Beautiful and talented

A recall decided it all.

Not a sporting event, but the Miss
Teen Cayman 2010 pageant.

Seventeen-year-old Leanne Ritch,
representing the district of George Town, won the title after contestants were
called back on stage to answer a final question at the Lions Community Centre
last Saturday night.

Stunning in a bright yellow satin
evening gown, Leanne burst into tears and hugged newly found friend Gabriela
Jackson for support when she was announced the crown winner.

Leanne, who appeared to be a
favourite with the audience, also captured the title Best in Gown.

First runner-up and recipient of
the People’s Choice Award was Nickisha Stephenson, 16. Nadicia Dixon, 17, was
second runner-up and received the titles Best Smile and Most Talented.

The Community Spirit Award,
sponsored by the family of Lliana De La Cruz, along with Miss Photogenic and
Academic Excellence titles, went to Celina Russell.

Gabriela Jackson earned the titles
of Miss Personality and Most Improved.

A bit too long

The Leo Club’s show, though a bit
long at five hours, was well put together.

It was also evident from the groans
and moans from those in the attendance, that recalling all nine contestants to
answer a final question on Cayman’s crime rate was uncomfortable, as
contestants squeezed hands in support of the final verdict. Some members of the
audience were also not too pleased at the tough questions that were presented
to the teens, with some contestants having exited the stage in tears after the
question segment.

According to emcee Fritz McPherson,
the recall was necessary because of a tie for second place; despite his saying
the question would not affect contestants’ score. The audience, however, voiced
its displeasure.

The final question – “The crime
rate in Cayman has increased a lot in the past three years. Name one thing you
will like to see done to stop it, and why?” — prompted audience members to
shout “Get it over with.”

“Never in the history of 25 years
of Miss Teen Leo pageants has there ever been a recall of contestants back on
stage to answer a final question,” said Aaron Solomon of Vibe FM, emcee in 2004
when Leos crowned Miss Teen Cayman 2003-04. At that time audience members were
more lenient with organisers and the long hours it took to crown the winner.
This time they showed their annoyance at putting the teens through so much.

This change of events led to some
audience members leaving, as others whispered and debated with each other as to
what the outcome would be, and still others waited in subdued anticipation.

Even though audience members showed
appreciation for their favourite contestant throughout the contest, as the
young women modelled in swim wear and evening wear and performed in a talent segment.

Also lending a hand to the night of
elegance and entertainment was outgoing teen winner Jamesette Anglin. Her
songbird voice thrilled the audience, and the crowd looked on with admiration
as young Michael Jackson wannabees joined her on stage for a group

The show began with the National
Anthem, Beloved Isle Cayman, and opening remarks from Leo president Lynn


Leanne Ritch, Miss Teen Cayman 2010
Photo: Jewel Levy