One of the things that made the Miss St. George pageant so enjoyable, was the way in which it went off without a hitch. It started right on time (real world time, not Grenadian time), and ran smoothly. No long periods of nothingness, no filler commentary in an attempt to keep the crowd entertained, no mix-ups or errors.
Sadly, the same can not be said about the National Carnival Queen Show 2011, which I will now be referring to as NCQS’11.
NCQS’11 got off to a late start due to the rain more than anything (more on that later), which was unavoidable, but once again there was a distinct lack of coordination between what the organisers would have wanted to happen and what actually happened. When it was time for the crowd to know how the competition would be judged, the video or audio presentation didn’t play for some reason and we were kept in the dark. Couldn’t something like that have been read out? That’s some pretty important information to withhold from the public. Imagine going to a sporting event and not understanding the criteria for winning.
During the evening wear segment, why were some contestants afforded the showing of their bio videos in their entirety while others weren’t? Why so many lengthy breaks between onstage events (the rain wetting the stage aside)? It’s interesting that we were given a short period of intermission at one point, considering all the previous not-so-short breaks we’d already experienced.
And while we’re on the subject of unnecessary things, did we really have to get a close up shot of Miss St. David’s crotch on the big screens?
This is a tough one to tackle.
A friend of mine suggested that holding the NCQS’11 at the stadium was a waste because of the seemingly poor turnout (she made this observation roughly an hour and a half before the show began, but she wasn’t to know that). While the crowd did grow later on, I’m fairly sure the rain was a factor.
Which brings me onto another reason why a change in venue might need to be considered. The rain falling onto the stage and making roughly a third of it a safety hazard was pretty damn ridiculous to see. Maybe the stage builders could have designed the stage differently? Perhaps the Grenada Carnival Committee, knowing the direction that rain generally falls over the National Stadium, could have positioned the stage at a different angle?
There were at least three occasions when dancers slipped on the wet surface. Luckily, they didn’t appear to hurt themselves and thank God none of the contestants had an accident. That’s not to say they weren’t affected though. More than one dress was basically dragging through the water on the stage during the evening wear segment.
Then there’s the problem of the stage being rather far away, which was made worse by the fact that most spectators ended up sitting on the second tier to avoid getting wet. Indeed, had it not been for the two large screens either side of the stage, much of the detail in the contestants’ appearance would have been lost.
The Interview Segment
Rightly or wrongly, this is the segment that people look forward to the most. It’s here that the crowd usually gets a few laughs as the contestants screw up totally.
Except this time, that didn’t happen.
None of the girls gave bad/stupid/funny answers, despite the best efforts of the judges with their incredibly silly questions:
“What one thing would you change in the World today?”
“What kinds of things do you worry about?”
I’m paraphrasing these questions as I can’t remember what they were exactly. I think I may have been facepalming at their stupidity at the time or something.
One other thing that bugs me about all these questions is that they’re all designed to elicit a certain response. In other words, the judges ask questions to which they already know the perfect answer, and therefore expect the contestant to reproduce this answer or something similar. In turn, the contestant knows that the judge is looking for this specific answer, so will respond in kind instead of giving their own opinion on the matter. (This is where Miss St. George in particular broke the cycle and offered an actual example as to how her question affects her personally)
Why were there only 7 questions? 7 contestants, 7 judges, 7 questions. But how is it fair when the last contestant has no choice to make?
And why on earth did we have to endure the process of picking an envelope, having it opened by the host, only to reveal a number which corresponded to a judge who then asked the question themselves? What’s that all about? Whatever happened to just having the question written on a piece of paper … INSIDE THE SAME ENVELOPE? Not only does this save time, it’s also consistent as each contestant would hear their question from the same person (the host). It also ensures that the following never ever has to happen again…
That Judge Fiasco
The biggest controversial moment of the night.
Miss St. David comes out in her evening wear and parades the stage. She makes her way to the hosts to prepare for her Interview question. She chooses her envelope, which is then opened. She now waits to hear her question from the correlating judge…
The judge is nowhere to be found.
Whether she had gotten sucked into a black hole, or kidnapped by Bigfoot or something, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is, how long was she away for and what did she miss? How can you be the judge of something and you’re not there to see it? Was she present for the previous questions? Hell, was she present for the previous segments? Who else was missing during the show, and what did they miss?
And of course, poor Miss St. David had to suffer the ignominy of having to go off stage and then back on again once the judge was found/rescued/returned safely. (The official explanation is that the judge unfortunately slipped while taking a bathroom break.)
Now, I’m not a complete miserable bastard (I’m looking at reaching that by the time I’m 32 though) and I did enjoy the show. Each of the girls represented their Parish with aplomb, and should be commended for their performances. I was also pleasantly surprised by the many talented dancers and singers that entertained the crowd as the contestants got ready backstage.
It’s just a shame then that these problems had to arise when they did. Hopefully someone in authority can take this article on board and think about how to improve for NCQS’12.
For images from the event, please click here. They were taken by the supremely talented Joshua Yetman, whose website can be found here. Lastly, congratulations to Miss St. George and new Carnival Queen, Cherrie Jones. You can congratulate her by clicking here.