I was a judge tonight at a beauty pageant... the first in about 7 months. This girl, Ayan, puts on these shows and will invite 6 local business owners or other grandees of the village to chip in 1,000 pisos each to pay for the show, and in return will make them judges.
It's not a bad thing that it has been 7 months since the last beauty pageant because the girls never change. It's the same gaggle of 13 or 14 girls whom I've seen in the past 3 shows. That's not necessarily a bad thing: Most of them are easy on the eye, while some are definitely "9's".
Tonight's pageant was in the barangay of San Nicholas, Jasaan's most distant and rural neighborhood, literally over the mountain and through the woods (and across the river). I went after sundown, but could still sense the once-in-a-lifetime vistas I was going through. I'll have to make a trip back out there in the daylight.
Anyway, the San Nicholas Miss Bikini Open (as usual) started an hour late. First the girls came out in fanciful costumes and headdresses and capes and whimsical sceptres... the "fantasy dress".
Then there was a speech from Jasaan's tourist director... in Visayan, but obviously touting the many tourist attractions of San Nicholas... like the nearby sari-sari store, and Kuya Sanchez' collection of prize-winning fighting cocks.
Next, the girls came out and did the "rugged shorts", in cutoffs and bikini tops. I noticed during the competition that there was a crowd of about a dozen 10-year-old boys sitting clustered down in front of me, and when contestant #13 came on, they all cheered wildly. I looked around at the crowd: Nobody else was cheering. Hmm.
Then, after this second promenade, the results of the first promenade were announced: #13 was the winner. I had her tied for 6th place with 3 other girls. Hmm.
Now let's get this straight: Contestant #13 was not a pretty girl in my book. Fine body if a bit under-curved, tall, great hair, and above average poise and grace (but not the best of the group). Anyway, how 5 other judges (presumably unanimously) decided that #13 scored well enough that not only should she win this first of four promenades, but the mathematical significance of their preference was enough to offset my having scored her comparatively low, was beyond my figuring. I figured the curve I was grading on was probably too narrow: With the highest scoring 10 out of 10, and the lowest scoring 5 out of 10 (and #13 scoring 7 out of 10). Perhaps the other judges scored more broadly.
At the end of the third promenade ("2-piece swimwear" in which contestant #13 scored a 7 out of 10... 5th place), #13 was announced the winner of the second promenade. Again, the young male claque in the front continued to wildly give it up for #13 (and no others). Since crowd reaction was 2 out of the 10 points, I gave her the 2 points and most everybody else got a comparative 1 point. I did watch the crowd constantly: The reaction to #13 was pretty localized to these kids, whereas other contestants got a smattering of reactions from all over the place.
Anyway, the final event was the "bikini grind", where the 13 contestants had to come out and get the crowd riled up with a sexy dance. The first 12 dancers came out and did their best imitation of a go-go dancer... and it was very much like the average go-go bar, where you had some show dancers who take center stage and drive you crazy, and then you have the girls who kind of shuffle around and you barely notice are there. They all did the best that their morals and talent would allow them for 60 seconds or so. The scoring here was 6 points for the "sexy" and 4 points for the "applause."
Then #13 came on stage. She came out to the thunderous Vienna-boys-choir cheers of her fan club, struck a couple of modeling poses, shuffled her feet around and wiggled her hips like she was waiting in line for the ladies room at a disco, and then walked off stage after 15 seconds. I gave her 5 points... 1 for the sexy plus 4 for the applause.
It was enough to put her in second place overall when the final tally was reached. I've heard through the grapevine that Ian and her friends aren't too happy that their favored candidate inadvertently got torpedoed. Well, the fact is I really did score everything perfectly fairly. The fact that Miss #13 performed (and looked) so poorly that even 5 other judges' scores couldn't offset that fact is certainly not my fault.
Oh well, I doubt I'll be invited to judge another beauty contest again.