Monday, October 02, 2006

Asian Pageantry

I love Pageants. No, I love, love, love pageants. Seriously, I truly, madly, positively adore them. Can you tell that I love them yet? So imagine my sheer and utter joy to be channel flipping the other night and stumble upon the Miss Asia Something-Or-Other Pageant. I giggled with delight (much to my husband's chagrin).
My best friend and I used to sit in eager anticipation at the start of every Miss America, Miss Teen, Miss USA pageant, etc. We'd watch whatever got televised. But not only would we watch them, we'd get out our wide-ruled notebooks and start to track our favorites (Top 25, Top 10, Top 5, and on and on until we'd decided the fate of one special woman). We used to practice that special beauty queen wave. "Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, elbow, elbow..." and on and on until we had it perfected.

Regardless of the language barrier, I soaked in every pastel frenzied moment of this Asian pageant. I tuned in just in time for the talent portion and those Asian beauties did not disappoint. Only 8 contestants performed, and their choices were the following:

1.) Dressed in a sort-of slinky outfit, #1 performed a slighty awkward Britney Spears-esque dance. Nothing too outstanding.

2.) Waltzing out in a frothy pink number, #2 wowed the audience with her best rendition of the yodel song from the Sound of Music. It was a classic.

3.) #3 followed with an equally awkward dance as #1, but with a belly-dance theme.

4.) "More brains than beauty" contestant #4 played the Asian version of the Dulcimer.

5.) Donning a fire-engine red pleather pants suit, contestant #5 played a hookah-type clarinet. She was well-received.

6.) Sadly, #6 had to sing with only the accompaniments of previously mentioned hookah-clarinet. I'm not sure who suffered more, contestant #6 or the poor clarinet. Contestant #6 was not very good, to say the least.

7.) Another frothy outfit, and another awkward dance.

8.) And last, but not least, our good friend #8, displaying the ultimate mark of a talented contestant, she pantomimed and lipsync-ed to her favorite Asian ballad. It was a nail biter.

And the winner is...our hookah-clarinet playing contestant! She came from behind to win it all--who would've known?! (My guess is that the instrument is actually an ancient Chinese traditional instrument and the elderly judges were impressed that she was keeping up with the ancient practice.)

After the talent portion came a group parade, where all 50-75ish contestants wandered across the stage with their vaseline smiles and their high-and-mighty heels, working desperately to smile and prance at the same time. Their choreography was set to the Prince song Kiss, sung by a local male super-star (dressed in more sequins than all the contestants combined), singing in his best country-Western accent. It was a total hoot!

Then came the swim-suit contest. This was actually so painful to watch that I had to change the channel. In all the US pageants I've ever seen, the girls simply walk across the stage in their swimsuits--it's all over in just a few moments. But these poor Miss Asian Etc. contestants (only the Top 8, mind you) were each subjected to an interview while standing on stage in their teeny-weeny bikinis. I felt so embarrassed for them. Not too mention they must have been freezing! Those large convention halls are always so cold. If only I'd known what they were saying.

Then we got the standard super-star serenade, except that the reigning queen joined in on the fun. I guess her talent the previous year must have been singing.

And just as I thought the pageant was coming to an end and the winner was going to be announced shortly (with those Top 8 girls being narrowed down to 3 and a big ugly sedan-like throne looming in the background), they brought 15-20 contestants on to the stage, handed them each a certificate and placed a sash over their heads. Then everyone clapped...and they ran the credits. What?!? Who won?!? What's going on?! Is this To Be Continued? What the h---?!

I have no idea what happened. We never got a winner. There was no crowning of the new queen, no gnashing of teeth by the losers, no walk down the stage with the special wave...nothing. I have no idea what kind of pageant these people are running. I guess that's what you get when you live in a Communist country. Everyone's a winner. What a complete and utter let down that turned out to be.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Erika, I'm so glad you can still entertain me from around the globe! I think someone dug out a wide-ruled notebook again, because that was pretty good detail. If I were a judge, #2 would have won, hands down. But then again, I'm a sucker for The Sound of Music. Yodeling and wearing a cotton candy dress?? Does life get any better?

amber said...

That was me who left a comment. I gotta learn how these things work. Sorry! --amber

Crabby Rangoon said...

Ok, you caught me. I did have my journal handy because it was too fabulous not to record. Glad to see you in the blogger comments world. Keep 'em coming!

kjl said...

Erika--you described the pageant so beautifully I felt like I was there--and I wish I had been! It sounds like it was quite an event! I really can't get over the fact that one of the constestants actually lip-synced--is that really considered a talent? And really, what is the point of a pageant if there isn't a winner? And how could there have been a winner last year but not one this year? Maybe it really was continued later? Well regardless, I enjoyed hearing about it! I hope you're enjoying the new apartment and home cooked meals! :)

Jumping Jayhawk said...

Your post brought back good memories of watching the miss USA pagent with you, Amy, Katy, and Lynette at the Missouri house. Those were some fun times! And do you remember the night of dancing on the porch after watching that funny 1960s beach movie? (I can't remember the name)

Crabby Rangoon said...


I think the movie we watched was called "Shag"--still a classic, still a favorite of mine. A must-see for a houseful of female roommates. I miss the good 'ol days.

Dani said...

Dear God that's the most entertaining thing I've read in a while... THANK YOU!