Miss World 2009

The finale of the Miss World pageant will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 12, but the competition has actually been underway for a while. Miss World has a unique system of preliminary rounds, the winners of which automatically advance to the semifinals of the competition. First came the Miss Sport contest, which was won by Miss Japan. Initially, Miss England, Rachel Christie, who is also an Olympic athlete, was a heavy favorite for the Miss Sport title. However, she had to give up her crown after getting in a bar fight with another beauty queen. Seriously.
That was followed by the talent competition, in which Miss Canada and Miss Sierra Leone tied for first. Miss Canada reportedly “performed a classical song, showing incredible vocal range and control,” while Miss Sierra Leone “showed a truly unique talent with an amazing Chinese dance and fire eating routine that she learnt during the six months she spent in China prior to this year’s Miss World Festival.” Honestly, the talent competition isn’t a major element at Miss World. On the other hand, the Miss Universe pageant doesn’t have a talent competition at all.
Next up was the Beach Beauty competition; as you might imagine, Miss Beach Beauty has sometimes gone on to win the Miss World title. This year’s Beach Beauty is Miss Gibraltar, followed by Panama and (a bit surprisingly) Scotland, which is not known for its beaches. Miss Gibraltar has a nice, girl-next-door look:
The betting odds have been interesting to follow. Early on, Miss Brazil, Luciana Bertolini, was the odds-on favorite. You could see why in this rather famous photo shoot.
For some reason, however, Miss Brazil has fallen out of favor with bettors. The current favorites are Miss Puerto Rico, Jennifer Colon, Miss Mexico, Perla Bertran–who is on Facebook, by the way–and Miss South Africa, Tatum Keshwar:
You can learn about all of the contestants at the official Miss World site. I’m not crazy about the site, however. The photography is mediocre at best, and the pop-up style they use for photographs makes it hard to drag them. The best thing about the site is probably the videos of contestants, but only a minority of contestants have videos. It’s hard to understand how anyone can run a beauty pageant and fail to understand the importance of photography. Beauty pageants are a bit like the Republican Party; the concept is great, but the execution is often mystifyingly poor.
Still, it’s the contestants that make the pageant, and as always there are lots of strong ones. Like my countrywoman (so to speak), Miss Norway:
She also has a nice YouTube video here. Then there are Miss Costa Rica and Miss Ivory Coast:
CostaRica04.jpg IvoryCoast51.jpg
We could go on, but what the heck: the final is still two weeks away. More to come.
UPDATE: A reader who worked for many years at the US office of the Bank of Scotland thinks that Miss Scotland’s showing may not have been such an upset.

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