Saturday, September 17, 2011

By Ayus Wijaya

The final review of Miss Universe 2011. Which ones that I like? Which ones that I dislike? Find out all here!

The Brazilian stage!

Love It
Things I like

The swimsuit competition
Set in a bright green jungle-like setting (perhaps a tribute to the evergreen Amazon rainforest), the swimsuit competition is, in my opinion, the best segment of the night. I love the idea of having the semifinalists emerged from behind two large colorful feather fans held by two hunky men dressed in tribal costume. It gives the vibe that the girls were the Queens of the Jungle and the men were their servants (another tribute to the Amazon, this time for the legendary all female warriors tribe in the mythology). The music chosen for the segment, “Locomotion”, also perfectly set the mood for the sexy and energetic competition. From all segments of the final telecast, this is the one that I would love to watch over again and again.

Miss Photogenic chosen by experts
No more Miss Vote-o-genic! After a decade the winners of Miss Photogenic award is determined by popular vote (which led to some certain pageant fanatic countries winning it again and again), the winner of Miss Photogenic award is finally chosen by a panel of experts. This is something that Miss Universe should have done since a long time ago. The winner of Miss Photogenic award should be chosen by people who really understand the concept of beauty in photography and not by some fanatic people who will relentlessly vote for their country delegate regardless she is photogenic or not.

My mega fave of the night, China, graces the stage elegantly in a fierce red gown

The diverse Top 5
Two from Asia, one from Europe, one from America, and one from Angola. The Top 5 finalists this year is clearly a very diverse one (unlike the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009 edition where America dominated). I always love to see a diverse set of finalists in a pageant because it truly shows that beauty indeed comes in various colors, shapes, and forms, from ebony black Angola to porcelain white China, from exotic Philippines to sultry Ukraine!

The commentators
To my surprise, Miss USA 2004 Shandi Finnesey, and host of Style Network’s "How Do I Look" Jeannie Mai, actually did more than decent job as the commentators of the night. While their comments were not entirely useful, they provided quite entertainment with some insight scoops and witty comments. My fave comment from the duo was when they said bluntly during the swimsuit round that Miss Portugal was being so lucky for winning the online vote because otherwise she would just be another clapper of the night. Way to be honest, girls!

The new Miss Universe
Is Miss Angola the prettiest girl in the bunch? No. Is Miss Angola the smartest girl in the bunch? No. Does she deserve to be Miss Universe 2011? Absolutely yes! While Leila Lopes is not the prettiest or the smartest girl in the bunch, she is a safe choice to become the next Miss Universe. She is charming, seems quite relatable, and not fake, all qualities that a Miss Universe should have. She did everything right during the entire competition and looked absolutely gorgeous during the final night. Plus she is also a deviation from a decade long pattern where Miss Universe winners were always light-skinned beauties. Her victory will inspire many people and open their eyes to a new perspective of beauty. I admit that I am not a fan of her but I can accept her as a Miss Universe. Good luck Leila and wish you a wonderful year ahead!

Top 10 sexiest body in the universe

Leave It
Things I dislike

The opening number without dance
I love “Mas que Nada” to death. It is my new fave song in my playlist right now. But sadly, it is the only thing that I like from the opening number. The rest is a total boring-fest, especially without the usual opening dance. After such an electrifying and memorable opening dance in 2010 edition, having no opening dance in 2011 edition is a huge stepback. There is no excitement anymore, and everything is just boring and bland.

The not shown national costume
Here are some facts on why I think all national costumes of Miss Universe contestants should be shown during the telecast. First, a lot of these countries have prepared their national costumes since a very long time prior to the competition started. Second, the national costumes usually come in grandeur pieces, creating them, preparing their detail, bringing them to Brazil, and eventually wearing them for the taping certainly consume a lot of space, time, and money. And third, national costume segment has become a favorite of many fans, including myself. Showing only a selected pieces of national costume is not fair for the delegates and not fun for us, the fans.

Yes! I'm in Top 5! Eat that boo-ers!

The exclusion of Malaysia and Greece
The biggest surprise of the night is perhaps the exclusion of Miss Malaysia from the Top 16. Deborah Henry is a very stunning girl and she has a great communication skill too, so what’s wrong with her? Is it because she was a former Miss World semifinalist? Is it because she does not come from a traditional pageant powerhouse country? Is it because a “behind-the-scene” incident that we would never know? Whatever the reason is, not having her as a Top 16 is a great loss. The same thing goes to Miss Greece, a true Goddess-like beauty, who was inexplicably left out cold in the dust. If I were the judges, I would never give a Top 16 spot for Miss “Ooops-I-forgot-to-wear-my-panties” Colombia and instead I would give it to either of these 2 more deserving girls.

The fan voting meter
It is huge. It is distracting. And it is useless. The worst innovation of 2011 edition is, without doubt, the fan voting meter. Not only it has no relevance to the actual result of the competition, it also distracts and disturbs the viewers attention from the real attraction of the show itself, the girls struts for their life in swimsuit and evening gown competition. Miss Universe Organization, please scrap that ugly fan voting meter out and let the usual telecast judge score return for the next edition!

Back to Back! Philippines enters the Top 5 for two years in row!

The not-so-grandeur tribute
When I heard Miss Universe would celebrate its Diamond Anniversary this year, I expected a special reunion of former Miss Universe titleholders and a tribute for past Miss Universe winners and editions, like the ones they did in Miss USA earlier this year. But what we got during the final night was nothing but a less than 3 minutes clips tribute, and that’s about it. No former titleholders reunion and no special tribute dedicated to commemorate the long history of Miss Universe. It is so sad that in such a special moment like that Miss Universe Organization failed to show an appropriate respect for its own former titleholders and its own history.

The religious question
In my opinion, religion is personal and private thing for everyone and it any religion-related question should not be asked in pageants. The question posed for Miss Philippines in Top 5 round is a clear example for this. Asked by Vivica A. Fox whether she would change her religious belief to marry someone that she loves, Miss Philippines gave a solid (and probably the best) answer for the night, which should earn her the Diamond Nexus crown or at least a First Runner Up placement. But in the end, she was ranked much lower and only ended up as Third Runner Up. Considering the nature of religious belief as a very private and sensitive thing, it is not surprising if, perhaps, some of the judges, who had a different personal opinion from her would feel offended with her answer and scored her very low, the only explanation that I can think of to explain the loss of Miss Philippines. I wish Miss Universe Organization would reconsider this matter and avoid having religious related question in the Top 5 round.

Black is beautiful, the new Miss Universe 2011 from Angola

So that's all for this year. Stay tuned for Miss Universe 2012 next year! And don't forget to visit our blog regularly to check out the coverages of the other international pageants! It's the pageant season and there are still plenty pageants to come!

Photos credit : Global Beauties
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