I had every intention of writing a full review of this year’s Miss World pageant. But I was waiting to see if they would disclose the scores of the Top 30 like the way they did last year so I can properly analyze the results. But unfortunately, this year those results were not forthcoming.
I should have read the ominous signs–the day prior to the August 18 finals, the web link to the scoreboard on the Miss World website was removed. I thought it was a temporary measure so they can clear the previous year’s scorecard and make way for this year’s scores. But even as Stephen Douglas declared on television that you can see the scores on the website, no scores were ever displayed online. It took some very diligent viewers who posted screenshots of the leaderboard as it unfolds to allow pundits like myself to be able to attempt to make sense of it all.
The leaderboards shown below show the results first from the panel interviews, then the second pair shows the results after Top Model, the third after the combined scores for Beach Fashion and Multimedia, the fourth in the bottom and fifth are duplicates of the results after the Sports event was accounted for, and finally the last was supposedly the final results prior to the announcement of the Top 15.
From what we could figure out from the leaderboards, there are major changes in the scoring system this year:
1. It seems the preliminary scores starts from a lower base, and the competition is actually tightly packed–12 points separated 1st and 30th place. It’s hard for me to discern for certain what is the highest possible score and the baseline score used this year, but I have a feeling the maximum is not 210 points this year.
2. Winners of the challenge events were awarded 50 points, 2nd placers 40, 3rd placers 35, and apparently other placements are awarded points in increments of 5 (it’s not clear how much for the other placements).
But even if that is so, there are some headscratching observations, like:
1. Miss Peru (Giuliana Zevallos) was not shortlisted at all in Top Model, yet she earned 10 points?
2. Again for Miss Peru, she was also not shortlisted for Beach Fashion and Multimedia, but she then accumulated another 30 points! Miss France (Delphine Wespiser) also earned 25 points after these events even if she was also not shortlisted in either challenge event!
3. They did not post the Multimedia Award shortlist on the website and during the broadcast the only thing we really knew were the Top Two (India and Mexico) though it took some astute observers to figure out the rest of the shortlist (who were onstage), and we got to see it in Wikipedia several days later.
4. Designer Award was (and is still) listed as a challenge event on the website but the winner was never announced at all during the telecast (nor during the post-coronation party, at the very least). Apparently at last minute no credits would also be awarded for this “challenge event” for reasons only known to Julia Morley, Steve Douglas, and company.
Aggravating the puzzling scoring was the apparent laziness of the production team in updating the final Top 15 scores, as revealed below:
The rankings going into the Top 15 was reportedly correct, but the scores weren’t properly updated. Miss United States (Claudine Book) was third in Beauty with a Purpose and earned credits by being shortlisted in Talent and making the initial cut in Top Model, but the production team did not bother to factor those in. In fact, the Beauty with a Purpose scores were not tallied at all, so we have no inkling on the actual scoring for this event (supposedly 50% above the top score for the other challenge events, so presumably 75 points for the winner, but no clue how many points for the other rankings but supposedly enough for Miss United States to vault from outside of the Top 30 into the Top 15).
On top of the epic sloppiness of the production crew, we have the shove that is seen around the world–Miss Malawi (Susan Mtegha) crudely shoving Miss New Zealand (Collette Lochore) as apparently the latter was obstructing her spot. Didn’t they have dress rehearsals the night before?
After the Top 15 was announced, they would then parade in identical green gowns supposedly to evaluate their “star quality” as host Jason Cook quipped. As the 15 was whittled down to 7, there was a shocking elimination as Miss Mexico (Mariana Berumen) who was second going into this round was eliminated and replaced by Miss Brazil (Mariana Notarangelo) who was ranked ninth based on the ranking. Apparently last year’s system where the previous scores were carried over does not apply this time and everything started from scratch. Still, I could not with a clear conscience attribute Miss Mexico’s elimination to the styling issue that befell Anagabriela Espinoza* four years ago. The baffled director, Lupita Jones (Miss Universe 1991), reportedly confronted some of the Miss World staff after the pageant about this and only got an “I don’t know” response, and a directive to hold a separate contest for the Miss World representative instead of holding it simultaneously with the search for the Miss Universe rep (the same directive was also given to Venezuela’s director, Osmel Souza, as the Venezuelan bet, Gabriella Ferrari, failed to even make the Top 30 this year).
* Anyway, Anagaby made up for her loss by winning Miss International the following year.
After the Top Seven was announced, they were subjected to a 30-second speech where they tried to sway the judges on why they should be the next Miss World. In general all seven spoke well, with Miss South Sudan (Atong Demach) being the most eloquent of them all. Still, even as intelligent and sincere-sounding Mz. Brazil and Jamaica (Deanna Robbins) were, were they truly better than the erstwhile leader, Miss India (Vanya Mishra), who inexplicably ranked 7th place when the final placements were disclosed?
If it weren’t for the topsy-turvy outcomes involving the erstwhile Top 15 leaders as disclosed in the broadcast, the ladies who ended up in the Top Three would be viewed as expected favorites, as pageant fans and pundits (including myself) have regarded them as major front-runners going into the finals. The high placements of runners-up Sophie Moulds of Wales and Jessica Kahawaty of Australia remained unquestioned, but the homeland victory of China’s Yu Wenxia somehow looked questionable in the light of the proceedings earlier in the broadcast, and most were enamored with South Sudan’s speech that many pageant fans and pundits wanted her to win or place in the Top Three instead.
But let’s face it–Yu Wenxia has the looks and qualities worthy of winning the title, though during finals night there were more convincing arguments to have others take the lead in lieu of her. The way she was packaged, down to the color of her finals evening gown, made many pageant fans and pundits feel they are being manipulated to anticipate her inevitable victory. She has been positioned from the get-go as one who can follow in the footsteps of the illustrious 2007 winner Zhang Zilin, and Julia Morley & company, along with their sponsors, had to set it up to ensure that this “ideal” outcome is realized, even if the proceedings did not even create convincing justifications for such. It is unfortunate that the conduct of the proceedings did not seem to justify the final outcome, despite the winner’s otherwise obvious merits.
COMING UP: MISS INTERNATIONAL and FINAL THOUGHTS.