It’s not easy being Green – Miss Universe Barbados 2016, a Pretty Ugly Pageant?
“In here, life is beautiful. The girls are beautiful. Even the orchestra is beautiful!” Joel Grey as the Impresario for 1973’s “Cabaret“
That is as far as it goes for Berlin, at 2 Mile Hill late Saturrday, some attendants had better applied mascara than contestants or guests, apart from that it seems in Barbados we still haven’t quite managed how to pull off a flawless pageant?
In the 70s and 80s there was a tendency to look for a paler contestant for Miss Barbados, the zenith (or nadir to be more accurate) was when a Queen’s nationality was under question in a popular calypso during the mid 80s; by the cusp of the 90s it was the daughter of a former CBC Chairman who suggested a fellow contestant was a little too cozy with certain senior personnel and so no surprise when results fell a particular way, as usual in Barbados, no one paid for their sins and so everyone was typically jaded over the affair.
In the late 90s it was suggested 2 contestants used a single bathing suit (such magnificent hygiene) and the eventual winner was discovered at the last minute to be too old to be allowed to compete in Miss Universe, so why was she entered in the first place? A brief revival surged in 2007 and then for almost a decade it was quiet, after last night? It seemed it should’ve stayed that way…
LA CAGE AUX FOLLIES?
I suspected trouble was waiting to happen when this was the alert sent by the organisers;-
“Your call time on the night of the show is 6:30 pm. This will allow those capturing images of arriving patrons to do so once the doors open at 7 pm. You are to walk with your media i.d. or some form of legal i.d. to be matched against our media list at the door. When the time comes, a chaperone will escort you to the designated media area where your individual coverage will be conducted.
“Immediately following the coronation you will be invited to a post show q&a with the new MUB, National Director Brian Green and designer Wayne Smith.
Once again,a gentle reminder that Flow is our presenting partner, and Flow TV has the exclusive rights to film, broadcast and own the recorded footage. However you are encouraged to capture as many still photos as you wish.”
I made sure I left by 5:40 pm to arrive for 6 that evening, was told Media Passes were not ready yet and would I have a seat in the Lobby. Then a newspaper photographer arrived and we reminisced over prior pageants and their confusion. Closer to 6:30 we were told to please present ourselves to the Gate for Accreditation.
We then appeared to the lady in charge (who I later learned was connected closely to Brian Green as I heard him call her “Auntie” when I was heading through the door hungry and thirsty, but I’m ahead of myself) says to me since I have a Media pass with my image and my name stated in large type (like I was asked to do, see above) then I won’t need a Media pass as there are not enough to share around, my eyebrows shot up but I kept my peace, so far…
She looks at the print photographer and asks for his name, which he states and also presents his Company ID, and she looks at the list and states his name is not there so he cannot enter. He calls an Editor on his mobile and I offer the number listed for Media Relations, as I’m thinking to myself this is stupid since a crew can change at the last minute due to sick leave or length of a previous assignment – defined coverage can’t be carved in stone?
I said openly if he cannot enter then I will leave as well and be recording why I left… Suddenly, a flurry of phone calls between various cells erupted and the photographer thanked me for alliance but says his Editor is correcting it. Sure enough, the lady hangs up from a call on her mobile and says (no surprise here) she is only following orders (almost expected her to click heels and strike a Sieg Heil) and then directs a young girl to take us to the media seating, which I was waiting for with bated breath, LOL. 😉
In its favour it was placed to the right of the catwalks, the judges had direct placing at front which is natural – however we were put 12 to 20 feet away and only those with paparazzi zooms could manage.
The newspaper photographer looked at me and said do not make a fuss, he will use what is provided so he can get home the quicker – so eventually I had to switch from my Nikon Coolpix S32 to the Samsung S6 from Flow to get better photos and compensate for the distance and contrasts in lighting, in fact, the data from Flow on my phone to read their online programme was better than the complimentary WiFi offered!
The online programme had no Agenda listed, we eventually discovered, by dint of elapsing, there was no Intermission either. We were told by another attendant the Red Carpet snaps were cancelled, and the people in the Lobby started gathering and buzzing more and more, it was after 7:00 pm and they were only then doing a brief soundcheck on the Mic’s which were placed in their tripods just seconds beforehand. There was more decor for the stage than where the audience was to get seated, it was rather sparse…
I knew there were people in the Lobby as I went to get water from the Fountain at the eastern end of LESC, since the western side closer to the Courtyard Café was cordoned off for the pageant – there were no water bottles or any such amenity for Media the entire passage of the event which had no intermission!
The show started at 8:00 pm with no Anthem to the shock of many patrons, but I actually found it rather refreshing – when a complaint of this was made to me, I said to that guest then never go to Port of Spain since they don’t use anthems hardly ever and he said thanks for warning him… (roll eyes here)
When the Delegates, as the gals were called finally emerged, I noticed how slender they were and no Hindu ladies (Muslim gals would be impossible), yet I recalled Brian Green saying size is no matter once they are confidently beautiful. The models clearly were not instructed to cater to Media as they strutted as if in a fashion show, if you got a shot then great otherwise you missed it! Only Jamilah Forde and Shannon Harris had any idea to pause and let the folk snap their views? Did the crew in the 20 weeks not intimate this would be happening and a lot? That is why they are there, in essence?
Except for Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” the songs were from NexCyx, Cover Drive, Rihanna and Shontelle, which made sense as they were hoping to minimise royalties paid out and how much better than to keep it Bajan?
The segments to allow Delegates to change from initial outfits to swimwear and from bikinis to Evening gowns tended to drag, so I was drifting through the programme and saw one of the Judges offered a prize to the overall winner – is that regular practice for Miss Universe? Wouldn’t someone suggest this can be construed as a Conflict Of Interest? I also don’t really recall anything being said as to which accounting firm tabulated the final results; which could be as low as 1 or as high as 9.9 – only that all scores in each category, once made by the 5 judges, were final.
VIDEO EDITING, WHAT’S THAT?
One of the methods used to fill time was to show brief synopses of the Delegate describing their childhood or why they chose to compete and many of the pastiches were badly edited with long shots which had unused negative spacing. It seemed only Shannon Harris had a perfectly edited segment, almost as if it was a foreshadowing?
I mean, to show how inadequately cut the footage was, one girl was saying her favorite times of the year are 3, we heard her speak of her Birthday and Christmas and then it ended without learning what the 3rd occasion was… Yet when I asked Brian Green about it, all he could do is say he took a 10 dollar bet if I’d ask why that happened? I said well why use it if you knew this would occur? He says he’ll let me edit it next year, I have the audio if this is questioned.
I guess I was insulted since it was only $10 bet on me, I mean why not $100 or better yet $10,000? It’s as if someone bet me 50 cents as to if Green is a smarmy little jerk and I declined, saying I’d only do it if the bet was five cents or less…
The Q&A for the Top 5 was ridiculous and based off of their bios, Shannon Harris pledged to do a better macaroni pie and Jamilah Forde was gushing how she and her dog had the same birthday while Christina Yearwood, who also eventually won Miss Congeniality, gave an articulate answer on Italian architecture as to why she wants to see Rome. This trio made it as final 3 when they had to answer what is Confidently Beautiful for them, and again Christina nailed it, but she could only muster 2nd Runner Up.
Now remember, all this time, the MUB organisers kept emphasising how video is only Flow yet here is what I see on the Nation’s Instagram feed? I respected the request for no video as Flow is an advertiser here too, oh well… The comments in the video are very intriguing, rather reminiscent of when Liz Wadman became Ms Barbados in 1985, makes you wonder how far we moved away from the 70s and 80s in choosing a representative?
So I left at about 11 pm and had the interview with Green only when I saw him and reporters with voice recorders aimed at him, so I thought nice coordinating and par for the course this evening.
After I recorded his snarky little jibe then I rushed home, since Media were not even offered a pack of Shirley biscuits nor even any 99 cent bottle of Blue Water and I was ravenous… Made sure to arrive early from 6 and stayed ’til eleven with only a single visit to the water fountain. Only VIP guests had the privilege of beverages and snacks…
Green added the full presentation of all prizes will be on Wednesday at 2 Mile Hill as well, after this article, we should see if they let me in? 😀