Best and Worst of Queen Show 2015
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?
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.
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.