Bean An Tiara: The messy magic of Miss Universe
The biggest beauty contest in the world returned to Dublin this year and Donal Lynch took in the drama
It's the final few moments before the crowning moment of Miss Universe Ireland 2017, and it's not just the contestants feeling the tension. An entire audience worth of sphincter muscles have just involuntarily tightened. Toes are curling inside shoes. People can hardly look through their hands.
To put it in terms of award show history, you might say this falls somewhere between Moonlight not getting its Oscar and Steve Harvey crowning the wrong girl at the main Miss Universe event two years ago. In one horrible motion, our host for the night, Brittany Mason, has grabbed back a bouquet of flowers which has just been presented to one of the contestants, told her it was meant for someone else, then realised this was all taking place in front of a horrified live audience, and quickly and apologetically gave back the flowers to the original, slightly dazed beauty queen.
Why or how the flowers were presented at all, or from whom they were destined, remains mysterious. Moments later, Brittany's co-host, James Patrice, emphasises the tension in the air and how "sweaty" it's getting on stage by wandering from girl to girl and sniffing each of their armpits in turn, like the creepily camp Mr G in Summer Heights High. That the girls' rictus grins remain so perfectly in place throughout this whole portion of the show tells you they really are all winners.