Conversations about audience behavior arose when Binibining Pilipinas candidate Vickie Marie Rushton blamed spectators for distracting her during the pageant’s Question and Answer portion.
The Negros Occidental beauty was not able to finish her statement in the much-anticipated portion since someone from the audience stood up and made a “face” at her.
“Nasasayangan ako kasi I know na, kung ano ang sasabihin ko, pero may nag-distract sa akin sa audience, doon ako nawala,” Rushton said in an interview.
“May tumayo at nag-make face,” she added.
When asked if she was “distracted” by the action, Rushton confirmed with a sad “yes.”
She added that she knew what to answer since she prepared for the contest.
“Oo naman po, kasi nag prepare naman po ako kahit paano,” Rushton said.
She was reportedly one of the early crowd favorites and has bagged the most number of special awards such as the “Jag Denim Queen,” the “Miss Ever Bilena,” the “Poten Cee Gandang Palaban” and the “Bb. Cream Silk” award.
In Binibining Pilipinas 2019’s final round, the top 15 candidates were asked to answer a question from the judges within a span of 30 seconds.
Rushton was asked by Daniel Padilla, “Why is mental health as important as physical health?”
She answered, “Mental health is important as physical health because it is about our inner being.”
“Having self-love is important, and as a woman, I can inspire people to take care of themselves, to take care of their minds as well as their health because they will be as effective,” Rushton continued.
In the midst of her turn, some audiences were quick to react to her response, prompting her to pause. An audible “sshh” can also be heard from the background, based on a video released by a reporter.
It must be noted that Rushton was the one who was supposed to speak during the particular portion as the question was directed to her and not to spectators.
The Q&A is considered the “make or break” round in beauty pageants since it supposedly shows a contestant’s well-roundedness besides exhibiting external beauty. Intelligence and eloquence are usually judged during this round, according to a pageant-centered website.
Reactions to Rushton
Filipinos who viewed the televised contest shared their opinion on Rushton’s claims that she wasn’t able to properly answer because of the crowd.
Some commented that the candidate should not point a finger at how the audience behaved for her performance.
“Parang hindi ko gusto na medyo nasisi ‘yung audience na nag-make face. It’s a big crowd. Everyone moves. Everyone shouts. It’s a coliseum, for crying out loud—not a meeting room,” Facebook user Bryan Pamatian said.
“At the end of the day, it goes down to how well you can endure that type of environment. Clearly, you crack under pressure… I just wish you could’ve owned up to it and be accountable yourself and not ‘blame’ the face that you saw in the crowd,” he continued.
Others claimed that the audience’s reactions played a part in how Rushton supposedly got distracted.
“Dapat may control din sila sa audience. Na distract talaga siya,” Facebook user Alicia Bautista wrote.
“Minsan kasalan din ng mga audience ‘yung ‘di pa tapos sumagot, magsisigawan na. May konting stutter lang, (mag-re-react) na, ‘yan ang problema sa Filipino audience,” user Khime Lee said.
What pageants may be expecting from audiences
Audience members of a beauty pageant are not particularly bound to follow rules but they must be silent at certain times to show respect to the candidates and the organizers of the event.
According to a pageant-related blog, when a candidate performs her walk onstage, the audience is generally expected to be silent.
“Show respect to each contestant by being quiet during her onstage walk. This is especially important during the beauty portion of the pageant,” it said.
A website specializing in 21st-century etiquette advice shared that audience members are fundamentally discouraged from talking too much or participating in “excessive talking” unless it is required by the organizers or the candidates themselves.
They are also supposed to control their coughing by learning how to muffle the sounds with a handkerchief or with their hands.
Audience members are also expected to refrain from making other sounds that may disturb fellow members and the people on the stage.
This includes “munching noisily, smacking or cracking gum, rattling the pages of programs, tapping feet or drumming fingers, humming or singing along, rummaging in purses,” the etiquette-centered website notes.