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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.

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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.