Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
Beautiful décor, a well-organised and structured show that flows well, premium food and beverage services, stellar production, the perfect venue - these are some of the many elements needed for a great beauty pageant. Jamaica has staged many over the years. However, these elements were missing from the Miss Jamaica Universe pageant on Saturday at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
Scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., the patrons were ready and waiting on the outside to see who would be crowned the next Miss Jamaica Universe 2011, but many were disappointed and annoyed, as the show did not begin until minutes to midnight.
The organisers explained to The Gleaner that the lighting had arrived late and, as such, the show would be delayed for a few hours.
While some patrons were clearly disappointed, others bordered on being disgusted, not only at the late start, but also at the décor of the venue.
A stage with rows of white plastic chairs greeted each patron who paid $3,500-$5,000 per ticket and most were not amused.
A backdrop was missing from the stage as well as any other accessory to enhance what seemed a dull venue.
There was no element that signified that it was a beauty pageant. Patrons, tired of the interminable wait, began clapping and shouting in an effort to gain the attention of the production team.
Their efforts seemed to pass unnoticed. The patrons were left to sit and watch as the workmen prepared the lights.
After several hours of continued applause, shouts and grumbles, the judges were seated at 11:05 p.m.
Minutes later, Chris Brown's I Can Transform Ya erupted from the speakers and out sashayed the 17 finalists.
The now half-asleep, patrons were wide awake as the ladies performed their opening routine.
Dressed in unflattering mini dresses which gave the illusion of a kangaroo with the pouch, the ladies switched it up as they
After another lengthy delay, the ladies were back onstage, this time to Adele's Rolling In The
After the swimsuit section, and another 30 minute intermission, it was time for the ladies to parade in evening wear. This year, the ladies provided their own dresses, many of which were plain. Others looked like prom dresses.
Black and glittered dresses were the night's most prominent pieces.
The entertainment performances for the night came in the form of former Byron Lee and the Dragonaires singer, Ashley Martin, and Chris Demontague who were both half-heartedly received.
The top 10 gave way to the top five, Tiffany Trotter, Shakira Martin, Peta-Gaye Simpson, Chantal Zaky and Kadyan Salmon, making the cut.
Most of the ladies fumbled the question-and-answer, except for Kadyan Salmon, who articulated well.
International recording artiste Ludacris, despite rumours being circulated about his absence, came onstage at 2:26 a.m. and tried in vain to entertain the now exhausted patrons. With hits such as Stand Up, Act a fool, Pimpin' All Over the World, Throw Dem Bones and How Low Can You Go, the hip hop star pulled out all the stops to make the best of a bad situation.
The number of patrons in the venue dwindled still.
It was at this point during Ludacris' performance that the police entered the venue and spoke to the promoter in an attempt to end the night's show.
After the performance continued, the police again approached the promoter, accompanied by an inspector who gave an additional 20 minutes to wrap things up.
After Ludacris' exit from the stage at 2:53 a.m., there was just enough time for the final walk of the reigning queen Yendi Phillipps and the announcement of the new queen. Peta-Gaye Simpson was fourth runner-up, Tiffany Trotter third runner-up, Chantal Zaky second runner-up, Kadyan Salmon first runner-up and Shakira Martin was crowned Miss Jamaica Universe 2011.
Other sectional prizes were also announced:
Best body: Chantal Zaky
Most congenial: Gabrielle Alexander
Most Photogenic: Tiffany Trotter
Best Smile: Kaiya Montague
Best Skin Tone: Debbie-Lee Baker
Most Aware: Shakira