Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The show is finally over and the curtain has been closed, but there are still something left from Mister International 2013 pageant in Indonesia. In this part, I would love to bring you on a journey to take a look back at the pageant, highlighting the part that I "love" and the part that I wanna "leave".

The Winner and The First Runner Up

The Pre Final Activities 
I have no doubt that the local committee would prepare an array of interesting activities for the contestants prior to the Final. Experience has told that Mister International 2010, also held in Indonesia, was the edition of the pageant with the most interesting Pre Final activities. This year, they did again by showcasing a different part of Indonesia than the ones in 2010, the cultural city of Yogyakarta. Indeed the contestants visit to this historic city was the highlight of the pageant. The contestants visited the Sultan palace, participated in a photo shoot at one of the largest Buddhist temple in the world, learned how to paint batik, tried the traditional Javanese costume, and watched the famous Ramayana dance show. Aside from Yogyakarta grand tour, other interesting activities also await the contestants as they took a safari trip in Bogor and visited Special Olympics athletes in Jakarta. The whole pageant must be truly a once in a lifetime experience to remember for all contestants.

Jose Anmer Paredes celebrated his victory as Mister International 2013

The Final Venue 
In my opinion, the stage of Mister International 2013 Grand Final at Skeeno Hall is the best one the pageant has ever had in its history. The design is simple but elegant, with the main attraction coming from a set of white thunderbolt-like shaped pillars on both sides of the stage, giving it a sense of futuristic vibe. Some fans may criticize it as lacking Indonesian flavor. But personally, I love the design as it shows that Indonesia is also capable of creating an international-looking stage while showcasing Indonesian culture could still be done in another form.

The contestants went fully clothed during the beachwear round for the sake of modesty. Love it or leave it?

The Presenters 
This year presenter duty was tasked to Daniel Mananta, a reality show host and a former MTV VJ who also co-hosted Miss World 2013 Grand Final, and Ayu Dewi, a variety show host and a comedian. I understand that the local committee chose them to bring a fresh entertainment to the audience through their funny and witty quips but unfortunately, this ends up on the low end of my taste. Perhaps since both presenters are more familiar in hosting a reality or a variety show, their choice of jokes, was not that of an international pageant caliber. Most of the times, the two presenters relied on a war of witty spats between themselves or the female presenter bizarre antics as she was swooned over the physically buffed and facially gorgeous contestants as the main source of jokes for the night. Now it does not mean an international pageant presenter should be all serious. Jerry Springer did make several jokes throughout the show when he hosted Miss World 2001 Grand Final, but he did it with class. My other critics for the presenters is that they spoke in Indonesian too often that international viewers may feel alienated for not understanding what the presenters talked about.

The presenters and Jhonatan Marko from Brazil during Final Question Round

The Music 
The two main musical performers, Andien and Novita Dewi, were both perfect for the night. Pop sensation Andien entertained the audience with her groovy and soulful performances while newcomer Novita Dewi showed us why she deserves to be a Grand Finalist of X-Factor Indonesia singing competition with her powerful renditions throughout the night. Another musical treat came from Duo Percussion who brought an energetic drum performance during the national costume parade. If I have to pick one of the strongest element from Mister International 2013 Grand Final, I would easily pick the musical team, as all the songs and performances from the show were totally on the spot.

A missing chocolate dark brown delight! 
Brayan Livera from Sri Lanka would have been a perfect choice to fill the token dark skinned semifinalist spot, making it a more diverse group

The Production
The show itself went smoothly without major problem. Just like in previous editions, it follows the Miss Universe concept of Top 16 - Top 10 - Top 5 elimination with beachwear - evening wear- final question competition format. But unlike the previous edition, this year there is something different as Mister Singapore Organization decided to give one more spot in the final question round, leaving the competition with a Top 6 instead of the usual Top 5. Another interesting note was that during beachwear segment, the contestants were surprisingly fully covered in clothes, wearing both beach short and shirt, instead of going bare chested like usual. My personal favorite segments of the night would be the colorful national costume parade during the opening number and the ethnic wear parade where the contestants dressed in stunning and beautiful ethnic wardrobe designed by Adi Barlan.

The contestants parading in the stunning and beautifully designed ethnic wear by Adi Barlan

The Result 
Out of 16 semifinalists, I agree with the selection of 13 among them. The 3 that I think should not be in the elite list were Colombia, Costa Rica, and Singapore. The fact that they made it over Belgium, Lebanon, Peru, and Spain is a complete head scratcher for me. Since I could not find other justification, I could only resort to the classic explanation that it was their personality that wins them over these wasted more attractive looking contestants. The good part is that most of the contestants who made it totally deserve it. We had overall a good set of Top 16 and more importantly, a diverse one, both physically and ethnically. We have classic handsome like Czech Republic and sultry handsome like Slovak Republic. We have high fashion model like China and commercial model like Philippines. We have masculine hunk type like Turkey and youthful boyish type like Mexico. We have porcelain white skinned one like Slovenia and exotic tanned skinned one like Italy. The only missing one in this group is a dark skinned handsome man and I think Sri Lanka would be a perfect choice to fill that token spot.

And the winner is ..........

The Winner 
Though he has always been a favorite to become a semifinalist or even a finalist, I never expected Jose Anmer Paredes from Venezuela to become the winner. Obviously he is good looking but there were much more handsome contestants there. He also obviously has a good stage presence but there were other more charismatic contestants. He was lucky because Mister International format follows Miss Universe where the winner solely chosen based on his answer in the final round. He was never been a top scorer for both beachwear and evening wear (as proven when the official scores revealed after the Grand Final), but he scored just enough to survive the cut and cling into the next round. Luckily once he made it into the final round, he gave a solid answer which solidifies his fate to become a winner. If I have to put it in an allegory, the case is similar to a student who only has average academic performance throughout the year but scores a fantastic result in the final exam and suddenly crowned class valedictorian over his comrades who have performed better throughout the year but score mediocre result in the final exam. Anyway though I am not fully satisfied with the winner, I do agree that he is a safe choice and I wish him a good luck for his reign.

The Royal Court in celebratory mood

Full force! Indonesian Pageants team during Mister International 2013 Grand Final

Photos by : Wodjo Sartono, Aditya Yasmin, and Gunawan Putra
Article by : Ayus Wijaya

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