“Let’s introduce you all to the ladies of the night,” said the hostess. And so began the pageant for Miss Laowai China 2010. It was a fittingly amusing start for an evening that was to be nothing less than entertaining for those that stayed till its dramatic conclusion.
The main event was split into three sections – national dress, talent, evening gown. There was a planned fourth round – the contestant’s response to a question – which, for those waiting to hear about world peace, unfortunately ended up having to be saved for Miss Laowai 2011.
Interspersed throughout the evening’s main concern were various entertainments: a Polynesian dance troupe, a Romanian expat who won a competition for singing in Mandarin and, the real stars of the night, some limelight-stealing children with an Aikido demonstration. But back to the main event …
National dress was an unusual mixture of the participants faithfully representing their own culture or liberally borrowing from another. The appearance of Indian costume and various Chinese minority outfits was an unexpected twist. The contestants themselves were a mixture mostly made up of Russians and Africans, bulked up by everywhere from Canada to the Ukraine. Their eclectic national dress gave no indication of the variety of talents that they exhibited.
Singing was a popular choice, covering a broad spectrum. One contestant offered a call-to-unarms in her desire for peace in Africa, another threw sand on the floor and gave an impassioned speech on what it is to be an African, while one opted for a crowd-pleasing TCM lecture. The free herbs were a hit.
But nothing hit like the guzheng player-turned-salsa dancer Moldovan representative. The crowd went wild – even when her dance partner’s shoe went into them. It was impressive but it did not match the Australian candidate’s balloon animal display. Full marks.
What beauty pageant would be complete without evening gowns? Certainly not Miss Laowai. This was the hardest round in which to pick a clear winner. All of the ladies did a remarkable job. Sadly that’s not the way that competitions work and after this round the judges’ scores were tallied up for the dramatic climax.
I’ll quote the Global Times for what happened next, “After 10 finalists are named, the six winners (Miss Congeniality, Miss Virtue, Miss Goodwill, Miss Charity, Miss Talent and Miss Laowai) are accidentally fingered by the host before the judges are given the chance to ratchet up the tension.” So there you go, the dramatic finale was not as dramatic as it could have been, but there was such confusion that when the winner was finally clarified it didn’t take the shine off it for Moldovan Ana Ropot as she claimed the crown.
Well done to her, well done to the other finalists and well done to all those involved in organizing the event. It was all for a good cause, the crowd were given value for money along the way and they all had a China experience that they are unlikely to forget. I’m sure they’ll all be back next year for Miss Laowai China 2011.