10 Things I Learned at The Miss Universe Pageant (Re-post from 2006)

First Runner up my ass! Miss Japan, Kurara Chibana was my choice from the beginning. Well, at least she walked away with the Best National Costume Award, which everyone knows is just as good.

Thanks to my good friend, RumBunny, for taking this pic with her cel phone. I had to push a female Argentinian news reporter out of my way so she could get a good shot.
I had third row seats with my sister at the 2006 Miss Universe Pageant.  Here’s the skinny. I can’t imagine things have changed much in the last five years, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Ten Things I Learned at the Miss Universe Pageant

1.) In an effort to sound less sexist, the contestants are no longer referred to with the title “Miss.” But this oddly made the proceedings rather dehumanizing as Nancy O’Dell and Carlos Ponce (hot!) were forced into objectifying declarations such as, “Korea, come over here!” and “Take a good look… this is Ghana!”

2.) Impressed with the fancy Miss Universe contestant choreography? Don’t be. As they parade back and forth, revolving around one another, there’s a guy at the edge of the stage with a microphone barking out, “Step! Step! Turn! Stop! Step! Step!” I don’t know how that isn’t heard during the broadcast.

There’s also another guy right behind the camerman who wears white gloves and gives them hand gestures indicating when to walk, when to turn, when to stop, etc. He also gives an overly-broad double hand-sweep to the women who have just been eliminated to get the fuck off the stage and line up for their Cover Girl consolation gift bags.

3.) The opening “parade of the contestatns in their native garbs” montage was pre-taped at an earlier time, which sucked because I would have loved to have seen Miss Japan in her sexy ninja outfit and Miss USA in her naughty horse jockey with riding crop ensemble (though I’d hoped she’d be dressed as a giant firecracker like something out of Grease 2). I’m not even sure if that part was taped the same day, though we did see playback on the screens. The show is only “live” once they announce the final twenty, which has been decided before the broadcast begins by a preliminary judging panel.

And speaking of judges… a briefcase model from Deal or No Deal? Pete Sampras’s wife? I’m sorry. Was the kid from Free Willy otherwise engaged?

4.) Nancy O’Dell never smiles unless the camera is on her. My sister thought she was pissed off about something. I accidentally stepped on the back of her dress at the VIP party and left a footprint on it.

5.) You can purchase Barbie-sized versions of the contestants in the lobby along with plastic tiaras and crowns, which I totally would have snapped up except my sister forgot to bring money for parking and I had to pony up. There are also all kinds of mini-pageant winners in the audience wearing their crowns and their “Miss Southwest Vegetarian” and “Miss Teen San Joaquin Valley” sashes.

6.) There were LOTS of tipsy middle-aged men in cheap tuxes who, at every commerical break, would rush to the edge of the stage with their digital cameras and snap away at all the babes, tongues wagging, adding a classy “titty bar” touch to the whole affair.

7.) You can be blond, big-boobed and spit out the threat “I’m with Trump. You don’t want to do this to me!” as much as you want, but if you ain’t got a VIP wristband, you ain’t getting to the bar.

8.) Sorry, but… Poor Miss USA Tara Conner (yes, the one nearly de-throned by The Donald). Granted, it’s hard to look good when you’re asked “What is your greatest flaw?” but when they asked what the most inspiring place she’d ever visited was, she could have lied and said Tibet or Jerusalem or the house where Anne Frank hid. Those would have all gone over big. Instead, she said the most inspiring place she’d ever visited was… wait for it… Lake Tahoe!

I was never more ready to surrender my citizenship.

9.) My sister gave Dr. Julian Omid, aka Dr. 90210 passes to the after-after party at The Standard Hotel and he thanked her, then told her she should come into his office sometime and he’ll “do something” for her, which for half a second, didn’t sound like “You need work done.”

And number 10… Okay, I didn’t actually learn ten whole things, but it’s the Miss Universe pageant for god’s sake! How much am I expected to take away from it?

And by the way, just for the record, my sister is very pretty and would have known how to answer the “most inspiring place you’ve ever visited” question with far more style and grace then Miss USA did, even if she’d been dressed up like a firecracker!

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