It was a surreal trip that this edition of the Miss Universe pageant had undertaken. First, co-owner NBC decided that the ideal date for broadcasting the finals for this pageant would be in December, so as not to be drowned out by their coverage of the Olympics in late-July to August, and the election coverage going all the way to November. As Miss World moved its pageant date much earlier to August because of considerations for the venue (Ordos, China, whose winters are notoriously brutal), it’s almost like the polarities of our planet have reversed.
Second was the scramble for the host venue. So many different candidates were bandied about that then fizzled out. There were even rumors that perhaps this year’s edition would even be scrapped as pageant fans and pundits remained in the dark on a firm venue. It was only in late September that confirmation was received that it will be held again in Las Vegas, the 4th time that this pageant was held in that city. But the expected scaled down schedule made pageant fans and pundits (including myself) fear that the delegates’ dignity may be compromised again with tacky and tawdry events like a chicken wings eating contest and a charity event featuring the delegates selling lemonade in bikinis. And will the Fadil Berisha portraits feature something provocative like nude bodypainting?
I was waiting for something tacky to happen as the events started to unfold in December as the delegates arrived in Vegas. To my relief, instead we see an apt festive theme unfolding–especially since it’s the “holidays” (the politically correct term Americans prefer to use instead of the word Christmas). There were these initial glossy photos featuring some contestants dressed in swimwear and cloaked in Santa outfits, like the picture of Paraguay’s Egni Eckert below:
I feel that the folks at the Miss Universe Organization are probably trying to channel that other annual Yuletide-oriented fashion event, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and I think that’s not a bad idea at all. But it seems after some shots like above they scrapped the concept and we get two different kinds of concept shoots besides the usual swimsuit and evening gown photos–a greeting card that is derived from the same shoot as the online video interviews, and the official Fadil Berisha portraits with the delegates in lingerie. Though there might be some conservatives who might object with the concept of lingerie photos, in general as sexy as some ladies may project, all are taken in reasonably good taste.
It seems it’s mostly photoshoots and rehearsals in the itinerary for the delegates, with perhaps a few publicity moments like the Pacquiao – Marquez rematch attended by the delegates of the Philippines and Mexico (the countries of the two contending boxers). But the thing that gladdens me is that the events were not as tacky or tawdry as they were two years ago. There are glitzier parties, and a children’s charity activity called Kids 4 Cure, where the delegates joined with kids to paint pictures.
A wonderful development was that they revived the National Costume event. In recent years, this has been treated like an afterthought. But it’s a good thing they came to their senses and realize the inherent grandeur this event brings. And how the delegates (and the creators of their outfits) responded with aplomb! It’s a good thing that after the streaming broadcast, the Miss Universe Organization soon posted the entire event for pageant fans to relish viewing over and over again–watch the awesomeness of the National Costume show below:
The same policy applies after the live streaming of the Presentation Show, that a few hours later, you can view a replay of it online on YouTube or Ustream. I’ll post that video as I begin my delegates review. I hope this continues in subsequent editions of this pageant.
All images courtesy of Miss Universe LP, LLLP unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: My delegates’ review, beginning from ALBANIA to CHILE