Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Miss World 2013 was a long-month event of beauty, culture, and positivity that, at some point of the event, was on the verge of disaster after a sudden decision by the government to move the location of the contest due to increasingly protests from some hardline religious groups. Despite the obstacles, the event went out smoothly without any incident, and in the end, I could proudly say that it was a testament that my beloved country Indonesia is a safe and peaceful place to hold such a grand international event. The event reached its climax on September 28th with a spectacular Grand Final, and though the event was finally over, there are still two articles left in our blog to talk about Miss World 2013, starting with this artcle where I will bring you all to take "a look back" at Miss World 2013.

Miss World 2013 and her royal courts

The Pre-Final Activities 
Miss World is known for its exciting pre-Final activities, contestants from the recent past years have visited a World Cup stadium, the iconic London Eye, and an Inner Mongolia dune, this year is no exception. From the beginning, the contestants have been involved in various exciting trips and activities, which includes visit to local landmarks and tourist attractions, such as the Mother Temple of Besakih and Bali Safari and Marine Park. They were also welcomed in a spectacular Opening Show and treated with a Gala Dinner at Garuda Kencana Cultural Park. However after a strong line up of activities for the first two weeks, their third week in Bali went flat and was spent mostly by rehearsals at the hotel. It was caused by the government’s last-minute decision that the entire pageant activities had to be held in Bali only, while originally the third week of the pageant should have been spent in Yogyakarta and Jakarta. That of course, left the organizer to scramble and try to find alternate activities for the contestants in Bali. In the end, they manage to set other exciting activities as alternates, including the International Day of Peace commemoration at Desa Budaya Kertalangu Park. But still the pre-Final activities would have been more exciting and fantastic had they have been allowed to visit Yogyakarta and Jakarta, as both cities possess its own unique landmarks and unique sets of activities.

The stage dimmed in icy blue light prior to the show

The Challenge Events 
The major highlight of this year Challenge Events is without a doubt, the Top Model competition. With a colorful ensemble of designs from 48 Indonesian elite designers, the event was a spectacular fashion show where the contestants were transformed into Byzantine Goddesses. Other Challenge Events also went out smoothly with unique Indonesian flair such as the Balinese sarong used for the Beach Fashion competition. A new development was made for the Multimedia competition, where the contestants were tasked to create social media campaign to raise awareness about local endangered animals. The mother of all Challenge Events, the Beauty with a Purpose, also received a deservingly special treatment with a special television show conducted to promote its cause and a special day in calendar, September 23rd,  is now commemorated to its name.

A group of multicolored dancers serves as the overture to the Grand Final

The Coverage
Miss World Organization did a fantastic job for covering the whole competitions. Their official website and Facebook were constantly updated with pictures and information about the events. This year fans were treated with hundred of pictures from all of major activities, including complete gallery of all contestants during the Beach Fashion and the Top Model competition. For the first time ever, the Beauty with a Purpose videos of all participating contestants were also made available for the fans. They even had a special team which consists of two Miss World 2011 sassy and witty alumnae Gwendoline Ruais and Jennifer Reoch and the super hot reigning Mister World 2013 Francisco Escobar to provide daily behind-the-scene reports from the pageant on their official Youtube. On the top of that, several important events were also made available to watch via webcast. I certainly love this development and hopefully Miss World Organization would continue this trend in the future editions.

Host delegate Vania Larissa during contestant introduction

The Final Venue
Sentul International Convention Center (SICC) with its 11,000 seats would have been the best venue for a grand event such as Miss World 2013 Final. There is no doubt about that. But when the recent development forbade the magnificent planned venue to be used, Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC) came as a salvation. Though not as grandeur as SICC, this eventual venue for Miss World 2013 Final proved to be a great venue too. Surely the organizer had to do a lot of scale-down adjustments, but from the eyes of the viewers, there was no sense of scale down at all. The stage was big and beautiful, the production number was awesome, and the whole show went out spectacularly without major problems or technical errors. Personally I was satisfied with BNDCC as the final choice for the venue, but I do still hope that when Miss World returns to Indonesia in 2015, SICC could be used as the venue instead.

The eventual winner Megan Young during contestant introduction

The Presenters 
There were four presenters for Miss World 2013 Final, international hosts Myleene Klass and Kamal Ibrahim and local hosts Daniel Mananta and Amanda Zevannya. Frankly I think having four presenters is just too many and totally ineffective, especially that out of four, only Myleene Klass did satisfactorily great for me. Former Mister World Kamal Ibrahim, tough a clear eye-candy, was visibly nervous throughout the night, most notably during his awkward interview with judge Ken Warwick. He has talent in presenting but certainly needs more experience and training before he could become a polished one. Daniel Mananta and Amanda Zevannya were both energetic and, in my opinion, actually performing better than Kamal Ibrahim. But their performance were still nowhere close from Myleene Klass level and as I read in several reviews from international fans, they sometimes spoke too fast and with their accented English, it was more difficult for international fans to understand what they said. If I could give suggestion to Miss World Organization, I would suggest them to stick with two international presenters only. Instead they could borrow Miss Universe concept and use the local presenters as commentators. That way the presenting team would have worked more effective and less confusing.

Sea of flags!

The Music 
There were two main musical guests for the night, Blue and Matt Cardle. Blue performed twice, singing their current single “Break My Heart” and their number one hits “One Love”. Out of these two, my favorite was easily the latter one as it was more familiar to me and also because during the performance, all the contestants were on stage and performed a dance to the song tunes. Matt Cardle performed shortly after the Top 6 announced, singing the song that earned him a standing ovation during his The X-Factor stint, “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, with the Top 6 finalists standing on the stage. While I love the ambience set by his performance, I actually wish the finalists had more interactions with the singer, just like in Miss Universe Final Look segment, rather than just standing there beautifully. Another musical treat came from Talent competition Champion, Vania Larissa from Indonesia, singing her winning song “Question of Honor” and I had to admit that I got a momentarily goosebumps from her operatic performance. Her collaboration with Miss World 2012 Wenxia Yu and Talent competition Runner Up, Erin Holland from Australia, was also another delightful treat to watch.

Top 10 announced

The Production 
Compared to the previous editions, this year Miss World Final production followed a more fast paced and dynamic rhythm, which is a good thing, as it makes the show become more exciting and less boring. Unfortunately, the show did not go without flaws as several mistakes occurred during the broadcast. There were some contestants who missed their “two seconds of fame” moment during contestant introduction segment due to camera glitch. Then at the Top 10 presentation, Naa Okailey Shooter from Ghana had to be called three times before she realized that her name was called. During Beauty with a Purpose announcement, Kamal Ibrahim’s mic suddenly went off. And finally when it was Philippines turn to have her video appeared on screen, they erroneously showed video of Poland instead. On the good side, there were more redeeming qualities to the show, such as the opening segment featuring Indonesian local artists performing traditional dances in vibrant and colorful costumes. The Dance of The World segment, a favorite of many fans including myself, also improved a lot this year with more varieties of traditional dance type chosen and given the solo spotlight. The return of video diary during the Top 6 interview was also another great addition to the show, giving us more personal insight about the last standing contestants on the stage.

Top 5 and the wildcard announced

The Scoreboard 
The now famous Miss World Scoreboard also returned this year, but now with only 20 nations on its list each time it appeared on the screen. With the number of candidates reduced, Miss World was finally able to present all of its quarterfinalists properly on the stage. In 2011, there were 30 quarterfinalists on the list but only 20 called and presented on the stage. In 2012, all 30 quarterfinalists presented on the stage but they were never identified and only 15 of them who made the semifinal cut who were announced and identified. This time all 20 quarterfinalists were presented on stage and they were announced one by one, giving them the individual recognition for making it that far in the competition, before whittled down to Top 10 semifinalists. I love this format better and I hope Miss World will continue to use this Scoreboard system as I find it as the best pageant judging system in the entire world at this moment.

The operatic trio - Erin Holland, Wenxia Yu, and Vania Larissa

The Twist 
Having an element of unpredictability is essential to make a show exciting and Miss World reserves it this year in the form of People’s Champion award. Embracing the new era of gadgets and technology, Miss World smartly launched an App for Android and Apple this year where users could vote for their favorite contestant. The twist is, whoever wins the most votes from these gadget users will automatically place as finalist, even if she was not among the Top 20 or Top 10. Some people may say it is unfair, but I love this new twist so much because it makes the complete finalists line up could not be predicted until the very last minute of competition. This twist also gives hope to any contestants who were eliminated by the judges before the Top 5 as any of them can “come back from the grave” and suddenly enter the final phase of the competition.

Megan Young reacted in disbelief moments after she was announced as the winner

The Result 
I have a mixed feeling regarding this year result. Talking about disappointment, there were some contestants that were not in the Top 20 that I wish were actually the Top 20 such as Cameroon, China PR, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Denmark, Japan, Puerto Rico, and South Sudan. On the opposite there were some contestants that were in the Top 20 that I wish were actually not the Top 20 such as Aruba, Belgium, Canada, and Dominican Republic. I was also upset that the breathtaking beauty Anna Zaiachkivska from Ukraine missed the Top 10 by a very close inch. Had she made it to the Top 10, the competition would certainly become increasingly tougher. But as the elimination progressed to the latter stage of the competition, my disappointment started to dissipate and I started to feel satisfied. I love the Top 10 and I adore the Top 5. Ever since I followed pageant in 1999, I think the Top 5 chosen by the judges this year was the best set of Top 5 I have ever seen in any pageant. Forgive me for the exaggeration, but the Top 5, they are just insanely gorgeous. Gibraltar was not a bad addition either. She is actually a lot prettier than the other Gibraltar beauty queen who once won the Miss World crown. Overall I was glad with this year outcome, although there are several things that I wish I could change.

Newly crowned Miss World 2013 sitting gracefully on her royal white and gold throne

The Winner
The eventual winner, Megan Young from Philippines, is the perfect choice to win. She is not only beautiful but also charismatic and since the beginning of the competition, many fans have put her as their winner. Her victory is not only a victory for herself or her family, but also for her country Philippines which finally won the blue crown that remains elusive from them for 62 years, and also for pageant fans around the world, as we have a worthy Miss World winner. From the political view, her victory is also a good political move by Miss World Organization to win the heart of the Filipinos, some of the loudest and most fanatic pageant fans in the world, but so far leaning towards Miss Universe. With a Filipino finally wins the coveted Blue Crown, it could change the equlibrium and attract more Filipinos to shift towards Miss World side.

So that's all for this year! We will post more gallery from the Grand Final and the Press Conference. See you next year in Miss World 2014 London!

The team! 
Our team for Miss World 2013 coverage Irwansyah, Ayus Wijaya, and Bayu Asmara

Photos by : Ayus Wijaya and Irwansyah
Article by : Ayus Wijaya

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