Miss Universe 2015: Miss Jamaica Got Robbed, and Five Other Takeaways
The Miss Universe Pageant returned to Miami last night, and it was everything you expected it to be. Which is to say: leggy women wearing way too much makeup while strutting and smiling and showing off their bikini bodies in the name of national pride.
The pageant may be a relic from the era of The Feminine Mystique, but that hasn't kept it out of hot water this year. Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel caused a scandal when they were photographed together at an event last week. And Florida International University's decision to sink more than a half-million dollars into its arena to lure the pageant to Doral didn't go over so well with the faculty, the alumni, and the Miami community at large.
So was last night's pageant equally scandalous? Nope. But there were still a few memorable (read: awkward, hilarious, and downright infuriating) moments that your officemates will talk about this morning. Here's your guide to keeping up.
See also: Photos from Miss Universe 2015
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
10th Annual Memorial Weekend Comedy Festival
TicketsSun., May. 28, 8:00pm
Young Contemporary Dance Theatre
TicketsSat., Jun. 3, 6:00pm
The 8th Baila Flamenco Student Dance Festival
TicketsSun., Jun. 4, 1:00pm
Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami
TicketsSat., Jun. 10, 8:00pm
TicketsSun., Jun. 11, 6:00pm
Early in the competition, Miss Jamaica, Kaci Fennell, stood out: She was the only contestant with her hair cropped short into a pixie cut instead of billowing in waves across her shoulders. "You don't have to look a certain way to be in this, and I feel like I represent that," she said in voiceover.
Clearly, she was doomed from the beginning.
The audience's cheers throughout the night indicated Fennell was the crowd favorite by the time she landed in the top five. By beauty queen standards, she was pretty chill, dancing for her the talent portion and name-dropping Bob Marley and Usain Bolt in the interview portion. She had about as much personality as a Miss Universe contestant can have.
So when it was announced she had placed fifth, the audience let the judges have it. The boos were as loud as the cheers for the night's winner, Miss Colombia. Drama!
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
The National Costumes
The pageant opened with a parade of women, most of whom appeared to be wearing their country's interpretation of a She-Ra character. The national costumes were a big deal, by which we mean they were almost uniformly physically large. Think carnival on steroids. Miss USA, for example, showed up in a red-and-white-striped ringleader-like leotard, riding a wave of blue fabric spraying out from her butt. Argentina's Iguazu Falls-inspired costume featured an orb of feathery spokes spraying out around her in a circle. Indonesia's outfit, which won the award for best costume, mimicked the Borobudur Temple and weighed approximately 800 tons.
And that's great and all. But, like, Ima let you finish, Indonesia, but Miss Canada has the best national costume OF ALL TIME:
Miss Canada at the Miss Universe pageant might be the most Canadian thing to ever Canada in Canada pic.twitter.com/BcCxlUVs3j
— Cause We're Canadian (@MadelnCanada) January 23, 2015
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Who better to judge 88 women based on superficial and antiquated standards than MTV's Rob Dyrdek? Or Manny Pacquiao? Or Giancarlo Stanton, who in addition to being forced to take the pageant seriously also had to endure an especially painful mispronunciation of his first name by host Thomas Roberts. Other D-listers who needed the publicity included Lisa Vanderpump, Kristin Cavallari, and William Levy.
The tone-deaf moment of the night came from Dyrdek, who was paired with Miss Colombia in the interview portion. His query: "A common question is, what can men learn from women? My question is, what can women learn from men?"
That's right, Rob. Men are asked to learn things from women all the time. It's because our society values women so much, especially their ideas and smarts. That's why events like Miss Universe exist: to celebrate women's brains. Being a man is hard, huh?
The Hosts' Chemistry, or Lack Thereof
Their smiles were just a little too large, their laughs just a little too eager. It's fair to assume that Natalie Morales and Thomas Roberts hate each other. Case in point: the banter between them during a bit in which Roberts walked onstage in a feathered shoulder piece from Aruba's national costume and holding one of Canada's hockey sticks. It's funny, because he's a man wearing lady things!
As he spoke, he gestured with the hockey stick, nearly whacking Morales in the face. "Watch it with that thing," she told him. But not to worry, Roberts lobbed back: "I'm gonna keep my hockey stick away from you." Gross.
Dirtbag Prince Royce
Bro. Bro. I know you have an image to uphold. I know you have light choreography to perform. But look: You are at the sparkliest, most image-conscious event in the world -- the universe, even -- and you are wearing a tank top and a flannel shirt tied around your waist. Literally everyone else in the room spent hours getting ready to attend this thing. Put on a damn jacket.
The Shameless Ads
Are Miss Universe contestants the hardest-working commercial models in the business? Short answer: yes. The women were used to shill for hair products, shoe lines, bathing suits, and, yes, even the city of Doral itself throughout the live broadcast. The commercial for FIU that aired late in the competition didn't feature any beauty queens, but that didn't make it feel less icky in light of the way the university undermined its faculty (and, some say, its educational ethics) by busting its budget over the pageant in the first place.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about arts and culture events in Miami and offers you won't hear about anywhere else.