Photo credit: Bruce Casanova/OPMB Worldwide
…or have the judges made up their minds as early as the Top 15 announcement (and just waiting for their top favorites not to fail miserably in answering theirs)?
To recap, this is how I assess the 15 Q&A performances:
Ariella Arida was able to “connect-the-dots” – albeit tentatively-sounding in delivery. She was close to adding vague details to her answer, but had the logic to stop at just the right moment.
Imelda Schweighart tried to impress, but went around in circles to drive a point that she wasn’t able to initially grab (I bet she doesn’t even know how to sing the Beatles’ ‘All We Need Is Love’.
Grace Yann Apuad was honestly the most calm and composed. It probably helped that the question applied to her personal life so quickly that she was able to express a reply without getting into trouble.
Mutya Datul, despite fears of doing a Janina San Miguel, pieced together an answer that may sound shallow at first, but still appropriate for the question asked. And in basic English at that.
Rhea Nakpil was rehearsed. Perhaps, she was just mentally sifting for an answer applicable and suddenly found ‘honesty’ as her best bet. From there, she robotically went about with her response.
Charmaine Elima made the sign of the cross before answering. She was asked on what to keep private amidst the global trend of making most everything public in social networks. She knew the best reply in mind, but still buckled in expounding on the same.
The New Pope
Ellore Punzalan is to Bb. Pilipinas as Irene Esser is to Miss Universe, Q&A-wise. She started okay about her message to the new Pope, but babbled her way in the middle and never recovered well.
Amanda Navasero was given the toughest Q by MU1969 Gloria Diaz about being a good Catholic while believing in the controversial bill. She was initially caught off-guard, came up with a soft point of view and ended with a visibly shaken “thank-you”.
Cindy Miranda was nervous that she had to ask the question to be repeated. After that, she was able to think of a relatively solid explanation on why she is unstoppable. This despite lacking confidence in speech.
The Filipino is…
Bea Rose Santiago was lucky to get a rare “sentence completion” test from Hirofumi Hashimoto (the Head of Miss International ) and it was quite easy, especially for a natural English speaker like herself. She snatched the Bb. Pilipinas-International title right then and there.
Camille Carla Nazar was the only finalist who answered in Tagalog. I was hoping that she would at least do better than to choose America because she included President Obama in the reply and even made it sound like he was her President.
Merry Joyce Respicio should be thankful (for junk food) that she thought of a fast reply on one bad habit to break. Although the audience half-expected her to fare poorly, the brief explanation was applauded.
Best Things in Life
Mariel de Leon got Boy Abunda to poke her brains. It’s the kind of question (are the best things in life really free?) that sounded easy to the ears. And indeed it was to this lady. Her reply was maybe five words too many, but she still managed to adequately wrap everything up.
Pia Wurtzbach had the golden opportunity to praise BPCI to high heavens, but all she could think of was putting all the candidates on a pedestal. Madame Stella could have been credited for something more meaty and significant instead. As a result, perhaps, she made the Top 5 as the only crown-less winner.
Parul Shah stepped on the gas so strong that it looked like she will give the night’s best answer. But in the search for the word “eradicate”, she lost control of the steering wheel – and her firmed-up poise in the process.
Based solely on the Q&A, Grace Yann Apuad should have snatched a Top 5 spot. But that would have costed either Pia Wurtzbach’s runner-up position or Cindy Miranda’s Tourism crown. All three are from Aces & Queens and she must have been sacrificed. Four from the same camp in the Top 5 would be too generous of a gift.
At the onset, Mutya Datul appeared to be headed for a win no lower than Bb. Pilipinas-International. Her Q&A was most likely scored by the judges as fairly passable so she salvaged the last available title.
In my opinion, Bea Santiago was the only sure thing during the interviews. And was it sweetly providential that she picked the Japanese owner of Miss International to ask her?
Charmaine Elima lost all her chances to win after disappointing everyone with her answer.
Mariel de Leon was favored going into the pageant finals. But she needed to do more than “wow” to be in the honor roll.
And Parul? She looked strong but turned to sick puppy after losing her poise. Blame ‘eradicate’ on that!
At the end of the day, I believe the Q&A matters. But as mere confirmation of prior shine on selected candidates.
And for those who wish that our ladies become more confident in public speaking, I learned during college that simple self-hypnosis can help calm someone or be more confidently relaxed prior to a public appearance or interview. I know it sounds funny (even silly), but it could perhaps be an on-the-spot solution for those whose nerves get rattled so easily. ;-)