When the Times Group announced the new format for Miss Diva pageant in 2014, initially we were skeptical about how the new format will play out. But after the Miss Diva 2014 pageant started airing on Zee Cafe, it surpassed all our expectations and gave the pageant fans in India a silver lining through the clouds of Bollywood entertainment. After a magnificent first season, Miss Diva quickly lost its charm in the second year itself. It felt like Miss Diva took away all the positive attributes of its first season and gave us a messy and boring afterthought of “the top model”. Here’s the thing, there are not many shows on Indian TV that can cater the interests of pageant fans or even fashion enthusiasts for that matter. Gone are the days when shows like “Kingfisher Calendar Girl Hunt” or “Get Gorgeous” used to create some buzz in media. But those shows aren’t relevant anymore. The newest addition to this spectrum, “India’s Next Top Model”, is far from anything that can be called fashion. And hence Miss Diva has an immense potential of becoming India’s premier fashion and modelling reality series. Miss Diva has already got the fashion aspect right. It even gets a better contestant turnout as compared to the other shows in this category. But when it comes to the show itself, there are several areas where Miss Diva must improve.
- The Challenges: Let’s get honest here. The only people who religiously follow the Miss Diva pageant are the loyal pageant fans like us. So the format of the Miss Diva pageant has to be tailored to entertain the pageant fans. Although the first season of Miss Diva was very well put, it drifted away from its pageant roots from the second season onward. We don’t need a “wannabe top model” show. There’s no need for a makeover challenge or multiple silly photo shoots. Each episode of the pageant should help us understand something more about the personalities of each contestant. The 2015 edition had rightly included a challenge called the “Grill Room”. But even that episode quickly faded away and became just a mediocre attempt at being entertaining. In defense of the pageant, the latest edition of the pageant did a good job with the weekly challenge rounds. So the only area they now need to focus is adding more interview rounds or rounds that can show us why these girls are more than just pretty models.
- The Eliminations: The Season 10 of Miss diva (2014) did a great job with eliminations. Throughout the season it kept us on the edge of the seat guessing who’s going to survive. But then Season 2 onward the pageant went very weak on eliminations. Last season only 3 girls were eliminated over a course of 6 episodes. What’s the point in eliminating the contestants if most of them are going to move forward to the next round anyway! Eliminations bring drama and suspense to the show. Going back to the eliminations format of season 1 will definitely make the pageant more competitive.
- The Entertainment: Why on earth would we need yet another performance by Bollywood stars in a beauty pageant! Haven’t they had enough of Bollywood in Femina Miss India? Was there any need for a performance by Parineeti Chopra or some TV stars aka wannabe bollywood stars in beauty pageants? Nobody tuned-in to watch Miss Diva finale last year only because Parineeti was going to dance in it. Again, the season 1 of Miss Diva got this part correct with minimal Bollywood entertainment in the pageant.
- The Subtitles: How many subtitles does Miss Universe offer? There’s Miss Congeniality, Miss Photogenic, best national costume, and what else? Am I missing something here? No, because that’s all the subtitles Miss Universe offers and that’s why winning a subtitle is so prestigious in Miss Universe. Since offering tonnes of subtitles is a tradition in Femina Miss India, we can give it a pass for this. But when it comes to Miss Diva, there are no such traditions. Giving away 13 subtitles amongst 16 contestants makes subtitles worthless. Let Miss Diva be different from Femina Miss India by offering only the important subtitles like Congeniality, Photogenic, Body Beautiful and Talent.
- The Finale: Someday the pageant fans in India shall witness a pageant with proper Swimsuit and Evening Gown rounds! Miss Diva again takes a back turn here and gives us exactly what Femina Miss India does. Can we not experiment by adding dedicated pageant like rounds in Miss Diva Finale? During last year’s Miss Diva finale majority of the time was wasted for announcement of useless subtitles. Even when they had fabulous gowns by Gaurav Gupta, the evening gown segment lasted for hardly 2 minutes. That’s 2 minutes out of a 45 minutes show. The last thing Miss Diva needs to worry about is getting lower viewership due to dedicated pageant rounds. Because nobody other than the loyal pageant fans watch it anyway! Then why not utilize the most of this airing time for serving the interests of pageant fans who should be their target audience?
In conclusion, we can safely say that Miss Diva is the most unadulterated version of pageantry India is ever going to get. We have already stopped expecting much from Femina Miss India. The Times Group shall do us a favour and at least keep the Miss Diva pageant as per the likes and interests of pageant fans.
Author: Jinendra Aherkar