The first of three Miss Earth 2017 Talent Competitions took place last Wednesday, October 11 at the lobby of the Versailles Palace in Alabang. It was preceded by Group 2‘s Swimsuit Competition, which happened in the same venue – albeit at the pool area – earlier that afternoon.
In attendance, apart from the sponsors and a few spectators, were incumbent titleholder Katherine Espin of Ecuador and the ladies of Group 2, who quickly ditched their bikinis for cocktail dresses. 15 candidates from Group 3 took part in the showcase, while the non-participants watched from the audience. Noticeably absent was China‘s Mei Zhan.
After a few introductory spiels by Miss Philippines Air 2017 Kim De Guzman, who also hosted the swimsuit competition earlier, it was on with the show.
India‘s Shaan Sumas Kumar set the bar high with a Bollywood dance number infused with modern elements.
Italy‘s Fabiana Enrica Barra stepped onstage barefoot and in jeans, and began with a humorous disclaimer about her limited vocal prowess, but sang anyway. She did a rendition of Michael Jackson‘s Earth Song replete with dramatic AVP in the background. At the end of her number, she proceeded to distribute seeds to the judging panel as a symbolic act.
Portugal‘s Gloria Silva performed a nature-themed interpretative dance.
Em Kun Thong, Cambodia’s first Miss Earth candidate since 2005, showcased bokator (Cambodian martial arts) techniques.
Malaysia‘s very cheerful Cherish Ng performed a rather frenetic Bollywood dance.
Mexico‘s Karen Bustos delivered a speech.
Zambia‘s Abigail Chama performed a traditional dance set to a Zambian tourism jingle.
Croatia‘s Bonita Kristic impressed the crowd with her rendition of Beyonce‘s Pretty Hurts.
Bosnia and Herzegovina‘s Lela Karagic performed a sexy dance number. Other countries might not be so lenient about that prop (#WhenYouSeeIt).
Serbia‘s Marija Nikic, who arrived after Monday’s opening dinner, did an onstage sketch. Think Shamcey Supsup in BBP2011.
Cyprus’ Artemis Charalambous performed an electrifying belly dance. The crowd went hysterical.
Aspiring actress Diamond Langi from Tonga sang The Eagles’ Love Will Keep Us Alive.
You will surely be Googling the Cook Islands after Mona Taio‘s show-stopping Polynesian dance.
Vietnam‘s Ha Thu sang Vanessa Williams‘ Colors of the Wind. Had she performed immediately after Miss Tonga, you’d think this is 1995 all over again.
Reunion Island‘s Emma Lauret, another late-comer, closed the show with a native dance.
All candidates of Group 3, participants and non-participants alike, introduced themselves onstage as the scores were tabulated. Stand out introductions included Cook Islands (“We are a tiny nation, just a tiny dot on the map, but our heart is big!“), Brazil‘s Yasmin Engelke (“I like to work out“), and USA‘s Andreia Gibau (“I speak 4 languages, and I hope to add Tagalog as a fifth.”). Also making a positive impression were Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Switzerland, and Ukraine. All Group 3 girls remained onstage for the announcement of results.
Winning Bronze was Vietnam‘s Pocahontas bit. While Miss Croatia arguably had better vocals, Ha Thu‘s bright and sunny disposition gave her the slight edge. Understandably so, the two performances that elicited the wildest cheers rounded up the Top 2. Winning Silver was Cook Islands‘ Mona Taio and winning Gold was Cyprus‘ Artemis Charalambolous.
Congratulations to all the winners!