I’ve kept my silence about the whole thing till now. At the risk of sounding like I’m sourgraping, I decided to express my two cents worth without getting too nationalistic. Hence, allow me to use the Rotary Club International’s 4-Way Test in answering my views on the official results of Asia’s Next Top Model Season 2 won by host contestant Sheena Liam of Malaysia who – by the way – gave the best “I couldn’t believe it!” look after she was named #1.
1) Is it the truth? Is Sheena Liam really Asia’s Next Top Model this season? According to the televised announcement she is. But the way I look at it, Jodilly Pendre of the Philippines should have won, even by just a slight margin or one vote for that matter.
2) Is it fair to all concerned? Not to our two entries – Jodilly and Katarina Rodriguez. Okay, I can take Kat’s 3rd place finish simply because the judges gave a premium on height and they really did not want an out-and-out beautiful face as the winner. But with Jodilly? I simply can’t. She is, for me, the face of Modern Asia. Bleaching one’s hair blonde does not constitute an evolution of the Asian look. It’s just a shock factor that can easily wear off just as fast as a few weeks after initial application.
3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Not at the rate complaints about the results are being hurled at the show, the host, the mentor and everyone involved during the final deliberations.
4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned? For Sheena, heck yes! She gets the Subaru XV, the Storm Model contract, the Tresseme endorsement and S$50,000.00 in cash. And Jodilly? Well, she could definitely get juicy modeling stints afterwards, but that’s no guarantee of taking home anything.
Okay, there are two (2) things that bothered me during the final judging. Firstly, you don’t put a Malaysian judge in the two-tiered panel because that will spur conflict of interest. Model Ling Tan may have been removed during the second round of final judging, but she was promptly replaced by another Malaysian (Natasha Krall) who is more likely to give the nod to her home girl than Jodilly. Secondly, why did Movement Coach Adam Williams make a 180-degree turn by saying his regrets about being too harsh on Sheena the whole season? It gave me this odd feeling that he might have been ‘coached’ to be less critical of the Malaysian whose face he hasn’t really been fond of ever since. And I kind of pity the usually flamboyant Aussie who suddenly turned meek and mild during the discussion when it was just down to Sheena and Jodilly.
The results have already been finalized. The winner proclaimed. And no amount of pressure will make them cave in to howls of online protest. I simply want to express my disappointment over Jodilly’s loss. In my most objective mind-set, I really feel that she deserves to win. She has the face, the height and the all-important nuances (as Judge Kenneth Goh succinctly put it during the penultimate episode) a potential supermodel should have.
Anyways, looks like the brand-new Subaru XV won’t be leaving Malaysia after all since the winner will just be conveniently driving it from the plant to her home in Kuala Lumpur. Oh well.
P.S. Some people might say that my gripe about the two Malaysian judges during the final episode is unfounded, considering that Joey Mead King is likely to have voted for Jodilly in this season. Keep in mind that the Philippines is not the host country, though. And our bet is clearly more qualified to come out on top.