United Nations Pageants, Grand Coronation Show a blitz
The recent staging of the United Nations Pageant (UNP), Grand Coronation Show, was like no other of its ilk. Its complexity and novelty was demonstrated in the coronation of six delegates from three countries, each representing the same number of categories, and a lengthy list of overwhelmingly titled sectional prizes that were acknowledged and reinforced in just as many sashes.
The six delegates who were bestowed with the titles United Nations Pageants' Ambassadors 2015, were Chelsea Girard (Canada) Miss Teen Category, Barrington Bucknor (Jamaica) Mr Teen Category; Yanique Dacosta, (Jamaica), Ms Category; Tes Sconlon (United States of America (USA) Mrs Category; Kemoy Gallimore (Jamaica) Mr Category and Sherrie Gearheart (USA) Miss Category.
The process leading to their achievements was two years of charity work, two days of voluntary work, interviews, and a demonstration of their talents, along with several appearances in front of the judges on coronation evening.
Grand Coronation was held at the open stage Courtleigh Auditorium on St Lucia Avenue, New Kingston. Its tagline was "Promote, inspire and empower women and men". The absence of the customary thrust stage at the venue saw the contestants, who were representing various countries, making their customary walks from upstage to downstage and from stage left to right. When done correctly, it was quite effective. But, alas, that was not always the case.
The 30 delegates, with a representative from each continent, made four appearances. The first was in the national costumes of their countries. Each appeared individually. It was a shaky start that did not detract from the beautiful stage picture, created by the vibrantly designed and colourful costumes, when the contestants stood as one large group.
The second visit to the stage saw the contestants wearing brown or black shorts and UNP T-Shirts. In this case, they appeared in groups according to their categories - each group costumed in different colours. The third and fourth visits saw the contestants attired in high-end clothes, designed by N.W. Fashion from Canada, some gorgeously designed dresses for females and suave looking suits for the male in the Evening Wear Segment.
Four of the delegates made an additional appearance. All were in the top five in the Talent Section. They were Miss Australia who gave a beautiful rendition of BeyoncÈ's Listen, Miss USA, who performed a classical song, Miss Jamaica who gave a good rendition of Sam Cooke's Change Gonna Come, Miss Trinidad and Tobago who did a contemporary dance and Mr North America who delivered a dub poem titled, Remember Me.
At the end of their entertainment, Miss USA (Sherrie Gearheart) was adjudged the winner. She was also adjudged the winner for the Miss Charity, and Super Model UN 2015. Other winners in the sectional prizes were Miss Mexico (Yezenig Navavro) Miss Sports United Nations; Mr India (Dwepanshu Bhim) Mr Interview United Nations, Miss India (Tanya Balli) Miss Photogenic, Miss Trinidad and Tobago (Tamara Mitchell) Miss National Costumes, Hines, Mr Congeniality, and Miss Nigeria (Ebelechukwu Enemchukwu) with 60,000 votes winning Miss People's Choice Ambassador.
To say the titles of the sectional prizes and the names of the categories were overwhelming, is to say the least. No more was this evident than in the confusion that came with the announcement of the winner of Miss Personality. This resulted in Yanique DaCosta, who wore the sash Miss Jamaica, making a short-lived grand entrance to the stage. The winner was in fact Miss Jamaica, Ushae Braham.
On a whole, the show had some interesting moments such as the entertaining performances from Seaview Gardens Marching Band, as well as the representatives from Robert Lightbourne High School and Jamaica Christian Boy's Home, making remarks on the contribution of delegates to their respective institutions. But the organiser might want to consider giving the MCs a scripted running order, as well as sacrifice a few of the many sashes and crowns for printed programmes, especially with their international contestants and their unusual names.