Best and Worst of Queen Show 2015

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Nasha Smith

Yvana David dom­i­nated her ri­vals in the Na­tional Car­ni­val Queen Pageant last Satur­day col­lect­ing four awards on her road to the crown. The 20-year-old from Monchy ended the night with prizes for Best In­ter­view, Best Cos­tume, Best Evening Wear and Most Out­stand­ing Tal­ent. Su­per J IGA’s Ayana Alexan­der was named Miss Con­ge­nial­ity and first run­ner-up. Sec­ond run­ner-up went to Miss Dig­i­cel Fran­cil­lia Austin while St Lu­cia Tourist Board rep­re­sen­ta­tive Laura Bruce nabbed the third run­ner-up spot. Other awards went to Miss Flow Denise Nel­son for Best Swimwear and Miss Colum­bus Busi­ness So­lu­tions Be­biana Man­gal for Miss Pho­to­genic and Peo­ple’s Choice. It was a very suc­cess­ful first out­ing for the re­vamped Car­ni­val Queen Show Com­mit­tee who kept the show stream­lined, and in a po­ten­tial record, done be­fore the clock struck mid­night. Here are some of the high­lights and a cou­ple of lowlights from one of the premier events for the car­ni­val sea­son.

Cringe wor­thy Mo­ment of the Night

If there is any doubt that less can be more,, please re­fer to Ex­hibit A: the bi­og­ra­phy of pageant judge Raul Joseph. Joseph’s re­sume is in­deed im­pres­sive. How­ever it ran into un­com­fort­able ter­ri­tory dur­ing his in­tro­duc­tion as it turned into the never-end­ing story parts one through three. Joseph was clearly dis­com­fited as the no­to­ri­ously at­ten­tion-de­fi­cient lo­cal crowd started mur­mur­ing its dis­plea­sure. Maybe some edit­ing next time from the pow­ers that be?

Best Cameo

I will be the first to ad­mit that be­fore Satur­day night, I had never heard of Shawn La­mon­tagne. But when he was in­tro­duced as an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed artist, open­ing up for the likes of R&B star Ne-Yo, my cu­rios­ity was in­stantly piqued. Count me among one of the many fans La­mon­tagne picked up on Satur­day night as he ser­e­naded the con­tes­tants with a mix of love songs from the past and present. He even man­aged to in­ject a re­newed energy into the well-worn and over­played Ed Sheeran hit ‘Think­ing Out Loud’. Can we book him for this gig ev­ery year? Spe­cial men­tion goes out to his ac­com­pa­ny­ing pi­anist who was the per­fect com­ple­ment.

Best Se­quel

Last year Miss Dig­i­cel had the most fer­vent sup­porter in the au­di­ence who took ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to ran­domly belt out his undy­ing de­vo­tion. This time around he was back at it, show­ing love to his favourite telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany. Guess he’s just be­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary.

New­comer of the Year

No doubt that this new Car­ni­val Queen Show com­mit­tee de­liv­ered on pro­duc­ing one of the best pageants in re­cent mem­ory. Save for the neg­li­gi­ble de­lay at the start, the show moved at one of the most ef­fi­cient paces seen in years. There was no ran­dom in­ter­mis­sion, no ma­jor lag be­tween seg­ments and over­all the tran­si­tions were smooth and seam­less. It was so re­fresh­ing to see awards be­ing handed out im­me­di­ately af­ter the com­pe­ti­tion with­out the usual forced sus­pense and un­witty ban­ter from past hosts. Although that al­most didn’t hap­pen thanks to the…

Host do­ing the most

Shayne Ross, you tried it, sir. The re­turn­ing co-host made an at­tempt to heighten the sus­pense me­ter with calls for drum rolls and coyly de­lay­ing get­ting to the point. But he even­tu­ally re­al­ized this crowd, faced with the prom­ise of an un­prece­dented early exit, was not here for stall tac­tics or dra­matic pauses. Points for spar­ing us a re­peat of the ‘dreaded in­ter­view seg­ment’. Mi­nus points for ut­ter­ing the dread­ful and tired ‘on fleek’.

The first step is ad­mit­ting the prob­lem

Can we ad­dress the ele­phant in the room? The Na­tional Cul­tural Cen­tre is well past its prime as a venue for an event of this mag­ni­tude. Of any mag­ni­tude re­ally at this point. In fact was it ever in its prime? Who knows/ But if the sight of pa­trons stand­ing around in the back, with oth­ers hunched in their fin­ery over in the back­less bleacher sec­tion doesn’t scream ‘We need a brand new en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­ity!’ well, I don’t know what will.

Eye on the prize

Ma­jor ku­dos to the com­mit­tee for the im­prove­ment in the prizes the young ladies re­ceived this year. It was def­i­nitely a step up to have the win­ner re­ceive a four year schol­ar­ship to study abroad in Mexico, get­ting a chance to re­ceive a de­gree with a lan­guage im­mer­sion com­po­nent to boot. Equally as awe­some is the first run­ner-up re­ceiv­ing the Monroe schol­ar­ship from years past. Also a nice touch to of­fer a full year of per­sonal train­ing from Vel’s gym to keep the queen in great shape for her year­long reign.

But on the topic of prizes…

That awk­ward mo­ment. There are cer­tain things that should just be left to the imag­i­na­tion. The ham­per of good­ies that the con­tes­tants re­ceived should be one of them. No need to trot the goods out on stage only for them to be hur­riedly re­moved by a han­dler, who ended up spilling the con­tents on stage, send­ing san­i­tary nap­kin pouches hel­ter skel­ter.

Line of the night

Miss Dig­i­cel, Fran­cil­lia Austin man­aged to do the im­pos­si­ble: make a skit in­ter­est­ing. Dur­ing her tal­ent which re­volved around overzeal­ous fit­ness prac­tices in a quest for beauty, Austin gave au­di­ences this gem: “I want to be beau­ti­ful, but I hun­gry!” The crowd loved it. Un­for­tu­nately its pop­u­lar­ity was short-lived as it has now been usurped by Guy Joseph’s “Since when that’s your role.” Ah well, it was good while it lasted.

Most poignant mo­ment

It was a beau­ti­ful ges­ture to pay trib­ute to past icons in St Lu­cian cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment. While Danielle ‘Lulu’ Ber­gasse sang her clas­sic ‘Essence of your pres­ence’ and Yan­nick James ac­com­pa­nied on vi­o­lin, im­ages of Se­senne Descartes, Vir­ginia Alexan­der, Jeff ‘Pe­lay’ Elva, Roddy Wal­cott, Dun­stan St Omer, and sev­eral oth­ers flashed across the screen, re­mind­ing us of the great­ness born from this is­land.

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