I didn’t get to watch the livestream of this year’s Miss Earth as it coincided with my company’s year-end party (yes, we don’t call it a Christmas party) and I had very little time to recuperate in between completing my homestretch review of this pageant and attending that event.  I slept as the pageant went on.

When I woke up, I learned of the news that we had a back-to-back win.  On the surface, I can sense what the reactions of the non-Filipino pageant fans and pundits would be like–that it was fixed, that this is another nail in this pageant’s coffin, etc.  Also, to be blunt, I’m not that crazy about the winner’s facial features at all, and there are many more prettier faces than her.

I got nine of the Top 16 correct, but when we go to the higher levels I was way off–I only got five of the Top Eight and none of the eventual elemental winners.   Of those I missed out, only two were in my “Bubbling Under” list, four were in my “Striking Distance” list, and one lady was totally out of left field for me–she was actually in the bottom of my list.

So the biggest headscratcher for me was Guam (Skye Celine Baker).  If you see her Press Presentation photos, her figure is nowhere in the league of most ladies out there.  But I have to hand it that the Press Presentation photos were uniformly unflattering so I was probably a tad badly influenced by that and didn’t notice she is actually more attractive in other photos, and her figure, albeit thick, is not that bad.  She is also a bit on the short side, but I suppose for diversity’s sake they included her as a message that there is room for shorter, thicker girls in the mix.  Now, how about room for dark-skinned girls, too?  They’ve been given short shrift last year and this year.

Miss Guam at the Press Presentation
Miss Guam during the evening gown round at the Miss Earth finals.

The winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award is obviously Panama (Carmen Jaramillo).  But we have been hearing reports about her attitude, and that she defied the preliminary judging directive to appear sans makeup and hair extensions.  Such a shame she rubbed the staff the wrong way as she seemed on track to earning an element  r win it all.

Ruth Ocumarez Awardee: Panama (Carmen Jaramillo)

I didn’t know there was a vindication arc in the offing for Australia (Dayana Grageda).  Remember she legitimately won her national pageant last year, but it seems the organizers were fancying another girl and attempted to dethrone her on some trumped up reason or another, causing Dayana to fly directly to the Philippines last year to plead her case.  It seemed to be found in her favor as she was given the right to represent the country in this edition instead.  To her credit, she proved she was worthy of belonging in this hallowed group, and though I didn’t predict she would garner an element, she proved worthy of doing so–in fact based on the Q&A, I actually preferred her answer instead of the eventual Miss Earth.  But being Miss Earth-Air is major vindication enough.

Even as I disagree with the back-to-back win of my own country, Angelia’s victory is justifiable, as she gave one of the strongest answers in the Top Eight–considering the chairperson of the board of judges is an official of a UN agency, they probably put major weight on the final Q&A..  One also has to note that the composition of the board of judges is mainly European, so perhaps they find her features “appealingly exotic” enough that they rated her very highly.  Still, for many pageant pundits and observers, the victory left a bad taste in the mouth and hence declaring doom and death knells on this pageant.  I wouldn’t join that bandwagon, as I still have faith in this pageant but with production values stuck in a standstill while other up-and-coming pageants were stepping up (yes, Miss Supranational and Miss Grand International delivered stronger shows this year), Angelia has her work cut out for her rebuilding this pageant’s credibility.