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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Miss World 2015 Telecast Review: Miss World Limps Her Way to Finish Line (Part 2)

The actual telecast intro looked promising, even though I picked up some sound issues again, but at least it looked modern.

OPENING:

The opening itself was colorful, energetic and well-produced. It started the whole thing off with a feeling of excitement, something that was much needed after the pre-show. I have seen the same kind of opening in previous editions from China, but this one had energy and color. It dragged on a little bit too long and kind of like the whole telecast, it ran out of steam midway through, but made it to the end.

GIRLS INTRO:
The girls came out and it looked better on television than what we saw because we had no screens to watch any of the action on. In the past they have had major issues with cameramen missing their cues and the girls even losing their 1 second of airtime, so I guess they have no decided to bring them out two by two to avoid missing cues or to make 114 introductions a bit faster. I actually thought it was a good idea at first, but as the introductions went on it seemed like they became faster and faster and the timing was so off. After weeks of rehearsals, this is just not acceptable for a major production. It's still not the right formula and this remains a major problem for them. (Notice how windy it is too... that was the only negative aspect of the outdoor production. It was not too distracting though.)

Just like the introductions, the music felt rushed too. The 2014 music felt regal and royal and this year the carnival music did not quite work. It did not add to the energy nor did it feel elegant. If anything, it added to the feeling of the whole business being rushed.

WENXIA YU:

Wenxia Yu was brought on to bring the pace down after what felt like the last few girls running down the stage to make their introductions. She looked beautiful and has a great voice, but I still think this was a waste of time. I mean having a former Miss World singing is great, but maybe they could have shown highlights of the BWAP work during that song. People do not want to watch a variety show and awards ceremony, they want to see a pageant. The Miss World organizers forgot that years ago and still no one has bothered to make them see the light again.

THE HOSTS
I actually love the three hosts. Tim Vincent was trying his best. I would not mind seeing him as a host again... but I would not mind not seeing him either. It was nice to have Angela Chow back after a much needed hiatus. She is a seasoned pro and can come back every second year. Megan Young is amazing. She is just so great to look at and her personality is so likeable. Yes to Megan Young! Yes! Yes! Yes! Steve Douglas - well, as part of the organization, he won't go anywhere and he has improved, but he still moves around a bit too much. He did save Tim Vincent a time or two when things went through. If he continues as the leaderboard expert, maybe it would be nice to have him sitting somewhere and have him paired up with a former winner too, like Lisa Hanna, Diana Hayden, Azra Akin, or Kaiane Aldorino. (I actually wanted to say Priyanka Chopra or Aishwariya Rai but they will not be able to afford them.) There must be a way to make the leaderboard even more interesting (I like it already) with some tidbits, like the good old color commentary days.

JUDGES INTRODUCTIONS

Now it seemed like Tim Vincent knew he was going to mess it up from the start as he started with an apology. After several rehearsals, he still did not get it right. It's good a thing all the former Miss Worlds (Linda Petursdottir, please show me where the fountain of youth is!) looked so amazing, because that took people's attention off the fact that he butchered the names. Ksenia and Agabani both looked rather bemused when he totally killed their names. And then, who can forget, the longest and most awkward pause ever. It was not TV gold at all. It was a TV tragedy. It was soooo awkward and cringe worthy. (There was something going on with the prompter, the cue cards, and Tim Vincent was NOT a happy man when he returned to the stage.)

SEGMENTS AND FAST TRACK WINNERS

The interview segment was well produced. It was real and showed some real emotion and you could tell this was an important moment in the girls' lives. So I do wonder if it was as stressful for them as I heard that they only got a few seconds each to talk during their "interviews".  I am not sure how you can even determine an interview winner in just a matter of 20 to 30 seconds. I miss the good old days of one on one interviews, but I guess after a month the organization members and the judges already know the girls well.

Sanya and the Beauty Crown was made to look AMAZING in the inserts. Much better than in real life. Miss World did their bit for tourism indeed.

I had seen the challenge event inserts in the first bit, so seeing the shortened versions in the main telecast was just a case of same old, same old. I am also starting to think that the fast track inserts might make Miss World look like a girl scout camp instead of a pageant. They really have to rethink the whole flow of the show.

The Beauty With A Purpose segment is important. It showcases the good work of Miss World. It dragged on a bit and could have been split in two parts, maybe clips showing during Wenxia's performance. Miss World is/was my favorite pageant due to BWAP, but we must remember it's a television production first and foremost, too, and not all viewers want to see such a long insert. It must stay though as it is the heart and soul of Miss World.

Watching the announcements, the only thing that came to mind was that a lot of the show seemed unrehearsed which I don't get because I know they rehearsed. The contestants did not know when to step forward, the camera work was not smooth. Same old, same old. I wonder if the organization takes a look at their show, well a critical look at it. Sometimes it seems like they don't.

They invited Mandla Mandela back for the BWAP announcement. The Mandela name is still quite powerful and holds a lot of clout, so it's a win for the organization. Mandla Mandela is quite a controversial figure in South Africa, but internationally it looks good to have the Mandela name associated with Miss World. Mandela did seem to miss his cue and the winner was introduced by Megan Young. I don't know if that was planned, but it did not really look like it. A very worthy project won though.

THE TALENT (1): MISS GUYANA

Miss Guyana, Lisa Punch, sure did sing for her supper... or is that her top ten placement? She did well though. The girl has a beautiful voice and I really hope this gives her career a boost. She deserves it. I wasn't crazy about the song, but her voice was really good.  

Miss World 2015 Telecast Review: Miss World Limps Her Way to Finish Line (Part 1)


Watching a pageant as an audience member is quite different from watching it on television. Pageants are essentially produced for television as it's part of showbiz. Miss World 2015 was no exception, but when I watched the live telecast, I battled through it. The show was marred by technical glitches and sound problems. I watched the pageant yesterday to do my review of the telecast, but I had to stop several times because it was not riveting viewing at all. It's a shame, because it's billed as the biggest event in beauty, but at times it seemed like it was done with the smallest budget in beauty. Here are my thoughts about the Miss World 2015 telecast.

Well, first of all, unlike the last few editions, this Miss World was not streamed on youtube or missworld.com. I suspect that China's internet censorship had something to do with it. I believe they streamed it on some Chinese app, Alipay presumably, but I do hope they (at least) got a paying Chinese broadcaster because the show was very accommodating to the Chinese audience with lots of Chinese translation throughout the show.

In the last few years, the Miss World telecast has been packaged as either a 2.5 hour show or just the main 2 hour telecast. What could be a nice buildup to the main show usually ends up quite boring, unfortunately, and if it's followed by a bit of a sleepy show, then they will never recover from the "cooking show" and "borefest" labels that usually dominate the pageant forums following the telecast. I want nothing more than an exciting Miss World telecast, so I am really hoping that one day they will realize that it would make good sense to freshen it up and get a big name production company to revamp the whole thing. For heaven's sake, please just watch Miss America, Miss France, Miss South Africa or even Miss Grand International or Supranational. That's if you want to compete with Miss Universe, a telecast that pretty much kickboxes its competitors into a different realm every year, even in weak years.

We saw 3 hours in the audience, but I'm not sure if that was just for the app. I am already uncertain if any broadcasters will keep buying the 2.5 hour package as a lot of inserts seem to be repetitive. I struggled through the Zee TV telecast and a Vietnamese channel's coverage with voice overs to do this review. I tried to be objective, because the fact that I have been one of the most ardent Miss World fans for 24 years sometimes lets me go soft, but I guess my experience this year also made me realize I'm not as much of a super fan as I imagined myself to be... or in blunt terms... I'm no VIP at Miss World... just a regular pageant crazy who flocks to the show. A dime a dozen for massive pageants like Miss World (but not for much longer if you don't treat us with respect)!

OPENING OF THE PRE-SHOW

I found the opening rather awkward as it started with the 3 hosts and Tim Vincent introducing a segment while Megan Young and Angela Chow just acted as eye candy. They both looked stunning though, especially Megan.

And then immediately there was an insert about the Beauty Crown and Sanya welcome. The inserts, in general, had a modern and fresh feel to it, most of the time much more modern and fresh than the actual telecast. Can't they just make both the inserts and the telecast modern and fresh. In the telecast that I watched, there were some serious sound issues. I don't know if this is from the broadcaster's side, or from the feed from Sanya. Regardless, a broadcast of this magnitude should not experience such technical errors. It's quite inexcusable in this day and age. (I did notice that the opening ceremony performance actually matched the telecast opening. Lazy or Smart?)

My general feel is that the pace was too sleepy. It has no energy and there were just too many inserts. I think last year they at least tried to make it a bit more interesting with Frankie Cena and Megan trying to link it together. Also, partnering with AliPay made sense for China, but not so much for the rest of the world. Who even uses Alipay? I am in China and it's hard to use if you are not Chinese.

I must say that the stage and the venue looked great on television. It looked good in the audience and it looked good on television. Well done for that. Whoever decided to do the show outside with the Beauty Crown as a backdrop made a great decision.

The most important thing that I missed from the first part of the show is EXCITEMENT. Well, the same goes for the rest of the show, but at least there was more excitement in the actual telecast. I have to reiterate that I have real issues with it when they call themselve the biggest event in beauty or beauty's biggest night or claim it will be the most spectacular show ever (yearly promise) and there's nothing exciting or new about it. And from what I read all over the internet, I'm not the only one that feels that way. I am just one of MANY people that feel this way.

OVERPROMISE and UNDERDELIVER is a massive no-no! Especially in today's television age!  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Unpleasant Experience Saved by Fantastic People - My Miss World 2015 Adventure (Part 8)


The End.

I woke up feeling rather empty the next morning. It's quite normal to feel a bit deflated after such a big event that you had been looking forward to for so long is over. I could not even imagine how the girls were feeling. Of course, I had to check the message boards and forums to see the reaction to the results. As always, the reaction was mixed, but more to the negative side. After two sensational Miss Worlds, Mireia's win came as a shock to most. One thing about pageant fans is that they are very, very hard to please, so I guess pageant owners have learned over time to grow thick skins and disregard all the negative comments, because you will just never be able to keep the fans happy. But look at me, here I am writing about the fact that Miss World 2015 started off as an unpleasant experience... so who am I to talk?! 

To be completely honest, I could not wait to leave Sanya. I have heard it being promoted as the French Riviera of Asia... if that's the case, I'm not going to rush to the real French Riviera anytime soon. I made my way down and as usual the amazing friendly Nepali staff rushed to my side and that was a blessing, because they local staff did not speak much English. They were always super helpful and ready to try and use the Chinese that they have been forced to pick up to arrange anything I needed. 

Upon arrival at the airport, I did see lots of Miss World folks heading home. There were some contestants, but I could not recognise most of them. Unlike my previous outing in 2010, I did not interact with the contestants that much. I just kept my distance most of the time. There were three ladies at the airport that did catch my eye though: 

I saw the beautiful Miss Ukraine checking in next to me. She looked absolutely flawless, like a porcelain doll. I really thought she would be one of the favorites. She looked so perfect and radiant. I felt disappointed that she did not make it, but she did not look too upset at all. 

Miss Guadeloupe came in and she looked absolutely gorgeous. I was immediately drawn to her. Her skin was perfect and she just looked like such a serene beauty. She actually looks even more beautiful with very little makeup on. I think she noticed that I was staring, because we did make eye contact a few times. I kind of wanted to go up to her to tell her that I really wanted her to do well and that I think she was completely robbed. 

Later on as I was walking up down, trying to pass the time, I saw this tall, gorgeous blonde girl. I was like "Wow, who is that?" and then I thought I recognised her, but I was not sure. Later on I stood next to her at Starbucks and the accent gave it away. I was right, she was Miss Ireland, Sacha Livingstone. She was super friendly and polite. You could tell that she was just a genuinely nice girl. I almost told her that I ran a pageant blog and that when she won I was super excited for Ireland as I thought she would be a frontrunner. Seeing her in person there, I still think she should have made it. 

I decided to go and sit in a corner to finish my Miss Universe reviews. As I stopped to reflect a bit, a sense of sadness enveloped me. I felt sad for the girls who put so much on the line for this. Time, effort, money... for most of them it probably felt like the investment was not even worth it. I hoped that they would realise that it is only a pageant and that being Miss World is an honor, but it's also much tougher than people imagine it to be. It's an unpredictable roller coaster of a year. I also hoped that they would not let this experience define them and that if anything, the friendships they have formed and life skills they have acquired are the most important things they could take from this experience. 

Being brutally honest, I also felt sad for myself, like for them I realised that for me the dream is also over. I run a blog, yes, actually it just takes up my time and I do not get much else out of it. My dream of being in the industry is just that a (shattered) dream. And my love affair with Miss World, well I still have a soft spot for Miss World and Mrs. Morley, but I am no longer under the illusion that my 24 years of being a loyal fan has any value to them. Fans do not do anything for business and at the end of the day, it is still a business. 

As I made my way to the gate, I thought about all the special memories over the years, the amazing friends I have made along the ways, interesting people I had met, the joy I felt every time South Africa did well (but also disappointment when always came so close) and the feeling of absolute elation when I finally heard those words uttered by Julia Morley on December 14, 2014: S.... OUTH AAAFRICA. That made me smile as I thought, "Good bye, Sanya! Good bye, Miss World! And thanks for all the good times."  

Photos and video courtesy of the Miss World Organisation! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Celebrities Celebrate Strauss Wedding

Gorgeous former Miss World, Rolene Strauss, married D'Niel Strauss just outside of Somerset West yesterday. The gorgeous couple was wished well by some of the biggest names in the South African beauty industry.
Miss South Africa 1990, Suzette van der Merwe, Miss World 2013, Megan Young, Rolene Strauss and Miss South Africa 2000, Jo-Ann Strauss.
Miss South Africa 2011, Melinda Bam and her husband, Mr. South Africa 2011, Adriaan Bergh.
Miss SA 1990, Professor Jonathan Jansen from the University of the Free State where Strauss is a student, Miss SA 1992, Amy Kleinhans and Miss SA 2000
Mikael Daez, Megan Young, Rolene's stylist Werner Wessels and her gown designer, Casper Bosman

Photos courtesy of facebook 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Miss World 2014 Gets Married


Stunning Miss World 2014, Rolene Strauss, married the love of her life, D'Niel Strauss, yesterday. The wedding celebration took place between Stellenbosch and Somerset West close to Cape Town. Former Miss South Africas, Suzette van der Merwe (1990), Amy Kleinhans (1992) and Jo-Ann Strauss (2000) attended the event as well as Miss World 2013, Megan Young from the Philippines. Rolene's stylist Werner Wessels and Casper Bosman, her gown designer were also on hand to ensure that she looked like a queen on her special day.

Visit www.rolenestrauss.com for more information about her special day.

Photo courtesy of Rolene Strauss, Facebook Page! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Miss Kentucky USA 2016


Kyle Nicole Hornback (20) was recently crowned Miss Kentucky USA 2016. She is the last of the 51 delegates to be crowned and will represent her state at the next Miss USA Pageant later this year.
Pretty - with the right training and styling she could do very well at Miss USA. 

Photos courtesy of www.courier-journal.com