probably can’t even get wet, which defeats the whole purpose. And also…with that million dollars, couldn’t you have done something, oh, I don’t know…charitable? Or good for the environment? Who needs a million dollar swimsuit? Especially an unflattering one.

In ten words: Blah show, Ven again, but deserving this time. Greasy crown.

Aaaaand, now it’s time to get some work done. Ha.

0

Masterpiece YouTube: Not Your Average Beauty Queens, feat. Queneerich Rehman & Alyse Eady

That’s So Jacob presents: Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 6: The Talent Portion of the Competition

One of the best parts of watching a beauty pageant is watching the section called “talent.” It’s mean to use quotation marks, but it’s true – these women might be beautiful, intelligent, and work for good charities, but not everyone’s cut out to be a performer.

But it’s fun to watch them try.

Most pageant performances are passable, a good deal are ghastly, a few are good, and only a very select few are what I would refer to as incredibleAs in, I would legit pay to see someone do this onstage. Popular choices include song and dance. Usually, that song is something operatic like “Nessun Dorma” that very few of the ladies can hit. You’ve gotta be able to store all that air somewhere inside that body of yours, and that place is not in your boobs or your butt. Even worse than opera are renditions of popular songs in a completely different style than what they were intended for. Exhibit A: Every single woman at Miss America who’s ever performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as Edith Piaf rather than Judy Garland. (Retire that song, America. It’s enough.) Dance is another popular choice. I’m partial to ethnic dance or some good Latin, jazz, or tap numbers that actually showcase some coordination or cultural awareness. Ballet and modern do not work as well. Frankly, ballet is pretty boring onstage unless you’re like one of those ballerinas on acid like in Center Stage or something. And modern? Well, you can pretty much get away with rolling around on the ground and yelling these days, so no points for you.

The next level up would be that of instrumental music. Piano is pretty traditional, but is boring to watch, unless you’re Liberace. Which I hope that none of these ladies are. Harp, guitar, violin, sax, or drums are usually a good choice, because you can move around or use some showmanship, and it’s interesting to watch. The odder the instrument, the better. I’d love to watch some girl one day play the tambourine like the useless youngest sister on The Partridge Family. Or maybe even the triangle.

And then…there were Queenie and Alyse.

First up is Queneerich “Queen E. Fresh” Rehman, Miss Philippines in Miss World 2012.

WHOA MAMA. This is some hardcore legit performance right here. It starts with some falsetto singing, but gets better and better. Not only is this lady insanely pretty, but she can beatbox.

Beatbox.

GENIUS.

Why had nobody thought of that before? Beatboxing has been around for ages, and if beauty pageants care anything about breaking stereotypes or being more “current,” as the case may be (and always is)…wake up and smell the coffee because Ms. Rehman is burnin’ down the house right here. Screw all the ladylike nonsense of ballet and singing Barbra Streisand songs – I want to see Miss Belgium break down a rap or Miss Ghana doing a hip-hop routine or…okay, maybe not twerking, per se, but how about something like crazy jump rope tricks or acrobatic dance or an old fashioned dance-off. Make it edgy and hip, and then maybe you’ll see your flagging ratings raise. And you know what else? Miss Philippines had a long ponytail and a gold outfit – no one would dare to call her unfeminine, and if someone did, they’d probably get the beat thrown right back into their face. The compilation is exquisite as well – for someone who doesn’t care much for pop music, she certainly got a lot of the basics from the 90s, 00s, and today, so kudos to her for the smooth transitions.

Next up, probably my favorite beauty pageant performance of all time: Alyse Eady, Miss Arkansas (a few years back as well).

Again, wow. Just wow. Ms. Eady clearly spent a lot of time on her craft and her presentation, because it is fantastic. Ventriloquism is something I couldn’t even begin to attempt, and I didn’t even see her lips move once!

Unfortunately, the Miss Universe pageant (like Miss USA) does not contain a talent portion, so, sorry ladies! You’ll have to leave your ballet shoes, bongo drums, and bass guitars at home for this one.

1

I Predict An Earthling Will Win: Miss Universe 2013

It’s that time of year again, and this time, on Saturday night, the eyes of the world will be on Moscow, Russia, for the biggest beauty pageant of the year, where one woman will reign victorious as the most beautiful woman in the universe and the rest will just be a bunch of losers with a lot more frequent flier miles. And this year, cold losers. What was Donald Trump thinking when he planned an event in December in Russia? Granted, it’s a lot more interesting than Las Vegas, but couldn’t they have chosen, like, Tahiti? Or Australia? Or even Italy, which is just as cultural and probably a lot warmer this time of year?

The hosts this year are Thomas Roberts (?) and former Spice Girl Mel B. Andy Cohen, who’s pretty annoying anyway, boycotted the pageant due to Russia’s stance on homosexuality. This year, 86 ladies will participate, and for the first time in over fifty years, Myanmar, and for the first time ever, Azerbaijan, a small country bordering Russia. Though there are a lot of beautiful girls this year (an unusual amount, I think), it’s still all about politics. Kosovo had to bow out due to it not being recognized by Russia as an independent country, and Albania withdrew in solidarity. Uruguay couldn’t even get a visa, for some odd reason. I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of Europeans in the finals this year.

They give out awards for congeniality and photogenic-ness, so I thought I’d give out my own awards.

The “Aren’t You In My History Class?” Award: Girls Who Study in the USA

  • Angola (Vaumara Rebelo) is studying business at Miami-Dade College in Miami, FL.
  • Bahamas (Lexi Wilson) has a degree in biology from Langston University in Langston, OK.
  • British Virgin Islands (Sharie De Castro) graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Chile (Maria-Jesus Matthei) graduated from college in Miami, FL.
  • Ghana (Hanniel Jamin) is studying at Radford University in Radford, VA.
  • Guyana (Katherina Roshana) is a college student in Long Island, NY.
  • Haiti (Mondiana Pierre) is a college student in Miami, FL.
  • Myanmar (Moe Set Wine) has a degree from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Nicaragua (Nastassja Bolivar) studied at Miami International University in Miami, FL.
  • Trinidad and Tobago (Catherine Miller) graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA.
  • Turks and Caicos (Snwazna Adams) graduated from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL.

Maybe Angola and Haiti can carpool once neither of them wins. (Sorry, girls, but I don’t think it’ll be you this year.)

And, for good measure:

The “You’re Not From Around Here, or Are You?” Award: Girls Born in a Different Country From the One They Represent:

  • Guyana (Katherina Roshana) was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
  • Israel (Yityish Titi Aynaw) was born in Chahawit, Gondar, Ethiopia.
  • Italy (Luna Voce) was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Nicaragua (Nastassja Bolivar) was born in Miami, Florida, USA.
  • Russia (Elmira Abdrazakova) was born in Zhelezin District, Kazakhstan.
  • Turkey (Berrin Kekliker) was born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

So, not that many this year.

Traditionally they have a top 15, and this year, 1 more from the Internet viewers to make it a top 16. I’ve picked my favorites, which probably means that they will be clapping come Saturday night.

In alphabetical order:

  1. Brazil (Jakelyne Oliveira) – she’s pretty, if not a little plastic-looking.
  2. Curacao (Eline de Pool) – kind of looks like Jeannie Mai, and very pretty for a country that’s barely placed in the past.
  3. Czech Republic (Gabriela Kratochvilova) – hilarious in her YouTube video and looks like she’d actually be fun to hang out with.
  4. Guatemala (Paulette Samayoa) – she seems funny from her interview, and she’s kinda cute.
  5. Honduras (Diana Mendoza) – Her name is Diana Mendoza. There’s already BEEN a Miss Universe named Diana (Dayana) Mendoza. IMAGINE THE CONFUSION.
  6. Hungary (Rebeka Karpati) – I don’t know why, but I think she’s kind of adorable. No real other reason.
  7. Israel (Yityish “Titi” Aynaw) – Obvious reasons, and she’s also drop dead gorgeous. Also, she’s gotten a lot of buzz already for being the first black Miss Israel, meeting and dining with Obama in Jerusalem, and visiting the USA. Also, she looks great even in candid shots.
  8. Japan (Yukimi Matsuo) – she’s a comic book artist, and a really talented one at that. I like people who are multi-faceted and she seems like one of them.
  9. Myanmar (Moe Set Wine) – it would be hilarious if Myanmar made a huge comeback. She seems plain and there’s absolutely no chance she’s going to actually win, but she might get the Internet spot.
  10. Namibia (Paulina Malulu) – her name is funny, and she has a lot of experience as a beauty queen, so she’s one of the more qualified, if we’re going by that.
  11. Poland (Paulina Krupinska) – already tapped as a potential winner, I really like all of the pictures I’ve seen of Miss Poland. Much like Israel, she can’t take a bad picture.
  12. Puerto Rico (Monic Perez) – she seems rather intelligent, and speaks Russian in addition to English and Spanish. I know Puerto Rico usually wins and I root for the underdog, but I wouldn’t be mad if this girl wins, as it’s been almost a decade since a Miss Puerto Rico won.
  13. Switzerland (Dominique Rinderknecht) – Miley Cyrus totally copied her haircut, and in her YouTube video, she keeps a balloon in the air for a really long time using just her breath. Either she’s really good at following directions, or full of hot air. Either way, a fun girl.
  14. Thailand (Chalita Yaemwannang) – I’d love to see how many ways the press will mispronounce and misprint her name.
  15. Ukraine (Olga Storozhenko) – another girl from a nearby country with good relations with Russia. She looks very dainty and ladylike, in contrast to the current Miss Universe, who’s pretty and relatable but wasn’t my choice last year.
  16. Venezuela (Maria Gabriela Isler) – another girl, like Puerto Rico, from a country that’s had more than its share of winners, but just look at this chick, she’s gorgeous, and if she wins based on her beauty alone…well then, that’s not the worst thing to win based on, since she’s competing in, you know, a beauty pageant.

I have a few more pageant-related posts in the works (it’s not an obsession, I swear, just a fascination), but I’m really hoping for some history to be made, or at least an awkward final question answer.