(STAR) FUNFARE UPDATE By Ricardo F. Lo (PHOTO - Miss Universe judge Lea Salonga with fourth placer Shamcey Supsup.)

As is our wont after a competition, whether political or beauty-related, we cry “Harang!” especially when our bet doesn’t win or ends up a runner-up or an also-ran. Admit it, we are a nation of gripers.

Case in point: The recent Miss Universe Pageant held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where our bet, Shamcey Supsup, finished third runner-up (fourth placer) to Miss Angola Leila Lopes (a hands-down winner), before Miss China (fifth) and after Miss Ukraine (second) and Miss Brazil (third).

I understand why some of us protested (suspecting “hometown decision”) that Shamcey, instead of Miss Brazil, should have placed third, basing our decision on the answers of the Top 5 in the final judging. Yes, I would say that Shamcey gave the best answer (about not changing her religious beliefs to marry the man she loves because her first love is God) and she was the only one who didn’t need an interpreter.

One sore-loser Binibini even hinted in a TV interview that “politics “ comes into play in the pageant and that during her time there was prejudice against the Asian bets so no Asian made it to the finals. The sad truth is that she ended up a “thank you, girl” simply because she didn’t measure up to the pageant’s criteria. Quiet ka na lang ha, iha!

In a text interview with Funfare Update, Lea Salonga, the fifth Filipino to sit as Miss U judge, said, “I picked Miss Angola to win. I’m not sure what the other judges did. As for why Shamcey didn’t win, it isn’t anything she did wrong. It’s just that taking overall impact into consideration, from where we were sitting, Leila Lopes was just above and beyond everyone else.”

It was Lea who asked Miss Angola the crucial question: If you could change one of your physical characteristics, what would it be and why?

Miss Angola answered in Portuguese, aided by an interpreter who kept interrupting her, making Miss Angola break into a sweet, winsome smile instead of frowning: “I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life.”

[POTO - Popular winner Leila Lopes of Angola.]

Some quarters criticized Lea for that kind of question but Lea and the other judges for that matter really had no choice. The questions were prepared by the Miss Universe organizers.

Added Lea, “If we weren’t unanimous in picking the winner, we almost were. Many of us were in agreement that Miss Angola should win. It’s how we each ranked the runners-up that differed. I ranked Shamcey 2nd. But another judge may have ranked her 4th or 5th. I was happy though with how Shamcey did. That 4th place out of 89. Pretty darn good, I thought.”

What bugs Lea was the usual chorus of protests that followed the pageant.

“We were told to judge them all objectively. What I now don’t understand is the brouhaha following the pageant’s conclusion. Everyone needs to respect the judges’ decision. I stand by my ranking.”

Case closed?

Wait till the Miss Universe Pageant next year (in China?).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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