Binibining Pilipinas is just around the corner – the coronation night is happening on Sunday, March 30.
This year’s pageant seems to be a big deal – Miss Universe Gabriela Isler will be a judge and Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart will be in attendance. I suspect MUO is hoping to land a deal with the country, particularly as a host of the pageant. I think it took these guys for MUO to realize just how much valuable their brand is over this part of the world. (Though of course, we can never compare to the Latin American market, which treats beauty pageants like it does World Cup, with much disturbing fervor.)
Unfortunately, with the economic environment as well as changing cultural and gender values, I don’t think the brand is as viable as it once was, hence countries aren’t exactly fighting over hosting rights. I don’t see how countries can earn from ticket sales alone; host countries are now hardly marketed during pageant night: the opening number has been reduced to the ladies’ introduction in identical clothes; the stage design is relatively generic; and the intermission numbers are that of flailing pop stars. Gone are the days when you truly get a feel for the host country’s beauty and culture, such as during the Manila pageant in 1994 or the preceding year in Mexico:
It seems MUO has chucked it in favor of what it deemed as much needed modern tweaking: let them strut in their bikinis and gowns for two-thirds of the competition, then allow them no more than 30 seconds to speak in the final Q&A.
Even the final Q&A has hardly mattered in the determination of the winner: the Filipina representatives have given the best answer in the last two years, but they still ended runners-up. Even this mind boggling answer by Venezuela in 2012 still merited her third place, just a notch lower than Janine. Drugs!
I miss the old format wherein there were three rounds of interviews, and try as the prettiest girls might, they’d be hardpressed to catch up to the ‘smart’ girls particularly in the final round.