Pia’s Dilemma: Will the Empire Strike Back?
A day before the most beautiful day in the universe, rumors and predictions circulate in the Internet, as tongues wagged as to who will be crowned and who will be snubbed come pageant night.
More than 90 delegates descended to this Sin City, the most in Miss Universe history, and this does not come as a surprise as the countries wanted to show solidarity with the people and city of Vegas after the horrific shooting attacks less than two months ago right on the strip. More than 500 were injured, with more than 50 killed, the worst in any shooting attacks in world history. That is why having the pageant back in the city is very relevant and meaningful.
The 66th edition of Miss Universe Pageant does not come free of criticisms. This is the 6th time that Las Vegas is hosting the pageant, and the 5th time on The Axis Theatre In Planet Hollywood. With the late announcement for the venue, and just a very short two week calendar of pre-pageant activities, this is one, if not the most haphazardly put Miss Universe Pageant to date. And with the late announcements, come the availability, and unavailability of wanted guests and judges, hence the Miss Universe Organization, and IMG, just have to rely to those who would be willing and able to go to Vegas at the drop of a hat!
Here comes Miss Universe 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, the latest Winner from the number one pageant country in the world, the universe rather – The Philippines! Pia was announced as one of the pageant’s telecast judges just 10 days ago, and this came as a surprise to some because Pia said just weeks ago that it will be too early for her to judge the pageant. But just like what we said, MUO/IMG has to tap their reliable and available resources, and Pia is one of them.
Now, here comes Pia’s Dilemma! So many pageant experts and watchers have brought to the forefront the issues that are tied to Pia judging this year’s 66th edition of the Miss Universe pageant. And as journalists and pageant experts ourselves, we agree to the validity of the raised points.
Let us dissect each one of them:
1. PIA’S BIASES
🔹Pia is a national icon now in the Philippines. Her winning in 2015 came after 42 years of hunger for the Filipinos for another Miss Universe crown, which was brought to climax after a succession of finalist placements since 2010. The love and support shown by her countrymen since then is unequaled in the universe! And the MUO has not seen such grandiose and relevant Victory Homecoming Parade for its winner in the pageant’s history. Up to this point, Pia remains to be relevant to and on the Philippine diaspora, not just in Pageantry. So it is only normal to expect a sense of national pride in Pia and that her love and bias towards the country that nurtured her family and her dreams will be unquestionable.
🔹Pia’s professional career is an off-shoot of her Miss Universe winning. Mainly an unknown in the local show business industry, Pia tried to make a name for herself in Philippine Showbiz, but she was very unsuccessful. Her success now in the advertising industry is due to her Miss Universe Winner stature, and her second try in show business is still to be tested as she has just started making her first film, as part of an ensemble cast for an entry to the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival this December. So she is enjoying and reaping the fruits of her Miss Universe crown, and the financial windfall is unquestionable.
🔹Pia’s pageant camp, Aces and Queens, has been very instrumental to where and how she is now. Aces never faltered in believing in Pia and they never left her side. It is safe to say that Pia won’t be Pia now if not for her camp and her mentors in Aces and Queens. Pia is Aces and Aces is Pia.
2. THE ISSUES
🔹”Pia will make Miss Philippines win.”
Rachel Peters, Miss Universe Philippines 2017, is a very strong candidate and a leading contender for the 66th Miss Universe Crown. She has shown a great presentation and is expected to enter the semifinals with or without the Global Fan Vote, still the whole Philippines, and the Filipinos around the world have shown unity in supporting and voting for the 26 year old delegate. Pia, in sitting as one of the telecast judges, will have to definitively judge Rachel on her on-stage performance come Pageant Night. Pageant fans around the world (especially the Latinos, Indonesians, Thais, not to mention the Filipinos) are very rabid online. Their biases and opinions are often based on their short-tempered and ill-mannered personal reach, hence, they are saying now that Pia will be very biased towards Rachel. As if everything Rachel has shown in her performances these last two weeks are immaterial since they believe that Pia will definitely make Rachel win.
🔹”Pia will not let anyone take the limelight away from her.”
As we have mentioned earlier, Pia has been enjoying and reaping the rewards of her Miss Universe win. Many companies have gotten her to endorse their products, and she has been getting invitations from around the world to grace their events and shows. After 42 years of waiting for another Miss Universe Crown, it is only expected that the Philippines shower Pia with all the attention and limelight it can. And if another Miss Philippines win a Miss Universe Crown this early, Pia will soon lose that limelight or at least share it with another girl. And that is very detrimental to Pia’s professional career, plus her personal stature.
There will be a New It Girl, and just like in Coronation Nights, the outgoing title-holder has to step-aside for the new queen. So a lot of Pageant analysts see Pia being biased against another Philippine win.
🔹”Aces and Queens will not let its nemesis, Kagandahang Flores, win a Miss Universe Crown and lord it over this 2017.”
Pageant aficionados and experts alike know the long-standing rivalry between the two camps of Rodin Gilbert Flores and Jonas Antonio Gaffud. This Camp Wars have been going on for years now, and it has reached to the point of unhealthy competition between the two. Shades of biases even within Philippine National Pageant Organizations have been thrown against them for favoring certain camps regardless the excellent performances and scores of rival candidates. Observantly, the two camps seems to have insider-hold in the National Pageants, and Team Philippines becomes the victim of these unfair practices.
Let’s backtrack to the year 2014 when Miss Universe 2014 Top 10 Finalist Mary Jean “MJ” Lastimosa jumped fences and moved from Aces and Queens and joined Kagandahang Flores. She did this to pursue her dream of winning a Binibining Pilipinas Crown and represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe Pageant. Local Pageant World exploded when reports/rumors of biases against MJ where shown by a then reigning queen from her former camp when she gave MJ a very low score (some reports say it’s “zero”) in the screenings so MJ won’t make it on the list of the BBP2014 Official Candidates. Reports also say that when BPCI took a hold of this strategy, this former Queen was reprimanded and other reports claim that BPCI has banned her in any future BBP events (well, we are not sure of this but we have not seen her in any BBP Coronation Nights since then. Correct us if we are wrong). MJ won the most coveted title that year in Binibining Pilipinas, and Aces and Queens’ Flag-bearer, Pia Wurtzbach, did not get any placements (that was Pia’s historic second try).
MJ reached the Top 10 in Miss Universe 2014, and due to her non-entry to a much higher placement, largely blamed to the very tacky white Alfredo Barraza Gown BPCI made her wear (despite the availability of a much better philippine-made Leo Almodal gown), Pageant fans bashed BPCI’s decision, and this made the organization take heed, and started opening their doors once more to Filipino designers (to the benefit of the Pia-Albert Andrada 2015 Partnership).
Fast-forward to 2017, Kagandahang Flores have snatched the Miss Universe Philippines title once more, and they have already won 2 of the BIG4 Pageant Crowns: Miss Earth and Miss International. If Rachel Peters wins Miss Universe 2017, Kagandahang Flores will have under its wings 3 of the 2017 BIG4 Queens, a feat never before seen in Philippine Pageantry. Yes, Aces and Queens remains the only Pageant Camp in the Philippines to have under its sleeves 3 Major International titles, but not in the same year (Miss World 2013, Miss Universe 2015, and Miss International 2016). On the other hand, the Kagandahang Flores camp have been very consistent in two Major International Pageants, Miss Earth and Miss International. They have won for the Philippines the following 6 BIG4 Titles: Miss International 2005 and 2013, and Miss Earth 2008, 2014, 2015, and 2017, respectively. Now, will Aces and Queens let Kagandahang Flores take this honor and pageantry record for 2017? Or will Jonas’ Empire Strikes Back?
3. PIA’S DILEMMA
We do not question Pia’s Integrity but this article is more of an analysis and reportage of the current situation in Pageantry with regards to Pia’s job as a Miss Universe 2017 Telecast Judge. For Pia, it is definitely a case of “Damned if you do, and Damned if you don’t” scenario. That’s is her dilemma.
It would have been more logical had she not accepted this assignment early on her Miss Universe career. But Pia loves a challenge. She has never backed-out in any before, she would definitely not back-out this time. She is very stubborn that way.
Miss Philippines Rachel Peters has so far been very consistent in her exemplary performance, and regardless of questions to the biases and issues against Pia, and the dilemma she is facing now, unwittingly or not, the Philippines’ delegate proves to be the force to be reckoned with in this year’s edition of the pageant. Other so-called front-runners have failed miserably in their Preliminary Performances, and some of them are just Photoshopped Beauties. Their hype do not gave their performances justice.
So will the Philippines be having its 4th Miss Universe crown in this edition through Rachel Peters? It seems very likely. And we hope so as well.
Will Pia judge the candidates fairly, or will her personal, national, social, financial, and professional biases take control of her faculties? All we can do on this stage is to just speculate.
Well, let the universe roll the dice, and Vegas, it’s up to you!