On the surface, the Miss World 2015 finals was conducted in a very similar structure to recent editions–you know there will be the brief contestant introductions, the “Dances of the World” segment, the recap of the challenge events, the announcement of the Top 20 based on the challenge results, then quickly whittled down to the Top 10, then the mostly insider group of judges would select the Top Five, have them do a speech, and decide the winner and runners up from there. But little did we know along the way there is a twist in the system on how the contestants are scored. More on that later.
I’ll get the production aspects out of the way. This year’s event was hosted by actor Tim Vincent, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, and returning veteran host Angela Chow (she hosted this pageant for nine years straight from 2003 to 2011 prior to returning this year). Pageant fans adored Angela Chow and welcomed her back warmly with open arms–having watched her since her MTV Asia VJ stint in the early 1990s, of course I’m so amazed how she remained ageless, vibrant, and sharp after all those years. Of course she’s needed in Sanya because she is the key person to engage the predominantly Chinese audience at the event. Megan, meanwhile, is also strong–especially in her chit-chats with the five finalists as she effectively eased their nerves. Tim, well, we couldn’t really give as high marks as his distaff counterparts as some pageant fans and pundits noted his age is starting to show and he seemed to be losing his hunky appeal. He is also dinged for mispronouncing the names of the former Miss World winners in the judging panel like Ksenia Sukhinova (1998), Agbani Darego (2001), Azra Akın (2002) and Zhang Zilin (2007). It’s “Kseh-nya” , “Dah-reh-go”, “Ah-kuhn”, and “Jahng Tsih-lin”.
Everytime this pageant is held in Sanya, you know you inevitably would have a flashy, grandiose cultural opening number, and this delivered. There used to be a cute little kid performing some martial arts, but I think this is already a new set of dancers and that kid (now probably all grown up) is no longer with them.
After the opening number, the contestants were then introduced in quick succession. This year, it’s easy to follow as they are presented in strict alphabetical order. There is also a cute gimmick as the contestants walked in pairs, holding hands. It seems they want to enforce a spirit of camaraderie. Most of the girls seemed game to holding hands with their partners, and very little tension within each pairs is observed. At least there is no shoving incident similar to Mz. Malawi and New Zealand back in 2012.
After the contestants were introduced, there is then a song number performed by a former Miss World–Wenxia Yu (Miss World 2012) performed an operatic song in Chinese. As usual she’s pretty good.
Just like in 2014, after gameskeeper Steve Douglas presented the preliminary interview results, the four main challenge events of Multimedia, Top Model, Sports, and Talent were all recapped before the challenge events leader board was presented again. There is a major change in the scoring system that took place, and I will discuss that later. After the talent winner was announced, as is now customary the talent winner gets to perform her winning number.
Because of this pageant’s emphasis on charity, they of course highlighted the Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP), and this time announced the Top Ten finalists. From there the winner of BWAP was announced, and the Top 20 were formally called out–this time in random order. Then after a break, Tim Vincent will go to each of the Top 20 to whittle them down to the Top Ten, revealing their rankings on the leaderboard–this is similar to the format done in 2011. Then, they would announce who is the People’s Choice champion, and if she does not belong in the Top Ten (which typically is the case), the Top Ten becomes a Top 11.
It’s interesting to note that in the livestream and telecast, the “Dances of the World” segment was presented after the Top Ten was announced–though actually this segment was taped 30 minutes before the formal broadcast began. Also notable that since last year, the segment was not framed by a generic latin-tinged instrumental piece, but they featured a live performer–this time it’s Bahamian singer Julian Believe singing a song while the contestants in costume dance about as they entered the stage. It actually fits and is entertaining enough.
There was another musical performance as the Top 10 were presented onstage again–Chinese band the Wholls provided musical accompaniment as the Top 11 entered the stage for a final look by the judging panel. Then of course as is customary, the Top Five would then be selected–when called out there would be a video interview segment before they then speak about why they should become the next Miss World.
COMING UP: The “Re-Balanced” Scoring System, the “Ruth Ocumarez” Award, the “Holly Carpenter” Award, and Preliminary Interview standouts