Celine took the crown with Janice and Jyza achieving second and third places. Two and a half hours earlier, no one could be sure who the winner would be! The clock struck nine and the Miss Gibraltar 2019 show got underway to a great start!
Top Miss Gibraltar producers Neish and Santos were always going to be hard acts to follow, so given the task to take on the social calendar’s hottest event of the year for 2019, must’ve given YDS directors plenty to think about, enough to get on with – including sleepless nights, no doubt – and deliver the goods on the day! Yalta Pons and Darion Figueredo claimed they would produce a show `with a difference,’ a term that rolls off the tongue as the well worn cliché it is. Well, the production was different and rated a success, appreciated by the 400 plus audience at the newly installed venue close to Europa Point – The Special Olympics Sports Hall – and many more at home.
The opening was loud, vibrant and attention-grabbing as the eight contestants made their way to the front of the stage strutting their stuff in their punky/gothic attire. Original routines followed as they performed confidently throughout the show. The four months spent rehearsing, being coached and running through routines repeated again and again certainly show, when on the night, the contestants are assertive and confident as they go… the work clearly paid off and `coming out of their comfort zone’ didn’t seemed to be an issue for any of them. DJs played a prominent part in the show as they blared out the latest club mixes getting the mood going pre and during the show: DJ Basecake (Cheryl Jeffries), DJ Rawly (David Rawlinson) and DJ El Deni aka Denis Alvarez were right on the mark. Each contestant had their own music mix as they took their turn to swagger across the stage… good work with those well-edited mixes.
We’re accustomed to see the reigning Miss Gibraltar appearing on stage at the end of the show to crown the new `Queen.’ At this event 2018 winner Star Farrugia joined the aspirants, right at the beginning during the first parade, and that was different! Presenter on the night was Rock Radio’s Michelle Rugeroni who in passing drew attention to the fact there hadn’t been a female Miss Gibraltar presenter or show producer for 18 years: Yalta and Michelle broke the pattern successfully on this occasion. `The Rouge’ did a fine job keeping proceedings light and relaxed in-keeping with the atmosphere on the night. She descended into the audience and chatted to the judges who again, kept the atmosphere light and jolly as they later left the comfort of their seats and danced in the aisles during one of the guest artists’ invitation to do exactly that, `get up and dance.’ The overseas Judges selected for the show were author Janet Hoggarth, fashion designer Rafael Freitas (from Portugal), cruise director Joanne Boase, Miss England 2017 Stephanie Hill, and the chairman was actor Ben Humphrey. During Michelle’s short interview with the former Miss England Stephanie Hill, her message for the girls was to keep true to themselves by not pretending to be something or someone they’re not. The message especially went to whoever won on the night emphasising the stay in Thailand to attend the Miss World Pageant would be for a whole month, ` too long a stretch not being yourself,’ she said. `Be natural and stay true’ was most important to bear in mind. The invited entertainment on the night came from across the way. We had a hard rocker, Rafa Blas – Spain’s 2012 La Voz winner and mainstream singer Soraya (Arnelas) who took part in Operacion Triunfu in 2005. They were both very good and sang predominantly in English, which must’ve pleased many in the audience and others enjoying the show at home.
The Special Olympics Hall – venue on the night – experienced some snagging problems right up to the previous day just ahead of the show, but in the end technical and other issues were overcome and all was well for the event. It looked bright and quite elegant. The stage was simple, with plain, black and white screens and the now common feature at events like these, of a well programmed, video clips back screen. Pyrotechnics were also evident. The show was a modern affair put together by YDS and their hard working crew backstage plus all of those helping to put on a Miss Gibraltar Show long before the event hits the stage. And who else helped to make the show a great success? The clue lies in the fact 2009 was a decade ago and Miss Gibraltar became Miss World in that year! Yes, Kaiane Aldorino Lopez appeared on that back screen commemorating that great event and that was not all… Kaiane then walked on stage looking fabulous as usual to great applause. She gave us a few words cataloguing her experiences to the present day culminating in her time as Mayor and having her first child. That was a great touch adding to the night’s performances.
But it goes without saying the stars on the night were the eight, brave ladies vying for the coveted title: Jyza Balban, Janelle Busto, Soraya Garcia, Victoria Sanguinetti, Celine Bolanos, Janice Sampere, Deanna Palmer and Daniella Ambrose who gave of their best. There were three other awards presented at the show – Miss Gibraltar 2019 Celine Bolanos also took the Top Model and Best Interview prizes and Daniella Ambrose was awarded the Miss Friendship title. Many thanks must also go towards the Cultural Services and Ministry of Culture, the many businesses and other institutions for their contributions.
I think it’s true to say the biggest challenge over the past few months leading to putting on a prestigious event like the Miss Gibraltar Show – which just happens to be the most important event on the social calendar – must fall on the show’s producers. The task was taken on by YDS known for their many innovative presentations in the `dance genre.’ This one was a new experiment for them to confront and they did it well… very well. Hats off to Yalta Pons, Darion Figueredo and all the hard working individuals coming on board to prepare the run up to and present a fabulous show, and full marks to the `new Miss Gibraltar producers on the block’!