Yesterday Karen Ibasco of Philippines won the title of Miss Earth 2017 in a glittering ceremony held at Manila, Philippines. This was the 4th win of Philippines at Miss Earth, third in a short period of 4 years. Every year Miss Earth results are controversial and face major backlash from pageant fans throughout the globe and this year is no exception. National director of Miss Earth Thailand has resigned. There is a typhoon of memes on the pageant and the new winner (many call her ‘granny’ – so rude). Some say Miss Earth is by Philippines, in Philippines and for Philippines. Filipino pageant fans are actively defending the pageant and the new winner. We decided to step back from the chaos and examine both sides of the coin.
Miss Earth side: Filipino pageant fans argue that Karen performed exceptionally well in the finals. She was good in the two walk rounds and spoke well. In fact she spoke the best in the final round and hence she deserved to win. Now there is nothing much to argue there. Yes, Karen did well in all the rounds and gave the best answer in the last round. Closest to her was perhaps Miss Australia who had to settle for Miss Earth Air title. Largely there was sense of fairness in the eliminations once Top 16 was declared. It was little surprising to see Angola left out from Top 8 and Venezuela left out from Top 4. Nevertheless this much happens in almost all pageant finals. So if you go strictly by the format, yes Karen perhaps deserved to win.
Other side: Fans argue that Karen stands nowhere close to reigning Miss World Stephanie Del Valle or Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere. She doesn’t have the star quality that one expects from an international beauty queen. Compared to her, Misses Australia, Netherlands and Venezuela had the X-factor that is desired in international winners. Why was that not considered by the Filipino-dominated Judging panel? Why was there no round which analyses that aspect among the finalists? These complaints surfaced in all the years when the Philippines won. Is the format intentionally kept such that Filipino delegates get high placements thus ensuring good vibes among the locals? Everyone knows that there are many training opportunities for pageant aspirants in the country and hence the winners from the country always perform well when it comes to walk, body and interviews. Why does Miss Earth not broaden it’s horizons and adapt a format which can produce winners that attain more international acceptance? Are they being too comfortable in manipulating the results behind the veil of a format that conveniently produces results of their choices? We don’t really endorse all these questions but we cannot just ignore them.
Conclusion: Considering both sides of the story, our opinion is that the new winner Karen Ibasco doesn’t deserve the hate. She shouldn’t be made the scapegoat because she just played her part quite honestly. But yes, Miss Earth does need to re-consider their format. Just having a pageant portal label them as major pageant won’t appease everyone. If they want to be considered in league of Miss World and Miss Universe, they need to produce winners of that caliber.
Image credits: Pageant – Pageanatics