No one could perhaps blame me if I think that the background tarpaulin during the Miss Universe 2017 (66th Miss Universe Pageant) preliminaries were haphazardly done. Well, it was and it made the whole affair el cheapo. This is a far cry when a decade ago, I covered the Miss Universe 2008 pageant in Vietnam. Back then, Miss Universe was classy and forward thinking. The 2008 finals night introduced me to Lady Gaga who at that time was not even a blimp in my entertainment radar. Contrast that with the 65th edition held in Manila last January where the featured artists were more of has-beens rather than the world’s next top artists.
Ever since the Trump era ended, Miss Universe changed its course dramatically. Whether it’s for the better or for worse only time can tell. But the el cheapo tarpaulin (see photo) with Planet Hollywood and Miss Universe logo tells us a lot that it is for the worse. The glamour and entertainment value associated with the pageant are slowly fading. It is as if Miss World owner Julia Morley is now running the whole show. That’s because there is more emphasis on the background story of the delegate rather than on the traditional and more rounded swimsuit-gown-interviews criteria. Just like in Miss World, we are left with more hows and whys after the next cut is called.
The overall feel of Miss Universe now is less exciting. Sure, it is still the most awaited among the Big5 but the changes that IMG made were so drastic, it is no longer the Miss Universe that we used to know. I am not saying that Missosology does not want to embrace the changes, but since 2015 the only thing that has remained consistent with Miss Universe is their ever-changing selection process. Such confusion resulting to apathy is perhaps the reason why the pageant is back in Vegas with no other host cities or countries willing to foot the bill.
Perhaps the clearer indicator of how things have changed will be gauged on who will walk away with the crown this weekend. It is a wait and see situation, really, given that the format has been changed, again, as mentioned earlier. Let’s see this Sunday if after the last popcorn was eaten and the remaining soda was slurped, we will end up high with Miss Universe fever or got bloated with junk food. I guess millions of people right now are wishing that Donald Trump is not the President of the United States for a different reason. I wish that too for he should be running the Miss Universe show.