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Blurred Lines: The World of Eurovision and Miss World

18 December 2016 at 10:00 CET
Ksenia Sukhinova, Miss World 2008, played a prominent role in Eurovision in Moscow Channel One Russia
Miss World might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of international competitions that are similar to the Eurovision Song Contest. It's a beauty pageant for a start, and sometimes a controversial one too. However, there are similarities between the two formats and over the years there have been crossover participants who have taken part in both. 

Miss World is the oldest surviving beauty pageant in the world, launched in 1951. The 66th edition of the competition takes place today in the United States. Representatives from 117 countries will compete for the title of Miss World 2016 and of course that coveted crown. Like Miss World, the Eurovision Song Contest has grown and changed as a competition format. Both have welcomed increasing numbers of participating countries over the decades and both, to differing degrees, have attracted passionate supporters and staunch critics. 

Presenting to the world

Several Eurovision Song Contest presenters have gone to front Miss World. The 1988 Eurovision Song Contest was co-presented by Michelle Rocca, who was Miss Ireland in 1980 and went on to present Miss World in 1990. Ronan Keating co-presented the Eurovision Song Contest in 1997 and host Miss World the following year, and just like in 1997, Boyzone provided the entertainment. That same year, 1998, Israel scored the double and won both Eurovision and Miss World.

Ulrika Jonsson hosted Eurovision alongside Terry Wogan in 1998 and in 1999 she presented Miss World live from London. Ulrika and Terry were recently voted the most popular presenters of the Eurovision Song Contest from the 1990s.

Facing the world

When Istanbul hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, the Turkish winner of Miss World, Azra Akın (2002), featured in the postcards screened before each song. Similarly, Ksenia Sukhinova, who won Miss World for Russia in 2008, was the face of Eurovision in Moscow in 2009 and appeared in the postcards introducing each of the participating countries. 

More recently Blue, who represented the UK in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest with the song I Can, made an appearance in Miss World that same year and returned to the competition again in 2013. Lead singer Duncan James had previously performed in 2007. Other notable Eurovision names to appear in Miss World include Julio Iglesias who represented Spain in 1970 and performed in Miss World in 1981. 

Crossing over

Rebeka Dremelj, who represented Slovenia in Miss World 2001 participated in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Vrag naj vzame where she finished 11th, narrowly missing out on a place in the Grand Final.

Anthea Zammit was Malta's debut participant in Eurovision Young Dancers 2015 and this year will represent Malta in Miss World 2016. Check out the video of her dance performance in the competition below. 

Light, camera, drama!

Just like the Eurovision Song Contest, Miss World is broadcast live to an international audience, where anything can happen. Miss Ghana found this out in 1998 when she tumbled down a set of stairs whilst walking towards the catwalk. Just like when there an interruption in the Spanish Eurovision performance in 2010, the representative, Efia Owusuaa Marfo, carried on regardless.

Here comes the science part...

35 different countries have won Miss World over the years and 26 different countries have won the Eurovision Song Contest. Of the 35 Miss World winners, 13 have won the Eurovision Song Contest. Out of all the countries that have participated in both, the United Kingdom has won Miss World the most times (five in total), with Sweden following behind with three victories. Ireland, the reigning champions of Eurovision, has won Miss World once, in 2003, when Rosanna Davison took the title. Davison is the daughter of singer Chris De Burgh.

Standing the test of time

As the years went by it would be fair to say that both the Eurovision Song Contest and Miss World have faced challenges. Miss World was labelled as sexist and outdated whilst the Eurovision Song Contest was dubbed musically and culturally inferior by critics. Yet both have stood the test of time, sometimes against the odds, bringing people together in the sprit of friendly competition. The organisers of Miss World claim to have raised millions for charities across the world through the Beauty With A Purpose programme. Unlike Miss World though, the Eurovision Song Contest continues to be prime time viewing in participating countries. 

Love it or hate it, Miss World does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon and the same is true for the Eurovision Song Contest.