7:13 p.m.

I’m clueless about this; I’ve never watched a Miss Venezuela before. I’m only doing this for research purposes. This was not my choice. I know this is one of the biggest TV shows of the year, an event for the whole family, but that’s it.

There’s an opening speech and las misses appear in shiny, half see-through dresses while a hostess talks.

Don’t they feel naked?

“Nuestras reinas lucen creaciones de Andartu diseños y accesorios Voyage.”

Voyage accessories? No wonder they’re wearing space outfits.

They all look the same: same height, same body, same pose. Super-advanced drones designed to look perfect and win Miss Universe titles.

“We have learned to never stop in the face of hardship, and that’s maybe the best demonstration we are giving today.”

Must be getting pretty hard to put on a show like this today, huh?

The guys who just sang lip synched turn out to be Sixto Rein and Juan Miguel. I have no idea who they are. They ask the audience to visit their YouTube channels, and talk about their musical projects. Self-promotion, really? I mean, this is el Miss Venezuela, all those space girls are back there waiting for the trials, you are supposed to introduce them. Not the other way around.

But what do I know? This is my first rodeo.

7:25 p.m.

Commercial break! The ads are all beauty-related: shoes, makeup, nail polish, breast implants. When the show resumes, the socially conscious part begins. The Misses are shown making food and giving it away. Pretty nice.

Pero ahora sí, LET THE TRIALS BEGIN!

First, the “interactive gala.” Apparently, there were surveys and the public could choose their favorite Miss for different categories.

But wait… these are more ads! They are not even being sneaky, they award the girls with random categories and then some company manager gives them a prize.

Poor Miss Apure. She won “Miss Personality” and everyone knows what that means.

7:42 p.m.

Commercials. Again. This whole thing is one big ad.

Is that the Zamora jingle? The government managed to sneak its ads en una noche tan linda como esta?

7:48 p.m.

This studio is crazy small. The audience sits close to the stage (really close), and the back is half-covered with white drapes, like a shitty quinceañera. I’m told this shindig used to be held in El Poliedro. I guess they use that larger venue for other pressing matters these days…

8:00 p.m.

The swimsuit competition. A trial at last.

The Misses walk and pose while the host reads out their measurements. All of them are very near to 90cm, 60cm ,90cm, except Miss Delta Amacuro, who is an exact 90-60-90.

This is so silly, they all look perfect. In their neon green capes.

After the first group finishes, the host makes sure to name the swimsuit designers, with their Instagram accounts displayed on screen. One big ad, I’m telling you.

8:30 p.m.

Someone should tell those Pantene guys that you can’t buy shampoo anymore.

I’m unable to pay attention. With so many brands and commercials, it’s all so repetitive. Pretty, but devoid of essence.

9:12 p.m.

Now it’s time for the traje de gala event, but Miss Venezuela 2016 parades first in a blue dress, with an ad in the background for feminine hygiene products. I’m told girls can’t find those in stores anymore. 

I cannot say that the dresses were espectaculares, so here’s what the host said:

“Radiant and sparkly fabrics surge and mix with bindings in French embroidery, the body is surrounded with stylized lines in relief and coordinates with the great hasp decorating the shoulders.”

Who writes this?

10:00 p.m.

There’s a lot of filler here.

10:26 p.m.

Finally, they narrow it down to ten models. I’m having a hard time giving a fuck.

11:00 p.m.

It has taken this long to reach the five finalists and now it’s time for the (in)famous questions round. Journalist Shirley Varnagy came up with five questions on why is it so stupid to participate in beauty pageants and the girls fumble with their answers. A bit humiliating, but Shirley should have done follow ups.

11:30 p.m.

This thing goes full-on Venevisión mode. It’s folkloric dances and pavo real dresses. There’s this old super important lady and my mom would scold me for not knowing who this “Mirla” person is [Editor’s note: ¡La primerísima Mirla Castellanos, por Dios! Fucking Millennials].

I don’t think the Miss Venezuela pageant was always this crappy. It wouldn’t have lasted 65 years.

Alright, the time to pick the winner is close. The stage turns yellow and the Pantene logo flashes huge in the background, but first we have more baranda time: commercials. I can’t watch another fun fact about the Miss Venezuela, or another makeup ad. In a section, they talk about the achievements of previous contestants: marrying famous men.

And the winner is…

Miss Delta Amacuro!

There’s crying, and the Venevisión song. Has this show always been like this? One of the older Caracas Chronicles collaborators, I won’t say his name (but it rhymes with “Abdul Folk”), said that Joaquín Riviera would have never allowed this train wreck to happen. I don’t know who Mr. Riviera was, but I just watched a cheap, devalued, version of something that I probably would have made fun of, but respected out of tradition.

Miss Venezuela is promoted as “the year’s most anticipated television event.” I can’t find the escapism through the crackhead production values.

After it was (thankfully) over, I was left with many questions. What are the ratings like? Are the ads the only way to keep this going? And once they declare a winner, does she become a promoter for products that have disappeared from the shelves?

And who the hell still uses Pantene?

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