It seems apt that a heavy downpour greeted the incoming audience entering the SM Mall of Asia Arena for the Miss World 2014 Philippines pageant. Remember that this is the sort of weather condition we experienced when we witnessed last year when Megan Young won Miss World Philippines, then when she Theultimately won Miss World, and when she came home for her victory parade after that landmark crowning. As inconvenient as it might be for the audience members entering the venue, the events themselves went on with nary a hitch, and the same can be said about this event.
There was a sense of ceremonial splendor as the pageant proper finally began, as the Philippine Army Chorale sang a sweet cover of Parokya ni Edgar’s classic pop ballad “Harana”, serenading the entry of the reigning Miss World and Miss World Philippines, Megan Young (incidentally, the song title aptly means “serenade” in Tagalog). Megan Young then gave a short and sweet opening declaring the Miss World 2014 Philippines pageant competition open.
This then segued to three GMA 7 sirens (JulieAnn San Jose, Maricris Garcia, and Francheska Farr) fiercely singing a cover of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” as the 26 candidates marched and sashayed their way from the back of the arena to the stage. The ladies looked fetching and resplendent in white knee-length dresses. The three sirens then segued to the mellower rhythms of the Miss World Philippines theme song (“The Beauty of the Philippines”) with the 26 candidates gracefully swaying along–after the fierce and energetic entrance it’s sometimes nice to finish things up a little mellow though still uplifting like this Louie Ocampo-penned ditty.
The key hosts of the proceedings were GMA 7 actors Mikael Daez and Janine Gutierrez, with events personality Tim Yap and Miss World 2011 1st runner-up Gwendoline Ruais providing support hosting duties (like backstage interviews and the like). Mikael Daez’s hosting style reminds me of another local heartthrob, Dingdong Dantes, when he hosted the Mutya ng Pilipinas and Miss Asia Pacific pageants over the same network about a decade ago–my only quibble was when he announced the 13 semifinalists, he repeated the candidate numbers of those who were previously fast-tracked; I speculate Dingdong Dantes wouldn’t make that kind of mistake (or would he?). Janine Gutierrez was adequate in her hosting chores, but nothing memorable. Tim Yap was his usual energetic self, and Gwendoline Ruais’s hosting skills are a known quantity and she delivered her tasks and spiels well, as expected.
The structure of this year’s coronation night is a hybrid of the structure of Binibining Pilipinas and the Miss World finals. The segments where all 26 candidates parade in swimsuits and evening gowns had been a staple format at Binibining Pilipinas. Just like in Binibinign Pilipinas, after those segments there would be an awarding of special awards. It’s the latter portion that differs this time–the Top 13 semifinalists were called out, and immediately they are whittled down to the Final Five, and the Top Five would then give their speeches on why they should be chosen the winner. In this case, immediately whittling down the Top 13 to the Final Five is justifiable, as the Top 13 were determined from three fast-tracks and a pre-judging interview prior to the coronation night, so it is conceivable the Final Five were determined from the overall performance of the live swimsuit and evening gown rounds during the finals.
It is interesting to note that after the 13 semifinalists were called out, then the sponsors’ prizes were given out, and then after the Final Five were announced, another set of sponsors’ prizes were awarded. Wonder if there is like a conditionality between the organizers and sponsors about when their prizes would be given out–that’s the only plausible explanation why the announcement of sponsor’s prizes are set up that way.
For viewers at home, the swimsuit competition features a pre-taped segment of the candidates posing along the beaches of Camarines Sur in red two-piece bikinis while rapper Abra performed two of his hit songs, while live onstage, the candidates strutted down in shiny gold one-piece swimsuits. For the evening gown segment, we are treated to the vocals of another siren, Jonalyn Viray, wordlessly singing the melodies of two beloved Filipino songbook classics, “Bituing Marikit” and “Dahil Sa ‘Yo“.
Before I proceed to review the Top 13 semifinalists, I will pay tribute to one non-finalist, namely:
CANDIDATE NO. 21 – Jean Marie Feliciano. Not only did she deservingly win Miss Talent thanks to her fluid magic act, she got significant airtime as she was interviewed by Gwendoline Ruais before she went up onstage for the swimsuit competition. I think she only fell short simply because her facial looks are not to the preliminary judging panel’s tastes.
COMING UP: THE TOP 13 SEMIFINALISTS…