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End of Year Review 2011

525,600 Minutes of Embarrassment

By Armin Amari

[To the tune Seasons of Love made famous in the Broadway hit "Rent"]

525,600 minutes
525,000 moments of shame
525,600 minutes
How do you measure a pageant year?
In crownings, in scandals,
In rigging, in topless photos,
In catfights, in boos, in franchise fees, in lies…
How about a Critical Beauty review?

Perhaps 2011 wasn’t completely plagued by dishonorable moments. Still, there were several incidents that cast a negative shadow on the pageant year as whole. After all, it’s clear that a pageant year has sunk to new depths when the most interesting event involves a Miss Universe Congeniality winner from Montenegro, Nikolina Lancar, bullying the show’s host, Andy Cohen, for being too short.

I don’t know what’s worse, a boorish delegate winning an award that celebrates friendship or a hyper-sensitive hobbit who equates a height joke with systematic bullying. In any event, 2011 offered us several lows, so without further ado, here is a list of CB’s Biggest Embarrassments of 2011!

Priscila Machado sent Brazilian fans on a warpath after images of her underdeveloped chest were discovered 3 days before the coronation of Miss Universe Brazil 2011, which she won. Instead of disqualifying her, the Miss Universe Brazil Organization disregarded their own rules against topless photos and let Nipples represent Brazil at the Miss Universe 2011 pageant, held in São Paulo. Online petitions were created to stop Machado from participating, which I signed several times using the names of various employees of the Miss Universe Organization. However, public outcry wasn’t enough to stop this hellcat from competing and although she was heavily booed by her countrymen during the presentation show, Priscilla placed third at the conclusion of the live finale.

What’s more embarrassing than getting booed by one’s own countrymen?

How about a 17 year-old Miss America who sports a frayed mop on her head? Yes, the United States collectively rolled their eyes when Miss Nebraska, Teresa Scanlan, edged out a ventriloquist beauty from Arkansas and a homophobic stunner from Hawaii to capture the 2011 Miss America crown and making history by being the youngest contestant ever to do so. Despite being a healthy girl with lovely natural hair, Scanlan opts to wear a cumbersome looking wig, which instantly ages her appearance by 30 years. The Chewbacca hairpiece is just as stale as the annual statement made by the Miss America Organization that they are going to crown a modern, sexy woman of today. In my view, both the wig and the organization need to be sterilized.

What’s more embarrassing than a 17 year-old wig collector?

An eighty year-old hat wearing clown that is having a hard time getting her radical pageant to stay afloat. 2011 wasn’t a good year for Geneviève de Fontenay. When the hat lady quit Endemol’s Société Miss France in 2008, she assumed the entire nation would follow her. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that most of the population abhors her like the bubonic plague. Nonetheless, Fontenay created a second and more virginal Miss France pageant in 2010 called, Miss Nationale. However, this year, a pending lawsuit by Michel Le Parmentier (president of the historical Comité Miss France) not only forced Fontenay to change her pageant’s name to Miss Prestige National, but she was also forbidden to stream the live webcast of the pageant on Dailymotion. It’s just a matter of time before this prune with a penchant for black and white finds herself permanently checkmated, oui?

What’s more embarrassing than a fossil in legal turmoil?

Miss World’s pathetic judging criteria. Does anyone really know how Miss World is chosen? Sure we do! Julia Morley hand-picks her winners in advance. That’s what made the "live scoreboard" addition to this year’s show so embarrassing. Since Eric Morley’s death 11 years ago, the Miss World pageant has lacked any sort of continuity. One year, fast-track events are not counted towards a delegate’s overall score and the next, all fast-track events serve as miniature preliminary competitions. In addition, if you look closely at some of the scores randomly plugged in next to the names of a few of this year’s Miss World contestants, you’ll notice that the numbers don’t even add up! Furthermore, during the live telecast, Miss Puerto Rico, Amanda Vilanova, was shown as having ranked first after the "preliminaries". Why then, does the live scoreboard featured on the Miss World website indicate that Miss Venezuela, Ivian Sarcos, was in first place heading into the finals?! To add even more insult to injury, how the hell can 7 finalists advance from a Top 15 when there is not a single competitive segment on stage? The whole fishy system stinks more than Morely’s unwashed tuna-scented panties.

What’s more embarrassing than Miss World’s half-assed judging criteria?

Global Beauties’ illogical claim that Miss World is the best grandslam pageant. LOL!

And what is more embarrassing than Global Beauties’ desperate attempt
to suck up to Julia Morley?

A Miss USA who takes the Miss Universe stage looking like road kill. Touted as the mega-favorite going into Miss Universe 2011, Miss USA 2011, Alyssa Campanella, disappointed us all when she appeared in São Paulo looking like a frail 10 year-old boy. Her inclusion in the Top 15 was a definite choice made by MUO. No real judge in their right mind would have given a skeleton, with a dyed red weave, high marks, which explains why Campanella bombed after the swimsuit round during the live telecast. What makes this situation even more embarrassing is that Campanella claims that her weight loss was due to a high metabolism because she eats like a horse. Honey, if you truly eat like a horse, you would have shown up to Brazil looking the way you did at Miss USA and not like a World Vision kid. Either you have an eating disorder or you’re a liar. Pick one.

What’s even more embarrassing than an emaciated beauty queen who "eats like a horse"?

Rima Fakih’s new police record. It was merely a matter of time wasn’t it? Miss USA 2010 was pulled over by cops because she was hammered behind the wheel on December 6th, 2011. Instead of acting like a normal human being and going along with police instructions, Rima quickly identified herself as Miss USA, certain that her pageant title would emancipate her from her illegal activity. That a girl! Road rage Rima then took a breathalyzer and blew more than twice the legal limit, producing a reading of 0.20. In an attempt to out-smart mankind with a devilishly clever plan, the former Miss USA got on Twitter and pretended like the DUI never happened, citing that the whole situation was a case of mistaken identity. This brilliant plan worked for all of 3 seconds before the general public Googled the real facts.
If only Rima’s IQ was as high as her blood alcohol level.

What’s even more embarrassing than having a booze party in one’s car?

Having a coronation party for Miss El Salvador 2011, Alejandra Ochoa, at McDonalds.

What’s pathetically more embarrassing than a Happy Meal victory celebration?

Cathy Untalan, the Executive Director of the Miss Earth Foundation! Yes, the former Miss Earth-Water 2006 winner has found herself in a tsunami of controversy after many pageant fans and pundits accused her of manipulating the results of Miss Earth 2011, where Miss Philippines, Athena Imperial, coincidentally won the Miss Earth-Water title. Although cute, Imperial was no match for other stunners who were left clapping behind her. When politely and professionally asked to comment on these allegations by CB’s angelic founder and owner, Rafa Delfin, Untalan was swift to block him on Facebook. Well, there is nothing like avoidance to confirm guilt, is there? Untalan’s reputation has dropped so hard that even patriotic Filipino pageant enthusiasts are berating her and desiring her dismissal. Time will tell if this demonic she-devil will get booted to the curb along with her plastic blue tiara.

What’s even more embarrassing than a control-freak ex-Miss Earth-Water? 

Why, the Miss Asia Pacific World 2011 pageant, of course! Hosted in Korea, this three-ring circus was doomed from the get-go thanks to a slimy con artist named Lawrence Choi. Choi had to reschedule his dog show of a contest three times before actually confirming that it was to be held in October 2011. Then, he informed national directors that they had to pay for their delegates’ airfare, which he had initially stated was to be funded by his organization. Despite several countries dropping out, 40 idiotic directors decided to send contestants anyway. Once in Korea, a few contestants, like Miss Wales, Amy Willerton, fled after being told they would score higher in the competition if they had sex with pageant officials. Real classy. Miss Guyana, Aletha Shepherd, also left after receiving a Best National Costume award that was labeled for an African winner (note to Choi: Guyana is in South America!). Could this pageant get any worse? Absolutely! Miss Venezuela, Yunecsy Tuta Contreras, did her country proud by placing 2nd in the Talent competition despite not having performed. Miss Korea, Jung Eun A, ended up "winning" the title on home soil only to resign moments later. If I feel this embarrassed writing about such an abomination of a pageant, I can’t help but think what Choi must feel like. Perhaps Choi and universal moron, Mark Ancheta, should collaborate for next year’s edition? Two thumbs up for Miss Asia Pacific World as the most embarrassing pageant of the year!

And finally, who is the most embarrassing national director of the year?

A supporter of a third rate pageant (cue I AM SHE anthem)! India’s first Miss Universe from 1994, Sushmita Sen, embodied so much wisdom and insight back in Manila. So it’s quite disheartening to deal with the fact that she’s lost her marbles today. Sen was awarded the Miss Universe India franchise in 2010 only to send two frizzy haired eyesores to the international contest with no success. In addition, the I AM SHE pageant, which has been organized at the 11th hour for two years in a row, is more of a celebration of Sen than it is a competition. The winners can’t even get a word in edge wise when Sen is on the premises. But Sushi’s biggest fault is supporting Choi’s Miss Asia Pacific World 2011 pageant. Having suffered a major defeat at Miss Universe earlier in the year, Sen was elated when her protégé, Tanvi Singla, managed to place 5th in Choi’s rigged contest. Perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of all of this was Sen’s emotional reaction via Twitter to Singla’s unexpected placement. But what makes Sen the textbook definition of patheticism is the fact that she is listed as a judge on the pageant’s Wikipedia page. LOL! Epic fail.

But it’s not like CB to leave on a dull note. Despite all of the pageant atrocities listed above there were also a few highlights this past year!

FROM BLOWING HER BOYFRIEND TO BLOWING THE COMPETITION AWAY: Former Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago 2008, Anya Ayoung-Chee, resurrected her embarrassingly sordid reputation by winning season 9 of Project Runway. Ayoung-Chee was also voted fan favorite via Twitter votes, earning a bonus $10,000 prize. Before her fashion triumph, Anya was best known for having been part of an online sex tape featuring her greasy boyfriend and an anonymous bisexual Asian female. No wonder she was voted fan favorite!

THE KING OF QUEENS: Venezuelan beauty queen producer, Osmel Sousa, is in a league of his own. All four of his queens placed in this year’s Big 4 pageants (a Miss World victory by Ivian Sarcos, a Top 15 finish by Vanessa Goncalves at Miss Universe, a 1st runner-up placement by Jessica Barboza at Miss International, and a Miss Earth Fire title by Caroline Medina). That’s right; say what you will about how Osmel styles his women and what he makes them undergo in the surgery room but Magali Febles, Ines Ligron, Denis Davila, Lupita Jones, and the rest cannot hold a candle to this Venezuelan maestro!

FIRST TIME WINS: 3 of 2011’s Big 4 pageant winners hail from nations that have never won a major international pageant title until this year. In September, Angola’s Leila Lopes (center), made history for her country as she edged out favorites from the Ukraine, Philippines, and China. Ecuador saw its first international crown when Maria Fernanda Cornejo (right) was announced as the winner of Miss International 2011. Ecuador was in for another pleasant surprise when Olga Alava (right) proved victorious at Miss Earth 2011 a few weeks after. This just goes to show that pageant powerhouse countries are not automatically guaranteed victories. There is still room for stunning women to slip in and make their claim for pseudo-fame!

THE FIGHTING SPIRIT: When she was initially crowned Miss Tanzania 2011, Nelly Kamwelu was lambasted by critics for being too quirky for the pageant world. Her odd styling and humorous photos left a lot to be desired. However, when she arrived in São Paulo for Miss Universe 2011, Nelly had drastically improved. Unfortunately, she was left clapping. So off she went to Miss International 2011 with high hopes but again, she didn’t place. Not wanting to give up, Nelly then competed in Miss Earth 2011 where she also sat on the sidelines, as Cathy Untalan probably saw her as Athena Imperial’s stiffest competitor for the Miss Earth-Water title! LOL But the perseverant Kamwelu finally got her recognition at Miss Tourism Queen International 2011, where she placed an astounding 5th even winning her very own crown! Just like an inflatable punching dummy that pops back up once it is hit in the face, Nelly kept bouncing back, stronger and fiercer than before. Congratulations to Nelly for her achievements and special thanks to her for entertaining us during this otherwise boring pageant year! Your next music video should be entitled, "Say It To My Tiara" but while you work on that, CB supporters can bring in the new year by watching, "Say It to My Face":

If you have reached this point in the review, you are either bored, on a caffeine high, skipped down to the last paragraph, or you are editing this piece before it gets posted on CB (thanks Rafa, LOL)! As a final note, I think it is appropriate to thank pageant fans around the world for their enthusiasm. Yes, we get into nonsensical fights with one another. Yes, we get overly emotional about contestants who don’t even know we exist. And yes, many of us are blinded by patriotism. But at the end of the day, we keep pageants relevant and entertaining, through the good times and bad, and without us beauty contests would not be able to survive.

Have a safe and happy New Year!


DISCLAIMER: The opinions on this page strictly represent the contributing writer's views
and do not necessarily reflect those of the entire website team. 


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