Suspense was at its highest at the Accra International Conference Centre last Saturday, when the race to wear the Miss Malaika 2011 crown resulted in a tie between candidates Gerry Partington and Alex Ayirebi-Acquah.
The atmosphere in the conference centre was tense as the organisers announced a question which they said would break the tie between Gerry and Alex.
The two were asked to “define three qualities a woman of the millennium should have.”
By the time both contestants had given their answers to the question, Alex had succeeded in convincing a section of the audience that she deserved to wear the crown.
Her confident, coherent and eloquent analysis, in terms of the qualities a millennium woman should have, was met with wild cheers and applause by a section of the audience.
Gerry’s response to the question, on the other hand, was subdued and uninspiring.
Therefore, when it was time to announce the results, many observers in the packed auditorium guessed that Alex, having answered the “tie-breaker” question better, would wear the Miss Malaika crown.
However, contrary popular expectation, Gerry, a 22 year-old undergraduate of the University of Ghana, was named winner instead of Alex.
The decision was received with shock and disbelief by many in the audience who did not hide their displeasure.
Charterhouse, organisers of the event, came under intense criticism and condemnation for allegedly interfering with the selection process.
Mr Ameyaw Debrah, a celebrity blogger and an art critic, described the pageant as “the most questionable beauty pageant in Ghana’s history”.
Speaking to The Mirror, Mr Debrah said if confidence, intelligence and eloquence were indeed a decider for Miss Malaika, then Alex should have been considered ahead of Gerry.
“For a pageant like Miss Malaika that claims to celebrate beauty and brains, Alex was the best choice. The judges blew a chance to make a statement that brains is enough to take a woman places, and not just looks”, the blogger emphasised.
Charterhouse has, however, denied influencing the selection process that culminated in Gerry becoming Miss Malaika 2011.
Speaking to the Graphic Showbiz, the Public Relations Officer of Charterhouse, Mrs Juno Abena Dadson, said the judges’ decision was independent.
“We have every confidence in the decision-making abilities of the judges and we stand by their final decision. We have no interest whatsoever in influencing the outcome of the competition. The fact that the judges’ ultimate decision did not go down well with a section of the audience did not in any way belittle their decision”, Mrs Dadson emphasised.
“We must not forget the judges had the advantage of the pre-judging session which afforded them the opportunity to assess the delegates one-on-one in a less pressurised environment. So their decision on the final night was well-balanced. We have the original signed judges’s score sheet available for any doubting folks to see”, the Charterhouse PRO said.
The judges on the night were Nicola Sackey, Anne Sakyi, Kay Bentsi Enchill, Desmond Blackmore (D Black) and Xavier of Air Namibia.
Aside, Gerry Partington, Alex Acquah and Deborah Lomotey who emerged first, second and third respectively, other contestants in the pageant were: Priscilla Opoku Agyemang, Mikafui Doe, Nana Konadu Agyemang Gyimah, Adwoa Ofori Afriyie, Magdalene Ankrah, Daisy Nana Adwoa Aryiwah-Fofie, and Emmanuella Esinam Awunyo.
Deborah Lomotey (Smallie) emerged second runner-up, while Magdalene Ankrah and Emmanuella Awunyo were announced as Miss Congeniality and Best Talent respectively by Chris Attoh and Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku, who were MCs for the night.
There were musical performances by popular acts such as Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stay Jay, Emmanuel of Stars of the Future fame, and Dr Sid from Nigeria.
According to Charterhouse, Ms Gerry Partington will receive a Kia Rio saloon car, hampers from sponsors and GH¢6,000 for emerging overall winner of the pageant.