Miss Charm, the first international beauty pageant organized by Vietnam, has been panned for being unprofessional.
The semifinal of the event took place on Monday in HCMC with 38 contestants taking part, but the organizers left the public completely blind about how to watch it.
On social networks, people expressed disappointment since they had been waiting to watch the semifinal, but this one was not livestreamed, unlike most international beauty contests.
One user, Ngoc Tran, said: “How can you organize a beauty contest and people can’t even watch it? Their media team has to do better.”
Thuy Nga, chairwoman of Miss Charm, said the contest website never said anything about livestreaming and a recording would be aired at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
But that did not happen either due to a technical error, and the organizers had to issue an apology on the contest fanpage. When it finally went on air on Tuesday, viewers spotted poor sound mixing and inconsistent background music, which made the show incoherent.
In the evening gown competition, the contestants wore sashes but there was no uniformity in the way they did so. Some dropped the sash while walking and others carried it in their arms, making for an unseemly sight.
User Thanh Xuan commented: “That’s not how you host an international beauty contest. Not with amateurs.”
The swimsuit competition on February 9 had come in for similar criticism: The camera angles were confusing, and crew members kept getting into the frame. The cameras often panned on the judges instead of focusing on the contestants.
Nga said the swimsuit competition was organized entirely by a sponsor, who later issued an apology.
Designer Le Ngoc Lam said the pageant felt rushed and lackluster, and failed to do a good job of promoting Vietnamese culture and tourism.
“I think with a longer schedule and more time, the contestants will have more opportunity to experience and learn about Vietnamese culture, which will make the contest more attractive.”
Nga admitted there were teething problems: “The errors of the first edition will be an experience for us to organize it better next time.”
In 2019, when the contest was first mooted and there were just five days to go for its start, Covid-19 broke out and caused a two-year delay. But after the pandemic, the investors withdrew and so the organizers decided to sink their own money into it.
Vietnamese contestant Thanh Thanh Huyen at Miss Charm 2023. Photo by Miss Charm
Model Lan Khue, one of the judges in Miss Charm, said the contestants were excited and impressed with the way the staff took care of them. Many contestants arrived without their luggage, and the organizers had to contact local designers to get them outfits, she said.
She hoped the public would embrace the contest.
The winner was Luma Russo, 24, from Brazil, who got a cash prize of $100,000. Annabelle Mae McDonnell of the Philippines and Indonesia’s Olivia Tan were the first and second runners-up.
Vietnamese contestant Thanh Thanh Huyen only finished in the top 20.
The judges included the 2005 Miss Universe Natalie Glebova, 2015 Miss World Mireia Lalaguna, 2012 Miss International Ikumi Yoshimatsu, Vietnamese-born beauty Mimi Morris, and Khue.
The contestants from Colombia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Russia, the Philippines, and Indonesia attracted the most attention from fans.
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