Miss World Heats Up

As we noted here, the Miss World pageant is underway in Johannesburg, South Africa. This year’s contest has been somewhat star-crossed. It was originally planned to be held in Ukraine, but moved to South Africa because of concerns about violence in neighboring Georgia. The pageant has been underway for some time now, but for some reason possibly related to the change in venue, news coverage has been abysmal. Pageant organizers don’t seem to have done as good a job as usual, either; with the finale approaching on Saturday, the pageant’s web site is still under construction.

Nevertheless, excitement is beginning to mount. With serious wagering now in progress, betting odds have taken shape. The original favorite, as reflected here, was Miss Ukraine. That’s not too surprising, given the home stage advantage that we often see in beauty pageants. What is remarkable is that, notwithstanding the shift in locale, Miss Ukraine still rates second as a betting favorite (as always, click to enlarge):

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You can see why if you watch her interview video here; she is adorable. She also finished third, earlier today, in the pageant’s talent contest. But don’t put too much weight on that; talent doesn’t feature as heavily in the Miss World pageant as it does in, say, Miss America. The second-place finisher, according to the Miss World site, “did a dance routine with a hula hoop.”

I like the practicality evinced by Miss Ukraine in response to one of the questions that were posed to all contestants:

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island what one item could you not be without?

A. Antimosquitos creme.

The current betting favorite is Miss Russia. It’s no mystery why; she won the pageant’s Top Model competition and finished third in the vital Miss Beach contest:

Russia88.jpg

You can watch Miss Russia’s interview here. I like her a lot. Maybe practicality is an East European thing; here is Miss Russia’s answer to the “desert island” question. Bear in mind that she is from Siberia:

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island what one item could you not be without?

A. Matchbox, hardly one can survive without fire.

Another favorite is Miss Mexico, who won the Miss Beach competition; you can watch her video here:

Mexico99.jpg

Others high in the betting odds include Spain, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Brazil, a law student who wants to be a judge:

Spain91.jpg Ecuador10.jpg Dominican22.jpg Brazil19.jpg

All worthy contestants. Finally, though, a personal favorite, along with Ukraine and Dominican Republic: Miss Trinidad and Tobago, also high in the betting odds:

TrinidadTobago31.jpg

You can watch her delightful video here.

The Miss World competition is unique is that winners of the sub-contests that have taken place over the last ten days (Miss Beach, Miss Sport, etc.) get a pass into Saturday’s finale, which will be televised to a world-wide audience of a billion or more. Also, if you go to the Miss World site, you can vote for your favorite contestant for the “People’s Choice” award, which will be announced Saturday night.

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