MISS JAMAICA Universe 2003 will be crowned tonight at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom and from what has been seen of the contestants, it is anybody's race.
Unlike years gone by when one was able to say off the bat who looked like a contender, this year all the contestants seem to be on an even keel. That is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what one thinks of the contestants.
However, the picture was not always this cloudy.
On elimination night, a few young women piqued interest and seemed to be among the top contenders. These was attorney-at-law Sadiki Alexander, who had stage presence, and at 5 feet 7 inches was among the taller girls.
Another standout was Lisa Robinson, the dreadlocked beauty with a smile that filled the whole room. She is a student of media and communications at the University of the West Indies and stands at only 5 feet 2 inches, but Shani McGraham, a past Miss Jamaica Universe, was not much taller.
Aisha Sangali was the contestant who looked closest to the Jamaican beauty pageants ideal of a beauty queen. Then there was the Television Jamaica's 'My Jamaican girl' university student Deborah Deer, who might have just that little edge she needs with having a major media house behind her.
A second look at the contestants was a part of the offering on Wednesday night when Pulse Investments, the franchise holders, hosted a cocktail party and publicly sashed them.
This was where the favourites did not seem such a shoo-in, or should we say a crown ahead anymore. That is because everybody looked good.
As a consequence, it may come down to the all important interview section where the winner will be chosen. This is where Robinson, Deer and Alexander could probably steal the race. After all, their various occupations do signify that intelligence should be part of their package. However, nerves are a hell of a thing and when they are added in the mix, they tend to make strange bedfellows.
Contestants who after a second look may come up in the final count are Miss Holiday Inn, Kimberlyn Thornton; Miss Copier Concepts, Zahra Small and Miss Sandals Inn, Nadia Rushedge.
The winner will go on to the international competition scheduled for June 3 in Panama. Thus far some 50 other contestants from across the world have been chosen. They include two gorgeous lasses from the Caribbean in the personages of Miss Barbados, Nadia Forte,
and Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Faye Alibocus.
The outgoing Miss Jamaica Universe,
Sanya Hughes, was a favourite at last year's competition.