If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Miss World delegates are some of the most well rounded women in all of pageantry and the World. They are well spoken as we see throughout the Miss World competition. They are in shape, competitive and know how to work on a team as demonstrated in the Fitness Challenge.
They can model anything with ease from swimwear to an evening gown and look amazing doing it. They are up to date on connecting with the world on various social media platforms with the Multimedia Challenge. They are also talented as they demonstrate their performance skills and their ability to impress with more than their dress in the Talent Challenge.
The Miss World Challenges exist to help contestants earn points to their preliminary scores to boost them farther along in the competition. As we know, some girls excel better in some areas than others, so Miss World offers a wide variety of opportunities to appeal to the strengths of each delegate. The Talent Challenge was originally introduced in 1978 and returned in 2001.
In 2002, the United States took top honors in the Talent Challenge with Rebekah Revels’ performance of “Stormy Weather.” She was also a Top 10 Finalist. From 2003-2010, the Talent Challenge was called a “Fast Track” event as the winner was automatically qualified for finals. However, in 2011 this changed and winners and finalists earned bonus points to their preliminary scores to help them advance into finals. The winner of the Miss World Talent Challenge performers for the audience and viewers are home during the Miss World Final.
What Can You Perform?
So what can you perform at Miss World for the Talent Challenge? Just about anything. During the 2014 Miss World pageant, 90 delegates auditioned for Miss World Choreographer, Donna Darby and Miss World Musical Director, Mike Dixon. They saw everything from the main staples of singing, dancing, and playing an instrument to aerobic gymnastics and magic as well as an ice skater and a sand artist.
The judges then whittled down the group to a manageable number in the 20s. Delegates work-shopped with the judges receiving their expert advice and performed again to make it into the Top 5 semifinalists of the Talent Challenge to come to a winner. The 2014 Top 5 were:
MALAYSIA – Dewi Liana Seriestha – Opera Singing
SCOTLAND – Ellie McKeating – Traditional Gaelic Vocals
RUSSIA – Anastasia Kostenko – Ballet
SWEDEN – Olivia Asplund – Ice Skating
UNITED STATES – Elizabeth Safrit – Ballet en Pointe
However, after the judges reached a deadlock in their decision, the Top 2 Finalists, Malaysia and Scotland, went on to perform in a “Sing Off,” on the night of Miss World Finals for the judging panel. With new eyes and ears, the judges were asked to choose the winner. Malaysia took top honors for her crowd pleasing performance.
Space Isn’t An Issue
So often in pageantry we are limited to the talents we can perform in the space we are presented on the day of the show. Twirlers have had to step down off the stage or even gone outside to perform in some cases. In 2012, Miss World Talent Challenge Top 16 Finalist from Macau China, Winnie Sin, adapted her synchronized swimming routine to a ballet to be performed on stage. However, Miss World 2014 was able to go off site when needed, to an ice skating rink for example, to see the girls’ talents.
Miss World Embraces Culture and Media
In some pageants, we suggest shying away from cultural pieces whether it be attire or talent because it may not read well to the judges. However, at Miss World, culture is fully embraced and the Talent Challenge is just one more place culture is put on the stage. 2012 Top 16 Finalists, Fiorella Migliore of Paraguay played the Paraguayan Harp and Markysa O’Loughlin of St Kitts & Nevis played the calypso song “Viva St Kitts” by King Ellie Matt on a steel pan. Stephanie Chang of Curacao, performed a flamenco dance and also made it to the 2012 Top 16 Finalists. In 2014, Ellie McKeating of Scotland took 2nd place in the Talent Challenge with her traditional Gaelic vocal performance.
Additionally, the Talent Challenge can also be a nod to childhood and mainstream media. In 2012, Maricely Gonzalez Pomares of Panama, sang, “Colors of the Wind,” from Disney’s Pocahontas. Also in 2012, Taiesa Lashley of US Virgin Islands sang, “Someone Like You” by Adele. Both were Top 16 Talent Challenge Finalists. The 2013 Top 12 Finalists featured five singers, four dancers and three musicians.
Miss World features women from all different backgrounds and economic upbringing. Some of their talents are strictly those handed down through generations, some they enjoy doing and just happen to be good at it, and others are trained and developed with the aid of professionals. Unlike some pageants, at Miss World, the Talent Challenge is optional to help a delegate use all the tools she has to get to finals. As you know, every little bit helps.
The “Wow Factor”
So, still need more of an explanation as to what the judges are looking for? It’s pretty simple really. MissWorld.com explains it as, “…The ‘Wow’ factor.” What exactly does that mean? “The judges are looking for a really talented individual whose performance sends shivers down their spine. They must also have great stage presence and confidence, dominating the space around them.”
We talk about that a lot in talent; “The ‘Wow’ factor.” Judges want to be impressed. The whole point of talent is to entertain. Centuries of girls have long been trained in the arts of running a house, sewing, social decorum, charity and were trained on some musical or art apparatus with which to entertain their guests (the image of Cinderella’s step-sisters singing and playing the flute at the tutelage of their mother who is playing the piano comes to mind). Today’s modern woman must add educated, career driven and well-spoken to the list.
Today, talent has become a nod to tradition; still appreciated by many because no one can turn down a good performance. After all, look at all the reality shows we have that are performance based with each country having their own franchise (America’s Got Talent, American Idol, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance etc.). True talent that leaves an audience lost for words is rare in the time of Photoshop and Auto-tune. Embrace your talent, whatever it is, perfect it; and even if you don’t win the crown, know you brought those watching you joy.