JaRistotle’s Jottings | Beauties and the beastly coronation
Last Saturday night I attended the Miss Universe Jamaica coronation. I was quite impressed with the contestants. Wow. They acquitted themselves extremely well, and the final six were very eloquent in the question-and-answer segment. Well done, ladies, and heartiest congratulations to the winner, Emily Madison. I am sure she will represent Jamaica well and make us proud, as did her predecessor, Davina Bennett, who made our proud-bag buss.
Alas, I have no such favourable comments to offer regarding the event itself: it was disappointing, beastly at best.
Even before the coronation, I had learnt through a news report that the local franchise holders, Uzuri International, and Ms Bennett had had a falling-out and so she would not have been attending the event to perform the customary duty of crowning her successor. Miss Universe British Virgin Islands, albeit a very attractive, but foreign beauty queen, graced the stage in lieu of our beloved Davina. A travesty, I say.
Surely the use of JAMAICA in the title of the pageant should require adherence to Brand Jamaica protocols in the organisation of the competition and the production of the coronation. After all, the winner of this pageant will represent Jamaica on the international stage.
Miss Bennett was the reigning representative for Jamaica and therefore ought to have been there to complete her reign with dignity: otherwise, bar the use of Jamaica in the title. No free-for-all here: if Uzuri uses our country name, they must do so with respect for our people. Brand Jamaica counts.
Despite holding a $6,000 VIP ticket, I had to tussle to get a decent seat. With the show starting over a half-hour late, it was soon evident that the contestants were not comfortably rehearsed in their expected movements on the stage, with some buck-shuffling taking place. From there, things started going downhill.
The technical arrangements were pitiful. The tele-prompter for the emcees was an oversized TV screen at the back of the room for all and sundry to read, and the first artiste to perform encountered technical problems, forcing her to retreat from the stage until the issues were resolved.
The stage was a split-level platform with steps on either side. As the contestants paraded across the stage and engaged the steps, there was no one there to assist them, at least not until one of the contestants fell down - 'bugudu-buf'. Fortunately, she was not hurt and was able to complete her routine, but I am sure she was highly embarrassed.
During the announcement of the winners of the sectional prizes, the presentations were poorly coordinated. In one instance, the plaque was presented and a few minutes later, someone rushed onstage and placed the sash on the prize-winner.
The amateurish production continued. The final six contestants were presented with so many gift baskets and bouquets, that with hands already full, gift baskets were then placed on the floor beside them. Now, with the ladies expected to maintain eye contact with the audience and execute various movements without looking down, these gift baskets were nothing more than accidents waiting to happen.
Some contestants won numerous sectional prizes and it was quite a spectacle to see them being adorned with multiple sashes, and despite being burdened with more than a handful of bouquets, plaques and humongous presentation cheques, they were then directed to traverse the split-level stage with everything in hand. Fortunately, some of the judges had the good sense to intervene and avert an accident.
Where franchise holders of events such as this, bearing Jamaica's name, are not capable of operating at a suitable standard, the government should likewise have the good sense to intervene and avert international embarrassment.