Ms. Lea Salonga Journal via Inquirer.net:
My stomach started to turn when the Final 5 were called, as this would mean it was time for the final question. Contrary to popular belief, we as judges don’t come up with the questions; they are assigned to us. Although I got some amazing suggestions on Facebook and Twitter (thank you all, by the way), I couldn’t use them.
As far as the runners-up were concerned, I think each judge had a different ranking, depending on how each girl came across to which judge. I had no idea how anyone else scored. I might have ranked one girl high while someone else ranked that same girl low.
Except of course for the eventual winner, Miss Angola Leila Lopes. I think we were all unanimous in our decision. She radiated grace and elegance from the moment she stepped on stage, and gave a great answer to her final question (which I happened to ask her; she picked my name out of the fishbowl. And that is all, lest anyone think that I made luto that process. No way.)
I ranked Shamcey Supsup second, if I’m being honest. What the TV audience saw could have been different from what we saw. And although Miss Philippines ranked highly up until the final question, we had to consider every single part of the competition. I really liked her answer as she displayed conviction and honesty. But there are nine of us judging.
I thought Shamcey represented our country very well. Smart, spirited, gorgeous. I wasn’t at all disappointed because she displayed what is so great about Filipino women: strength, beauty, intelligence. She should be very happy.
First thing I said to her was congratulations! I then asked if I could have a photo taken with her.
I don’t know what others thought of Shamcey, all our moves were being monitored and any sort of serious discussion might be misconstrued.
Right after the pageant’s conclusion, security whisked us back to the green room. There were a couple of parties that followed, but I didn’t stay long at either of them. I had a looming deadline and I’ve found myself disdainful at loud music and way too many strobe lights.
I’m now back in my hotel room with a snack and soothing music playing. A peaceful end to a very exciting night. To the new Miss Universe, congratulations on a marvelous competition. Enjoy your whirlwind year!
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