Miss Colombia, Paulina Vega was controversially crowned Miss Universe on Sunday night in Doral, Florida, as one of the crowd favourites Kaci Fennell, Miss Jamaica Universe placed 5th in the competition. When Jamaica was called 5th, there were resounding boos and after the crowning, half of the contestants rushed over to Miss Jamaica, lifting her up in the air as the crowed chanted ‘Jamaica ‘. Why? Did the judges get it wrong? Was Jamaica robbed of the crown or even a place in the top 3 because she did not have the traditional look with long, flowing hair?
It all comes down to the questions to determine the winner, or so we think. All 5 represented themself well in their gowns and then came the questions. The first question from the judges was a disaster for all 5 contestants. None of their answers were impressive. They either did not answer the question, that is, saying something totally irrelevant to the question asked or they gave an answer lacking in substance. It was also obvious that most of them had difficulty hearing the judges ask the question and then nerves instantly overcame them.
Miss Jamaica was the only contestant to greet the judges and the audience when answering her question. However, at that point I would say the field was leveled or the contestants that gave an answer lacking in substance, for instance, USA, had a slight edge. It was obvious Jamaica did not hear the question, even when the judge repeated the question with an accent, since Spanish is his native tongue. Saying we should come together to fight crime does not answer a question on tackling sexual abuse of women. Come together how? Maybe its best she said ‘World Peace’. But putting fun and joke aside, it was at least a start to an answer. How about education, counselling? The list goes on. But hey, she didn’t hear the question. I think it would have been better to ask the question to be repeated one last time because she couldn’t hear it clearly instead of saying she did not understand the question. Big difference in use of words.
Thankfully they had a chance to redeem themselves with the question polled from the people on Facebook, basically asking what kind of influence has their country had on the world. As USA, Colombia and Ukraine approached their question, one could instantly feel sorry for them, as the first thing that came to mind was war, racism and drugs. Then poor Netherlands, what have they really done? But Jamaica! This answer should have been textbook. She should have been trained to answer this question from the Miss Jamaica Universe Competition. She should have been prepared to answer this question in case it was asked in the Prelims or even by Donald Trump on the golf course. Any intelligent Jamaican could be asked this question at the airport or a hotel on the north coast as well. The answer should roll off of our tongues with ease. Former Miss World, Lisa Hanna and Former Miss Universe runner-up, Yendi Phillips ‘woulda mash up dat’. There is a standard way of starting each answer. For instance, Jamaica is a very small island etc. Include the pathway Bob Marley has paved for reggae music and other talented artists globally, his impact on our tourism etc. The word, culture should not be forgotten. Jamaica’s culture is so rich, not only in music but dance as well. Yes, Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world, but for such a small country we have so much talent etc. Yes, it’s easy to sit here and say all of that without standing in front of the world, however nerves or being hard on yourself because of messing up the first question should never have an impact on this question. At this point, the judges were probably observing the composure and poise of the contestants in such a situation. SuGa thinks the expectation of a great answer which she ‘bombed’ again, put her in 5th. Basically saying Usain Bolt and Bob Marley leading and trailblazing in music and track and field then full stop cannot win the crown. She knew there was more to say and stopped abruptly leaving us wanting more. Keep talking. Let them cut you off. Don’t be afraid to say more.
Not remembering both of Colombia’s answers, she at least answered one, also lacking in substance. USA I remember, had a mediocre response for both answers, but they were still suitable answers compared to the others, hence her placing second. Should she have reached top 10 is another question, but the host country is usually in the top 5. That is just how it is with these pageants. Ukraine and Netherlands are not worth a comment. But that final walk after all questions, for the judges to see them one more time?! Colombia slayed it. She looked like a star and the winner. She was comfortable, beautiful, sang along with the performer and still modeled like she was in a pageant.
Now Kaci, it is the end of the competition, kill the fierce look for a moment, we get it, but smile all the way for that final walk. There was an awkward slip and an awkward dance. There was a serious face (Oh no I messed up) then a smile as the camera focused on her. The judges weren’t watching the television, they were able to see them at all times at all angles. It is the recovery and choosing the best out of the worse set of answers that mattered. But it’s over. ‘Coulda shoulda …never’. Jamaica was not robbed of the crown, but SuGa believes she should have placed in the top 3. Kaci may have disappointed Jamaica towards the end, but it was still bittersweet. It is not an easy task to make the top 5! Jamaica should still be tremendously proud of what she accomplished and how beautiful she was, being able to stand out amongst the rest. All the best to Kaci Fennell in the future.