Onstage question is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of competition – both for contestants and for viewers. This year’s Miss Universe questions definitely lived up to that expectation, featuring several hard-hitting, open-ended questions that were sure to leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Let’s take a look at how the Top 6 contestants handled their questions. (Read: 3 Simple Tricks to Mastering Your Onstage Question)
Please note that multiple finalists were asked their question and answered it through the use of a translator. Translations can be imperfect, as can transcriptions.
Top 6 Onstage Questions and Answers from Miss Universe 2016
6. Miss Philippines 2016, Maxine Medina
Question: “What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?”
Answer: “In the last 10 years of being here in the world, is that I saw all the people bringing in one event like this, Miss Universe. And it’s something big to us that we are one, as one nation, we are all together. Thank you.”
Maxine Medina came up short with this answer. She struggled to get an answer out and waited several seconds before beginning her answer, which made it difficult to articulate a well-formed answer in the 30 seconds allotted. She also chose to answer her question in English, which may have contributed to its seeming incompleteness. It could also be argued that the oneness of an event like Miss Universe has existed since its inception, not just in the last 10 years. (Read: Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Evening Gown: HIT or MISS?)
5. Miss Kenya 2016, Mary Esther Were
Question: “Arguably, no United Sates president has had a more active first 10 days in office. What are you most excited about and what most concerns you about the presidency of Donald Trump?”
Answer: “Politics.. ah.. it’s… okay, let me start over. Donald Trump, having been elected President of the United States, may not have been the choice of many people living in the United States because of the divided support system for the outgoing president Barack Obama, who was supporting of an upcoming woman president, who was supposed to be a woman president Hillary Clinton. So, so many people opposed his position but I feel that once he took up his position he was able to unify the entire nation. Thank you very much.”
Mary Esther Were also got off to a rough start. She asked to restart her answer, which is not in itself necessarily a bad thing, but it did eat into her 30-second time limit. Mary Esther demonstrated some knowledge of the United States political situation, but she did not really answer the question that was asked of her. She also claimed that the presidency of Donald Trump has unified the people of the United States, which has certainly been shown to be untrue. As a side note, Mary Esther also chose to answer her question in English. (Read: 3 Gorgeous Outfits Worn by Miss Universe 2016 Contestants at Fort Santiago)
4. Miss Thailand 2016, Chalita Suansane
Question: “Name a current or past world leader who you admire and why.”
Answer: “Hello Philippines! For me, that would be the King of Thailand. His majesty has been working tirelessly on behalf of the Thai people ever since I was born. For all the Thai people, his majesty has been like a father to us. Thank you very much. ”
Chalita Suansane handled this question fairly well. Although not many people probably know a lot about the King of Thailand, her answer shows pride in her home nation. Her answer lacks detail and examples but was executed well regardless. Chalita chose to answer through a translator, which might have contributed to the words coming a bit easier for her than they did for the two contestants who answered before her.
3. Miss France 2016 (Miss Universe 2016), Iris Mittenaere
Question: “Given today’s worldwide refugee crisis, do countries have an obligation to accept refugees or do they have a right to close their borders?”
Answer: “The countries should have the right to open or close their borders. So, throughout the world people can choose to have their borders opened or closed. In Europe, we have open borders. In France, we want to have the most globalization that we can; we want to have the biggest exchange of people that we can. Maybe someday that will change but now, we have open borders. Having open borders allows us to travel more throughout the world and to find out about what’s out there in the world. Thank you very much.”
The biggest problem with Iris‘s answer was that she talked for a lengthy amount of time before she gave her translator time to relay her message, which in turn, seemed to overwhelm him. It is possible some of her answer was lost in translation because of this. However, after the initial repetition of the first statement, she explains her specific country’s policies and the benefits of open borders. Her answer was substantial and thorough, but it would have been nice to hear her address refugee policy specifically. Regardless, she took the crown and we congratulate her!
2. Miss Haiti 2016, Raquel Pelissier
Question: “On January 21st, an estimated 4.8 million people marched worldwide for human rights, women’s rights, and other issues. If you were able to participate, what would you have been marching for?”
Answer: “Hello everybody. One of my, one of the women I admire in the world is Eleanor Roosevelt because she fought so much for human rights and I feel like that’s what we need in the world. We are just one. A hundred thousand years ago six species of human lived in the world. Now we are just one and we all need each other and we need to respect each other. ”
Raquel Pelissier was so confident in her delivery and it sold her answer. She did not frame her answer in the way one would have expected, which is a good thing. She could have gone into a little more detail (maybe mentioning what specific rights she would have fought for), but her answer was strong overall. It’s no wonder she was 1st Runner-up at the end of the pageant! (Read: Miss Universe Haiti 2016 Evening Gown: HIT or MISS?)
1. Miss Colombia 2016, Andrea Tovar
Question: “Why do you believe that violence is so prevalent in today’s society? And what can we do about it?”
Answer: “Good evening. Well, I come from a country that does have violence and this is my reference point. And although there are presidents who don’t get along with others, we work together to be able to unite. Campaigns, respect and inclusivity, to be able to have a social transformation that will educate our children. Thank you very much.”
This was arguably the strongest answer of the six. Although Andrea did not fully address the first part of the question, she answered with poise and showed passion. Bringing in the situation of her home country was a way to add context and a personal aspect to her answer. She also mentioned passing down powerful values to the next generation and mentioned the need for societal change, which are impactful messages to convey in such a short amount of time. This answer definitely contributed to her 2nd Runner-up finish.
Overall, there seemed to be something left to be desired when the onstage question portion was said and done. There were a couple of strong points made, but the directness and “WOW” factor usually presented in finalists’ answers only barely showed through the Top 6’s answers. However, most pageant girls can attest to how difficult and nerve-wracking the onstage portion of the competition is, especially on an international stage. Major props to the Top 6 and to all the wonderful women who competed! (Read: Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere Reveals Her Advocacy)