My observation on the way a winner was chosen each year made me believe that Miss Universe organization puts weight heavily on poise, intellect and confidence. The new Miss Universe must have an instant connection with the masses, someone with a sharp intellect and could represent the organization with dignity and honor.
In 1996, I got it right when I predicted during the question and answer portion that Miss Venezuela, Alicia Machado, would bring home the crown, she was smart, confident, attractive and pretty and the crowd's favourite. In 1999, I immediately conceded that Mirriam Quiambao would end up only first runner-up because she got really nervous during the final round of the question and answer portion and she stuttered when she gave her answer, Miss Botswana was remarkably poised and confident and gave the best answer.
In 1995, I was also shocked when Chelsi Smith of USA was declared the winner when the first runner-up, Miss India, was very smart and highly intellectual, I thought at that time, well, maybe the organization prohibited two successive winners from the same country.
This observation was repeated in 1997 when Brook Mahilanie Lee of USA won the crown, I thought well, the crown must not worn in succession with women from the same country. During that year, Lee was in a close fight with Miss Venezuela but the 1996 winner, Alicia Machado, came from Venezuela so it was easy to see that Lee would be the sure winner. But this observation was thoroughly changed in 2009 when Venezuela won the title in two successive years. Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela was the 2008 Miss Universe back to back with her fellow Venezuelan, Stefania Fernandez, in 2009.
After analysing the circumstances, results, history of the past Miss Universe pageant, I was not sure anymore what are the basis and criteria of the organization in choosing a winner. What are they looking for in a contestant?
It was recalled that the Miss USA contest this year where Culpo won the title was embroiled in a controversy of contest rigging prompting Miss Pennsylvania to withdraw from the pageant. Donald Trump, the owner of Miss Universe Organization since 1996, decided to sue her for spreading false rumor. Trump, as ever controversial as the Miss Universe contest, and who is famous for giving his opinions to almost everything, heavily criticized Miss Pennsylvania. (When criticizing people, Trump never hold limitations nor consider a little courtesy. In 1996, when Alicia Machado gained weight unimaginable for a beauty queen, he called her an "eating machine, he also slighted Kate Middleton with her unwise decision to go topless, among the "victims" of his technological wrath are Barack Obama and Rosie O'Donnell.)
But despite this confusion, I still believe, up to the last minute of the 2012 Miss Universe coronation night, contest that the basis of the judging would eventually boil down to spontaneity, grace and intellect, critical factors that would assure the contestant of a sure place in the seat of Miss Universe winners.
But I was wrong.
Culpo's presence was not even felt on stage. It was as if she did not exist at all. She romped like a confused neophyte model who just started learning how to trot with her high heels, she almost stumbled on her feet. Her facial expression was terribly awful, or would I say, she displayed no facial expression at all. Miss Venezuela and Miss Australia were smarter than her (I chuckled when Miss Venezuela gave her answer, I did not understand a bit on what she was saying, she pronounced the "laws" as "leys" but I was shocked when she was declared second runner-up when Miss Australia answered the question clearly and precisely).
Miss USA's over-all appeal sent a message that she lacked self-confidence. She wore a vintage, overtly plunging gown that made her boobs looked like two balloons ready to pop out, terribly fidgeting in the open slit and ready to burst, so disgusting. Watching her wore that ridiculous long-sleeve gown, I wondered if she was attending the wrong party. It did not speak what glamour and elegance are all about. The design is so painfully ancient.
But there's nothing we can do about it. Miss Universe Organization never entertained complaints, much more bothered the sentiments of the observers. So let's leave it that way.
This is the first time that the pageant did not show the individual scores of the top ten finalists on the two categories: Evening Gown and Swimsuit, so the audience had no idea how each finalist was voted by the judges and who performed well on stage.
Despite the sad circumstances, frustrations and distress I felt for this year's result, I would still watch the pageant in the next years to come and hoping by that time, Philippines would not undergo the same discrimination and would be fairly treated by the judges.