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.


Ladies Who Write Plays

I should really, really, probably be doing reading for this week’s classes, especially since I have a meeting with my professor to discuss my…discussion-leading on Baal for Wednesday, but I actually finished a book – two in fact – and since I had a pretty good day today and I’m riding high at the moment on some personal successes, I’m going to post a review of one of them: Contemporary Women Playwrights: Into the Twenty-First Century, a collection edited by Penny Farfan and Lesley Ferris.

Written in 2013, it was not exactly the year’s hottest seller, but every time I walked past it in the library, it caught my attention, and for good reason. It was pretty good.

Rather than give a plot summary, here are my picks for favorite and least favorite essays.

Favorite Essays

  • “Transcultural Dramaturgies: Latina Theatre’s Third Wave,” Natalie Alvarez. The author does an excellent job of getting her point across and making the playwrights (Caridad Svich, Tanya Saracho, and Carmen Aguirre) and their plays sound fascinating. Like, I want to order those plays right now.
  • “Writing Across Our Sea of Islands: Contemporary Women Playwrights from Oceania,” Diana Looser. Mostly because I love Nora-Vagi Brash of Papua New Guinea and she is mentioned several times throughout. Looser makes some interesting observations about the nature of Oceanian theatre which really says something.

Least Favorite Essays

  • “Asian American Women Playwrights and the Dilemma of the Identity Play: Staging Heterotopic Subjectivities,” Esther Kim Lee. The subject matter is interesting, but not how the author puts it. I’m sorry, but Esther Kim Lee wrote terribly here. It seems more like a first draft than a final essay. She relies too much on pull quotes, has no variations in sentence structure, and repeats herself constantly. For example, page 250:
    • Paragraph 2 begins with “Nina quickly learns, however, that Mrs. Chae can never replace her mother, whom she sees as having been different from other Korean women in the way she taught her daughter about racial equality” (Lee 250).
    • Paragraph 3 (the very next one) begins like so: “For Nina, the memory of her mother, whom Mrs. Chae can never replace, guides her in creating for her interracial child an ideal surrounding, a kind of utopia that neither she nor Miles could enjoy during their own childhoods” (Lee 250).
  • “Deb Margolin, Robbie McCauley, Peggy Shaw: Affect and Performance,” Elin Diamond. Okay, I’m going to giving Diamond a bit of a break here because I’ve read and enjoyed her stuff before, but I’m just not a Peggy Shaw fan. I saw Split Britches in Chicago and practically slept through it. Clearly, I did not get it. Also, I might have slept a little through this chapter.

Plays/Playwrights I Want to Read Now:

  • Caridad Svich, Prodigal Kiss
  • Tanya Saracho, El Nogalar
  • Carmen Aguirre, The Refugee Hotel
  • Briar Grace-Smith, anything.
  • Riwia Brown, Irirangi Bay
  • Whiti Hereaka, Te Kaupoi
  • Courtney Sina Meredith, Rushing Dolls
  • Kia Corthron, A Cool Dip in a Barren Saharan Crick
  • Chantal Bilodeau, Sila
  • Christopher St. John, The First Actress
  • Judith Thompson, Sled
  • Marie Clements, Burning Vision
  • Julia Cho, 99 Histories

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, I did watch Miss Universe yesterday. All three painful hours of off-key singing in Spanish, Nick Jonas running around, Jeannie Mai babbling on about nothing, 70 ladies who flew to the USA just to dance around in a circle, and the abysmal final questions. I was pleasantly surprised and having correctly predicted 7 of the top 15: USA, Venezuela, Philippines, Spain, India, Colombia, and Jamaica. I was ecstatic when 3 of my picks made it to the top 5, and like the rest of the auditorium, was shocked when Jamaica was called as 4th runner-up. At that point, I was rooting for anyone other than USA, and Colombia was basically the best of the other four. Congratulations Ms. Vega, and to Colombia, for your second Miss Universe and first since the 1950s. The biggest problem this year was the complete eschewing of African candidates, two years running, and the fact that 14/15 countries had placed at least once in the past 5 years, with the only exception being Argentina (who placed in 2006, only 9 years ago). I’m of the opinion that either Africa and the Caribbean should stop sending contestants or there be a continent quota. Just saying.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.



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.



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.