TALENT: Some pageant fans and pundits may be bitching that having a talent component in this pageant made this pageant seem like a quaint Miss America-style contest. Still, I find it an entertaining treat watching the talents the contestants have to offer. With the exception of Ghana’s comedy dance act back in 2007, Sierra Leone’s Chinese mask dance in 2009 (in a tie with Canada’s opera singing that year) and Ireland’s fiddling last year, the winner is usually a singer. As such, with her soulful (though obviously accented) cover of Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You” (and background being a finalist on “Chile’s Got Talent”) Chile (Gabriela Pulgar) won this fast-track event.
In 2nd place was the fierce Michael Jackson dance number performed by US Virgin Islands (Esonica Veira). Taking the bronze was the highly entertaining bi-gender lip-sync act of Puerto Rico (Amanda Vilanova), set to a medley of Broadway tunes (plus a Cher tune from the movie “Burlesque”). Lithuania (Ieva Gervinskaite) impressed with her accordion playing to place 4th, and Ukraine (Yaroslava Kuriacha) showcased her graceful lines (and long, long hair) in a balletic dance number to end up in 5th place. Rounding out the Top 10 in order were St. Barthelemy (Johanna Sansano), China P.R. (Liu Chen), Kazakhstan (Zhanna Zhumaliyeva), Indonesia (Astrid Ellena Yunadi), and Paraguay (Nicole Huber).
It has to be noted that it was announced there were 11 Talent fast-track finalists, all of whom were given the privilege of performing at the Beauty with the Purpose ball, and the 11th finalist was Guatemala (Lourdes Figueroa) with her flamenco dance. But I’m wondering about the rankings posted on the Miss World website–she was actually ranked 14th, behind Venezuela, Barbados, and South Africa. Either there was a typographical error at the Miss World website and she should’ve switched places with Venezuela, or there was some other mysterious reason why she’s announced as a finalist despite the ranking. Also, if she’s declared as a finalist and if the first scenario applies, shouldn’t she be entitled to 10 points at least? She was only accorded five points. Good thing the only impact in this case was that she would have switched places with Botswana and break out of her three-way tie with Russia and Australia, as she would still miss out of the overall Top 15.
BEAUTY WITH A PURPOSE: Miss World wanted to put a premium on its stated motto, “Beauty with a Purpose”, and as such, the winner for this fast-track earns 30 points, 50% higher than winning the other fast-tracks. The points for other placements are as follows: 28 points for 2nd place, 27 for 3rd, 26 for 4th, 25 for 5th, 24 for 6th, 23 for 7th, 22 for 8th, 21 for 9th, 20 for 10th, 10 points for being listed in the Top 30, and 5 points if a contestant has any kind of project that was submitted to Miss World, Ltd. (all in all, 77 contestants have submitted their projects).
There was a tie for first place, with Ghana (Stephanie Karikari)‘s Accra slum children’s daycare project and Indonesia (Astrid Ellena Yunadi)‘s filariasis project. Because she ranked a mediocre 80th place in the preliminary judging, Ghana failed to make the final cut as her win simply catapulted her to 36th place overall. Indonesia is a different story: her combined points from Talent and this fast-track helped her vault from a respectable 35th place in the preliminaries to earn a Top 15 slot.
Rounding out the Top 10 in this noble fast-track event were: Zimbabwe (Malaika Mushandu), South Africa (Bokang Montjane), Philippines (Gwendoline Ruais), Kenya (Susan Anyango), Scotland (Jennifer Reoch), Spain (Carla Garcia), India (Kanishtha Dhankar), and Ecuador (Maria Veronica Vargas), in that order. It so happens that the first 10 who were announced for this fast-track (with matching photo ops) were indeed the Top 10, and the additional 20 names that were given a couple of days later were those who ranked below the first 10.
A weird curiosity: ironically the lady who would win the Miss World crown got zero points in this category. It is not because she lacked a charitable spirit, and supposedly there was a Beauty with a Purpose video prepared for her projects. So what gives? Did her video not qualify? Was it not submitted on time? Or did she or her director volunteer not to put her in contention in this fast-track event? Or did her director didn’t just care about those kind of things?
BIGGEST GAINER: So the question is: who benefited the most from the additional fast-track points? Gaining 56 points from her Top 10 placements in Beach Beauty, Top Model, and Beauty with a Purpose, Zimbabwe (Malaika Mushandu) was the biggest gainer, and she soared from 39th place in the preliminary judging to 9th place going into the Top 15. The 2nd biggest gainer was Kazakhstan (Zhanna Zhumaliyeva) with 51 points that help propel her from 21st place to 5th place going into the Top 15. The 3rd biggest gainer was Ukraine (Yaroslava Kuriacha) with 48 points, soaring from a 15th place tie to 4th place going into the Top 15. Nipping at Ukraine’s heels was Philippines (Gwendoline Ruais) with 47 points, allowing her to enter the Top Three from her strong 9th place standing in the preliminaries. England (Alize Lily Mounter) and Puerto Rico (Amanda Vilanova) were the 5th and 6th biggest gainers respectively, with 45 and 43 points. Indonesia (Astrid Ellena Yunadi)‘s win at Beauty with a Purpose and 9th place finish in Talent gave her 41 points and made her the 7th biggest gainer, plus helped her rise up 20 notches from her preliminary ranking to garner 15th place. Close behind was Scotland (Jennifer Reoch) with a 40-point gain, followed by two Africans: Kenya (Susan Anyango) with a 37-point gain, and South Africa (Bokang Montjane) with a 36 point gain. It should also be noted that Venezuela (Ivian Sarcos) bubbled under the Top 10 with her 35-point gain.
For those interested in percentage gains, Zimbabwe likewise won here with 25.57% and Kazakhstan was also in 2nd place with 22.97%. Kenya’s 37-point gain translated into a 22.02% increase and was the 3rd biggest percentage gainer. Ukraine was 4th with 21.52%, followed by Indonesia at 5th with 20.10%. Latvia (Alise Miškovska)‘s Sports, Talent and Beauty with a Purpose scores helped her rise from a weak 104th place to a tie for 51st with an 18.18% gain as the 6th biggest gainer. England was 7th with an 18.15% gain, followed by Guatemala (Lourdes Figueroa) with a 17.55% gain. Ghana (Stephanie Karikari)‘s Beauty with a Purpose win made her the 9th biggest percentage gainer with 17.14% and rounding the Top 10 was India (Kanishtha Dhankar) with 17.13%.
BIGGEST JUMP: Rocketing up 62 notches from 108th to a tie for 46th, the biggest jumper honor goes to Kenya. Catapulting 53 notches upwards was Latvia. Martinique (Axelle Perrier)‘s high Beach Beauty standing contributed to a 51-notch leap from 91st to 40th and is the 3rd highest jumper. Ghana’s Beauty with a Purpose win helped her soar 44 notches, and India soared 38 notches from a tie for 64th to a tie for 26th place.
A final note before I proceed to review the Top 30: Ireland (Holly Carpenter) mentioned in her post-Miss World interview that she found the scoring system “stupid because certain girls who may not have been as nice or attractive as the other girls got through because they could do a talent or were better at sports.” I wonder if she’s aware that in previous years, those aforementioned girls would’ve been guaranteed a placement if they win in those events? Would she have preferred that system instead? I would rather have this system, with its flaws because there is more room for the gorgeous ones to go through than in the previous system.
All images courtesy of Miss World, Ltd. unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: THE TOP 30 (ACTUALLY 31) QUARTERFINALISTS